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The Airmen's Stories - F/O D H O'Neill


Desmond Hugh O'Neill was born in December 1914 in Madras, India and arrived at Tilbury in the UK on 7th March 1922 aboard the ss Orsova.

His parents were Lt.Col. Edward Martin Marie O'Neill and Ethel May O'Neill, of Glasnevin Dublin, Irish Republic.

He attended Clapham College in London 1930-34, a Catholic school run by the Xaverian Brothers.

O’Neill joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training on 17th January 1938. He was posted to 10 FTS Ternhill on 9th April and with his training completed joined 2 AACU at Lee-on-Solent on 29th October 1938.

He was later serving with 12 Squadron, equipped with Fairey Battles. O’Neill’s first and only sortie with the squadron was made on 18th August 1940, an evening attack on shipping in Boulogne harbour.

Probably O’Neill volunteered for Fighter Command as he went to 611 Squadron at Digby on 20th August and moved to 41 Squadron at Hornchurch on 29th September.

He is recorded as marrying Isabel Muriel Dunn in Ploughley, Oxfordshire in the second quarter of 1940.

O'Neill was involved in a mid-air collision with Sgt. LR Carter during a battle climb to engage Me109s on 11th October. He baled out but was killed when his parachute failed to open. His Spitfire, X4042, crashed near the Crooked Billet, Ash.

O'Neill was 25. He is buried in Streatham Park Cemetery, Mitcham.







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