The Airmen's Stories - P/O J J Walsh
John Joseph Walsh was born on 6th September 1917 in Bassano, Alberta, Canada. His parents were Redmond Joseph Walsh (1882-1975) and Mary Ethel Walsh (nee Bradshaw 1895-1970).
He was educated at St. Marys School and the local Technical College.
Walsh joined the RAF on a short service commission and arrived in Liverpool aboard the ss Antonia on 25th June 1939. He commenced training at 13 E&RFTS White Waltham.
After completing his training he joined 225 Squadron, an army co-operation unit equipped with Lysanders.
Walsh volunteered for Fighter Command in August 1940 and was posted to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 5th September to convert to Hurricanes. He was then posted to 615 Squadron at Prestwick on the 21st and served with them for the remainder of the Battle.
Above: 615 Squadron in November 1940
On wing: Sgt. RH Smyth, Sgt. AR Moore
Standing: Adj. GC Perrin, F/O DGA Stewart, F/Lt. JRH Gayner, P/O NJ Wheeler, P/O JJ Walsh,
F/O CN Foxley-Norris, F/O PH Hugo, F/O A Eyre, P/O LN Landels, S/Ldr. JR Kayll
Kneeling: Adj. R Mouchotte, Sgt. ET Cosby
In January 1941 Walsh was serving in Egypt, having arrived via the Takoradi ferry route. He and three other pilots flew to Malta in a Sunderland on the 20th as reinforcements for 260 Squadron.
On 25th February Walsh damaged a Do215. Later in the day he was shot down by Me109s of 7./JG26 over St Paul's Bay and baled out. He was picked up by a destroyer, with a leg broken in four places and a broken arm. He died in hospital on 2nd March 1941 from pneumonia, possibly brought on by shock.
Walsh was 23. He is buried in the Naval Cemetery, Cappucini, Malta.
Below: he is also commemorated near his parent's grave in Bassano Cemetery.