Joe McCarthy and his wartime friends

Joe McCarthy’s son, Joe McCarthy Jr, has kindly sent me some more information about the well-known picture of members of his father’s crew fraternising with the crew of an American B-26, taken at the Earls Colne airfield in Essex in 1944. I have previously reproduced a similar picture in the Dambuster of the Day article on Ron Batson.

Joe’s picture is a better shot obviously taken at the same time, as it doesn’t cover Johnny Johnson’s face. He also sent me a clipping from a newspaper given to him by Dorothy Bailey (daughter of Bill Radcliffe, the flight engineer in the McCarthy crew) which reproduces the same picture and helpfully includes a caption listing all the personnel:

Two more interesting points from Joe. The return flight from Earls Colne to Woodhall Spa was probably the last time that Johnny Johnson flew with the crew, as he left the squadron shortly after. McCarthy’s new bomb aimer was ‘Danny’ Daniels who went on to fly with ‘Willie’ Tait, including on the Tirpitz raid.

Next to McCarthy is the American pilot Major John Bull Stirling, another US citizen who joined the RCAF before the USA entered the war. In fact Stirling had been in the same RCAF training class in Ontario as McCarthy but he chose to transfer into the US Army Air Corps after Pearl Harbor. According to this entry on the American Air Museum in Britain website, he had an eventful time during the war and died in 1988.

8 thoughts on “Joe McCarthy and his wartime friends

  1. Glen Matthews February 20, 2019 / 3:13 am

    Hi Charles, do you know where the newspaper cutting came from? The reason I ask is that it is interesting the British airmen are called, ‘Britishers’! A term I’ve never heard except in war films and actors with German accents.

  2. charlesfoster February 20, 2019 / 9:47 am

    Glen — my guess is that it is a Canadian forces newspaper. The cutting comes from the Radcliffe family and Bill was a Canadian by birth and upbringing, even though he was enlisted in the RAF. Go to the Ron Batson post
    to see the longer version of the caption sent out by the picture agency. CF

    • Glen Matthews February 20, 2019 / 10:09 pm

      Thanks Charles, unusual for the Canadians I’ve not heard that term from them before. Maybe it’s French Canadian?! Great photo though. I always wonder what they were thinking and talking about at that second when the shutter clicked!

  3. Kirrell February 26, 2019 / 8:08 am

    I want to get in contact with one of Bob Kellow’s family, I’m a cousin of Les Knight and want to make contact. Any email will help.

    • Kirrell February 26, 2019 / 8:10 am

      Incorrect email. [redacted]

    • charlesfoster February 26, 2019 / 9:13 am

      Kirrell — I will email them and get their permission to pass on details. CF

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