KILTIMAGH AIRMAN’S DEATH
Sergt. P. O’ Flaherty , R.A.F.
The news of the death of Sergt. P. O’Flaherty R.A.F. reached his parents in Kiltimagh on Thursday of last week. The deceased airman joined the R.A.F. two years and a half ago, when he was twenty years of age. Since the outbreak of the war he was engaged on many hazardous expeditions, among the being the raid made on the Kiel Canal. After the invasion of Norway his plane was with the first R.A.F,squadrons engaged in that country, where he was wounded in the forehead, but refused to go on sick leave. After the invasion of Holland his squadron was also in action, when the gunner and navigator of his plane were killed, after it had crashed. Here he had a miraculous escape. He managed to elude capture, and after walking from Monday to the following Thursday he reached the French lines, returning from France with a section of those evacuated from Dunkirk. His promotion to rank of sergeant came following his splendid work in Holland.
Considering his many hair-breath escapes, his end was singularly unfortunate, coming as a result of a crash into a balloon barrage over the east coast, just as he was returning from what his C.O. described as the carrying out “ of an excellent operation” in France. The deceased was possessed of the characteristics that contributed to his rapid advancement in the hazardous occupation he followed and had fates being kinder there is now doubt but he would reach a very high commissioned rank with very little delay.
The R.A.F., authorities made all arrangements to send the remains home and so to carry out the wishes of his parents, but conditions unforeseen arose, and he was interred in Ashlington Northumberland Shire on Monday 10thJune with full military honours. The cortege was led by the Commanding Officer and Adjutant followed by two squadrons of R.A.F., next came a firing party of 30 men with trumpeter. The coffin on a gun carriage covered by floral tributes followed among which was a huge wreath from No. 22 squadron, to which he belonged. A guard of honour of twelve sergeants walked on either side of the casket, and these were followed by the deceased airman’s father, Mr. Tom Flaherty and his sisters Chris and Moya.
Three aeroplanes hovered over the funeral till it reached the cemetery. There military honours were rendered by firing party, last prayers were recited by chaplain, the last salute was given by O/C and Adjutant and the remains were laid to rest beside the Catholic church and in the shade of the R.A.F. camp where the planes he loved so well and in which he served so gallantly will always be hear.
He was the youngest non commissioned officer in the coastal command and the King was the first to congratulate him personally on his well-deserved promotion. His death is regretted not alone by his parents and relatives but by the very many who knew him during his all too short live.
Many messages of sympathy have been received. On Wednesday the 12thJune in the Parish Church Kiltimagh solemn requiem Mass was celebrated for the happy and eternal repose of his soul. The celebrant was the Rev. J. Cannon Gallagher P.P. with the Rev. P. O’Grady C.C. and the Rev. D. O’Hara C.C. as Deacon and Sub Deacon respectively.
There was a very large and representative congregation present, the chief mourners are: Mr Tom O’Flaherty (father) Mrs Nellie O’Flaherty (mother), the Misses Chris, Maureen and Lena (sisters) and Christy, Joseph, T.D. and Louis Flaherty (brothers).
May his gallant soul rest in peace and many God give to his bereaved parents, brothers and sisters, strength to bear their irreparable loss.
Western People Newspaper article