One of the Famous Dambusters’ Pilots Was An American

One American Pilot in the RAF Squadron that Bombed Ruhr Dams. they became known as the “Dambuster Squadron”


“…chisel-jawed American pilot Joe McCarthy circled over the heart of Nazi Germany’s industrial machine.” (photo taken 1944 courtesy of Joe McCarthy, Jr.)

comment on his American pilot from interview with John “Johnny” Johnson, last survivor of the famous Dambusters from the Bristol Post of 13 May 2013

Photograph of the breached Möhne Dam taken by Flying Officer Jerry Fray of No. 542 Squadron from his Spitfire PR IX, six Barrage balloons are above the dam
Flying Officer Jerry Fray RAF – Chris Staerck (editor), Allied Photo Reconnaissance of World War II (1998)



Joe McCarthy (right) with his good friend Don Curtin two days after Don had been awarded the DFC in the fall of 1942. Sadly, F/L Donald Joe Curtin DFC and Bar was lost on a raid to Nuremberg on 25 February 1943.



Dambusters American pilot Joe McCarthy


Then Flight Lieutenant RAF, American Joseph Charles “Joe” McCarthy DSO DFC and BAR, being introduced by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, VC to His Majesty King George VI after the Dambusters’ Raid.

Comments Charles McCain: “Joe McCarthy had made his way to Canada before the USA became a belligerent in World War Two and joined the Royal Canadian Air force. Many RAF bomber crews were comprised of men from different parts of the empire including the Royal Australia Air Force, Royal New Zealand, etc. So McCarthy was officially in the Royal Canadian Air Force but the only way to know that would have been a small patch on the standard RAF uniform which said, “Canada”.

Also, after they completed training and were dispatched to the manning depots, the men self-selected into their bomber crews. On a specific day, the command would put all the different men in their different specialties in one large hanger and they would mill about until they had found a crew they liked. The higher-ups never got involved.”

Harlo ‘Terry’ Taerum (left), Guy Gibson (centre-front) and Joe McCarthy (right).

As the war went on, however, the Canadian Government insisted that squadrons be formed in which the bombers had all Canadian crews. (All Canadian in armed forces in WW Two were volunteers). Of course, the British complied.

Unlike the other self-governing Dominions of the British Empire, the Canadians didn’t want to mix in their men in either Bomber Command or the Royal Navy. They created their own navy, the Royal Canadian Navy. Unfortunately, without the presence of the highly skilled and trained Royal Navy or Royal Navy Reserve or experienced Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve officers, their navy took several critical years to achieve even the lowest level of competence.

After the war, Joe McCarthy became a Canadian citizen and enjoyed a successful career in the Royal Canadian Air Force. You can read more about him here:,joemccarthy.html



133 RAF aircrew participated in the Dambusters attack. Of those, 53 lost their lives–a casualty rate of almost 40 percent. The dead were all young men in the prime of their lives. 

Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.

From the poem

Here Dead We Lie

by A.E. Housman


copyright (c) 2018 by Charles McCain. Posted by writer Charles McCain, author of the World War Two naval epic:

An Honorable German.


“A truly epic and stirring tale of war, love, and the sea. An Honorable German is a remarkable debut novel by a writer who…seems he was an eyewitness to the history he portrays in such vivid detail. An original and surprising look at World War II from the other side.”

To purchase a signed and personally inscribed copy of a first edition hardback go here:

then page down to seller Charles McCain

copies including Kindle and Nook click here:



WW Two Images Pioneering Female Photographer Margaret Bourke-White

 Margaret Bourke-White, One of the First Women to achieve fame as a photographer took thousands of photographs of world war two on assignment to life magazine.
Rome fell to Allied forces on 4 June 1944 but tis victory was overshadowed by D-Day on 6 June 1944.
Amer. soldiers working on amphibious vehicle in front of bombed-out buildings, during cleanup of damage done by evacuating German demolition teams. Naples, Italy. Photograph by Margaret Bourke-White, October 1943


Pioneering female photographer Margaret Bourke-White took some of World War Two’s best photographs which were featured in Life Magazine. This is a series she did of the US Army in Italy in 1943.

The Italian campaign was the longest single campaign of World War Two fought by the Anglo-Americans.  Two armies, one British and Commonwealth and British Indian Army troops, the other American, crawled up the Italian peninsula.

The entire campaign was under the command of the Allied C-in-C Mediterranean, Sir Harold Alexander.



US Army Capt. Francis A. O’Neill, 46, in charge of ORG. FARM which handles all freight that is unloaded and dispatched to various Army dumps in the city.




US Army engineers running the “GENERAL MARK CLARK SPECIAL” rattling along a newly constructed spur line past a grain elevator and a bombed warehouse along the waterfront.




US Army engineers working on equipment next to a bomb-damaged statue of nude men in a city park where they have chosen to pitch tents for their living quarters.




US Army engineers working on filling holes in street in front of a barrage balloon & the blown-out bldg. of the Port Surgeons office, during cleanup of damage done by evacuating German demolition teams.




American soldiers working on an amphibious vehicle in front of bombed-out buildings, during cleanup of damage done by evacuating German demolition teams.




US Army engineers lolling around a tent in front of a huge bombed-out warehouse which they are reconstructing to be used for their supply storage, during cleanup of damage done by evacuating German demolition teams.




Rome: Three American GIs at liberty, getting their picture taken by an Italian street photographer as 2 sailors look on.

[Images: Life Magazine, Life Magazine, Life Magazine, Life Magazine, Life Magazine, Life Magazine, and Life Magazine.]

RAF Wellington Bomber Easy to Shoot Down

RAF Wellington bomber slow and easy to shoot down

The wreckage of a Wellington bomber shot down by flak over the Netherlands. It was one of 21 aircraft lost on the Bremen raid of 13-14 September 1942.   (photo courtesy Imperial War Museum

This was the most modern strategic bomber the Royal Air Force had when World War Two began. Unfortunately, it was slow–220 to 235 MPH with a ceiling of 18,000 feet.


Wellington Mark I bomber, with the original Vickers turrets, of the RNZAF — anticipating war, the New Zealand government loaned these aircraft and their aircrews to the RAF in August 1939. 


Once four-engine bombers went into service with Bomber Command, the Wellington’s were pushed aft to the lowest level of the bomber stream. They could barely keep up with the 4 engines and often didn’t which them extremely vulnerable to German fighters.


A close-up view of a Vickers Wellington bomber DWI (Directional Wireless Installation) on the ground at Ismailia, Egypt, showing the electromagnetic ring used to explode magnetic mines. (Original IWM caption: Close-up of a Vickers Wellington DWI Mark II of No. 1 General Reconnaissance Unit at Ismaliya, Egypt, showing the 48-foot diameter electromagnetic ring, for exploding magnetic mines, suspended from the wings and fuselage of the aircraft. The ring weighed over two and a quarter tons. (photograph CM 5312 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums)


Beuteflugzeug, Vickers Wellington

A captured Vickers Wellington bomber Mk.IC (RAF serial L7842) in service with the German Luftwaffe, probably at the test center at Rechlin, circa 1941. L7842 was delivered in mid-1940. It was lost on 6 February 1941 while in service with No. 311 Squadron, RAF, while on a mission to Boulogne (France). Photo German National Archive.




4/5ths German Aircraft Battle of Britain destroyed by Hawker Hurricanes

dogfight (1)

Hawker Hurricanes fly in formation.

According to the history section of the Royal Air Force it’s estimated that Hurricane pilots were credited with four-fifths of all enemy aircraft destroyed in the Battle of Britain.


The Hawker Hurricane was the first operational R.A.F. aircraft capable of a top speed in excess of 300 mph. Delivery of the aircraft to front-line squadrons of Fighter Command only began in the fall of 1938. By the outbreak of war in September of 1939, Hawker Aircraft Ltd had built 497 Hurricanes from the intial RAF order of 3,500.


From RAF History site:

“A total of 1,715 Hurricanes flew with Fighter Command during the period of the Battle, far in excess of all other British fighters combined. Having entered service a year before the Spitfire, the Hurricane was “half-a-generation” older, and was markedly inferior in terms of speed and climb. However, the Hurricane was a robust, maneuverable aircraft capable of sustaining fearsome combat damage before write-off; and unlike the Spitfire, it was a wholly operational, go-anywhere-do-anything fighter by July 1940. It is estimated that its pilots were credited with four-fifths of all enemy aircraft destroyed in the period July-October 1940.”



Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding (right) was the head of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, and the main architect of its success along with his deputy, Air vice-marshal Sir Keith Park. 

Park, a New Zealander, commanded 11 Group RAF Fighter Command

air vice marshal eqivalet to 2 star major general USA, UK,