Leonard Joseph "Len" kearney


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Len Kearney

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Commissioned Abroad

29 March 1944 - Fifty-four non-commissioned airmen from Ontario have been awarded their commissions as pilot officers overseas the Royal Canadian Air Force announced here yesterday. Twenty-five of them are pilots, the rest occupying every position in air crew. The list, with home towns, follows:
Pilots: WO.1 J. E. Carroll, Kitchener; WO.1 J. T. Hesson, Sault Ste. Marie; WO.1 J. D. Martin, Picton; WO.1 L. J. Kearney, Toronto; WO.1 W. Y. McNeil, Windsor: FS. J. W. L. Doherty, Kirkland Lake: FS. C. B. Lee, Sgt. H. P. Buchanan, WO.1 R. A. Gray, all London; FS. J. C. Mitchell, Toronto; FS. E. E. Halliwell, Cornwall; FS. W. M. McQueen, Hamilton; WO.2 R. B. McCullough, Port Hope; WO.2 D. L. Snider, Brantford; FS. H. W. Leleu, Hamilton; WO.1 G. M. Shoebottom, London; WO.1 R. W. McLaren, Long Branch; WO.1 L. J. Oliver, Bobcaygeon; FS. N. P. Murphy, London; WO.1 J. A. Brown, North Bay; WO.1 G. F. Whittamore, Maple; FS. J. P. Patterson, Oshawa; FS. A. J. Doran, Belleville; Sgt. F. A. E. Tandy, North Bay; WO.1 D. A. L. Fuller, Toronto.


RCAF Nos. R93423 (NCO) & J19869 (Officer)
Born 27 September 1920
Enlisted in Toronto, 25 February 1941
Trained at
No. 15 EFTS Regina, course 32 (photo)
No. 11 SFTS Yorkton
(Graduated 7 November 1941 as Sgt.)
Posted to the UK the following month
Commissioned 2 February 1944
Flew with 410 Squadron in 1944
F/O Norman W. Bradford was his R/O
Left 410 Squadron in December 1944
Repatriated to Canada, 13 April 1945
Released from the RCAF, 17 May 1945


Fast Hospital Planes Land Canuck Casualties

By MARGARET ECKER, A Forward British Airfield, 13 June 1944 - (CP) — Six Canadian soldiers were among the first battle casualties evacuated by air today from the front line in Normandy to emergency hospitals in England by the R.A.F. Transport Command.
Less than two hours after a big transport plane lifted them from a casualty clearing station on an airfield within range of snipers' guns, the men were in bed in a tented air evacuation centre nestling in the English countryside.
Three planes were the pathfinders for the flying service which will bring Allied wounded quickly to the most expert medical care. As a pioneer effort, it put the spotlight on obstacles of the expedition. The first plane was grounded in Normandy, where a gale whipped sand over the plane and patients for more than six hours.
Pte. Philip Edgar Karn of Kitchener, Ont, was still in battledress when the first plane brought him to England. His leg was torn by a shell burst and he was rushed to an ambulance.
A couple more Canadians aboard the transport were P/O Len Kearney, Toronto, a Mosquito pilot, and Navigator F/O Norman Bradford, Belleville, Ont., who had to crash-land on the beachhead when flak damaged their plane.
They boasted: "Before the beachhead opened the boys who crashed sure didn't get out this easy."
Kearney added: "If that story is going to Canada, tell my mom not to worry. I'm all right."
There were Canadian, British, American and French soldiers aboard the second and third planes to return.
Pte. James Curran of Finch, Ont., whose foot was injured, could hardly realize that a few hours before he had been in the front line with his unit.
"We'd done three solid days and nights and I guess we used every type of warfare there is in that front line," he said. "I won't say the going wasn't tough, but the Jerries are still going in the right direction."
Sgt. Bert McDermotte of Toronto was brought back with wounds in the arms and legs. He had been wounded by mortar fire. Pte. Georges Derie of a French-Canadian regiment, who spoke no English, also was brought by air to Britain.
Sitting around the station in dispersal huts and in the mess listening to reports of the trip were men who will fly the England-France route when it becomes the milk run for carrying supplies across the Channel and bringing back the wounded.
F/O Frank Vines, Goderich, Ont., is one of these men. He had taken a planeload of paratroopers across on D-Day.
About 60 Canadians at this station will fly the mercy ships. They include F/O's Ken Fitzpatrick, Montreal; Russel Down, St. Thomas; Floyd Henry, Gray, Sask.; George Cappel, Galt; John Stewart, Ailsa Craig, Ont.; Bill Bradley, Thorold; Keith Eadie, Vancouver, and P/O Claude Roy, Regina. Most of these pilots are veterans of transport flying.


Ontario Fliers Bring Back Wine To Prove Landing in France

With the R.C.A.F. in Britain, 6 July 1944 - (CP) — The first flying ambulance to return from France after the armies of liberation struck, carried wounded Canadian soldiers, a United States general, two hitch-hiking Canadian fliers — and a jug of French wine, the R.C.A.F. said today.
The fliers, P/O Leonard Kearney, 23 of 185 Pearson Ave., Toronto, and F/O Norman (Brick) Bradford, 21, of Belleville, pilot and navigator, respectively, of a Cougar Squadron Mosquito, claim to be the first to land on French soil with the liberating armies.
Uninjured after a Heinkel cannon shell set the "Mossie's" port motor afire and caused it to crash-land near Le Havre, the boys managed to wangle a ride back to Britain in the ambulance plane. They spent the night in a trench.
Fearing their squadron pals might doubt they had really landed in France, they acquired the bottle of wine to prove it.
The Mosquito shot the Heinkel down in flames before it crashed.


Victories Include :

27/28 May 1944
12/13 June 1944
one Ju88
one He177
Lille area
N.E. of Le Havre *

2 / 0 / 0

Both with Norman "Brick" Bradford as R/O
(Bradford also got one (Me110) with Ben Plumer in March 1945)

* They were forced to land after being damaged by the Heinkel, parts of which have been recovered




Thanks to sons Jack & Larry for the info & photos, above & here

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