RAF Pilot 70 Squadron

Died Egypt


19th December 1939

Aged 24

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

In memory of

40676, 70 Sqdn., Royal Air Force

who died age 24
on 19 December 1939

Son of John and Anne Connolly,
of Carterton, Oxfordshire

Remembered with Honour

Research by Mrs Jenny McBride
with further information by
Mrs Maxine and Mr Brian Crossland




The Connolly family came to Carterton from Ireland about 1902 by way of New York, USA to Liverpool and then Birkenhead, Cheshire.
There were eventually 9 children in the family with 6 boys, 3 of whom became priests and 3 girls. The family was very much involved with the founding of the Parish. Relations in Ireland raised money for the new Roman Catholic Church and the Connolly family took an active part in the Parish for well over half a century.
Connolly Drive Carterton was named after the family.

John Connolly , born 1865 and his wife Annie Tuohy, born 1877, both came from Templeworth, County Tipperary, Ireland.

From the information above, taken from St. Joseph's R.C. Church website, John and Annie must have emigrated to America before 1900 and are not listed in the 1901 census. But they chose to return and arriving in Liverpool they settled in Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula, where three children were born.
They moved to Carterton about 1908 and had three more children.

The only record to-date is the 1911 census, which shows three children born in Birkenhead and two in Carterton.
Francis was born in Carterton in 1916.
The family lived on a farm on Burford Road. He joined the Royal Air Force about 1937 and gained his Acting Pilot Officer commission in May 1938. World War Two started in Europe on the 1st September 1939. Francis was sent out to Egypt and died within three months, on the 19th of December 1939, aged 24 years
No 70 Squadron

Formed at Farnborough on 22 April 1916, it was equipped with Sopwith 1% Strutters intended for the fighter role. It used its aircraft in the fighter role as this type was the first to be fitted with a synchronised machine gun firing through the propeller arc, but it also undertook reconnaissance and bombing sorties as well.


It came in two variants: a single-seat long range bomber and a two-seat fighter. They were first used over the World War One trenches of the Western Front April 1915.

Sopwith Camels arrived in July 1917, thereby becoming the first RFC unit to re-equip with this type. It continued to operate in the fighter and later ground attack roles until the end of the war and remained on the continent until February 1919, when it was reduced to cadre. In September 1919 the squadron returned to Spittlegate, where it disbanded on 2 January 1920.


Less than a month later on 1 February 1920, the squadron was reformed at Heliopolis in Egypt by renumbering No 58 Squadron. It was now a bomber-transport unit operating Handley Page O/400s and Vickers Vimys, although the O/400s were retired in April leaving just the Vimys which continued in use until replaced by Vernons in

November 1922.


The squadron was transferred to Iraq in

December 1921, where it provide heavy transport facilities to both air and ground units through the 1920s and 30s. Victorias replaced the Vernons in 1926 and in 1928, the squadron was involved in the Kabul airlift.


Valentias replaced the Victorias in November 1935 and these lumbering aircraft spent the first year of World War II on transport duties around the Middle East .

In August 1939 the squadron returned to Egypt.

Wellington bombers replaced the Valentias in late 1940. Successive versions of the Wellington were used during the North African and Italian campaigns and it wasn't until February 1945 that Liberators replaced them and remained with the Squadron when it returned to the Middle East at the end of the year. It was disbanded in April 1947.




The ALAMEIN MEMORIAL forms the entrance to the Alamein War Cemetery. The Land Forces panels commemorate more than 8,500 soldiers of the Commonwealth who died in the campaigns in Egypt and Libya, and in the operations of the Eighth Army in Tunisia up to 19 February 1943, who have no known grave. It also commemorates those who served and died in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Persia.

No. of Identified Casualties: 11,868

Air Ministry 24th May 1938. ROYAL AIR FORCE.



Flight Lieutenant John Forde NOBLER is granted a permanent commission in that rank. 21st Feb. 1938.

The under mentioned are granted short service commissions as Acting Pilot Officers on probation with effect from the dates stated: —

7th May 1938. Francis Aloysius CONNOLLY


from THE LONDON GAZETTE, 24 MAY, 1938 pages/3357/page. pdf.





Births Mar 1904

Connolly Helen Frances Birkenhead 8a 510


Births Mar 1906

Connolly James Edwin           Birkenhead 8a 541


Births Mar 1907

Connolly Richard        Birkenhead 8a 522



CONNOLLY Mary Josephine Witney 3a 1091


Births Jun 1910

CONNOLLY John Joseph     Witney 3a 1141


Births Dec 1912

Connolly Catherine     Tuohy Witney 3a 2056


Births Mar 1916

Connolly Francis A     Tuohy Witney 3a 1960


Births Mar 1918

Connolly Vincent P    Tuohy Witney 3a 1535


Only 8 birth records found1911 CENSUS


CONNOLLY, John Head Married M 46 1865 Farmer Templeworth Tipperary


CONNOLLY, Annie Wife Married 18 years F 34 1877 Templeworth Resident Tipperary


CONNOLLY, Helen Daughter F 7 1904 Birkenhead


CONNOLLY, James Son M 5 1906 Birkenhead CONNOLLY, Richard Son M 4 1907 Birkenhead


CONNOLLY, Mary J Daughter F 2 1909 Carterton Oxon


CONNOLLY, John J Son M 1 1910 Carterton Oxon


Registration District:Witney Parish:Black Bourton Address:Burford Road Carterton Black Bourton Clanfield Oxon ( below—copy of Census 1911)


These sites cover the ox18 area of Oxfordshire England, including  the following villages, OX18, Alvescot, Bampton, Black Bourton, Burford, Broadwell, Carterton, Clanfield, Kelmscott, Kencot, Langford, Lechlade, RAF Broadwell, Shilton, Parish Pump, Oxfordshire Events,