Flying Officer Peter McCartney and Flight Lieutenant Raymond Clifford. Ridge

Last week Peter McCartney’s son shared this photo showing his father on the left and Flight Lieutenant Raymond Clifford Ridge on the right standing on the wing of their Beaufighter.

Mike had came across the 404 Squadron Website a few years ago when it was still active, and had printed out some of the pages, in particular those including references to his father.

Peter McCartney and Raymond Clifford Ridge were first referred to on that website in the account of actions on D-Day June 1944 when McCartney’s cupola was shot off.

In June 1944 they held the ranks of Flight Sergeant and Flying Officer, but by the time of their final action on 8 March 1945 they had risen to the ranks of Flying Officer and Flight Lieutenant.

Both were awarded a DFC.

Mike told me that on a technical point of accuracy, the awards of the DFC to both his father and R.C. Ridge were not posthumous; although the medals were not confirmed and received until after their deaths on 8 March 1945. They were in recognition of many actions prior to that date.

Attached is the official notification of McCartney’s award which you will see is with effect from 7th March 1945.

As Mike wrote…

The explanation of whether an award is posthumous or not is rather involved and may not be of much interest; it is just a subject Mike researched because he was confused. Attached is the announcement of the award in the London Gazette which refers to McCartney as …since deceased, and the MOD document included underneath explains that this indicates that the award is not posthumous.

I have a letter dated 22nd March 1945 to my mother from their commanding officer saying that,

…  two or three weeks prior to Peter’s going missing, I recommended both he and Cliff Ridge for the Distinguished Flying Cross.

His letter goes on to explain that because the DFC cannot be awarded to airmen “missing in action” any further announcement should not be expected in the near future. Enquiries were undertaken by the Air Ministry to ascertain whether McCartney and Ridge might be prisoners of war, and otherwise confirm their fate. It was a number of months before they were confirmed deceased and the awards of the DFC confirmed.

Finally, I attach two other photographs of Peter McCartney taken during 1944/45, and a photo of his medal.

Mike added this…

I realise that I may be over-burdening you but if I can assist further please let me know. Thank you again for your work, and I would be interested to learn your connection with the squadron.

More about Raymond Clifford RIdge here.

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