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Vernon Charles Keough

Military

Born in Brooklyn, New York around 1912, the son of Charles and Constance Theresa Keough. He had earned a civil pilot's licence in America and was also a professional parachute jumper with over 500 jumps, performing at air shows across America.
He joined the French Air Force towards the end of the Battle of France, but as France fell he came to England with his friends and fellow Americans Andrew Mamedoff and Eugene Tobin and joined the Royal Air Force in 1940.
Keogh was the smallest pilot in the whole of the Royal Air Force, hence the nickname, and was just 4'10" (approx 1.47m) tall. He had to use two cushions in his Spitfire to see out of the cockpit.
Following Spitfire conversion training at 7 OTU Hawarden on 8 August 1940 he was posted to No 609 Squadron RAF at Middle Wallop airfield. He flew many missions during the height of the Battle of Britain in August and September. He was credited with one shared 'kill': Dornier Do 17 bomber shot down on 15 September with P/O Mike Appleby and Flt Lt John Dundas.
He was one of 11 American pilots who flew with RAF Fighter Command between 10 July and 31 October 1940, thereby qualifying for the Battle of Britain clasp to the 1939–45 campaign star.
He was posted to RAF Kirton in Lindsey in Lincolnshire on 18 September 1940 and was a founder member of No. 71 'Eagle' Squadron.

On 15 February 1941, Keogh was on a convoy-protection mission off Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire. During the chase of a Heinkel He 111, he was last seen spinning off into the sea. He may have been a victim of disorientation in cloud or oxygen failure. He was 29 years old. Killed in Action (KIA). His body was not recovered, but he is remembered on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede.

Service

Units served with

  • No. 71 'Eagle' Squadron

    No. 71 'Eagle' Squadron

    Squadron
    'On 19 September 1940, No. 71 was reformed at Church Fenton as the first 'Eagle' Squadron to be manned by American personnel. The Squadron received Hurricanes in November and became operational on defensive duties on 5 February 1941. No. 71 converted...

Associated Place

  • Kirton-in-Lindsey

    Military site : airfield
    Used as an RFC and RAF Home Defence landing ground during the First World War, Kirton-in-Lindsey was built during 1938-40 as an RAF fighter station. It had two grass runways, 10 hardstandings, three grouped C hangars and four over-blister hangars....

  • Martlesham Heath

    Military site : airfield
    Opened in 1917 as home to the RFC Aeroplane Experimental Unit, Martlesham Heath became well known during the 1920s-30s as home to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment. Used as an RAF fighter station from 1939, with only a grass airfield...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Brooklyn, NY, USA 1912

Brooklyn, New York, USA. 1912.

Lived in Brooklyn, NY, USA 1940
Joined French AF France 1940

Joined the French Air Force towards the end of the Battle of France.

Joined RAF England, UK 1940

Joined Royal Air Force in 1940.

Conversion training to Spitfires Hawarden, Deeside, Flintshire CH5, UK 1940

Spitfire conversion training at 7 OTU Hawarden.

Battle of Britain Veteran England, UK 10 July 1940 – 31 October 1940

One of 11 American pilots who flew with RAF Fighter Command between 10 July and 31 October 1940, thereby qualifying for the Battle of Britain clasp to the 1939–45 campaign star.

Posted AAC Middle Wallop, Stockbridge, Hampshire SO20, UK 8 August 1940

Posted to No 609 Squadron RAF.

Credited one shared kill 15 September 1940

Credited with one shared 'kill': Dornier Do 17 bomber shot down on 15 September with P/O Mike Appleby and Flt Lt John Dundas.

Founder member No 71 'Eagle' Sqn. Kirton in Lindsey, Gainsborough, North Lincolnshire DN21, UK 18 September 1940

Posted to RAF Kirton in Lindsey, Lincolnshire on 18 September 1940 and was a founder member of No 71 'Eagle' Squadron.

Died Off Flamborough Head, Bridlington, East Yorkshire, UK 15 February 1941

On 15 February 1941, Keogh was on a convoy-protection mission off Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire. During the chase of a Heinkel He 111, he was last seen spinning off into the sea. He may have been a victim of disorientation in cloud or oxygen failure. He was 29 years old. Killed in Action (KIA).

Buried Monument Way W, Woking, Surrey GU21 5EN, UK 1945

Commemorated on Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 18:50:48 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations and place associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_Keogh

Date Contributor Update
24 November 2015 10:24:13 Al_Skiff Changes to events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_Keogh

Date Contributor Update
28 July 2015 21:25:11 Al_Skiff Changes to biography and events
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_Keogh

Date Contributor Update
28 July 2015 21:07:45 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, nickname, service number, highest rank, role, biography and events
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_Keogh

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:26:23 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Combat Chronology / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

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