Capt John James? ('Paddy') Flynn

 

 

 August 1930, Flight: "The most interesting news item at Croydon this week centres round Mr J. J. Flynn. He is one of the most modest of good fellows and whilst others strut into the glare of publicity he retires, knowing that it is the doing of a job which matters, not the talking about it. It is six months since he joined Imperial Airways and after the usual probationary period as second pilot and a spell on inland services he "passed out" on Argosys  last Wednesday. The following morning he took out the 8 a.m. service to Paris and did the trip in 96 min., an extraordinarily good time for this type of machine. We understand that it is two years since Capt. Willcockson did the journey in 105 min., the next best time.

'Paddy' Flynn has had an adventurous career and many have made themselves into newspaper heroes by achieving much less. His first appearance at Croydon was as a joyride pilot for Surrey Flying Services in 1924. But it seems that that was only because the shouting and fighting in his native land had died down. For after his war service with R.F.C. and R.A.F.  in France, he returned to Ireland in 1920 as second in command of the Free State Air Force with the rank of Commandant. He left Surrey Flying Services when N.F.S. started up last year, but saw more chances with the Desoutter Aircraft Co., whose first test pilot he was. Here he did some very good work in all weathers—the more adverse the conditions the more cheerful he becomes. That firm parted with him regretfully when Imperial Airways called early in the spring. His flying time is over five thousand hours, and who has carried something like thirty-one thousand passengers"

 

10 May 1939 "The pilot who was killed, with a woman passenger, in a collision between two aeroplanes at Horne, near Horley, Surrrey on Monday [8 May], was identified yesterday as Captain J. J. Flynn, of South Croydon, who was formerly an Imperial Airways pilot. He was flying a liner which crashed in France in 1930 and lost a leg as a result of the accident. Miss Aurora Tasselli, the dead girl, was 19 and lived in Rayners Lane."

from the Irish Press: "Paddy was a native of Doocastle, Balllymote, Co. Sligo, and played a big part in fighting against the Black and Tans in that area.

Aged 44, he helped to form the the Irish Free State Air Force and was for a time Commandant in the force at Baldonnel. Later he resigned and went to England, where he became an Imperial Airways pilot.

It was he who piloted the air liner 'City of Washington' [G-EBIX] which crashed in France in 1930. Four people were killed and Captain Flynn hurt his spine and also had his left leg amputated. For three years he was in and out of hospitals and had 19 operations.

'The loss of his leg did not keep him from flying', a friend of Captain Flynn's told an Irish Press representative yesterday, 'and he showed the authorities that he was as good a flyer with one leg as the average pilot is with two. He renewed his licence and was, I think, the only one-legged flyer in England.

'He was a man of great daring and courage, and never let bad luck daunt him.'

Capt Flynn was in the British Flying Corps during the Great War. His brother, Mr Dan Flynn, of Palmertson, Dublin, is secretary of the Fianna Fail Cumann there, and is also secretary of D Company, Old I.R.A."

In 1936 Paddy was a director of a company called Atlas Air Services, and then in 1937 formed his own flying club:

"PADDY FLYNN FLYING CLUB LTD. Private company, registered July. Capital, £1,000 in 1,000 shares of £1. Objects: To carry on the business of instructors in aviation, aerial navigation, aerial and ground signalling, dealers in and importers and exporters of aircraft and aircraft engines, etc. The directors are  John J. Flynn, air pilot, Merrock S. C. Hyams, air pilot, Muriel Montgomery. "

Miss Tasselli was his pupil. Flying an aircraft from the Redhill Flying Club, they collided with Hawker Hart K5800 flown by Sgt Stuart Smith.

"Miss Tasselli was keen on her new hobby of flying. Her father, who was born in Italy, has a tailor's business in Manchester. Mrs C. Tasselli, her mother, an Englishwoman, told a reporter to-day:— 'She had only been up in the air four times. She joined the Civil Guard a few weeks ago after waiting to do so for several months, I never wanted her to go in the air because I think it is a man's job, but she was a rather venturesome and self-willed young lady and would not listen to my advice.'

'Flight' said "it was with very genuine regret that a large number of his friends at Croydon heard of the sad death of poor Paddy Flynn, who was as game a sportsman and as likeable a fellow as ever flew."

 

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