O'Meara, James Joseph

Date of birth:
February 20th, 1919 (Barnsley/Yorkshire, Great Britain)
Date of death:
June 4th, 1974 (Barnstaple/Devon, Great Britain)
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Service number 40844.

James O'Meara joined the Royal Air Force on short commission in April 1938 and in January 1939 was posted to no. 64 Squadron at Hornchurch with whom he obtained his first 'kill' while over Dunkirk on 31st May 1940, when he brought down a Bf. 109. His next victory was on another Bf. 109 which he shot down in flames over the channel. More victories followed. O'Meara was on 20th September 1940 posted to No. 72 Squadron at Biggin Hill and quickly got back into his stride, downing a Do. 17 on the 27th September. He was sent for a 'rest period' at 421 Flight at Hawkinge, working up new Pilots who would eventually form No.91 Squadron. Whilst with No. 91, he was shot down bij a Me 109 and crash-landed near Folkstone on 17th February 1941. O'Meara had been appointed to the command of No.131 Squadron at Castledown. He had, in the meantime, destroyed another He. 59 and temporarily returned to No.64 Squadron as a Flight Commander. O'Meara flew with 131 over the next year, flying 170 sorties, claiming an He. 59 and a Bf. 109 and bringing his score to at least 12 confirmed victories.
From november 1944 to january 1945, he undertook various courses, then going to the South-West Pacific as an observer until April 1945. He then became Deputy Commander Operations (India) from April to July and then served at British Air Forces South East Asia, AHQ India until june 1946 when he left the service. He had several different jobs including at some stage a 'door to door' vacuum cleaner salesmen. But he couldn't adjust well to a civilian life and re-joined the RAF in 1950 where he remained until 1959 and was posted on several positions and retired with the rank of Squadron Leader.
After his second 'retirement' he worked as an architect for Wimpey Homes for a time before owning and running several business including a grocers and a restuarant. After his natural daughter was hit by a car and killed in 1969 the relationship with his first wife deterioated and they divorced. He met a new woman and they ran a fish and chip restaurant before buying a Hotel in Port Gaverne, Cornwall called 'The Headlands Hotel'. After buying another Hotel in Bideford, North Devon he died in 1974 in the Barnstaple Hospital in North Devon after suffering for many years with a liver infection from a parasite he picked up whilst stationed in India and is buried in Old Town Cemetary in Bideford.

Promotions:
April 4th, 1939: Pilot Officer
September 3th, 1940: Flying Officer
September 3th, 1941: Flight Lieutenant (war sub)
April 4th, 1942: Squadron Leader

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Pilot Officer
Unit:
No. 72 (Basutoland) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
September 24th, 1940
Citation:
"Pilot Officer O'Meara has displayed a very high degree of skill and devotion to duty in all operations against the enemy and has destroyed at least six enemy aircraft. His example and keenness have been outstanding."
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Flying Officer
Unit:
No. 91 (Nigeria) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
March 18th, 1941
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Citation:
"This officer has performed excellent work as a fighter pilot in the many and varied missions which have been allotted to him. On a recent occasion he led an offensive operation which extended as far as Holland, and in which troops and a gun-post were machine-gunned; an armed ship was also attacked. Flying Officer O'Meara has now destroyed at least eleven enemy aircraft. He has set an excellent example."
Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Squadron Leader
Unit:
No. 131 (County of Kent) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
October 27th, 1944
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Citation:
“Squadron Leader O’Meara has completed a notable tour and throughout has displayed a high degree of skill and gallantry. His genius for leadership has been most evident and has contributed in a large way to the operational efficiency of the Squadron he commands. He is a relentless fighter and has destroyed 12 enemy aircrafts and damaged many more.”
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
With "BATTLE OF BRITAIN"-clasp.
1939-1945 Star

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