Stories of Remembrance

Air Force, Second World War (1939-45)Wing Commander Keith McCarthy DFC AFM,Royal Australian Air Force

... at least a dozen Zeros [Japanese fighter planes] must have made passes. ... They're pretty poor marksmen.
Keith McCarthy on Japanese raid, The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 October 1943

John McCarthy joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in March 1936. Having completed an air observer’s course, McCarthy was transferred to Richmond RAAF Base, NSW, where he instructed new recruits. After the outbreak of the Second World War (1939-45) McCarthy trained as a navigator and was commissioned as an officer.

For his earlier work as an instructor, McCarthy was awarded the Air Force Medal on 1 January 1942.

McCarthy was posted soon after to No 30 Squadron, RAAF in New Guinea. Flying in Beaufighters, he undertook armed reconnaissance and strike missions against the enemy, destroying Japanese shipping, airfields, troops and supply dumps. The RAAF Beaufighters were greatly feared by the enemy and called ‘whispering death’ by their crews. In recognition of his … Gallantry and devotion to duty… McCarthy was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 16 June 1944.

Wing Commander McCarthy retired from the RAAF in September 1964.

His medals are displayed in the Gallery of Medals.

This Story of Remembrance was compiled through the research of the Exhibitions and Collections team at the Shrine of Remembrance.

  • Name John Keith McCarthy
  • Service Number 03393 (2876)
  • Date of Birth 18 July 1912
  • Place of Birth Carlton, Victoria
  • Date of Enlistment 09 March 1936
  • Date of Discharge 30 September 1964

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