March 31. Last fatality of RFC. RAF’s most costly raid. Roll of Honour

This day in 1918 James Donnelly from Ballintoy and Belfast died. He was possibly the last member of the Royal Flying Corps to be killed in action. The following day the RAF was officially founded, replacing the Corps which had been founded in 1912. Army Chaplain Alexander Spence, Military Cross, also died 31/03/1918. He died a Prisoner of War in German captivity from a gunshot wound to the chest. Rev Spence from Limavady was the Curate of Christ Church, Londonderry before the war. In 1944 RAF Bomber Command suffered its most costly night of the Second World War. 96 bombers were shot down on the night of 30-31 March during an attack on the Germany city of Nuremberg, resulting in the deaths of 545 crewmen – more than were lost during the Battle of Britain. Amongst them were James Johnston from Omagh and William Gwynne from Eglinton. John Caves from Lisburn died in 1945 while a prisoner of war in Germany. He took part in the airborne assault on D-Day flying a Horsa Glider. Photo -The Royal Air Force Association Remembrance Garden at the National Arboretum.

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