Veteran Stories:
Irving Farmer Kennedy

Air Force

  • I.F. Kennedy (left) and Steve Randall of Toronto, on the Qrendi airstrip in Malta circa 1943.

  • Mr. Kennedy's brother, Flying Officer Carleton G. Kennedy flew with 434 Squadron, RCAF, Yorkshire, England. He was killed on August 30, 1944.

  • I.F. Kennedy (2nd from left) and other 249 Squadron pilots on readiness in Malta circa 1943.

  • I.F. Kennedy in front of his Spitfire in England circa 1942.

  • "YO-D", I.F. Kennedy's Spitfire IX of 401 Squadron over Normandy. Painting by R.W. Bradford.

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"I evaded capture with the help of the French Maquis…"


My name is Irving Farmer Kennedy. I enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940 and trained as a pilot in Western Canada. I went overseas in July of '41 and after operational training on Hurricanes, joined 263 Fighter Squadron RAF in September '41. I flew the fast twin engine Whirlwind for nine months on operations then transferred to 421 Squadron RCAF Spitfires in June 1942. Channel patrols and sweeps to France prepared me for a posting to Malta in October '42. With 249 Squadron RAF, I destroyed seven enemy aircraft and shared in the destruction of several more. I was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. My tour in Malta was completed in July '43 but the invasion of Sicily had taken place and I went over to Sicily and joined 111 Squadron RAF on August 1st. In close support of British 8th Army including the 1st Canadian Division, I destroyed two more Focke Wulf 190 fighters in September and was promoted to Flight Commander of 93 Squadron RAF. In support of the American 5th Army in Italy, in October I got three more Me 109s in separate combats. Including one of a squadron of 12 which I followed home, alone and unseen, to their base in the Liri Valley, up above Naples. Without witness or camera gun, no credit was allowed this victory. But 48 years later, just for the records, I contacted a British air historian who confirmed the Luftwaffe loss on that October 13th, 1943 day. Back in Great Britain in the new year, I attended gunnery school and instructed until the Normandy invasion. When I returned to operational flying with 401 Squadron RCAF. A week later I was in France at Beny-sur-Mer. Casualties from anti-aircraft fire were high and after ten days we had lost our flight commander and I took over "A" flight and six days over our CO was shot down and I became the Commanding Officer of 401 Squadron. I was awarded a second Distinguished Flying Cross. I destroyed two more enemy fighters, a Focke Wulf and a Messerschmitt, and brought my total to 14 enemy aircraft destroyed. I was shot down by flack, west of Paris at the end of July, 1944. I evaded capture with the help of the French Maquis and got back to friendly territory a month later. In London, I requested a posting back to my squadron because they had again lost their Commanding Officer. But at this time, my younger brother, Flying Officer Carleton Kennedy, was killed and the Air Marshall sent me back to Canada. This was in October '44. By that time I had flown 329 operational sorties.
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