James J. O'Meara

  Wartime Rank: Squadron Leader
Service: Royal Air Force
Squadron: 64, 72, 91
Victories: 13
Awards: DFC & Bar
Theaters: ETO

Flew in battle of Britain.

Biography: - Source: Wikipedia
Squadron Leader James Joseph 'Orange' O'Meara, DSO, DFC and Bar, was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire on the 20th February 1919 and entered the Royal Air Force on short commission in April 1938. His first operational posting was to No.64 Squadron based at hornchurch with whom he obtained his first 'kill' while over Dunkirk on 31st May 1940, when he brought down a Bf 109. He had already damaged a Ju 88 while patrolling off Calais the previous week and over ensuing months the Luftwaffe would suffer heavily through his marksmanship.

His next victim was another Bf 109, shot down in flames over the channel on 19th July and ten days later, while intercepting a raid over Dover, he sent down a Ju 87 into the sea. Moments later, he damaged two more, one of which caught fire. On the 11th August he seriously damaged one Bf 109 and destroyed another and on the following day damaged yet one more. Then on the 15th he had another Bf 109 confiirmed as destroyed and on the 18th, he damaged a Ju 88. O'Meara was shortly afterwards posted to No. 72 Squadron at Biggin Hill and quickly got back into his stride, downing a Do. 17 on the 27th September. A richly deserved D.F.C. was approved by Dowding the same month and then he was sent for a 'rest period' at 421 Flight at Hawkinge, working up new Pilots who would eventually form the nucleus of No.91 Squadron. Not wanting to waste any time in this new posting, and no doubt keen to instil some confidence O'Meara took up his high performance blue-painted Spitfire and shot down an He. 59 on 26th November, a Bf 109 that was attacking one of our Minesweepers on 5th December and then damaged another one immediately afterwards.

By April 1943, with a second D.F.C. under his belt, approved by Leigh-Mallory, 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. Recommended by his Group Commander for a Second Bar to the D.F.C., Leigh-Mallory approved a D.S.O. instead, his length of uninterrupted active service warranting higher recognition. O'Meara remained in the Royal Air Force after the war and retired with the rank of Squadron Leader.

FURTHER INFORMATION: James Joseph 'Orange' O'Meara