Flying Officer James Thompson Agnew (155576) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War. He was the only son of the late James Agnew and Dorothy J Agnew of 29 Bryansford Street, Belfast.
Before the outbreak of the Second World War, Agnew attended Belfast High School. He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1943. While with RAF 57 Squadron, Agnew received a Distinguished Flying Cross on 10th December 1943.
His citation stated the award was for:
Valorous conduct during a series of operations over enemy territory, during which he showed great skill and fortitude.
On the whole, I have been very lucky during my tour. Our aircraft has been hit only three times by flak but never seriously. We have escaped all the roving night fighters. The most exciting raid was the Peenemunde one, for although we were not actually attacked by a fighter, we knew that there were plenty of them about.
James Thomspon Agnew, Belfast Newsletter – 31st December 1943.
While flying in Bomber Command with RAF 57 Squadron, Agnew took part in raids over Peenemunde, Berlin, Nuremberg, Cologne, Friedrichshafen, Italy, and North Africa.
James later flew with No. 1655 Mosquito Training Unit from RAF Warboys, Huntingdonshire. He died on 20th April 1944 aged 27 years old. He was the Navigator on De Havilland Mosquito DZ439. The Mark IV plane crashed on take-off at 1115hrs coming down at Little Raveley, Huntingdonshire. A failed inlet valve in the port engine was the cause of the accident. Pilot Flying Officer Robert Davidson (146432) also died as a result of the crash.
James Thompson Agnew’s grave is in Section B2, Grave 347 of Dundonald Cemetery, Dundonald, Co. Down. His funeral took place on 27th April 1944. A local unit of the Royal Air Force attended as did 2 of Agnew’s colleagues from England.