Service Details
Name:
CRONIN
Given Name:
GERALD PATRICK
Initials:
G P
Service No:
97052V
Rank:
Lieutenant
Other Casualties of this Rank
Regiment:
South African Air Force
Other Casualties from this Regiment
Unit:
28 Sqdn.
Other Casualties from this Unit
Date of Death:
1944-12-21
Other Casualties on this Date
Date of Birth:
1920-08-24
Age:
24
Cause of Death:
Killed in action, flew into hill at night 10 miles SSW of Torretoria Italy, in Douglas C-47 Dakota #KG498
Additional
Information:
Son of Mr. C. C. Cronin. Born Johannesburg 24 Aug 1920. Gerald was the older brother of May (Marie Therese Cronin). When World War 2 started, Gerald wanted to be a fighter or bomber pilot. Being under 21, his father would not give permission. The Air force (SAAF) then recommended he fly transport planes. Only then, did his father (Charles C Cronin) sign papers for Gerald to join the Air force. (28 Squadron) After Gerald received his wings 17 Apr 1943, they were off to war. Their first flight was from South Africa to Greece, to support the South African troops there. As a co-pilot on a DC3 for 28 sqd, they flew all around the Mediterranean, Palestine, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Libya, and Morocco. At one of their air bases, they were attacked by Italian fighters. One of the fighters was shot down and the badly injured Italian pilot was removed from the wreckage by Lt Gerald Cronin and his friends. Gerald was able to comfort the dying pilot. As a thank you, just before he passed away from his injuries, the Italian pilot was able to remove his wings and gave them to Gerald. (The family still have these wings). For the 24 year old Lt Gerald P Cronin's last flight on that fateful day on 21 DEC 1944, his DC 3 were transporting 21 injured soldiers and doctors to a hospital. Sadly they were shot down near Bari by a German fighter. All aboard the DC3 were killed.
Commemoration
Country:
Italy
Other Casualties commemorated in Italy
Cemetery:
BARI WAR CEMETERY
Other Casualties commemorated in this Cemetery
Grave Reference:
XII. A. 1.

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