Flight Lieutenant Virgil Paul BRENNAN DFC DFM

Service No: 404692
Born: Warwick QLD, 6 March 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 November 1940
Unit: No. 79 Squadron
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 79 Squadron Spitfire aircraft A58-181), Townsville QLD, 13 June 1943, Aged 23 Years
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), 22 May 1942
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 6 October 1943
Buried: Townsville War Cemetery QLD
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Edgar James Brennan and Katherine Brennan, of Hendra
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 104, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

DFM Citation (for service with No. 249 Squadron RAF): “This airman is a most determined and courageous pilot. An exceptional shot, he always presses home his attacks with vigour. He has destroyed at least four enemy aircraft and damaged others. (London Gazette 22 May 1942)

DFC Citation (for service with No. 249 Squadron RAF): “A fine pilot and a keen fighter, this officer has destroyed at least 10 enemy aircraft. One day in May 1942, he destroyed a Junkers 87 and damaged another in combat. The next day he led his section in an attack on 12 enemy fighters (an escort to a bomber formation) and shot down one and damaged another of the fighters. This officer has always displayed outstanding determination to destroy the enemy.” (London Gazette 6 October 1943 page 4342

At approximately 1400 hours on the 13 June 1943, Spitfire “K” (A58-181) flown by Flight Lieutenant Brennan and Spitfire “H” (A58-179) flown by Sergeant Leslie Henry Gardner (421265) (Discharged: 2 October 1945) collided on the runway after landing at Garbutt aerodrome, Townsville. In a report on the accident, Flight Sergeant Turner stated; “Flight Lieutenant Brennan cut in on Sergeant Gardner while landing. Gardner notified Brennan that his aircraft was following, but received no reply. Brennan touched down on the left of the runway. Gardner approached on the right of the runway. Brennan landed very short and at the conclusion of his landing run, turned across the runway into the path of Gardner’s aircraft and they collided.” Flight Lieutenant Brennan died of his injuries while Sergeant Gardner was uninjured. It was considered that the probable cause of the accident was carelessness.

At the time of this accident, No. 79 Squadron was being deployed from RAAF Station Laverton, Victoria, to Kiriwina Airfield, Goodenough Island, Papua New Guinea.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/6/172; A9845, 274
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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