Sunday, November 27, 2011

LAC Francis W. Dummigan, RAFVR

(Top): Leading Aircraftman Frank Dummigan, RAFVR
(Killed on active service, 7 April 1943, aged 20)
[Courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News']

(Bottom): Headstone of LAC Frank Dummigan & family
Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumberland (now Cumbria)
[Grave Ref. 6/L/202]

For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

(a) LAC Francis W. Dummigan
CWGC Citation

Casualty Details
Initials: F W
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Leading Aircraftman
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Age: 20
Date of Death: 07/04/1943
Service No: 1501094
Additional information: Son of Francis and Isabelle Dummigan, of Woodhouse, Whitehaven.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Ward 6. Sec. L. Grave 202.
Cemetery: WHITEHAVEN CEMETERY, Cumberland (UK)

Sunday, 04 December, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(b) Some biographical information

Leading Aircaftman Francis William Dummigan, RAFVR (Service No 1501094) was the second child and eldest son of Francis Dummigan and Isabella Dummigan (nee Burns). LAC Dummigan was known to family and friends as 'Frank'. He was born at Whitehaven, Cumberland (now Cumbria) in 1923. Frank's other siblings were Kathleen (born and died in infancy in 1922), Thomas (born 1924, died 1946) and Margaret (born 1926, died 1927).

Frank Dummigan was baptised at St Begh's R.C. Church, Whitehaven and attended St Gregory's & St Patrick's School, Quay Street and St Begh's School, Coach Road. During WW2 the family home was at 130 Windermere Road, Woodhouse, Whitehaven, on a new council housing estate that had been built in the mid-1930s.

Before joining the RAF, Frank Dummigan was employed at the Whitehaven Brick Works, Low Road. LAC Dummigan enlisted with the RAF on Wednesday 9 July 1941. Hence, by the time of his untimely death on Wednesday 7 April 1943, LAC Dummigan had served in the RAF for 21 months.

According to a document written in 1947 by his mother Isabella, Frank Dummigan died whilst on active service at Alness, Cromarty Firth (County of Ross and Cromarty, Scotland). It is believed that LAC Dummigan was with a Torpedo Training Unit (TTU) and was one of several airmen lost due to bad weather (severe gales) overturning an aircraft. His body was later found to have washed up on the beach at Alness, Cromarty Firth.

LAC Frank Dummigan's body was returned to his hometown of Whitehaven for interment in Whitehaven Cemetery (Grave Ref. 6/L/202). The funeral service, with full military honours, took place at St Mary's R.C. Church, Kells Whitehaven on 13 April 1943. The funeral service and interment were conducted by Father Augustine Kervin, OSB.

St Mary's, Kells had been made a parish church for the Roman Catholic community of the district in 1942 and Father Kervin was the first Parish Priest. The military funeral of Frank Dummigan was therefore one of the first in this new parish. Among the many floral tributes received by the family was one from Frank's former colleagues at the Whitehaven Brick & Tile Company and one from the officers, N.C.O.'s and airmen from the RAF station where Frank was based.

(c) In remembrance

Frank's brother Tommy died shortly after the end of the war, on 17 February 1946. He was buried in the same grave as Frank. Their mother, Isabella, was later buried in the same grave when she passed away on 1964.

LAC Frank Dummigan is commemorated in the Borough of Whitehaven WW2 'Book of Remembrance'. He is also listed on the St Begh's WW2 War Memorial, the parish were he was basptised in 1923.

Transcription of the family headstone in Whitehaven Cemetery:

"Treasured Memories of
Our dear sons

Died on active service
April 7th 1943
Aged 20 years.

Died Feb 17th 1946
Aged 21 years.

Also their dear Mother
Died March 13th 1964,
Aged 63 years.

Died in infancy.

"Blessed are the pure in heart".

N.B - The epitaph is the first part of the following New Testament quotation (Matthew 5:8):

"Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God".

(It is one of the Beatitudes from the 'Sermon on the Mount').


Cumbria County Archives & Library Service
(Whitehaven Records Office)

'The Whitehaven News'

Mrs Joan Little, Volunteer
Cumbria County Archives & Library Service

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Sunday, 04 December, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On 7 April 1943, 124945 F/0 R J Dunford RAF (Pilot) and two others drowned when a Sunderland II, W6001, of 4 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit broke her moorings at 05:25 in a gale at Alness and sank. He had been acting as one of the three ‘plane guards’ – in command of LAC Francis William DUMMIGAN - 1501094 aged 20 & W/O Leslie D. JONES - 580204 aged 30.

“APRIL 7TH. - CROMARTY. At 6.35 in the morning a message came from the R.A.F. that several of their seaplanes had broken adrift from their moorings, with their crews aboard, that they had not enough boats to face the storm, and that they would be glad of the life-boat’s immediate help. A strong N.W. gale was blowing, with a rough sea, and there were heavy showers of sleet. The motor life-boat James Macfee was launched at 7.15, went to the seaplane base, took two R.A.F. officers on board, and then patrolled round the seaplanes and gave them valuable help. They were all made safe except one, which had foundered. The life-boat searched the firth for her crew of six men, but they had all been drowned.” [In fact a second aircraft had been lost, a Catalina AH568, killing watch crew, Sgt N K Carew and Sgt E Havron who would have been included in the suggested total.]
Brian Bouchard

Saturday, 11 October, 2014  

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