Flight Lieutenant Joe Mccarthy (4th From Left) And His Crew At Raf Scampton (22 July,1943)

Event Details

When: May 20, 2023

Starts At: 12:00 pm

Included with Regular Museum Admission | Attendees are Welcome to Bring their Lunch


Commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Famed Dambusters Raid with us at the Military Aviation Museum. Richard Mallory Allnutt, Chief Editor for Vintage Aviation News, will share some of the remarkable experiences of Joe McCarthy, a member of our Virginia Beach Community and pilot of Avro Lancaster AJ-T on the fateful night!


“Whether it was through his sense of honor, lust for adventure or passion for flight, Joe McCarthy made his way from New York to Canada in May 1941 to join the Royal Canadian Air Force, leaving the relative security of the Bronx for a highly uncertain future in the skies over Europe. What McCarthy could not have known when he bought that one-way bus ticket to Ottawa was just how much ‘adventure’ he would find – perhaps none more dramatic than piloting a highly-modified Avro Lancaster bomber with No.617 Squadron RAF during Operation Chastise, the legendary ‘Dambusters Raid’ of May 16th/17th, 1943. Unlike most Americans who joined the RCAF before their homeland entered WWII, McCarthy did not transfer into the U.S. Army Air Forces once the USA became involved; he took part in some seventy RAF bombing raids during WWII. His wartime flying activities culminated with a stint evaluating captured Axis aircraft such as the Arado 232 and Dornier 335 at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, England. Post-war, McCarthy continued his RCAF flying career until his retirement in 1968. In the following year, he moved to Virginia Beach to work in real estate, living in the city with his wife Alice for the remainder of their lives.