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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn A to M] [Leo P & Kevin J Curtin RAAF]

Leo Patrick Curtin RAAF & Kevin Joseph Curtin RAAF -103 Squadron – 1944 / 45

103 Squadron Curtin twins Pat and Kevin

The Curtin twins

Leo Patrick (known as Pat to avoid confusion with his father Leo Michael) and his twin brother Kevin Joseph were born in December 1924 in the New South Wales town of Queanbeyan. They were educated at the Queanbeyan Catholic School and moved to Canberra with the family in 1939. On leaving school they both joined the Commonwealth Public Service in Canberra and worked there until joining the RAAF in December 1942 as soon as they turned 18.

They remained together in the same flight and trained as navigators at Bradfield Park in Sydney, Mt Gambia in South Australia and Sale in Victoria. They left Sydney by ship for England in early January 1944. On their way to England they traveled through Canada where it caused confusion with some Canadians that they were white and spoke English. There was little known about Australia or Australians in that area in those days.

When they arrived in England they were both attached to Squadron 103. It was not usual that siblings were attached to the same squadron but in this case as they were twins and both trained as navigators they were assigned to the same squadron but different flights.

Kevin flew as navigator with F/O P J R Cartwright and crew

Leo flew as navigator with F/L R A Dobson and crew.

They flew in Lancaster bombers and commenced their tour of flights over Germany. Kevin’s flight finished their tour before Pat’s and he waited for his brother to finish so they could come home together. When Pat, whose tour had been delayed for some reason, had completed all but two of his allotted flights the authorities raised the number of flights in a tour by a further five trips. It was on the third of these extra trips that on 24th February 1945 Pat’s plane was involved in a collision with another plane that had been hit by anti-aircraft fire and both planes crashed. There was only one survivor of Pats crew. He managed to get out and parachuted to earth. He was taken prisoner by the Germans and served out the war in a prisoner of war camp. A few months later the authorities reduced the number of trips in a tour of duty back to the original number but it was too late for Pat by then.

During their active service both Kevin and Pat were promoted to Flying Officers. Our parents were notified that Pat was missing in late February 1945 but it was four years later before they received official notification that he was dead.

Pat is buried together with the remainder of his crew at Bad Toelz (Durnbach) British Military Cemetery (Plot VIII Row G). Several of the family have visited the grave over the years.

Kevin returned to Australia in May 1945. Although he had never completed his secondary education he studied Architecture under a repatriation scheme and became one of Sydney’s leading architects. He died of a heart attack in 1996

Item courtesy of the Curtin family

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* 1st December 2023 - Photos of F/L Jacob t'Hart DFC and bar

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