Donaghy, Alexander James (No. 544946)

Donaghy, Alexander James

Leading Aircraftman

No. 544946, Royal Air Force

Died as a result of enemy action on Tuesday 25 June 1940 (aged 26)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England (Panel 22)

Coleraine Academical Institution

Victim List for the Lancastria Association of Scotland

BIOGRAPHY

Leading Aircraftman Alexander James Donaghy (No. 544946) was reported missing in action in the 2 November 1940 edition of the County Down Spectator under the headline Local Airman Reported Missing.

Alexander James Donaghy was born on 7 February 1914 in Killybegs, Co. Donegal and he was a son of Arthur and Alice F. Donaghy (nee King) who were married on 18 August 1908 in Dungloe Parish Church of Ireland Church, Glenties, Co. Donegal.  Arthur Donaghy, who was born around 1880 in Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone, was a Constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary stationed in Killybegs and he was a son of James Donaghy, a farmer.  Alice King from Burtonport, who was born around 1889 in London, was a daughter of Thomas John King, a Coast Guard officer.

Arthur and Alice F. Donaghy (nee King) had at least two children:

Minnie Florence (born 29 December 1911 in Killybegs)

Alexander James (born 7 February 1914 in Killybegs)

When the Donaghy family moved to Portrush they lived in Princes’ Terrace and Alexander James attended the Irish Society’s School in Coleraine.  Then he studied at Coleraine Academical Institution from October 1929 until June 1933.

When the Donaghy family moved to Bangor they lived at Rutland, Donaghadee Road and Alexander James Donaghy carried on a business in Southwell Road.  He joined the Royal Air Force in 1935.

In November 1940 Leading Aircraftman Alexander James Donaghy’s parents were informed that he had been reported missing in action on 25 June 1940 and later it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed.

Leading Aircraftman Alexander James Donaghy (No. 544946) is commemorated in Coleraine Academical Institution and his name is included on the Victim List for the Lancastria Association of Scotland compiled by Brian Crabb.  There is evidence to suggest that Leading Aircraftman Alexander James Donaghy (aged 26) was one of an estimated 4,000 people who died when His Majesty’s Troopship HMT Lancastria was bombed by German aircraft and sunk off the French port of St. Nazaire while taking part in Operation Ariel, the evacuation of British nationals and troops from France two weeks after the Dunkirk evacuation.  HMT Lancastria had embarked an unknown number of passengers (some estimates put the total as high as 9,000) and, after she sank, news of the disaster was suppressed.

Leading Aircraftman Alexander James Donaghy (No. 544946) is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.

His father, Arthur, died in Bangor in 1972 and his mother, Alice, died in 1976.