D.F.C. London Gazette 19.10.1943. Recommendation states 'Flying Officer Kearney, after having served as a Flying Instructor and Staff Pilot since 12 January 1941, has been actively engaged on operational flying since November 1942. He has participated in 13 raids on Timor and Islands to the North of Australia and in course of attacks led by him the Squadron has destroyed nine aircraft and damaged another five. On three occasions whilst taking part in attacks on the enemy aerodrome at Penfoei, Timor, his aircraft has been subjected to heavy anti-aircraft fire and attacked by enemy fighters. On 31 May 1943, a Flight of five Beaufighters led by Flying Office Kearney in an attack on Langgeer was intercepted by three enemy fighters and pursued and engaged by four more enemy fighters on their return. During an engagement lasting for half an hour, Flying Officer Kearney was successful in shooting down one enemy fighter and destroyed a further two aircraft by strafing. The courage, determination and enthusiasm displayed by this Officer in engaging the enemy has proved an inspiration to all members of his Squadron and is worthy of the highest praise'.
Flight Lieutenant James Timothy Kearney, D.F.C., was born in March 1916 and joined the Royal Australian Air Force in May 1940. Commissioned as a Pilot Officer on completion of his Pilot's Course in July 1941, and initially engaged as an Instructor, his first operational posting was to No. 31 Squadron at Coomalie Creek in the Northern Territories, which unit was engaged in Beaufighters on long-range offensive sweeps. As evidenced by his Recommendation, Kearney participated in a number of hazardous low-level strikes, a case in point being a raid on Venilale in November 1942, when his Beaufighter was hit by ground fire and a 'heavy shell or shrapnel' lodged in the aircraft's windscreen but 'did not quite penetrate' it, in addition to some Bofors hits from an enemy airfield during a raid in February 1943. But it was not always enemy fire that found its mark, Kearney's outing to the Timor village of Ossu culminating with 'a few friendly rounds from the aircraft behind', hits that 'skinned his legs but caused no other damage'. Indeed Kearney rapidly gained a reputation for having a 'special magnetic attraction to gunfire of all sorts', luckily an attraction that never proved fatal. Posted out of the Squadron in July 1943, he briefly returned to operations with No. 87 Squadron in early 1945, when he piloted Photo-Reconnaissance Mosquitos until the end of the hostilities. One of his more notable sorties was the longest one ever carried out by the Squadron, namely a 2300 mile trip to Semarang, East Java, which was completed in nine hours. Kearney, who had gained advancement to Flying Officer back in July 1943, is credited with the destruction of nine enemy aircraft in Aces High by Shores and Williams (1966 edition), but he is not among the Aces listed in their updated edition published in 1994. He died in February 1954.
Reference Sources: Coomalie Charlie's Commandos, K.N. McDonald, 1966; and Mosquito Monograph, David Vincent, 1982.