Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Captain Walter Alexander Tyrrell M.C., Flight Commander, R.A.F., was killed in action over France.
One of three sons of an Alderman from Bangor in County Down, he had joined the Royal Navy and served in the Royal Naval Air Service's Armoured Car Division as a petty officer for a year from Christmas of 1914 – at sixteen years of age. After eight months in Belgium and France he suffered an injury in an accident, and was discharged. He returned home and was commissioned through the Queen's University Belfast Officers' Training Corps.
Captain Tyrrell trained as a pilot and then joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. He distinguished himself greatly, bringing down eighteen enemy aircraft and being awarded the Military Cross three weeks before his death. The citation reads: “"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On one day this officer attacked two enemy triplanes, destroying one and driving down the other out of control. After this he was attacked by two other machines, one of which he forced to land, taking the occupants prisoners. On various other occasions he has destroyed or driven down out of control enemy machines.”
On the day of his death the enemy had launched their offensive along the Matz River and Captain Tyrrell’s squadron was engaged in ground attack – he was killed when he was shot down by anti-aircraft fire. He is buried in the Beauvais Communal Cemetery at Oise in France. His older brother, Captain John Marcus Tyrrell of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, was killed in action eleven days later. Both are remembered on the Queen's University War Memorial in Belfast, and on the Bangor War Memorial.
Walter, from Bangor in County Down, was 19 years old.