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Charles Boyle RIP (Irish Lion)

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    Charles Boyle RIP (Irish Lion)

    <DIV =Title>Obituary of Squadron Leader Vesey Boyle Pilot and rugby winger who saw action at Alamein and in Italy, and represented Ireland and the British Lions </DIV>
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    <DIV =LeadPara>SQUADRON LEADER VESEY BOYLE, who has died aged 91, represented Ireland and the British and Irish Lions at rugby before earning a DFC during the Second World War as a bomber pilot; he then joined the Colonial Legal Service to act as a prosecutor, and later a judge, at prominent trials during the troubles in Malaya, Kenya and Cyprus. </DIV>
    <DIV =LeadPara>Boyle enlisted in the Royal Artillery as a gunner just before the outbreak of war, and left for France on Christmas Day 1939. He was lucky to survive the retreat to Dunkirk the following May when his group was ordered to shelter in a row of houses prior to evacuation. Emerging after a bombardment, he discovered that his house was the only one left standing. Shortly afterwards he returned to England in a destroyer. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>After receiving his commission, Boyle found his role as an instructor uninspiring, and he responded immediately to an Army Council Order seeking volunteers to become RAF pilots. In 1942 Boyle flew to Egypt to join No 55 Squadron, which had just been re-equipped with American-built Baltimore bombers. Almost immediately the squadron embarked on a nomadic life, moving forward from one desert landing ground to another in support of the Eighth Army. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>During the Battle of Alamein, Boyle flew intensive operations against German storage depots, ammunition dumps and road convoys. On one occasion he was in a formation of 18 Baltimores which had to fly through heavy anti-aircraft fire to attack a crucial target, earning the aircrews the nickname "The Imperturbable Eighteen''. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>After completing 59 operations Boyle was rested and sent to a bomber training unit in Egypt. In January 1944 he was attached to No 13 Squadron, Royal Hellenic Air Force, to convert the Greek crews to the Baltimore, earning a Greek AFC. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Returning to No 55 as it converted to the more capable Boston bomber, he flew night intruder operations against the road and rail networks of northern Italy in a largely successful attempt to prevent German reinforcements reaching the battlefield. He was then appointed as a flight commander of No 13 Squadron and, for the rest of the war, flew sorties in support of the Eighth Army as it advanced towards the River Po and beyond. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>On one occasion his Boston was severely damaged by anti-aircraft fire while attacking a large convoy north of Rimini. He managed to return to base on one engine and, with the aircraft barely controllable, offered his crew the option to bale out while he attempted to land. The crew elected to remain with him, and he then completed what was described as "a masterly landing''. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>A few days later he flew his 101st and final operation, having completed 99 of them with the same navigator, Ross Harper. Within days he was awarded an immediate DFC having "set a fine example of keenness and courage at all times''. He left the RAF in January 1946. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>[b]Charles Vesey Boyle, the son of a solicitor, was born in Dublin on July 2 1915. He was educated at Dublin High School, where he played scrum half, and Dublin University, where he read Law and switched to the wing. In December 1935 he was selected by Ireland to play against the All Blacks in a 17-9 defeat. The next year he played against England, when he marked Prince Obolensky. Boyle's tenacious tackling kept England's flying winger out of the game and he went on to score one of Ireland's tries in their 9-3 victory. </strong
    Seas suas agus troid!
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