Tony (Anthony Paul, A.P.) Kearns is a civilian historian to the Irish Air Corps and has spent over fifty years researching and writing about the organisation. He researches the history of the Air Corps and military aviation in Ireland with a special emphasis on Ireland during the Emergency period. He discusses the bombing of Campile and the bombing of the North Strand during the Emergency. He also discusses various personalities that have served in the Air Corps as well as some of the former Luftwaffe pilots and crews that he got to know through the course of his research. A series of interviews were conducted with Tony Kearns in 2016 and 2017 for the Military Archives Oral History Project.

In this clip, Tony discusses in detail the bombing of Campile in Wexford (26 August 1940), during World War II or 'The Emergency' as it was known in Ireland. He first briefly discusses the bombing of Belfast which he states was a deliberate act. He refers to Camp Group 100 which was a pathfinder unit which had a special 'X System, which he states were not involved on the night of the Dublin bombings. In relation to Campile, Tony affirms that it was deliberately targeted. He speaks in detail about the nature of this action, the explosives used, timings of the action etc. Tony discusses the contention that the bombers thought they were over Wales. He rubbishes this theory and outlines that Captain Andy Wood was detailed to fly down the coast in a Gloster Gladiator and reported that visibility was seventy-five miles and that he could see the coast of Wales.

MA Note: Tony states that only one man was killed in the incident. However, three women were killed in the bombing, sister Mary and Catherine Kent and Kathleen Hurley.

In this clip, Tony speaks about a number of German Bombing incidents during World War II (Emergency) including the bombing of the North Strand. He affirms that after significant research he can conclude that the bombing was an accident. He discusses the various theories which have emerged over the years regarding the bombings including the 'Bending the Beams' theory (which he dismisses). He outlines in detail the way in which the North Strand bombing occurred.

MA Note: The bombing of the North Strand area which Tony is recalling, occurred on 31 May 1941, when four German bombs fell in north Dublin. 28 people were killed in the North Strand during the bombing.

Here, Tony discusses meeting German pilots and crews who had flown during World War II as part of his research. He refers to a German air craft commander who flew a plane that crash landed in Faha Mountain on the Dingle Peninsula and relates some of the conversations he had with the German Commander about actions he had been involved in.

In the clip, Tony refers to Paul Stormer, a German pilot who spoke to him about flying on a photographic reconnaissance mission to the Belfast area when they were attacked on the way there by the RAF (Royal Air Force), forcing them to land in Tramore in Waterford. Tony explains that he became good friends with Stormer and as a result he received a lot of information and insight into the experience of a reconnaissance pilot.

In this clip, Tony recalls his memories of Baldonnel in the 1950s when he began his research into the Air Corps. He recalls the friendliness of Colonel Paddy Swan who he often had lunch with in the photo section of Baldonnel.

Here, Tony refers to Adolf Galland who gave a lecture in Ireland on 'the famous channel dash' to the Royal Aeronautical Society in the mid 1980s. Galland was a German Luftwaffe general who flew 705 combat missions and was accredited with 104 aerial victories during World War II (The Emergency). Tony also reflects on Jeremiah 'Jerry' O'Connor who was Officer Commanding the Air Corps and lists some of the aircraft he flew in his time with the Irish Air Corps. Brigadier General Jeremiah O'Connor was interviewed in 1998 by Michael J. Whelan and the interview has been donated to the MAOHP

In this clip Tony and Michael discuss Lieutenant Colonel Louis (Louie) Lawrence Treacy (22nd October 1919 - 19th February 2001). Tony states that the brother of Louis Treacy was in the RAF (Royal Air Force) and was shot down, captured and held for a year. He later returned to England and went back to the war but was shot down and killed. Tony also reflects on the feelings of members of the RAF towards Ireland as a result of Ireland's neutrality in World War II (the Emergency).

In this clip Tony recalls Brigadier General Barney McMahon, who later became General Officer Commanding the Air Corps. Tony speaks about one occasion with pride when McMahon addressed him personally in front of a large parade. The clip reflects the esteem with which senior members of the Defence Forces were held.

In this clip Tony speaks about Malachi Higgins who was a native of County Down who joined the Air Corps. Tony tells a story about Higgins while he was working at Rineanna with Fighter Squadron. Higgins was appointed to bring The Walrus for a service in Baldonnel. He explains how there were sheep on the field where he was supposed to land and that an initial fly through was supposed to clear the sheep to create space to land. Tony then relates how when Higgins was landing, he forgot to lower the undercarriage of the plane and recalls speaking to Higgins about it many years later. The Walrus was also known as a Submarine Walrus Single engine amphibian bi-plane, first flown in 1933

In this clip Tony discusses a little known piece of Air Corps history. He speaks about a Walrus plane which was stolen by Lieutenant Alan Thornton to fly to France in order to join the German army in 1942. He speaks about the conditions for Fighter Squadron in Rineanna where Thornton was held under house arrest. Tony explains that British aircraft intercepted him and forced him to land at Cornwall. Thornton was then taken back to Ireland under arrest and jailed for six months. He was later dishonourably discharged but went and joined the Allied Forces and became a fighter pilot. The Interviewer states that Thornton did an interview with Marian Finucane of RTE Radio. This event occurred in January 1942. It also seems that Thornton got sixteen months in prison for his offence. Thornton spoke on the Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio in 2005. It seems that the plane in Yeovilton Museum is the one stolen by Thornton.

In this clip Tony discusses the position of Air Corps pilots who were taking to the skies to confront belligerent aircraft and outlines the frustration of Air Corps personnel at not being able to engage belligerent aircraft. He also speaks about the danger for pilots given the limited resources available to the Air Corps as well as their inexperience.

In this clip Tony outlines the position of Irish neutrality including the reaction to a potential German invasion. Tony does state that Ireland was 'in no position to fight an invasion' and both Tony and the interviewer discuss the dynamics and challenges of remaining neutral during World War II (the Emergency).

In this clip Tony discusses some of the many plane crashes which occured in Ireland during World War II (the Emergency). He speaks about the circumstances of some World War II crashes, including one incident when the pilot drowned in a bog, due to the plane turning upside down, which was caused by the pilot landing wheels down. Tony also refers to a Mosquito aircraft which crashed in Galway after circling for a long period of time and the plane caught fire. Tony states that a local man tried to help the pilot out but wasn't able to free him from the aircraft.