The son of Joseph Patrick and Croasdella Cruess-Callaghan, Joseph Cruess Callaghan served with the 7th Royal Munster Fusiliers before he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1915. 2nd Lieutenant Callaghan received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 1829 on a Maurice Farman biplane at military school, Norwich on 4 October 1915. In 1916 he scored his first victory with an F.E.2b but was wounded in action on 31 July 1916. In January 1917, he became an aerial gunnery instructor at Turnberry where his aerial stunts earned him the nickname "Mad Major." In April 1918, he returned to combat as a Sopwith Dolphin pilot and commanding officer of 87 Squadron. By the end of June, he'd scored four more victories to become an ace. On 2 July 1918, Callaghan single-handedly attacked a group of as many as 25 German fighters. He was killed when his Dolphin was shot down in flames by Franz Büchner of Jasta 13.
Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificates, 1910-1950
Military Cross (MC)
2nd Lt. (temp. Capt.) Joseph Cruess Callaghan, R. Muns. Fus. and R.F.C.
For conspicuous gallantry in action. He displayed marked courage and skill on several occasions in carrying out night bombing operations. On one occasion he extinguished a hostile searchlight.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 13 February 1917 (29940/1540)