The Shamrock Spitfire (2024) Ending Explained – What happened to Brendan “Paddy” Finucane?

Plot Summary

The Shamrock Spitfire tells the true story of Irish fighter pilot Brendan “Paddy” Finucane who, at the age of 21, became the youngest-ever wing commander in the Royal Air Force. 

This moving drama chronicles Brendan’s rise through the ranks to become one of the greatest fighter pilots of World War II. At the movie’s end, there is a sobering reminder of the human cost of war.

In this ending explained article for The Shamrock Spitfire, we briefly recap the movie’s plot and ask the question: What happened to Brendan “Paddy” Finucane?

Why did Brendan become a pilot?

The start of the film gives us a glimpse into Brendan’s childhood and his obsession with a soldier named Mick Mannock, who was a World War 1 hero. 

Mannock was a British-Irish flying ace who served in the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Dublin-born Brendan, who had aspirations of being like his hero, finally got his chance during World War II when he became old enough to join the RAF himself. 

How did Brendan rise up the ranks?

Brendan didn’t get off to a good start at the RAF as he didn’t perform very well during his flight training. But at the beginning of the Battle of Britain, he started to show his true capabilities as a fighter pilot.

After achieving victories in battle, he was promoted to the position of acting flight lieutenant and awarded a DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross). 

Brendan then became responsible for the 452 squadron. He struggled to gain their respect at first due to his uptight leadership style. But as he loosened up, his men began to warm to him and they eventually gave him the respect he deserved. 

Brendan led his men into airborne battle where they achieved several victories. Sadly, some members of his squadron, including Mick, who lost his lucky lighter before taking to the air, lost their lives. But the squadron still showed the Germans they were a force to be reckoned with, especially Brendan who became famous for his feats in the air.

Who was Brendan in love with?

As news of Brendan’s heroism broke out, he became very popular with the girls, including a nurse who tended to his injuries after one particularly brutal battle.

However, Brendan only had eyes for one girl – Jean, who he had known since his childhood. It was his dream to one day marry her and open a chartered flying business after the war ended. But sadly, he wasn’t destined to live a life happily ever after with his sweetheart.

What happened to Brendan “Paddy” Finucane?

After getting engaged to Jean, Brendan became the wing leader for an operation targeting a German Army camp at Étaples, in France.

While flying his plane over the German encampment, his aircraft was hit with a bullet. He then flew slowly out towards the sea before his plane crashed into the water. 

We don’t see what happens to him but in a scene towards the end of the film, his mother receives a letter telling her that her son has gone missing in war. 

Brendan’s body was never found so it can be assumed that he drowned in the ocean. This was a tragic loss, marked by the thousands of people who attended his memorial at Westminster Cathedral in honour of this fallen hero.


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2 thoughts on “The Shamrock Spitfire (2024) Ending Explained – What happened to Brendan “Paddy” Finucane?”

  1. Excellent question Glynn. It’s a mystery that will likely never get solved. It’s tragic what happened to him.

  2. Knowing his plane was going down in the water, I’m wondering why he didn’t bail out before it got too low to do so.

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