Roy Kirkwood McConnell DFC was born in Victoria, British Columbia. He graduated from Victoria High School in 1916. In February 1917, McConnell was taken on strength of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in Canada and remained in Canada until August 1917.

On September 16, 1917, he was with the RFC, stationed at Turnhill, England. On November 11, 1917 he was with No. 46 Squadron RFC amd remained there until September 16, 1918. On April 1, 1918, the RFC and the Royal Naval Air Service merged to become the Royal Air Force (RAF).

On September 16, 1918 he was posted to RAF Home Establishment. On December 3, 1918, Lieutenant McConnell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). His citation read as follows:

"This officer has accounted for five enemy machines destroying two and driving three out of control, proving himself a gallant fighting airman. He has also shown conspicuous bravery in attacking troops and transport."

On February 27, 1919, McConnell was repatriated to Canada. He was engaged in sales and business prior to WW 2.

In May 1940 he joined the RCAF with the rank of pilot officer. He soon received promotions and in 1941 was appointed to the rank of Squadron Leader.

During WW 2, he held senior postings at Trenton, Ontario (ON), Camp Borden ON, No. 1 Bombing & Gunnery school at Jarvis, ON, No. 4 Bombing & Gunnery School at Fingal, Saskatchewan, No. 2 Wireless School, Calgary Alberta and No. 2 Initial Training School, Regina, Saskatchewan.

In April 1945, McConnell was released from the RCAF on medical grounds.