American soldier Thomas Ryan landed at Omaha Beach in WWII
A great story from 25 years ago.
Maureen Peakin of Trinity Gardens was the daughter of a real Private Ryan who survived the horror of World War II to return to his Irish-American family.
Thomas Ryan was part of the invasion of Normandy, landing in the third wave of boats on Omaha Beach. He landed on his 18th birthday.
He was born and raised in an Irish-American family in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, from a family of five boys and one girl with a widowed Irish mother named Josie. Three of his brothers went on to become NYC police officers.
He told Maureen how the older soldiers had to push the young ones off the small transport boats bringing them to shore’. ‘Many were so loaded with equipment they drowned when hitting the water,’ he said.
Maureen revealed that the platoon her father was in helped to clean up and liberate a concentration camp, along with the Russians.
He told of seeing terrible sights in the camp, lampshades made from human skin and skeletal people so grateful and sickly.
‘He did kill but that he would not talk about. Dad did get shrapnel in is leg which wasn’t too bad but in his mind he lived with much worse.’
Quite a man...