Amer­i­can sol­dier Thomas Ryan landed at Omaha Beach in WWII

Drogheda Independent - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

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...

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