On Thursday April 27 2017, members of Skibbereen and District Historical Society were treated to an outstanding talk, ‘An Irishman’s D-Day’, by Pat Lennon.
Skibbereen man Pat Lennon – we’re sure Pat won’t mind us calling him a Skibbereen man – told the story of his father, Charlie Lennon, who fought in Normandy on D-Day, June 6 1944.
That invasion on June 6 1944 was a turning point and one of the most pivotal engagements in World War II. Some 160,000 Allied troops invaded Northern Europe in what was the largest amphibious invasion in history.
Pat, who has been domiciled in these parts since about 1999, is son of the late Peg (Margaret) Shea, from a well-known and widely connected Skibbereen family. Peg emigrated to England in 1937, where she joined two older sisters.
In 1943 Peg met Charlie Lennon, who was from Co. Down, at a St. Patrick’s Day dance. Charlie and his brother Alfie were both members of the British Army. Charlie was a member of the 1st Royal Ulster Rifles. Charlie and Alfie both took part in the D-Day invasion.
Charlie Lennon was wounded earlier in the war but recovered and resumed active service. He landed in Ranville in Normandy on June 4th 1944. Ranville was first French village liberated on D-Day. Charlie who was a corporal, spent three months in France after D-Day. He was promoted to Sergeant two days after D-Day. Charlie saw his last action in March 1945 and retired from the army with the rank of Colour Sergeant.
The large attendance, which included many non-members of the society, were enthralled with Pat’s telling of the story. His personal insights were very revealing and the talk was beautifully delivered. It was also very nice to see so many of Pat’s relations from this area at the talk.
A very lively questions and answer session followed.
The Historical Society would particularly like to thank Pat for sharing with us what was essentially a family and a very personal story, but one which certainly helped us to understand better what those men and women who fought in World War II had to endure.