Joe Gannon's Blog (88)

World War II Ace Tom McGuire: The Iron Major

Lieutenant Tom McGuire was at 12,000 feet above Oro Bay, New Guinea in his P-38 fighter scanning the sky for Japanese planes. The 431st Fighter Squadron had scrambled from their Dubodura airbase to intercept a flight of Japanese bombers and their fighter escort on that October 17, 1943. McGuire…

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Added by Joe Gannon on January 18, 2020 at 5:30pm — 5 Comments

Billy the Kid: The Wild Rapparee of Lincoln County

There's a stone covered grave on the wild mountainside.

There's a plain wooden cross on which this is inscribed:

Kneel down, dear stranger, say an Ave for me

I was sentenced to death being a wild rapparee

--…

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Added by Joe Gannon on November 29, 2019 at 9:30pm — 6 Comments

George Lennon and The Piltown Cross Ambush

The night of November 1, 1920, All Souls Night, was extremely cold in the west of County Waterford. The members of the West Waterford Volunteers flying column huddled along the road at Piltown Cross were not only shivering because of the temperature. Most of them were also trembling slightly as…

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Added by Joe Gannon on October 28, 2019 at 1:00pm — 3 Comments

John F. Finerty: 'The Fighting Irish Pencil-Pusher'

Chicago Times correspondent John Finerty wiped his brow, drying the sweat from the hot July 7th afternoon, as he looked up to the top of the grassy knoll where scout Frank Grouard was scanning the horizon with his binoculars. They were near the valley of the Little Bighorn in what is…

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Added by Joe Gannon on September 1, 2019 at 11:30pm — 2 Comments

The Sword in Castletownbere

Back in October of 2017, I wrote an article titled “From Dunkirk to Nagasaki: The Long War of Dr. Aidan MacCarthy,” about a hero of WWII who…

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Added by Joe Gannon on August 3, 2019 at 8:30pm — 2 Comments

The Kilmallock Barracks Attack: Burning Down the House

Tomás Malone, aka Seán Forde, looked down at the gaping hole in the roof of the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks and hurled in another Mills bomb, hoping that this time he would see the roof explode in flames. They had thrown several gasoline-filled bottles into the gaping hole already from their…

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Added by Joe Gannon on May 27, 2019 at 2:00am — 3 Comments

This Week in the History of the Irish: May 5 - May 11

DOMHNAIGH -- On May 5, 1981, Bobby Sands (right) died on hunger strike at Long Kesh prison. He had begun the strike on March 1, in…

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Added by Joe Gannon on May 4, 2019 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Eugene Daly: Westmeath Piper Barely Survives Titanic's Sinking

It had been about a half hour since 29-year-old Eugene Daly had been startled awake from his bunk on the Titanic by the strange screeching noise. As he came up the stairway and emerged on the 3rd class well-deck near the bow, what he saw filled his heart with dread. He…

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Added by Joe Gannon on May 3, 2019 at 9:00pm — 5 Comments

Derryman Robert Evans: Last Man Standing at the Alamo





Inside the roofless old Spanish chapel, the first rays of the early morning Texas sun were illuminating the room with a soft golden glow through the acrid air, clouded by black powder smoke. But what was being illuminated by that rising sun in the chapel of this mission called…

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Added by Joe Gannon on March 31, 2019 at 5:00pm — 6 Comments

William 'Whack' Ryan: Martyr to Cuban Freedom

As the brilliant rays of the morning sun began to flash off the whitewashed adobe wall in Santiago, Cuba, 30-year-old William Albert Charles Ryan reflected that it would be yet another beautiful day on the tropical island he had come to love. He could hear the sweet songs of a few…

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Added by Joe Gannon on February 14, 2019 at 6:30pm — 5 Comments

The Tureengarriffe Ambush: Cork and Kerry Strike a Blow

Seán Moylan slowly moved his binoculars back and forth pointed to the west as he scanned the east Kerry countryside in the direction of Scartaglen. He was standing on some high ground in Thade Daly’s Glen in Tureengarriffe, along what is now the R-577 road. Moylan, commanding the Cork No. 2…

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Added by Joe Gannon on January 1, 2019 at 2:30pm — 5 Comments

Alleta Sullivan: 'Champion Gold Star Mother' of WW2

There are many stirring tales of Irish and Irish-American military heroes in the long history of the United States. From…

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Added by Joe Gannon on November 22, 2018 at 11:30pm — 4 Comments

General Charles Edward Jennings: 'Le Brave Kilmaine'

The port of Brest in the mid-1790s by Jean-François Hue (1751-1823)

As he watched the small French fleet carrying his friend Theobald Wolfe Tone and about 3,000 French troops sail out of Brest,…

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Added by Joe Gannon on October 19, 2018 at 10:30pm — 1 Comment

WWII Hero Edwin O’Hara: The Honor, But Not the Medal

(Edwin O'Hara, loading the 4 inch gun on the SS Stephen Hopkins. By W.M. Wilson, on display at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.)

For them there are no big parades, 

No heroes' welcome gay,

No uniforms, and no applause 

To cheer them on…

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Added by Joe Gannon on September 23, 2018 at 7:00pm — 4 Comments

Mountain Man John Colter: Surviving 'Naked and Afraid'

John Colter’s leg muscles were burning and his lungs were aching, but he kept his legs moving. As he glanced over his shoulder he could see that most of the Blackfoot warriors chasing him were far behind now, but there was one far ahead of the others, and he was closing the distance. Blood was spotting the grass and…

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Added by Joe Gannon on August 15, 2018 at 3:00pm — 3 Comments

One of 'The Boys of Wexford' Returns: JFK in Ireland

On June 23, 1963 the people of Ireland fell in love with a member of “The Wild Geese” who had less than five months to live. If ever an American politician had a style and ease that allowed the people of Ireland to see the “Irish” in him, it was John Fitzgerald Kennedy. By the summer of 1963 he had become the…

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Added by Joe Gannon on June 12, 2018 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Semmes and the San Patricios: 'Dishonored and Dishonorable'?

In November of 1846, as the war between Mexico and the United States raged, an unusual unit of the Mexican army was formed by General Santa Anna, it was called the San Patricios or St. Patrick's Company. Commanded by John Riley, a deserter from Company K of the 5th U.S. Infantry, who probably gave it the name, it…

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Added by Joe Gannon on May 16, 2018 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

Mayo's Tourmakeady Ambush: Shrouded By 'Fog of War'

Tuesday, May 3, 1921 was a beautiful, sunny day in the nearly treeless Partry Mountains above the town of Tourmakeady, County Mayo, but Tom Maguire was in no condition to enjoy the weather. Maguire, the C/O of the South Mayo Flying Column, from Cross, was lying on his back, bleeding from a bullet wound in…

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Added by Joe Gannon on April 30, 2018 at 7:30pm — 3 Comments

Titanic Hero Hugh McElroy: 'Sand For Breakfast Tomorrow'

It was a little after 2 am on April 15, 1912. The deck of the R.M.S. Titanic was now tilted over 6 degrees toward the sinking bow. As 17-year-old Jack Thayer and 30-year-old Milton Long moved toward one of the last remaining lifeboats on the boat deck, they were moving downhill, toward the rising water. Ahead of…

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Added by Joe Gannon on April 5, 2018 at 10:00am — 11 Comments

The Headford Ambush: Time Runs Out in Kerry

Now rise up DJ Allman, arise and tell me true

Who fought at Headford Station that day along with you?

Who stood out on that platform board, who fired that signal gun?

Who fought to free old Ireland with you my darling son?

-- From “The Ballad of DJ Allman"…

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Added by Joe Gannon on March 13, 2018 at 11:30pm — 6 Comments

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