Daniel Patrick McCarthy (1913-1984) landed on Normandy (Omaha Beach).
He landed in Normandy on June 9, 1944; he was Company Commander of 464 Medical Collecting Company. This meant he helped the wounded get to help and managed the transportation of fallen soldiers. The battle details are exhaustive and fascinating. For the remainder of the war, he served during the Battle of Normandy, the Battle for France, the Battle of the Bulge, and across Germany. During this time his unit was attached to the First Division. His unit was the first medical unit to enter the concentration camp in Flosenburg.
After the war he was assigned as administrative officer for a hospital in Spitzburg, in the Sudetenland. The hospital was located in a hotel north of the town, which today is Zelesna Ruda in the Czech Republic. Papa was discharged in January 1946; at that time Daniel Patrick McCarthy held the rank of Captain.
His involvement in the war was a sore topic; many in the family felt his being drafted, despite being over 30 and having a new born daughter, was evidence of prejudice on the part of the Rye draft board. Within my grandmother's personal papers was this op-ed piece from their local paper -- did she write it? (her sister, Mary Stone (Mimi) also home with a young son - 2 months younger than my mother) whose husband was not Irish - was not drafted.
During the war, letters flew back and forth between Papa and my grandmother; none survive. I suspect the burden of separation was crushing to them both. I wonder if the chance to be abroad was at all engaging or exciting to him?
I have his Captain's bars and have promised them to Darren. He takes them out of my jewelry box occasionally to touch them and asks me questions about the War and my grandfather.
Papa was ridiculously handsome. He always smelled wonderful to me (cigarettes and aftershave.) He adored my grandmother, my mother, and my aunt. Adored them. It was palpable when we were around how completely in love he was with his girls.
I guess he was a terrible golfer. This fact is amusing since my grandmother was nearly a golf professional. He was probably quite a business man, as he became Senior Vice President of United Parcel.
He loved gadgets and always bought the newest ones. He had a very early VHS -- one that had a door that rose up and down for tape insertion - and made a swoosh sound when it opened- and one of the first movies I remember him buying was High Society. They lived in Florida at the time and each time I see that movie (which is more often than anyone should I suppose) I smell sun tan oil and think I hear Papa in the next room - getting the Hershey bars ready for us.