Private Henry O'Hanlon

 

Unit : No.15 Platoon, "C" Company, 1st Battalion The Border Regiment

Army No. : 3783776

Awards : British Empire Medal

 

During the airborne operation on Sicily on 9th July, 1943, the glider in which this man was flying came down in the sea at night some five miles off the coast of Sicily. Seeing two non-swimmers washed off the glider he went to their rescue in a very heavy swell and managed, although almost exhausted, to bring one man back to the glider which had drifted about two hundred yards away, thus saving the man's life. Thereafter he kept up the spirits of the exhausted men on the glider until rescue craft arrived some seven hours later. He showed great courage and a complete disregard for his own personal safety.

 

The arrival of the rescue craft was due to the efforts of Private O'Hanlon and Lieutenant Alan Green, who decided to swim to the shore where they met some naval officers who arranged to have the remainder collected.

 

O'Hanlon took part in the Battle of Arnhem, where he was wounded and taken prisoner on the 20th September 1944. He was put aboard a train bound for Germany, but managed to cut his way out and escape, and was subsequently sheltered by the Dutch Resistance until eventually reaching the Allied lines.

 

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