Service to be held in memory of Dereham war hero William O’Callghan who survived Le Paradis massacre

William O'Callaghan was from Dereham and was captured and fled after playing dead during WWII. A ser

William O'Callaghan was from Dereham and was captured and fled after playing dead during WWII. A service is being held to remember him. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY COPY: FOR:EDP NEWS � ARCHANT NORFOLK 2009 (01603 772434) - Credit: � ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

A Dereham war hero will be remembered at a memorial service this month.

Pte William O'Callaghan was one of only two survivors of an infamous massacre in May 1940, when German soldiers machine-gunned and bayoneted 99 captured Royal Norfolks, who had surrendered to SS officers in the French hamlet of Le Paradis, near Dunkirk.

Although wounded himself, Pte O'Callaghan was able to carry his injured comrade Bert Pooley half a mile to the relative safety of a neighbouring farm.

Pte O'Callaghan spent five years as a prisoner of war in Poland, but in 1948 he and Pte Pooley testified at the war crimes trial of Fritz Knoechlein, who was subsequently hanged.

In his honour, a housing development off Swaffham Road in his home town was named William O'Callaghan Place. A service is held here in his memory every year. It is on May 21 at 11.15am.


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