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

PUBLISHED: 15:41 19 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:41 19 May 2018

(L TO R) William O'Callaghan and Albert Pooley arriving at the War Crimes Court in Hamburg, members of the 2nd Battlion Royal Norfolk Regiment Picture: Supplied

(L TO R) William O'Callaghan and Albert Pooley arriving at the War Crimes Court in Hamburg, members of the 2nd Battlion Royal Norfolk Regiment Picture: Supplied

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

Dennis O'Callaghan with the plaque to his father, William (Bill) O'Callaghan from Dereham who survived the massacre at Le Paradis in 1940, at O'Callaghan Place in Dereham. Photo: Denise BradleyDennis O'Callaghan with the plaque to his father, William (Bill) O'Callaghan from Dereham who survived the massacre at Le Paradis in 1940, at O'Callaghan Place in Dereham. Photo: Denise Bradley

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 there every year to remember those who lost their lives in the massacre.

(L TO R) William O'Callaghan and Albert Pooley arriving at the War Crimes Court in Hamburg, members of the 2nd Battlion Royal Norfolk Regiment. edp 10.07.04

Picture: Supplied
Copy: Rowan Entwistle
For: EDP NEWS
EDP Pics ©2004  Tel: (01603) 772434(L TO R) William O'Callaghan and Albert Pooley arriving at the War Crimes Court in Hamburg, members of the 2nd Battlion Royal Norfolk Regiment. edp 10.07.04 Picture: Supplied Copy: Rowan Entwistle For: EDP NEWS EDP Pics ©2004 Tel: (01603) 772434

It takes place tomorrow on Sunday May 20 at 11.15am.

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