Survivor of wartime massacre to be remembered at service

William O'Callaghan was from Dereham, left, and was captured and fled after playing dead during the

William O'Callaghan was from Dereham, left, and was captured and fled after playing dead during the Second World war. A service is being held to remember him. He is pictured here at the Nuremberg law courts after war's end. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

One of only two survivors of an infamous Second World War massacre is to be remembered at a memorial service.

At a previous service to remember Dereham war hero William O'Callaghan. Picture: Ian Burt

At a previous service to remember Dereham war hero William O'Callaghan. Picture: Ian Burt

Tribute will be paid to William O'Callaghan, a member of the 2nd Battlion Royal Norfolk Regiment, who made it home to Dereham from the massacre in Le Paradis, near Dunkirk in France.

In May 1940, German soldiers machine-gunned and bayoneted 99 captured Royal Norfolks, who had surrendered to SS officers.

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.

The service will take place at Dereham's William O'Callaghan Place on Sunday, May 19, at 11.15am.

A historic photo of the graveyard of 98 men from the Royal Norfolk Regiment buried in Le Paradis.Pic

A historic photo of the graveyard of 98 men from the Royal Norfolk Regiment buried in Le Paradis.Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Eastern Daily Press ©2004


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Mr O'Callaghan's son, Dennis O'Callaghan, who is president of the town's Royal British Legion branch, said the annual event usually attracted 30-40 people.

"People come from across Norfolk for it," he said.

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