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Survivor of wartime massacre to be remembered at service

PUBLISHED: 09:32 09 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:32 09 May 2019

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

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

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2009

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 BurtAt 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.

Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYA historic photo of the graveyard of 98 men from the Royal Norfolk Regiment buried in Le Paradis. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

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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