Kildare woman recalls memory of dad on 75th anniversary of D-Day landings

Clane man turned 18 on D-Day

Senan Hogan

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Senan Hogan

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news@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare woman recalls memory of dad on 75th anniversary of D-Day landings

The late Dan Kerr

As the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings are commemorated, a poignant story has emerged of a Clane resident who celebrated his 18th birthday on June 6 — D-Day — in 1944.

The late Dan Kerr, who died aged 85 in 2011, was a pilot in the RAF during World War 2.

Amazingly, Dan had seven brothers who were also involved in the war effort — and all came home safe when hostilities ended.

Dan was stationed in Trevino, Italy during the D-Day period — but later settled in Clane with his wife Maura, who was in the Red Cross.

Dan’s daughter Trish Larkin recalled this week how her father turned 18 on June 6, 1944.

In a tribute, Trish said: “I remember dad and all the men who fought for freedom. Such an outstanding group of young men — never forgotten.”

Trish visited the WW2 cemeteries near the D-Day landings in the past and said she was shocked to see on the headstones how many of the dead were aged 17, 18 or 19 years old.

Trish, who is first cousin of former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr, told the Leader her family has had a long tradition of service in the British Army.

Her grandfather was also in the British Army and many of her father’s siblings were born abroad while he was on service.

Mighty Endeavour

Last week, US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron joined more than 3,000 D-Day veterans remembering the 1944 landings that saw tens of thousands of Allied troops from the US, Great Britain and Canada come ashore in what became a turning point in World War II.

The Normandy commemorations followed ceremonies on June 5 at the British naval base in Portsmouth, England, where Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister Theresa May, President Trump and other world leaders recalled the heroic work of the Allied forces.

Trump read excerpts from a prayer delivered in a D-Day radio message by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, noting the “mighty endeavour” being undertaken by Allied forces to “set free a suffering humanity”.