John McCullagh October 31, 2003
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A Newry friend recently received the following e-mail from an American soldier who was temporarily billeted here in the War.

“I was in the US military. My stay in Newry was from December 1943 to January 1944. Our barrack was a large two-story building next to the local Creamery. Your grandmother, then a girl in her early twenties living in her mother-in-law’s home which was also a restaurant just across the street from us, must often have served us meals.

I still wonder at the beauty of your countryside. Newry was an inland port. Before I was aware of this I had a scary experience. This was of ships sailing majestically across lush meadows. From a distance I could not see the waterway which carried these craft.

We became acquainted with some small children of 8-10 years of age. I don’t know if they were your forebears. Anyway we were told that if we could supply the sugar, their older sister would bake an apple pie for us. That evening eight of us spread ourselves around different tables in the mess hall. We emptied the sugar bowls into a container to hand. The sugar was delivered and the following day a huge pan of apple pie arrived for us. It was a kind of hard way to go about it, but the pie was delicious.

We were then sent to Lampeter for further training prior to the invasion of France. I was on Omaha beach and that was a real scary experience.

Thanks for responding. Hopefully I may still be lucky enough to return to Newry. I am now 77 years of age and time is passing fast. Cheers to you and your family.

Calvin Puckett.”

I may add that my own grandmother remembered a GI come to her eating house requesting food. She explained that her rations were out and she had no flour to bake bread.

“You need flour? I’ll get you flour, you bake me a loaf.”

Within minutes he returned with a whole sackful. She baked the bread.

He was caught and punished.

I would love to hear more tales of the American GI’s in Newry of that time. Please e-mail your stories to us.

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