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World War 2 and Caledon

34th Infantry Division

During WW2 Caledon Mill became an accommodation base for allied troops. The 34th Infantry Division were the first U.S. soldiers to land in the European theatre of operations.  They landed at Belfast docks on 26January 1942 and trained in Caledon for about six months prior to moving over to England to prepare to move to North Africa.  After landing in North Africa as part of Operation Torch, they fought through N. Africa, Sicily, then up into Italy for the long hard campaign into Austria.  The 34th Infantry was the longest serving of any U.S. Army Division through WW2 losing over 3000 men. During their time in Caledon the troops were billeted in Caledon Mill, Caledon Castle and Estate top yard.

23rd Infantry Regiment

The 23rd Infantry Regiment came to the Caledon area in October 1943 and were stationed in Caledon  and Tynan Abbey.  Iris L Bradshaw was one of the troops who served in the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.  Local people had been asked by the Commanding Officer of the regiment to take soldiers in to give them a feeling of the family home as they were homesick.  Iris came to the home of the grandmother of local man David Fitzsimmons:   

He was the reason I started to take an interest in the Allies in the Caledon area, my uncle Jim remembered him well – he said he was half Red Indian and that he came from Hondo Texas, he smoked the pipe and played the fiddle”.

 Tragically like many of his comrades, Iris was killed in action.  David has visited his grave on a cliff top overlooking Omaha Beach.