AN impromptu visit to the Irish Veterans Medal of Honor museum saw Kinsale woman Elizabeth Woody tell the fascinating story of how her mother and father met during the chaos of World War II.
Her mother was Nan Crowley of Friary Avenue, Kinsale, and her father was Lex Eugene Woody of Sullivan county, Indiana USA.
The romance began when Nan travelled to Belfast to join the British Army’s ATF (Auxiliary territorial service) Women’s volunteer service, where she served as a wage clerk.
Meanwhile, Lex Eugene had joined the US army, first being sent to relieve British forces in Iceland. After this he was posted at the Belfast military camp where he met Nan.
After a stint in England, he returned to Belfast and they got married, and he was sent to France a month after the D-Day landings. The surprise German offensive known as the ‘Battle of the Bulge’ or Battle of the Ardennes, would claim the life of Lex Eugene on Saint Stephen’s Day in 1944. Elizabeth was born in March of the following year, never knowing her father.
Never having been to see the grave, Elizabeth, her husband at the time, and her mother Nan journeyed to the American cemetary in Luxembourg, where Lex Eugene was buried with 5,000 other soldiers. Lex Eugene served in the 5th infantry ‘Red Diamond’ division, and so is buried with General George S Patton and other men from the American 3rd army.
Elizabeth’s mother unfortunately fell on their first day in Luxembourg, breaking vertebrae in her back, never getting to see the grave.
They travelled to Luxembourg once again for Memorial Day. Escorted by the military, they were seated with the president of Luxembourg, a great honour, and invited to the American embassy.