Posts Tagged ‘PVT Edward J. Conelly’

At the end of July, I was the featured speaker at the 30th Infantry Division Association reunion. There I met Sarah ‘Hardman’ Giachino, whose father was in the 30th, and she had this encounter to share. -MR

This weekend was meaningful beyond words. I met a special Gold Star family-the daughter of PVT Edward J. Conelly,  30 DIV 117 INF, who served with my dad. Peggy Conelly Remington and her family attended their first 30 INF DIV Association Reunion to honor her father. 

Sarah ‘Hardman’ Giachino, Peggy Conelly Remington and her family, July 2022.

 PVT Conelly was killed on July 10, 1944 and recently, I discovered this memory and quote, written in my dad’s notes:

“PVT Conelly was a replacement I selected as my runner since my last one was a casualty. I took a real liking to him and after I explained his duties, he never failed to be by my side. He said something to me I”ll never forget, but indicated that he was the type of man I could depend on, ‘Lieutenant, I’ll go anywhere you go, but please be careful where you go.’

One sunny day in Normandy, we were attacking across an open field between hedgerows when about halfway across he took a bullet in the midsection. I was unhurt.”

Dad goes on to say that he administered all the morphine and bandages from both of their kits. Conelly knew he was dying and was calling for his mother. The medics soon came in, and my dad found out the next day that he died. He concludes in his notes, “You can’t imagine awful this experience was for me, especially when he was calling for his mother. The cost of war is beyond belief.”

Dad was haunted by this, and I remember him telling us about this incident all of my life. He couldn’t shake off hearing him call for his mother.  Dad felt that he easily could have been hit and Connelly happen to be running with him across the field in when he was in the line of fire and they fell into each other. 

I thought this was very important information and wondered, it’s been 78 years, could I possibly find PVT Conelly’s family?

I posted this information on a 30th INF DIV Facebook page. Thanks to Vincent Heggen in Belgium and Rene Bonatti in France, maps showing the location in Normandy, a Morning Report of July 10, location of his grave in Coal City PA, was sent to me.  But still I had no information on his family until Shawn McGreevy, a genealogist and friend, found his daughter Peggy and granddaughter Shellie. 

Through social media, we arranged a phone call and during a very meaningful and emotional conversation, Peggy said she was a baby when her father deployed. “He was over there for only a couple of days. Her mother and aunt never talked about her father’s death.” She added, “We tried to find out what happened but couldn’t find out anything.”

Private Edward J. Conelly took the hit that spared my dad’s life, and meeting his daughter and her family was an indescribable moment.

~Sarah ‘Hardman’ Giachino

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