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Though the last glimpse of Erin with sorrow I see,
My great grandfather, Enias Hanafin, born in 1848 (during the time of the Great Hunger in Ireland), married Honora Casey. Honora and Enias had at least 12 children, among these my grandfather, Tade (a.k.a. Edward Timothy) Hanafin. Tade married my grandmother in 1909, in Borris County Carlow. Anne's father, John Hynes, a mason, was deceased; Anne Jane Hynes was only 15 years old when she married 38 year old Tade Hanafin.
Tade sold dress goods. On documents he is alternately referred to as a 'traveling draper', a 'entrepreneur' and a 'traveller'. They were not a part of the traveler community, but Tade and Anne traveled around a lot. Anne gave birth five times between the ages of 15 and 25 years, these I know so far, in different counties of Ireland. Two boys, Christopher and Enias; three girls, Nora, Jane, and Hannah Mary. Baby Jane was born in a Dublin workhouse and died later the same year of her birth.
In 1922, at the age of 50, Tade moved back to Castleisland County Kerry. At this point Anne Jane seems to drop off the face of the earth. It being 1922, the Irish Civil War underway, Tade arrived in Castleisland with four little children in tow, and without Anne. I have been unable to locate a death registration for Grandmother Anne. Tade alternately told others Anne was dead, in a 'hospital', or had run off with another man. It is said Tade cried for Anne.
Tade beat the children unmercifully, and eventually sent the boys away to an industrial school. Here they were told when to get up, when to tie their shoes, when to lie down, when to scratch their noses. They were fed meager rations, and when they were home for school holidays, they were beaten by Tade until they ran away back to the horrible industrial school. This was St. Joseph's Industrial School in Tralee, shut down in the 1970's and under investigation now for sexual abuse.
Both girls were educated in a convent school. When my Mother went to school with her dress too short, as she had no mother to help her with such things, the backs of her knees were slapped with a ruler as a punishment. Nora was not Tade's favorite girl, so when the time came to go to secondary school, she stayed home to clean house, and to clean for others.
Mother was allowed to finish her education and Tade was very proud of her violin playing and her many awards. She was required to practice the violin and brush her beautiful long red hair nearly endlessly. The girls were beaten nearly every day, for anything or nothing. The stories of the cruelty and brutality Tade inflicted on all the children is difficult to describe. Tade NEVER left his house, and no one EVER went inside. The girls were only allowed out to run an occasional errand, and my mother rode her bike to Tralee every week for her violin lessons.
The folks in Castleisland remember Enias coming to Tade's door after he left the industrial school. He was 16 years old, and spending his youth in the industrial school had not prepared him for the world. He stood in the rain all night, knocking on Tade's door, begging to be let in. Tade would not let him in.
When my Mother was 18 years old, and having attained her degree in music on the violin, she was helped to escape to England. She left the house in her skirt and blouse, just to run an errand. She met a kind neighbor, Mrs. Keane, and was given a coat and some money. She was sent to friends in England. Tade went to Mrs. Keane's house and pounded on the door. "Mrs. Keane, what have you done with my daughter?" he yelled at her. "Mr. Hanafin, I haven't any idea what you are talking about!" and she slammed the door in his face. Little did Tade know Mrs. Keane was saving the money to get Nora away to England two weeks later.
This is how my Mother left Ireland.
|These are the poems from my mother's little book, written when
her own love, Andy Ducharme, was lost over Germany during WWII.
"In memory of the happiest time of my life - March 1944
Once you brought me roses, I left them where you put them down
I will come far to you after a long absence,
That word has darkened so many homes with its shade, its like a cold black tide through which our hearts must perpetually wade.
That vague destination that seems so nameless and void, but no one is really missing, for God all heaven has employed to bring all those who seem traceless into his own special sight.
So let our prayers for our missing loved ones be their souls roll call tonight.
F.O. Ducharme missing March 30, 1944
Waiting...Waiting, wondering what the day will bring. Pain or joy unspeakable, smiles or suffering.
Praying, saying silently words wrung from the heart; in a secret agony; lonely, set apart.
Waiting, watching eagerly for a happy sign. Comfortless, yet holding on - waiting for a line.
Every moment of the day, crushing down despair. Clinging to the one and only hope, just hope in prayer.
'Irish' July 30, 1944
I know not why Death's frosty fingers touched a soul so sweet. The little story of that life was brief and incomplete. And yet God cut the strong green stem that held youth's opening flower and left us only memories to fill the empty hours. I know not why but some day I shall know and comprehend at the gateways of the morning where all Journeys end. For I know he will be waiting, waiting for me there, young and handsome as he was, untouched by age or care.
I may be in a crowded place. I may be in a busy street. But all the time my hearts with you, "Darling" without you life is incomplete.
Dearest...companion of my dreams, you walk beside me all the way.
My fond remembrances of you grow dearer with each passing day. I could not ever hope to solve a mystery so deep and sweet.
I only know I feel you near...and though apart in thought we meet.
|The air battle over Germany on March 30-31, 1944 was a mission to take out heavy water facilities in Germany which would have allowing for the production of the Atom Bomb. Bomber Command suffered the heaviest losses of the entire war in this tremendous air battle, but Allied
forces effectively closed the Rhine. It was the beginning of the end, a turning point, in the war against Nazi Germany. For more info on the 103rd Squadron or the Commonwealth War Graves Commission please see these sites.
My mother passed away on January 21, 1969 when I was 17 years old, may she rest in peace. Shortly before her death she told me about a young flier she knew in England during World War II. I could tell by the look in her eyes that he was someone very special to her. She told me his plane was shot down and she met his parents after the war, and his name was Andy. After she passed away an old friend of hers sent a book to me which contained beautiful poetry she wrote for Andy after he was reported missing in action, during the long terrible months of waiting to learn if he was in a POW camp or dead. She loved him very much and I know she was still mourning for him when she died. I could make out a rough spelling of his last name, and thought it was 'Duchane'.
On January 21, 2000, it was the 31 year anniversary of my mother's passing. I decided to honour the day by investigating and trying to find out about her lost flier. I was told by a friend the name sounded French Canadian and many were active in the RAF during the war, so I began my search in the Canadian Archives. The very same day I posted my inquiry to the Canadian Royal Air Force I received a reply and within 24 hours I knew I great many things about Andy. Flight Office and Navigator Joseph Jean André DUCHARME from Montreal Quebec. Killed in action March 31, 1944, age 25, #103 Squadron. Lancaster aircraft missing during night attack against Nuremberg, of over 795 Allied aircraft, 95 aircraft failed to return with 7 crewmen on each aircraft. It must have been a tremendous battle over the skies of Germany that night. Flight Officer Navigator Ducharme is buried in the War Cemetery at Rheinberg, Germany. After reviewing his military file I can see why he was irreplacable in my mother's life. Talented, committed and accomplished at a young age, his picture shows a very handsome man with happy, kind eyes. My mother died just 3 days prior to what would have been Andy's 50th birthday.
I sent for the page that commemorates F.O. Ducharme from the World War II Book of Remembrance. It says this:
"Upon these pages are written in proud and everlasting memory the names of the men and women of our Navy, Army and Air Force, and of those Canadians in the armed services of the other nations and allies of the British Commonwealth, who, in the Second World War, gave their lives for Canada and in defence of the sacred liberties of all Mankind.
Something wonderful came out of my search for this brave young man, my mother's long lost love. After receiving the page from the Book of Remembrance I noticed the rank and first name of Andy Ducharme are different from what I have been sent in other correspondence. After 55 years it was determined the information in the Book of Remembrance has been inaccurate. Because of my search for information, and bringing the error to the attention of the proper people, the corrections were made. After many years Andy Ducharme will be accurately remembered in the book that commemorates the lives of those who gave so much. I found it quite thrilling, and touching. I am so glad I searched and found out about this man, and I am honoured to remember Flight Officer Joseph Jean André Ducharme born: January 26, 1919, died: March 31, 1944 . May his dear soul rest in peace.
By: Robin Flower
There are the trees that saw them pass