While visiting a World War II cemetery in Bayeux recently I stumbled across this grave of a certain P. McGowan, an Irish man killed less than a week after D-Day. Since then I have been intrigued by his story. A google search quickly reveals him to be Patrick McGowan from Mayo, but there is not much more information about him online.
However given what I have so far it’s high likely that many of his relatives are alive today. This is what I could find out after a few hours digging – can you add any more?
Patrick McGowan’s death was not reported in the press in Ireland at the time (this is unsurprising given there was censorship regarding all matters relating to World War II). He is however listed on the Mayo War Memorial which was erected in 2008.
In 1996 a Sligoman stumbled across Patrick McGowan in records. An appeal by the Western People newspaper at the time does not appear to have turned up any new information.
The Western People claimed Patrick was from Ardnaree, Co Mayo and was the son of a certain Owen and Brigid McGowan.
This may be incorrect. The website fallenheroesphotos lists his parents as Owen and Mary McGowan. Contemporary sources appear to support this. A Mary McGowan from Ardnaree died in 1968 having predeceased a husband called Owen.
An Owen McGowan from Ardnaree died in 1948 in an accident when he was crushed by the horse.
Reports of Owens death stated he had seven children at time and the family were well known horse dealers. If this was private Patrick McGowan’s family this would mean dozens if not hundreds of his relatives survive today. Are you related to him? Is there a photo around? Comment if you know more.