Fusilier Joe Conlon (1910-40)

Joseph Conlon, Aneetermore, Ardboe, Co Tyrone (1910-40)

6976397 Fusilier Joseph Conlon

2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Killed in action 18 May-8 June 1940

Aged 29 years

Buried Gavrelle Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Joseph Conlon was born on 5 September 1910, the sixth child of Frank Conlon of Aneetermore and Biddy Doyle of Derrychrin, Ballinderry Bridge. There were four girls and seven boys in the family. Joe’s father was a Lough Neagh fisherman, but Joe became a labourer when he left Moortown primary school in 1924. On 4 August 1939 Joe married Sarah Ryan of Annaghmore in Ardboe parish.

Fusilier Joe Conlon of Aneetermore, Ardboe (1910-40)

The Second World War began on 3 September 1939, and the German Army invaded Belgium, Holland, and France on 10 May 1940. The British and French armies were taken by surprise and their positions were overrun by the invasion. The confusion led to an evacuation to the coast. The 2nd Battalion Inniskillings fought a rearguard action as part of the withdrawal to Dunkirk.

Official records state that Fusilier Joseph Conlon and a comrade, Fusilier Joseph McCutcheon, were killed sometime between 18 May and 8 June 1940. However Gavrelle residents, interviewed in the 1980s, stated that both men were killed on 18 May 1940, and that they, the local people, buried both soldiers at night in the village cemetery, and also buried five other servicemen in the following days.

Joe Conlon is buried in Gavrelle Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

He is also commemorated on the family headstone in Moortown graveyard

The retreat to Dunkirk – May 1940

The village of Gavrelle, where Joe Conlon was killed
Photo courtesy John Devlin

The entrance to Gavrelle communal cemetery
The nearer small white stone visible between the gates marks Joe Conlon’s grave
Photo courtesy John Devlin

The two white headstones towards the bottom of the picture mark the graves of Lance-Corporal Sydney Higgs (left) and Fusilier Joe Conlon (right)
Photo courtesy John Devlin

The two white headstones in the centre of the picture mark the graves of Lance-Corporal Sydney Higgs (left) and Fusilier Joe Conlon (right)
Photo courtesy John Devlin

The headstone of Fusilier Joe Conlon
Photo courtesy Barry Cuttell

 

Joe Conlon at school in December 1922

 

On the right of this picture of Aneetermore Point, Lough Neagh, is where Joe Conlon grew up

The Conlon family headstone in Moortown graveyard, Ardboe

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