Major Charles Sweeny MC

Major Charles Sweeny MC

Major Charles Raymond Patrick Sweeny MC died on 9 May 1945 as the result of a road traffic accident. He had left the 2nd Battalion The Royal Ulster Rifles at Meerlo in January 1945 to become one of Field Marshal Montgomery's liaison officers. On 13 May 1945, by special request of the Field Marshal, a burial party of four officers, twelve men and four buglers from 2 RUR travelled to Tactical Headquarters, 21st Army Group, to assist at the funeral when Major Charles Sweeny was buried at Becklingen War Cemetery near Soltau in Niedersachsen.

(Below: an appreciation by Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, KCB, DSO.)

It is with a heavy heart that I record the death of another member of my team of liaison officers, who was also a former A. D. C. - Charles Sweeny of the Royal Ulster Rifles. It is a tragedy that of that team of gallant young L.Os whose photograph appeared in the Illustrated London News of 5 May, two are now dead (John Poston and Charles Sweeny) and one is lying wounded in hospital in Germany (Peter Earle). The photograph was taken on 12 April.

The loss of Charles Sweeny is hard to bear. I first got to know him in Palestine in the troublesome days of the winter of 1938/39 when the 2nd Bn RUR was serving in that country; later his battalion was in the 3rd Division which I took to France in September 1939, and it was in those days that I began my close association with him. He became my A. D. C. early in 1940 and was with me in the Dunkirk days.

Charles was an orphan and possibly it was that fact which drew us close together; he knew the depth of my devotion to him because I had told him of it; he knew that he could call on me for anything he needed, as if I was his father.

He was an Irish boy with a delightful brogue. There was nothing he liked more than a good argument; he would "trail his coat" with great skill and when discussion was started, he would take whichever side was likely to lead to the most heated argument; nothing would shake him from his adopted line of country.

He had a very strong character and was utterly incapable of any mean or underhand action; his sense of duty was highly developed, and his personal bravery very great.

His death is the more tragic in that the road accident which led to it occurred after the German surrender on the north flank had taken place; he was escorting a German Admiral back to Kiel and the car left the road and crashed into a tree.

I loved this gallant Irish boy and his memory will remain with me for all time.

[Below, The photograph of Field Marshal Montgomery with his LOs taken on 12 April 1945. Major Charles Sweeny is seated on the end of the front row to the Field Marshal's right side.]