EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 7, 2013

A family at war: Seven siblings served simulatenously in WWII

By Kelly Burch
kburch@eagletribune.com

---- — Seven siblings from one family serving at the same time in a war seems unheard of today, but for the Horgans it was just something that had to be done.

“Everyone served in the big war,” said Kevin Horgan, the son of Patrick Horgan, who was in the Army while six of his siblings also were in the military across the globe during World War II.

None of the Horgans was drafted, but seven of the 10 siblings from Haverhill felt called to service. All of them saw action and quite miraculously, all made it home alive.

Donnell and Raymond were in the Navy and spent considerable time in the Pacific. For awhile their units were a single boat apart.

“One would come into port and the other would leave,” Kevin said.

Robert and Allen were stationed in the Pacific with the Army Air Corps; Allen also flew over Europe. Kevin said that of all the siblings, Allen came home with the most psychological trauma.

“Allen saw so much,” Kevin said. “It really bothered him when he came home.”

Kevin’s father, Patrick, was a staff sergeant in the Army. Paul was a member of the Counter Intelligence Corps and helped capture Tokyo Rose, the famous Japanese propaganda broadcaster.

Mary, the only daughter to enlist, served in the Naval Women’s Reserves, also known as the WAVEs.

While the Horgans were off fighting the war, their mother, Mary, was busy praying at home.

“She would say a rosary for each and every one of them every day,” Kevin said.

After the war, they carried on in serving their country and community. Raymond, Paul, and John (the latter did not serve during the war) became FBI agents. Robert was the assistant post master in Haverhill and Patrick became a city councilor, also in Haverhill. Allen worked at the Lawrence Post Office.

Kevin has carried on their work as principal of Haverhill High School.

“I had a tradition to follow,” he said.

Excerpt from Allen Horgan's letter to his brother, Patrick, June 19, 1944 "You could almost get out and walk on the flack that they were shooting at us. Sure was a sight. Just as we started our run, all hell broke loose. Up to today I have 17 missions in and with good luck I should have 50 by September, then I'm done with flying. ….. "If only I had a good camera I would send you a picture. Them alp mountains sure are fine ones. …. "Things are great over here and Germany I believe is just about finished. She will make one last stand and I believe that will be it. ..." SECOND BOX BOOK FEATURES HUNDREDS OF LOCAL VETERANS North of Boston Media Group is publishing a collectible coffee-table book featuring hundreds of local veterans who submitted their pictures, stories and memorabilia. Due out in early December and in time for holiday giving, "Salute To Veterans" is being offered through Nov. 13 at a special purchase price of $29.95. The book regularly sells for $39.95. This hard-bound book, which recognizes veterans from the Civil War to Modern Warfare, features more than 500 photos -- all of people from the North Shore and Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. If you live here, you will recognize faces. You will also be captivated by a variety of stories told by veterans themselves and talented writers from North of Boston Media Group. To order your copies of "Salute To Veterans" visit http://www.pedimentbooks.com/store/product/merrimack-veterans-book/. You can also call Linda Gardner at The Eagle-Tribune, 978-946-2241.