A Long Road to Freedom
The Life of Patrick McCrystal
An Irish Soldier’s Cry for Peace
By Mary Mc Cartan
Most men returning from World War 2 never spoke about their experiences. Still in their youth they simply closed the book on the past and started a new life. The young Irish fellas returning, especially to the North were forced to bury their history even further down and completely deny it for their own safety.
Patrick Mc Crystal was one of those men who arrived home alive with a story of horror. But he locked that story inside for 53 years before being forced to tell it.
This is his story. A first hand experience of a life time of war through the eyes of one Peace-loving man who has seen the devastation of some of the most gruesome attacks on civilian populations in the 20th Century.
Patrick found himself in Malta in 1940 trapped in the most bombed place in world history. After surviving that siege he ended up in the frontline as the Germans slaughtered British Troops on Leros. As a POW Patrick helped bury the tens of thousands of German civilians killed in Dresden by Allied attacks.
On returning home to peaceful normality, war found him again in 1969. Raising a family through the Northern Ireland Troubles was difficult and Patrick suffered the loss of his own daughter in the bombing of his hometown of Omagh in 1998.
This is the survival story of a man who has seen the best and worst of human nature and truly understands the price of freedom