John Gallagher in the backyard on Oakton Avenue in early 1942. At midnight on Dec. 7, 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he showed up at the federal building on Post Office Square, ready to enlist.
In 1919 or 1920 when this picture was taken, the Gallaghers had recently relocated from South Boston to 58 Oak Avenue (later Oakton) in Dorchester. Helen, Tom and Frank stand in the back row. Charlie and John stand at front.
John’s father, Tom, sits outside his ‘cure cottage’ at Edward Trudeau’s Sanitarium at Saranac Lake. Tom battled his tuberculosis at Saranac from June of 1921 to the summer of 1922, but succumbed to the disease in April of 1924 when John was seven years old.
John stands with his German shepherd Rex on the front porch of his home on Oakton Avenue in 1932. In a family of well regarded brothers and sisters, John was deemed the kindest of all.
Charlie and John Gallagher were known as ‘Irish twins’ because they were born 11 months apart in 1915 and 1916. Around the time this photo was taken, they -- and Frank – would each troop off to different C.C.C. camps for a year.
A partial family portrait most likely taken at Easter, the Gallaghers often stood in their yard for photographs, the same yard that blossomed with fruit trees in spring and that Frank used as a burial ground for his cars.
Lois Huss sits between John Gallagher and his sister Helen. “When [John would come] home from the Navy, he would be in uniform, and I would be over there staring at him,” said Lois.
Home from boot camp in Newport and just before he took a streetcar across town to board Plunkett, John stands for a picture by the fireplace in the dining room.
During his first year in the service, Plunkett docked in Boston on occasion and John would go home on liberty, as he is here in August of 1942.
Jim McNellis, John Gallagher, Vic “Ski” Zakrzewski, Jim Feltz, a “French kid” and Irvin “Dutch” Gebhart stand for one of several pictures in a Casablanca studio.
On liberty, Vic Zakrzewski, Irvin Gebhart and John Gallagher were fellow travelers, joined occasionally by the likes of Jim Feltz and Tom Garner, on trips to the carnival in Norfolk, to a YMCA in Virginia, and to miscellaneous photo studios.
After Plunkett docked in Mers el Kebir, John found his brother in a staging area at Arzew, outside Oran in North Africa. This was just before the first invasion of the European mainland at Salerno. Frank would return the call just before the invasion at Anzio.
The youngest Gallagher brother, Joe, also served in the medical corps as an ambulance driver. During the three-and-a-half years Frank was away from home, he met Joe once, in Luxembourg.
Frank Gallagher was with the Army infantry unit that liberated the German concentration camp at Dachau. As a medic, he was among the first to witness the atrocities and treat the survivors. At some point during his time at Dachau, Frank dressed up in the commandant’s uniform.
About his oldest brother, Tom, John Gallagher wrote home to a friend in November of 1943: “I hope that draft board don’t call Tom as yet. I think three out of one family is plenty. Don’t you?” Tom would be the fourth. The army called as John was writing that letter and put Tom in the Signal Corps.
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