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Pat (Patrick) Byrne BEM

CPO Cook
Service no. D MK 6193

HMS Prince of Wales


CPO Cook Patrick Byrne

Patrick Byrne D MK 6193
Pat (Patrick) Byrne Chief Petty Officer and Cook joined the Royal Navy in 1940. He survived the sinking of the HMS Prince of Wales on the 10th December 1941 and with many of the survivors made his way to Singapore. The occupation of Singapore by Japanese military forces had begun in late 1941 and Singapore capitulated to the Japanese in February 1942. Pat was part of the 80,000 British, Australian and Indian troops which were either captured or surrendered.

Pat was incarcerated in a Japanese Prisoner Of War camp at this time and sent to work on the Burma Railway where forced labor was imposed upon him. It is unclear as to which camp he spent his time. Pat remained a prisoner of war for approximately three years until he was liberated by advancing American and Allied forces in late 1944 early 1945. Three years of forced labor had taken its toll and he was repatriated to the Royal Naval Auxiliary Hospital in Derry now St. Columbís Hospital. Pat remained there for a number of months where recuperation was slow. During his time spent recuperating at the hospital he met with his future wife Sarah McMonagle a Naval Wren, a native of Letterkenny and Derry, who was employed there.

After the war Pat served on destroyers, survey ships and last served on the aircraft carrier HMS Centaur Pat remained with the Royal Navy until his retirement in 1966. Prior to his retirement he was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) at a ceremony at H.M.S Sea Eagle, Derry. This medal is awarded for meritorious military service worthy of recognition by the Crown.

On his retirement from the Naval Service he returned to his home town of Wicklow in the Republic of Ireland. By this time Pat had married Sarah McMonagle the Naval Wren who cared for him during rehabilitation. Pat and Sarah (Both Deceased) settled in Wicklow Town and have three daughters Mary, Catherine and Celine, all who reside there today. After retiring from the naval service he took up employment as a foreman for a local company, named Terrapin, who manufactured industrial cabins and office units. He remained with this company until the early 1980ís when he officially retired to care for his wife. Pat, an active community member was involved in the local St. Vincent De Paul society and was a founder member and past president with the Local and District Credit Union.

In his later years Pat spent a lot if his time working at home and became an accomplished gardener. His naval training as a cook never left him and this combined with his ability to cultivate meant his culinary talents remained with him until the end. He was a devoted Husband, father and grandfather.

Like many servicemen who survived the war he seldom spoke of his ordeals but on rare occasions he told stories which captivated the imagination.

Pat died on the 25th January 1998 aged 77 taking many of his memories with him. He is survived by his brotherís Bob and Ned his Sister Lilly and his daughters Mary, Catherine and Celine. He is sadly missed by his extended family the Maloneís, Smullenís and the McWalterís.

Information provided by his grandson Alan Smullen.

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Pat (on the left) in the mid 1990's

On board with a shipmate

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Receiving his British Empire Medal in 1965

Pat with his proud family after receiving the British Empire Medal

Patrick's citation for the British Empire Medal:

The London Gazette
of Tuesday, 29th December 1964
Registered as a Newspaper

St. James's Palace, London S.W.I.
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to
approve the award of the British Empire
Medal (Military Division) to the undermentioned:

Chief Petty Officer Cook (S) Patrick BYRNE,
D/MX 61963.

Contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.

Andy Wade (Webmaster)

Information provided by

Alan Smullen (Grandson).