with mother, 1918
2007 Memorial Dedication
2007 Memorial Dedication
London Gazette, Dec. 16, 1919
2007 Memorial Dedication Program
The citation conferring this honor upon him was received by Pat a few weeks ago in New York. According to the regulations this medal should be pinned upon him by the King himself, but owing to the fact that he was unable to go to England at this time, a special ruling was made in Pat's case and the cross will be pinned upon him by the British ambassador to the United States. The ceremony will take place at the national Capital within a few weeks, in the presence of high British officials, and representatives of the American army. Sen. McCormick will be in charge of the ceremony, and the presentation will be witnessed by several of Pat's friends from all parts of the country.
The high decoration was bestowed by the King on December 16, 1919, but notice of the award reached Pat only three weeks ago. The cross is one of the most handsome decorations in the English army, being made of silver and suspended on a ribbon of British colors. Pat says if these decorations continue to come he will have to expand his chest to get room for them all. Of all the decorations which he has received, Pat prizes the war cross the most highly. -- Momence Press-Reporter.
"And to you, my sweet little wife, I go, thinking of you and my dear, sweet mother, my sisters and brothers. And may the just God that answered my prayers in those two days I spent in making my escape from Germany, once more answer them.
"And bring trouble, sickness, disgrace and more bad luck than anyone in this world has ever had and forever that awful woman that has broken our home and has taken you from me.
"She caused this life of mine, that just a few minutes ago was so happy to go on that sweet adventure of death.
"Please send what you find back to my dear mother in Momence, Ill.
"To the five armies I have been in, the birds, the animals I loved so well, to my friends, to all the world and to adventure, I say good-bye.
Lieut. O'Brien was born at Momence, where his mother and brothers and sister still reside, Many years ago he went west and when the war broke out he enlisted with the Royal Flying Corps of England and fought with them until he was captured by them and our people here have heard him tell of his wonderful escape from the Germans while they were taking him to a German prison camp. His leap from the train; his tramp of 72 days across the entire German country and finally arrived Holland and his return to this country a physical wreck, is all fresh in their minds. His many experiences are told in his book "Outwitting the Hun" which had a nation wide circulation.
Soon after his return to this country Lieut. O'Brien gave his famous lecture in Lowell. His lecture told in a vivid way the terrible experience he had in his escape from the Germans. The proceeds of the lecture amounted to $500 which was turned over to the Red Cross.
Perhaps no one had a greater experience in the World war and came back to tell of it, than did Pat O'Brien. His wonderful experiences will always be remembered by the folks here. Sincehe came back he has been on the chautauqua platform and gave lectures all over the country and at the time of his death he was in motion pictures. He was a young man who was greatly loved and respected by all those who knew him. He had visited here many times and numbered his friends by the score in this section.
Mrs. Maggie O'Brien, his mother, was prostrated when the news of her son's death came. One sister, Mrs. Ben Worley, resides here. They have a large circle of friends here who extend to them their heartfelt sympathy in their great hour of sorrow.
The remains will probably be brought back to Momence for burial.
The heroism of Lt. Pat O'Brien is written in his book, "Outwitting the Hun" published 1918. This aviator flew over France before the United States had entered WWI. Pat was shot down, wounded, captured, escaped, returned to England, honored by King George V, and returned home to Momence in 1917. He was one of the first American pilots to be captured and escape before the United States entered WWI.
The Memorial Dedication will take place at the Momence Cemetery, Tuesday, July 31, 2007 at 11:30 a.m..
Consul-General, the Honorable Andrew Seaton, from the British Consulate in Chicago, Illinois will present the British Flag to the surviving family members of Lt. O'Brien.
Mary Bock will play "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes.
A bi-plane, similar to the one flown by Pat, will be piloted by Dr. Brian Olofsson and will perform a flyover during the services.
Our Momence Honor Guard will accord military rites.
In my research on the life of Pat O'Brien, a photo of Pat and his Mother, Margaret Hathaway O'Brien was found on your website. Margaret was originally from Lowell before moving to Momence and marrying Daniel O'Brien, Momence. Their daughter, Lila was the wife of Ben Worley. Another daughter Clare was married to Matt Clegg. Their son Jack Clegg went to California in his youth and remained there.
Furter information on Pat O'Brien can be found at http://www.66squadron.co.uk/biogs/obrien.htm.
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