During the meeting held on 22 September 2015, the Trust’s Board of Directors launched the 2016 competition for The Military Heritage Annual Award in memory of Major Charlie Trainor MM.
Entries for the 2016 Award should be submitted by 30 September 2016. The Trust will endeavour to have the winning paper published in a appropriate periodicals such as Reveille, History Ireland and the Defence Forces Review, and will duly post the paper on the Trust’s Website.
Currently, the Trust is addressing the 2015 Award, the process which envisages the evaluation taking place during the period November 2015 to February 2016, with the presentation of the 2015 award taking place on the margins of the Trust’s AGM scheduled for 24 May 2016. The Trust will give an Award, ordinarily annually, of €500 to the undergraduate student whose paper is deemed outstanding by a panel of judges, and which, through new research, adds to our knowledge of Ireland’s military heritage.
The title of the award is “The Military Heritage Annual Award”.
The Military Heritage of Ireland Trust (CLG) promotes activities that facilitate an enhanced awareness and appreciation of Ireland’s military heritage. This unique heritage is common to the different political and religious traditions of Ireland. In advancing military heritage, the Trust promotes the study of Irish military history and, in particular, the study of Irish men and women in the profession of arms both at home and overseas, irrespective of the Theatre of Operations, National Flag or Regimental Colour.
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Major Thomas (Charlie) Trainor MM
Thomas James Trainor was born in Greencastle in Belfast, Northern Ireland on the 25th of September 1919. Joining the ranks of the 2nd Battalion of The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1938 at Catterick Camp, he became known to all as Charlie Trainor.
Soon after the declaration of war in September 1939, the Battalion was sent to France and into Belgium. In May 1940, Charlie Trainor was detailed to forward reconnaissance patrol to gather information about enemy activity and saw action before being evacuated from Dunkirk on the 31st of May 1940.
The next few weeks were spent on standby in the South of England in readiness for the expected German invasion. When the immediate threat receded, the Battalion was sent to Scotland and brought up to strength with reinforcements. Their next assignment was in Bootle on fire watching duties, helping to protect the vital industrial areas around Liverpool from the effects of German incendiary bombs.
In early 1942, the Battalion travelled to Glasgow where they boarded the RMS Franconia II and sailed for Durban. Here, preparations were made to land in Madagascar in May 1942. Charlie was detailed to the reconnaissance patrol, their main enemy on this mission turned out to be mosquitoes, black water fever and the dense tropical undergrowth. After a brief but uncomfortable stay on the Island they rejoined the Franconia and sailed for Bombay.
The Battalion’s stay in India was shorter than expected, being recalled and diverted to Basra. The men travelled by road from there through Iraq to Lebanon, arriving in November 1942. It was here that Col. J.P. O’Brien Twohig took over as Commanding Officer. He saw the need for a small, agile unit of well trained men under battalion command to carry out reconnaissance and disruptive action. To this end he asked for volunteers, some of whom were sent to the Mountain Warfare Training Centre at Cedars, Lebanon to hone their skills. Charlie Trainor was amongst them.
From Lebanon the Battalion moved to Egypt in June 1943 to prepare for the invasion of Sicily. Charlie Trainor was involved with the activities of Battle Patrol throughout the Sicilian and Italian campaigns. He was active at the landing in Sicily, the crossing of the Garigliano, Anzio and the attack on Mount Spaduro and was awarded the MM in late 1943.
The citation reads: “Sgt Trainor’s dash, determination and personal bravery were undoubtedly responsible in a large measure for the way in which the patrol succeeded in achieving its object in the face of enemy fire”
He was commissioned in the field, succeeding Lieutenants Paddy long and Jock Crawford in command of Battle Patrol. He was wounded in late April 1945 during the crossing of the Po Delta and was convalescing in Rimini when victory in Europe was declared.
After the war he continued his recovery in Villach, Austria where his experience at Cedars, Lebanon qualified him to set up a mountain warfare training school at Schmelz which he ran for two years until 1949. He married in 1948. He was posted to Cyprus during the Suez crisis, leaving there in 1956 for England, before being posted to Singapore from 1959 to 1960.
He retired from military service in 1961. Charlie Trainor died peacefully on 25 July 2009 at his home near Camberley, Surrey after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Mitzi and two sons.
He was a soldier.