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Lance Sergeant Thomas O’Donoghue

Incident Report

Dead Mans Gap, Weybourne

  • June 17, 1945
  • Dead Mans Gap, Weybourne



Incident Details. The details below are taken from the Military Court of Inquiry, into the accident that occurred at 10.00 hrs on the 17th June 1945, at Dead Mans Gap, Weybourne, resulting in the death of Lance Sergeant Thomas O’Donoghue. These were given to us by his son Thomas O’Donoghue, of Liverpool. On the 17 January two mine sweeping parties were at work, clearing two minefields in close proximity of each other, these were minefields 42A and 14A. Lance Sergeant T. O’Donoghue was supervising work in the latter. 2nd Lieutenant D.C.T. Venn, who was in charge of both parties, at 09.50 hrs stopped work on field 42A and went across to 14A. It was his intention to move mines from the cliff face. On arriving at 14A he found that work had ceased as the mine detection equipment had broken down and men had gone back to the stores area for a replacement. This was a good opportunity to clear the mines that had fallen down the cliff face. 2nd Lieutenant Venn, accompanied by Lance Sergeant O’Donoghue and Corporal G.R. Steen walked across the cleared gap to the cliff face. 2nd Lieutenant Venn pointed out an enclosed gully, with a barricade consisting of eight four foot steel target frames, wired together, with concertina bared wire on the inside to form a fence. This according to plans was not mined, however should be swept, Lance Sergeant O’Donoghue agreed. 2nd Lieutenant Venn then proceeded down the cliff face and defused/disarmed a mine that had slipped onto a ledge. He called Corporal Steen across to assist him in lifting the mine onto the cliff top. As they lifted the mine there was a muffled explosion, Corporal Steen was blow into the cliff face and 2nd Lieutenant Venn onto the beach, Lance Sergeant O’Donoghue was heard to call for 2nd Lieutenant Venn by name. He climbed the cliff and found Lance Sergeant O’Donoghue lying in the gully outside the barricade. He was suffering multiple injuries, a despatch rider was sent for the Medical Officer and an ambulance. Lance Sergeant Thomas O’Donoghue died on the 18th January 1945 from his wounds. The County Court Coroner, on the 20th January 1945 concluded that Lance Sergeant T. O’Donoghue died from injuries accidentally received by being blown up by a mine on a minefield whilst on duty. The findings of the Military Court of Inquiry placed the blame for this accident upon the person or persons who laid the minefield. In 2nd Lieutenant D.C.T. Venn statement he records that Lance Sergeant Thomas O’Donoghue was a competent, reliable and experienced NCO with minefield work.

Personal Details

  • 2090444 Lance Sergeant
  • Thomas O’Donoghue
  • 13 Platoon. 4 Bomb Disposal Company
  • Royal Engineers
Husband of Mary Josephine O’Donoghue of Kirkdale, Liverpool. Died on the 18th January 1945. Aged 32. Buried at Ford Roman Catholic Cemetery, Liverpool. Section A.H. Grave 45.


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