Obituary - Charles O'Flaherty - Spanish Civil War veteran.

Charles O'Flaherty

The Volunteer, November 1984, New York organ of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Charles O'Flaherty, oldest of three brothers who fought fascism in Spain, died June 28th after a sudden stroke, in Newark, New Jersey, just three months short of his 80th birthday.

In a formal expression of appreciation of his community service the Board of Freeholders of Essex County, the county governing board, adopted a resolution mourning his passing and noting his activities to alert people everywhere to 'the threat of nuclear war.'

Badly wounded on the Jarama front where he served in the Lincoln infantry, Charlie was invalided home late in 1937 with a shattered arm supported by an orthopaedic device known among the walking wounded as an 'airplane sling'. Then with the 'airplane sling' still in place he undertook a nation wide tour with his brother Frank, also invalided home, and walking with a cane, to raise funds for the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

Born in South Boston, Charlie was an early member of the Marine Workers Industrial Union and with the advent of World War 2 he returned to sea again as an NMU member and spent that war on the Murmansk Run - the most dangerous voyage of a dangerous time. Meanwhile brother Frank, also and NMU man, spent the war years at sea moving vital cargo to various troubled zones. Frank died after the end of World War 2.

The third and youngest brother, Eddie (Edward) former infantry commander at Jarama. Was an expert auto mechanic whose skills were put to good use during World War 2 when he served as a member of General Patton's 'Cannonball Express.' Eddie died seven years ago leaving Charlie the surviving member of a dedicated trio.

After his second war Charlie married, settled in Newark where he worked for Worthington Pump Company and where he served as President of Local 55 of the International Brotherhood of Firemen, Oilers and Maintenance Mechanics - AFL-CIO. Meanwhile he was active in campaigns: to end the Vietnam War; to outlaw the nuclear bomb; for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment; to implement legislation against racial discrimination in employment and various local community issues.

Following his death friends and neighbours gathered in two separate memorial meetings to honour his memory. They included whites and blacks, representatives of many political strands and various religious and philosophical persuasions.

Charlie is survived by his wife Annette, two sons Sean and Brendan, and a sister Mrs Ann Mitchell, of New Haven.