Harry Bloomer MBE

Harry Bloomer was born on 22nd Nov 1911 in Athy, County Kildare, the son of a Protestant soldier who died of pneumonia in Poona just before he was to be de-mobbed in 1919. Harry entered the Royal Hiberian Military School, Dublin in 1921 and was promoted to boy sergeant a year later. The school amalgamated with the Duke of York's School in Dover in 1924 and Harry continued his education there. He entered the Buffs on 19th Dec 1930 while they were at Canterbury, then Shorncliffe where he worked in the orderly room and learned shorthand and typing. He was promoted to sergeant while the Buffs were at Borden from 1934. In 1936 he went to Palestine with the regiment during the Arab riots and sympathised with the Jewish cause.

By 1938 the regiment was in South Wales and when War broke out he was serving in France. A photo shows him walking down a street in La Boule in 1939 although they were billeted in Beaune. After some months they returned to England and had special training at Margate. In 1940 they were stationed in Lincolnshire to guard the east coast. Harry married Maureen in Oct 1940 at Christ Church, Dunlaoghaire. The Buffs moved around England several times and then embarked for a voyage to Sierra Leone that took them through the Atlantic where their convoy had many submarine scares. They went on to South Africa and anchored at Cape Town for their first shore leave in 5 weeks. Their ship then progressed to Suez in July 1942 and Harry, after a spell in Cairo, went to an officer cadet training unit (OCTU) in Palestine which he found to be a tough few month's course. He was soon a full lieutenant and training with his regiment for a landing in Italy. But suddenly he was posted back to Palestine in 1943, to the Middle East Training Centre in Gaza. He stayed there until 1946. He contributed to the planting of a tree in his name and was given a certificate by the Jewish Tree Fund.

But home leave was short because he was sent back in Jan 1947, to HQ Middle East Forces. In June 1949 he was posted to HQ Northern Ireland, a four and a half year job that he enjoyed very much as he could go home to Dublin every weekend. In June 1953 he was awarded the MBE and resigned his commission in October of that year having reached the rank of Captain. He retired and lived in Dublin with his wife Maureen and daughter Sheelagh. He died on 16th may 1994 and is buried in Deansgate Cemetery, Dublin.

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by Stephen Luscombe