22 Jan 2022

OBITUARY: The Derrybeg man who fought in the Allied Invasion of Normandy

Phil Roussin was one of 14,000 Canadians who fought on D-Day

Deaths in Donegal

Deaths in Donegal

The death occurred peacefully at his home in Strand Road, Middletown, Derrybeg on Sunday, March 7 of Phil Roussin.
He was born in Winnipeg, Canada in 1923 and he was the eldest of eleven siblings.
After enjoying his childhood in Canada he wanted to see the world and he joined the Canadian Army. At the age of 21 he was deployed to Europe in World War Two. On June 6, 1944 Phil was one of 14,000 Canadians who took part in the Allied Invasion of Normandy, France that would eventually lead to an overall Allied Victory in European theatres of war. It would become known in history as D-Day.
The Canadian armed forces suffered 5,500 casualties during the Normandy campaign. 359 Canadians lost their lives on Juno beach on the first day of the conflict.
After the war he was stationed in Glasgow. It was here he met his future wife, Nellie Tim Boyle, who was a native of Magheraclogher, Bunbeg. They were married in Glasgow in 1946, and the couple lived there where two children were born to them.
Phil had to return back to Canada with his unit, and shortly afterwards his wife Nellie followed as a War Bride to join him there.
Two more children were born to them in Canada and after ten years they decided to move to live in Gaoth Dobhair.
Due to lack of employment opportunities here the couple decided to return to Glasgow where work was plentiful.
After some years working in Glasgow the couple returned to Gaoth Dobhair and had a new house built at the Strand Road, Middletown.
Phil was a man of gentle nature, with a caring personality and was a real gentleman. For years he served as a handy-man at Óstán Ghaoth Dobhair which was owned by his late brother-in-law, Hughie Tim Boyle. He was predeceased a number of years ago by his wife, Nellie and was also predeceased two years ago by his son-in-law, Jim Brogan.
His remains reposed at his home on Sunday and Monday. His concelebrated Requiem Mass was celebrated in St. Mary’s Church, Derrybeg on Tuesday, March 9. The main celebrant was Fr. Brian Ó Fearraigh, C.C., and Séiplíeach Phobal Scoil Ghaoth Dobhair and concelebrant was Fr. Seán O Gallchóir, P.P., Gortahork.
The lessons were read by his son, Brian and by Charlotte (great grand-daughter). The prayers of the faithful were read by Fr. Seán. The soloist was Noeleen Ní Cholla and the organist was Hugh Hiudaí Beag Gallagher. The funeral took place afterwards to Magheragallon cemetery.
He will be sadly missed by his daughter Joyce Brogan, sons; Brian, Jimmy and Michael, sisters; Denise and Elizabeth, brother William, daughters-in-law Marie and Denise, grandchildren Collette, Caroline, Anthony, Mark, Michelle, Nicola, Jeff, Fionn and Máire; great grandchildren: Simon, Charlotte, Niamh, Bobby, Charlie and Ruby and one great-great-grandchild, Zach, relatives and many friends.

- Tommy Curran

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