22 April 2012

Red Cushing continues to interest

Regular readers will know that I am fascinated by Thomas "Red" Cushing, a man who served in teh US army in the 30s, then on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. After this he joined the British army wwas taken prisoner during the fall of France was sent as a labourer to a mine where he played the "Good Soldier Svejk", then to the Freisack camp which was set up by the Germans to recruit Irish soldiers to their cause.

With the Senior British Officer's connivance, he joined a group of of potential recruits with the full intention of disrupting german efforts. These failed and he sat out a large portion of the war in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. It was there where he met Yakov Stalin and provides a prosaic but plausible reason for Stalin minor's suicide.

Some time ago (I cannot recall exact dates of this or most other comments) Joseph Conlon wrote

My dad met Red Cushing. We have a photo of him on our bathroom wall at home. I'm just reading the book 'Soldier For Hire' and its great so far.  I asked my dad today - Red's dad seems like a bit of a nutter to which her replied "yes but Red's daughter was even worse"... guess I have got more to find out... 

Today I received a comment from someone giving his name as Peter:

I was Red Cushing's platoon commander 9n Germany (Berlin) and Korea in the 1950's. I have many stories about him - most of which revolved around his problem with "the drink" (he really loved his beer!). He was truly a one of a kind character, and I'm pleased to see that people are still interested in his exploits.

I was truly delighted to receive this comment. Peter (Lunt?), if you come back to this low quality blog I would be delighted to hear more. Indeed, if there is anyone else out there who knew Red, I would love to hear from you. In fact I am not even sure when he died. I know he would still have been alive in 1980

Red Cushing was a truly larger than life character. I have more information on his time in Germany in WWII  from books such as Terrence O' Reilly's superb work Hitler's Irishmen.There is a record of correspondence sent by Peter Lunt to Ciarran Crossey, who used to run a superb website Ireland and the Spanish Civil War, which details some of Red's post war exploits in the British Army and which shows Red as much a "character" as he ever was!

One day, maybe, I will research Red's life more fully. His own book "Soldier For Hire", is an entertaining read but is  not an accurate account of his life. His was truly a life less ordinary and surely deserves a good biography. I'm not sure that I am up to that task but maybe I wil try!


Peter Lunt said...

Re my last post. Sorry - the words "9n Berlin" should have read "in Berlin" (I was watching TV while I typed it on my laptop).
My surname is indeed Lunt, and I presume that you have read the full report on my experiences with Red that I sent to Ciarran several years ago - if not, send me an e-mail address at P-R-L@shaw.ca and I will send you a copy.
In all fairness, while he was a great character, he was a disaster as my platoon sergeant, since he was totally unreliable and was usually under the influence of drink. The troops had no respect for him and took advantage of him whenever they had the opportunity.
All the best!
Peter Lunt

jams o donnell said...

Hi Peter, thanks for your comment. I did indeed read what you told Ciarran.

I am not surprised that Red continued to act like he did. Being his C/O must have been quite an experience!

Thank you for posting your comments. They are truly appreciated!