Fayette County

Lt. Cecil Charles McSweeny

Photo: Upper Iowa University yearbook, 1945



Phone in your News column

--Mr. and Mrs. Henry McSweeny have recently received the Purple Heart, which was awarded their son, Lt. Cecil McSweeny, who was injured in February during a bombing raid while fighting on the beachhead in Italy. After several weeks' hospitalization, he again on duty with the armored division.

Source: Fayette County Leader, June 8, 1944


Mrs. Henry McSweeny has received the Purple Heart posthumously awarded her son, Lt. Cecil McSweeny, for wounds which resulted in his death on May 30. Cecil received the first Purple Heart, following injuries on the Anzio beachhead in Italy on Feb. 21.

Following are excerpts from a letter written by a pal of her son, a lieutenant who was near him at the time of his death and received by a girl friend of Cecil, who lives in Chicago.

"When Mac was hit I was on his left about 2 miles and for that reason cannot truthfully say that my knowledge of what happened is absolutely correct. However, I have asked a number of men and they told me he was sitting in the turret of his command tank with his head and upper part of his shoulders visible. An artillery shell landed in front of his tank and shell fragments hit him in the head and shoulder. He lost quite a bit of blood enroute to the aid station; in spite of the plasma given him he never regained consciousness. He passed away before he reached the hospital. It happened south of Campoleone station, which is a few miles southwest of Albana.

"It sure was a blow to all of us, and perhaps more so to me for Mac and I were very good friends. He may not be here physically but he'll never be forgotten. The men in his platoon thought the world of him and proved that his organization and leadership lives on even after he left the platoon. When he took over, the platoon was considered the worst in the command, and in about 4 months the company commander considered it the best. He made the men work hard and he worked hard, and they loved him for it.

"He was one of the few officers that was respected by all and he'll always be remembered. Even now it's hard to realize he's not with us. He was quite proud of his little sister, Mary, and was always telling me about her. I feel like I know her quite well. I'm hoping that some day after the war is over I can go to the home and see the family."

Source: Fayette County Leader, October 5, 1944

Cecil Charles McSweeny

Cecil Charles McSweeny, son of Henry and Margaret McSweney, was born Nov. 13, 1918 near Galata, Montana. In July 1919, he came with his parents to Westgate where he spent most of his youth and manhood. He graduated from Maynard high school in 1936 and attended Upper Iowa University in Fayette in 1938 and 1939, after which he engaged in farming with his father southwest of Westgate, until his enlistment.

Cecil enlisted in the army in January, 1942 and was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he took early training. After completing officers candidate school in Fort Knox he was commissioned Second Lt. in Oct. 1943. Later he attended General Newton's College at the same camp.

He went overseas in March 1943 and spent his first months in North Africa, going to Italy in November with an armored division. He was wounded on the Anzio beachhead Feb 21, 1944. After spending two months in a hospital, he returned to the front lines where he met his death on May 30th, 1944.

After his death a fellow officer wrote: "Cecil was hitting in the turret on his command tank with his head and upper part of his shoulders visible from the outside (in order to more effectively direct his men). An artillery shell landed in front of his tank and he was hit by shell fragments. In spite of blood plasma given at the first aid station he never regained consciousness and passed away en-route to the hospital."

This same officer further wrote that "the men in his platoon thought the world of him. His organization and leadership lived on even after he left the platoon.

He made the men work hard and work hard himself, and they loved him for it. He was one officer who was respected by all, and he will always be remembered."

Henry McSweeny, Cecil's father, died June 29, 1944, not knowing of his son's death. Surviving Lieutenant McSweeny are his mother, Mrs Margaret McSweeny, and three sisters, Helen and Marjorie both at Vancouver, Washington, and Mary at home in Fayette besides other relatives and friends.

Source: The Oelwein Daily Register, December 15, 1944