Prince Harry opens medical centre named after Cork-born doctor
AN IRISH-BORN RAF doctor who escaped from Dunkirk and survived the atomic bomb which was dropped on Nagasaki during the Second World War has been honoured with the opening of a new medical centre in his name.
Prince Harry unveiled a plaque in memory of Dr Aidan MacCarthy as he officially opened the centre at RAF Honington in Suffolk, where the doctor had saved the lives of crew who crash-landed in 1941.
During the course of the Second World War, Dr MacCarthy, from Castletownbere in west Cork, also survived bombings, two torpedo attacks on ships he was travelling in, and being held in brutal conditions in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
Dr MacCarthy, who died in 1995 aged 82, had originally joined the RAF along with two Irish friends after a night out in England, where he had moved for work.
76 years after Dr MacCarthy was awarded the George Medal for bravery for his role in saving aircrew at RAF Honington, his daughters Adrienne and Nicola said they were "deeply honoured" as the centre named after their father was opened.
Bob Jackson, who wrote a book and produced a documentary about the incredible story of the Cork man, told The Irish News that there was "such a huge interest" in his life.
Mr Jackson said: "He was the only person so close to the centre of the events both at Dunkirk and Nagasaki. He was in a camp only a mile from Nagasaki. It's the most incredible story."
A samurai sword - which intrigues visitors to the family's pub, MacCarthy's Bar, made famous by the book by Pete McCarthy - was given to the the doctor by a Japanese prison camp commandant when he intervened to protect his former captor from Allied inmates at the end of the war.
Nicola, who travelled to Japan in 2013 and successfully tracked down relatives of the prisoner, Isao Kusuno, drove from west Cork to RAF Honington with the sword, where it is planned that it will remain on display until the end of the summer.