Opinion

US soldier hanged for north Belfast murder

THE US Public Relations Office in Belfast announced yesterday: "Private Wiley Harris, condemned to death for the murder of a civilian [Henry Coogan at Earl Street], was hanged this morning."

The place of execution was not disclosed.

US tanks approach Rome

AMERICAN tanks have struck the slopes of the Alban Hills less than 16 miles from Rome. They are now hammering at German strongpoints of armour, artillery and infantry. According to a dispatch from the front last night, the Germans have unleashed a series of strong counter-attacks. Tanks and flame-throwers are being thrown in support of a series of fierce jabs as Fieldmarshal Kesselring strives desperately to hold the line at least long enough to extricate his endangered divisions.

Early yesterday Allied headquarters announced the virtual destruction of three German divisions, totalling possibly 24,000 men.

Japanese position 'grave' in Burma

THE Japanese forces on the Burma-India front are in an increasingly grave position after a week that has shown Allied supremacy on the ground and in the air in all sectors. This was revealed in a statement from Admiral Mountbatten's headquarters yesterday.

On the eve of the monsoon, after gambling for high stakes in the 1943-44 campaign, and misjudging their opponents' strength, the Japanese are unable to effect a swift retreat anywhere on the front.

? One northern victim of the Japanese campaign in Burma was Frank Pantridge (1916-2004), the future renowned cardiologist. Born near Hillsborough, he qualified as a doctor at Queen's University Belfast in 1939, joining the Royal Army Medical Corps on the outbreak of war.

Awarded the Military Cross for valour in Burma, he was captured by the Japanese who sent him to a 'death camp'.

Like other POWs he was forced to do 'slave labour'. As a result his hands and arms were permanently damaged.

When the war ended, Pantridge worked as a cardiologist in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital where he pioneered the use of portable defibrillators to treat emergency cases.

In 1966 Professor Pantridge introduced the first 'cardiac ambulance' in Belfast and this was copied all over the world. Now the portable defibrillator that he pioneered is an everyday piece of medical equipment and has saved countless lives.

On Wednesday June 5 at 10am staff and pupils at St Colman's Primary School in Lambeg will pay tribute to this remarkable man with a sponsored walk from the school to the Island Centre in Lisburn where his statue stands.

They hope to promote the availability of portable defibrillators in schools.

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