Patrick Kielty bids farewell to US war hero uncle
Comedian Patrick Kielty bid a farewell to his uncle Eugene - a modest Co Down man who moved to America and became a war hero.
Eugene Alden Lessman was buried with full military honours at Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC on Friday. The graveyard honours those that have served the US .
From Main Street in Dundrum he moved to the US, joined the army and became a Green Beret. He served two tours of Vietnam winning the highest military honours including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valor.
He also ran counter intelligence in Berlin during the Cold War.
"When he left the army he cut up his uniform and had no interest in telling anyone what he did," Kielty said in an Instagram post.
"But he loved telling everyone where he was from."
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Said goodbye yesterday to an old soldier. Our Uncle Eugene, my Dad’s brother. Born in the front room on the Main Street in Dundrum. Laid to rest with full honours at Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC. He was a Green Beret, two tours of Vietnam, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Air Medal w Valor. Counter intelligence in Berlin during the Cold War. When he left the army he cut up his uniform and had no interest in telling anyone what he did. But he loved telling everyone where he was from. There’s two Dundrum brothers having a pint and a catchup somewhere now. Last night their boys smiled and raised a glass to them both. RIP Eugene Alden Lessman. You were our hero.
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Kielty, who is married to TV presenter Cat Deeley with two sons, lives in the US with his family.
The 48-year-old talked of his uncle's heroics in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph in December 1999 when Mr Lessman made the journey across the Atlantic for a family Millennium party.
The Irish News reported on how in 2015 Kielty spoke of how his uncle followed people around Germany in a bid to learn their secrets when today people willingly handover the information through their phones.
His grandfather - Eugene's father - was also in military intelligence.
Mr Lessman took to writing penning his experiences in a blog A Boy from Dundrum as well as writing books combining modern military experience and Celtic tales.
He wrote about how his father was unable to get much "respite from the horrors of war" with his service in France and Italy during the Second World War and later in Korea in the 1950s
In his bio he states he moved to a "small hobby farm" after his retirement from military service in 2001 where he lived with his wife Sue, and three cats, Bear, Bart and Jake Junior.
Patrick's dad Jack - Eugene's half brother - was shot dead by loyalist terrorists in 1988 in their home village of Dundrum.
"There’s two Dundrum brothers having a pint and a catchup somewhere now," added Kielty.
"Last night their boys smiled and raised a glass to them both. RIP Eugene Alden Lessman. You were our hero."
Belfast Telegraph Digital