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Joseph E. Driscoll

Joseph DriscollJoseph E. Driscoll was the president of the Canisius College Class of 1943.  He served on the Student Council as Secretary-Treasurer, was a member of the International Relations Club, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, The Coffin Club, AZUWUR staff, played Intramurals, and was in the United States Army Enlisted Reserve Corps.  He participated in the Freshmen Academia and took a Philosophy Medal his junior year.

As president of his senior class, Joseph Driscoll wrote a letter (PDF) for his yearbook that foreshadowed his own future as he addressed what the times demanded of them.  To the men of the class of ’43 Driscoll wrote, "...when, in a short time we shall be called upon to actively serve our country, we are determined that we shall not fail.  We will serve our God and we will serve our country with every ounce of our courage.

In May of 1943 he was called into active duty by the U.S. Army.  July 1943 found him posted to Camp Fort McClellan, Alabama and in March 1944, he was sent overseas with the Second Indianhead Division.  In the September 1944 edition of The Griffin, Canisius College’s student newspaper, Joseph Driscoll was listed as “Missing.”  By the November 17, 1944 edition of The Griffin that status changed to “Deceased.”

In 2000, Mr. Robert R. “Duke” Maynard of Bristol, CT contacted Mr. John J. Hurley, Canisius College Vice President for College Affairs. Maynard was interested in learning more about Joseph Driscoll as he and Driscoll served together in combat during WW II.  In subsequent conversations between Maynard and Hurley, Maynard shared the events of 27 July 1944.  The correspondence between Maynard and Hurley resulted in an article printed in CANISIUS magazine (PDF), Winter 2005 edition.

Hurley wrote:

Early in the morning of July 27,1944, Maynard and Driscoll, both infantry scouts, were in the fields east of Normandy, doing advance work for the Allied forces as they began the push toward Paris.  The day before had been very eventful for Maynard and Driscoll as about a dozen German troops had surrendered to them in the field.  They were proceeding in their reconnaissance as fast as they could walk when Maynard felt something hit him. He fell to the ground, knocking out his front teeth. He had been struck in the throat by enemy fire and was spurting blood. Within seconds, Driscoll was at his side using first, Maynard's aid kit and then his own to bind Maynard's wound.  He pulled Maynard to safer ground and turned to seek medical help.  As he stood, he cried out, "I've been hit. I've been hit."  Maynard never saw him hit the ground. He lapsed in and out of consciousness for a long period until medical help arrived. When the medics arrived they told him Driscoll had been killed.

A very grateful Duke Maynard has lived for 60 years with this vivid memory of Driscoll's noble act of courage.  He wrote to me last year, 'You at Canisius College should be aware of and proud to have such a true hero among the ranks of your graduates.'  Amen, Duke Maynard Requiescas in Pace, Joseph E. Driscoll '43.