War Hero Depicted In 'Band Of Brothers' Dies Aged 96

A Second World War hero who was portrayed in the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers has died at the age of 96.

Donald Malarkey parachuted behind enemy lines at Normandy to destroy German artillery on D-day and was one of several members of Easy Company to be characterised in the 2001 series, produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.

Malarkey fought across France, the Netherlands and Belgium and with Easy Company, and often received praise for his efforts in the war. During the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, he fought off Nazi advances at Bastogne while completely surrounded.

However, Malarkey's time on the battlefield haunted him for the rest of his life. His family said the devastation of losing fellow soldiers and friends to the war stayed with him, but Band of Brothers helped him to come to terms with the long-lasting emotional scars.

Donald Malarkey
Donald Malarkey

Credit: PA

Born in Salem, Oregon in 1921, Donald Malarkey was drafted into the army in 1942 where he volunteered to become a paratrooper after having been denied entry into the Marines because of dental problems.

As a member of Easy Company, he fought for 23 days in Normandy, nearly 80 in the Netherlands, 39 in the Battle of Bastogne in Belgium, and nearly 30 more in and around Haguenau, France, and the Ruhr Pocket in Germany.

Malarkey served more consecutive time on the front lines than any other member of his company and managed to avoid getting seriously injured.

He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, and others.

Malarkey, as portrayed by Scott Grimes. Credit: HBO

He later travelled to Europe with other members of Easy Company to recount their war experiences, and their oral recollections became the basis for Band of Brothers - as well as an earlier book with the same name, written by historian Stephen Ambrose.

The series was a dramatisation of Easy Company's exploits during the war.

Starting with jump training at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, Band of Brothers follows the parachute unit through the American airborne landings in Normandy, Operation Market Garden, the Siege of Bastogne, and on to the war's end.

Credit: HBO

Until the very end, Malarkey remained close with the former members of Easy Company, attending a final reunion in August.

"You could look back and with great pride realise that you had done a very significant thing and acted responsibly in what amounted to saving the world," Malarkey told Oregon Public Broadcasting in 2012.

Featured Image Credit: PA / HBO

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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