About Our Fathers

Roland J. Regan Sr. 1934

Roland J. Regan Sr.

Roland James Regan was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on December 8, 1922. He was the son of two Irish immigrants, Margaret (Lombard) and Vincent (a.k.a.: Patrick) J. Regan from Mallow and Skibbereen respectively in County Cork, Ireland. He was the second of four children (Vincent a.k.a.: Pat, Roland, Peg, and Robert). Vincent was a rail conductor and bus driver for the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway Company while Margaret worked at home in raising her four children.

"Rollie," as he was known among his family and friends, was raised during the "Roaring Twenties" and the Great Depression.

Even though the Regan’s were a working-class family, they were able to avoid the “severe economic and psychological sting” of the Great Depression as Vincent was able to maintain his position with the railway company during this turbulent economic period.

Both his strong Irish roots and the trying economic times shaped Roland's view of the world forever. In January of 1940 Roland's father, Patrick, became ill with tuberculosis and was hospitalized most of that time until his death on 9 January 1942. During this period Roland left Lynn English High School to support his mother and his three siblings. He would soon be joined by his brother Pat in that noble effort.

Initially he worked as many as four different jobs during the course of a week to help his family make ends meet. Between 1940 and 1942 he was trained and certified as a railroad fireman, and as a welder at the Quincy Naval Shipyards in Quincy, Massachusetts. 

Regans 1930s

In November of 1942 Roland volunteered for the United States Army as a Combat Engineer, whereby he would enter the service in January 1943. In June 1943 he was assigned to the 1st Army, 348th Engineer Combat Battalion, Company A. During this time his battalion trained and prepared for the inevitable invasion of continental Europe by building pontoon bridges and other structures across lakes and rivers at various military camps on the East Coast. Roland received specialized training in welding and metallurgy while stationed at Camp Pickett, Virginia. On October 30, 1943 the 348th boarded trains from Camp Myles Standish in Massachusetts and headed toward Halifax, Canada. On November 2 the battalion set sail on the refitted luxury liner the HMS Mauritania to England. On Monday, November 8 the battalion arrived in Liverpool, England, among the first American troops to arrive in this part of Great Britain. In early December the 348th moved to the seaport town of Swansea, Wales and continued preparing for the invasion of continental Europe. During this period several of the book photos, including the one with Rocky Marciano, were taken.

Roland further fine-tuned his interest in taking and developing photographs, an interest that allowed him to capture some very unique and personal perspectives on World War II. Many of his collection of some three hundred photos spanning April of 1943 through July of 1945 are on display in this book including ones of Rocky Marciano, his Army peers, crossing the many German rivers, and the Nazi death camps. Immediately after the war Roland would contribute many of the photographs used in the pictorial history of the 348th published by the U. S. Army, for which he was later duly recognized in 1947 at the inaugural 150th and 348th Combat Engineers convention.

Regan Family Crest

With the victory over Japan in early September 1945, Roland was honorably discharged from the Army, returning to Lynn on October 29th, 1945. During his army stint he had sent home three of every four checks to help his mother back in Lynn. When he returned to his pre- war job as a welder at the Quincy naval shipyard he continued to support his mother until her death in the autumn of 1950. Roland attended the first of the 150th and 348th Engineer Combat Battalion reunion conventions (who combined with the 348th during most of the war) in Boston on May 6, 1947. In July of 1947 he was appointed as a firefighter on the Lynn Fire department where be would spend the next thirty-four years of his life. In June of 1948 Roland took his mother back to Ireland to visit their numerous relatives in County Cork.

During this period he met Mary Teresa Hunt from Roscommon, Ireland. On April 14, 1951, they were married and had three children: Roland, Jr., Paulette, and Sheila.

He returned to Ireland with his young family in June 1965 and visited Ireland with his family numerous times during the next twenty years.

He returned to Ireland with his young family in June 1965 and visited Ireland with his family numerous times during the next twenty years.

Roland would see his son graduate from Boston College, serve as an U.S. Air Force Officer and graduate from law school, and see both his daughters graduate from Northeastern University as healthcare professionals. He would live to see his children all marry producing four grandchildren, Todd, Reaghan, Scott, and Ashley.

Roland retired from the Lynn Fire department as a Lieutenant in July 1981. He attended his second, and last, 150th and 348th Combat Engineers reunion in central Connecticut in September 1988.

Roland passed away after a lengthy illness on November 15, 1989.

Mary T. and Her Three Children

©1996-2022: Christopher E. Mauriello, Ph.D., Roland J. Regan, Jr., J.D., and Purdue University Press. Reproduction of any and all images and/or text without first obtaining the express written permission of the author's and publisher herein is prohibited.