This week, we are observing Veterans Day by learning more about one Peabody veteran. The above image, photographed by Cheryl Millard, is the Eastman Gelatine World War II Honor Roll. In 2024, the Honor Roll plaque will be moved to Emerson Cemetery on the corner of Washington Street and Allens Lane, after the closing of Rousselot (Eastman Gelatine).

Here we take a deeper dive into the life of one of the men.

Richard Hyde Eagan (1918-2001)

Richard H. Eagan was born on June 13th, 1918 to George and Bridget (Hyde) Eagan. The family lived at 24 Buxton Street. Richard had 4 siblings: George, Mary, Gertrude and Grace. He was a watchman at Eastman Gelatine before serving in World War II. He graduated with the Peabody High School Class of 1936, where he was senior class president (yearbook below).

Eagan enlisted on May 28, 1942. He named his P-51 Mustang after his hometown (see below). He was honorably discharged on November 5, 1945.

Image Courtesy of the American Air Museum in Britain
“PEABODY’S PET,” P-51 Mustang Fighter plane named by Staff Sgt. Richard H. Eagan was one of the hundreds of fighters that flew in the opening of the invasion air umbrella. Sgt. Eagan, crew chief, stands at the right, and 1st Lt. Walter Baron of North Grosvenordale, Connecticut, pilot, sits on the wing.

In 1948, Richard H. Eagan married Geraldine Bisson, and had four children: Richard, Rand, Nancy and Patricia. Eagan died at the age of 82, in Beverly, Massachusetts, on May 17, 2001.


The Boston Globe, Obituary Richard H. Eagan, May 19, 2001.

John Wells. The Peabody Story, 1972, page 441., Birth, Marriage, Death, Military Records.

Miscellaneous Archives of the Peabody Historical Society and Museum