Delia Murphy

Delia Murphy was the wife of Dr. Thomas Kiernan, who was the Irish Minister representing the country  in Rome.

Delia was a noted singer and a very outgoing, open and bubbly person, totally different to her husband who was described as gentlemanly, courteous and very discreet. Their different strengths were to prove useful in the diplomatic service.

While Kiernan was bound by the Irish Government policy of strict neutrality, Delia and their daughter Blon were free agents and very much active supporters of O'Flaherty and the organisation.

Delia commented at the time:

"I made sure that none of the high-ranking German warlords who invited the Kiernans to their feasts, ever suspected what an Irish woman in Rome was doing in her spare time"

Aside from her help securing and moving supplies for the organisation Delia used her singing skills to cheer up members of the Irish Community and others. On one occasion she used the Ambassadors car, which was protected  by diplomatic plates to move Private Norman Anderson who was suffering with acute appendicitis from hiding to a suitable hospital and back. Mrs Chevalier kept Anderson in her apartment for a week while he recovered.

Sam Derry commented of the nature of the rescue:

"Rarely has a man owed his life to such a strangely assorted factors as a scholarly Monsignor, with the incisive brain of a business tycoon; a giant priest, with a strength of a lion and the gentleness of a lamb; an Irish lady, whose humanity overwhelmed political propriety; a Maltese widow with a gallant heart as big as her own expansive family; and an Italian surgeon who, with his enemies around him, risked his life to save a life

Delia commented that she knew Rome was liberated when a soldier, who she initially thought was German stood up and said:

"Say sister, come and park your arse beside me"

D'Arcy Osbourne wanted official recognition for the work of Delia Murphy but this was difficult due to the neutrality of Ireland. Osbourne gave her a vase, which she treasured and brought with her on her travels to all her husband's postings including Australia and North America.