24 June 2009

A roll of honour for Ireland’s WWII dead

A new study by the University of Edinburgh found more than 3,600 soldiers from the south of Ireland died on active service during WWII. Their names joined those of almost 3,900 fallen combatants from Northern Ireland on a roll of honour being unveiled at Trinity College Dublin on 12 June.

The study estimates that in the British army alone, as many as 100,000 people from the island of Ireland served in WWII, despite the Irish Free State's neutrality in the conflict. (Working out how many people did serve is harder than one might think, The best estimates I have seen would estimate 60-70,000 men and women from Eire served in the British armed forces during WWII)

Historian Yvonne McEwen said the ambitious project, which began in 2003, was inspired by stories of her grandfather's experience upon coming home after WWI where he fought as a Royal Irish Fusilier. "Society was not very kind to returning men who fought in the First World War, and I wanted to look at that in terms of WWII particularly with a partitioned country," she said. "I wanted to learn what happened to these men and women on both sides of the border - it turned out to be a staggering picture. suppose it was like becoming a detective - the more I uncovered, the more I wanted to know. I've learned a lot about the sacrifice made on the island of Ireland."

The roll of honour will be permanently housed in the Trinity College library, but Ms McEwen said some of the blanks in her research still needed to be filled.

It has taken a long time but the Republic has woken up to the contribution and the sacrifice made by those men and women who fought to defeat the Nazi monster. The IRA, on the other hand, got into bed with the Nazis.


Sarge Charlie said...

I tip my hat to the Irish Heros and thank them for what they did for the world.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks Sarge

CherryPie said...

What a wonderful tribute at long last.

jams o donnell said...

I am so glad that this roll of honour has been compiled Cherie

James Higham said...

I'm a bit confused by the 'got into bed'. I somehow thought you had Fenian sympathies - don't be insulted by that. I just don't know.

jams o donnell said...

Certainly not James. I loathe the IRA. I loathe the Unionist terrorists too.

I will be happy to see a united Ireland when a majority in the North want it. Otherwise it would be a disaster! If a majority continue to wish to be part of the UK then so be it. A united Ireland is not worth a stubbed toe let alone the thousands of pointless deaths of the last set of Troubles

I wonder if you were thinking of my views on an extraordinarily stupid post by a fellow Bloghounder suggesting tehat the UDA and UVF could teach the Falkland Islanders a thing or two.