In 1944 he found himself based near Cairo before heading to Iraq and finally Burma. He was in Cairo on day, looking in a shop window and did not see two officers pass. The first he knew was when he was accosted by a Sergeant and a Corporal of the Military Police who were following the officers to catch anyone not saluting them. Although he outranked the MPs as a Warrant Officer he knew he would be reported if he spoke but he knew he had to say something so he said:
“Ár n-Athair atá ar neamh, Go naofar d'ainim, Go dtagfadh do ríocht Go ndéantar do thoil ar an talamh mar a dhéantar ar neamh.” The MPs looked puzzled so he carried on: “Ár n-arán laethúil tabhair dúinn inniu, agus maith dúinn ár bhfiacha mar a mhaithimidne dár bhféichiúna féin Ach ná lig sinn i gcathú, ach saor sinn ó olc”
The MPs looked at each other, one said “he must be a Pole or something” and walked off. When he got back to base he told his CO, another Irishman who laughed like a drain- dad had recited the Lord’s Prayer in Gaelic at the MPs -. He had heard of these officers and their little antic of putting men on charge for not saluting them and declared he would go to Cairo, find them and “have the bastards saluting him till their fecking arms dropped off”
I suppose the moral of the story is that knowledge of another language is useful....Ah well, it’s amusing when dad tells the story!