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Thread: Conscription

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    Conscription

    Has Ireland ever had Military conscription?
    Hanno

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    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    If there was it was pre 19th century

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    If there was it was pre 19th century
    Conscription wasn't really a thing until the Napoleonic Wars and not in the UK until WW1. Ireland was the only part of the UK that conscription wasn't extended to for political reasons. This included the north of the island.

    Conscription wasn't utilised or required by the Irish state since independence. No problem filling out the army during the Civil War, 'The Emergency' (WW2) and during the Troubles.
    Last edited by Auldsod; 5th June 2019 at 11:06.

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    Oh and some additional trivia. Conscription was also not introduced to Northern Ireland during WW2.

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    Conscription

    Quote Originally Posted by Auldsod View Post
    Oh and some additional trivia. Conscription was also not introduced to Northern Ireland during WW2.
    We had conscription in Australia as the government was aware of Indonesia's expansion. We only had 3 full time battalions at the time. The Viet Nam war broke out at about this time so conscripts fought in that war and fought as professional soldiers. It cost a government millions to have conscription so is not always a good option.

    Thank you for your answers.
    Hanno

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    Quote Originally Posted by Auldsod View Post
    Conscription wasn't really a thing until the Napoleonic Wars and not in the UK until WW1. Ireland was the only part of the UK that conscription wasn't extended to for political reasons. This included the north of the island.

    Conscription wasn't utilised or required by the Irish state since independence. No problem filling out the army during the Civil War, 'The Emergency' (WW2) and during the Troubles.
    The Belfast government keep pressing for conscription in the north due to so many able body men turning up drunk for the 12th of July marches. It was not brought in due to the high number of "Loyalist" who would have claimed reserved occupation status. The bulk of the conscripts would have come from the Nationalists.
    Loyalists then had to cancel the 12th to hide the fact.
    In the case of Australia, in WW1 a plebiscite on conscription was held by the people and it was rejected. The tory types there tried to blame the Irish in the country for rejecting it. Research years later revealed that the rejection came from the farming sector who were fearful of a shortage of farm labour and the rise in wages that would have brought about.
    Last edited by sofa; 6th June 2019 at 22:46.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sofa View Post
    The Belfast government keep pressing for conscription in the north due to so many able body men turning up drunk for the 12th of July marches. It was not brought in due to the high number of "Loyalist" who would have claimed reserved occupation status. The bulk of the conscripts would have come from the Nationalists.
    Loyalists then had to cancel the 12th to hide the fact.
    In the case of Australia, in WW1 a plebiscite on conscription was held by the people and it was rejected. The tory types there tried to blame the Irish in the country for rejecting it. Research years later revealed that the rejection came from the farming sector who were fearful of a shortage of farm labour and the rise in wages that would have brought about.
    In Australia during WW1 the government tried twice to bring in conscription but with the amount of casualties mounting it was defeated, thank heavens.
    Hanno

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    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Australia has conscription during WW2, the 50s and 60s

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    Australia has conscription during WW2, the 50s and 60s
    My brother was a conscript in 1957, 3 months full time then 3 years part time, in the 60s it was 2 years full time but reduced to 18 months in 1971.
    Hanno

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    Quote Originally Posted by sofa View Post
    The tory types there tried to blame the Irish in the country for rejecting it. Research years later revealed that the rejection came from the farming sector who were fearful of a shortage of farm labour and the rise in wages that would have brought about.
    The Irish did have some involvement, especially through Archbishop Dan Mannix, but it is debatable as to how much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sofa View Post
    The Belfast government keep pressing for conscription in the north due to so many able body men turning up drunk for the 12th of July marches. It was not brought in due to the high number of "Loyalist" who would have claimed reserved occupation status. The bulk of the conscripts would have come from the Nationalists.
    Loyalists then had to cancel the 12th to hide the fact.
    In the case of Australia, in WW1 a plebiscite on conscription was held by the people and it was rejected. The tory types there tried to blame the Irish in the country for rejecting it. Research years later revealed that the rejection came from the farming sector who were fearful of a shortage of farm labour and the rise in wages that would have brought about.
    Seems like you have your own drum to bang!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rooster View Post
    Seems like you have your own drum to bang!
    Not a Lambeg drum?
    'He died who loved to live,' they'll say,
    'Unselfishly so we might have today!'
    Like hell! He fought because he had to fight;
    He died that's all. It was his unlucky night.
    http://www.salamanderoasis.org/poems...nnis/luck.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rooster View Post
    Seems like you have your own drum to bang!
    From "In time of War" by Robert Fisk. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-War-Ir.../dp/0717124118
    The Australia part is from a presentation given by a Australian Historian in Trinity Collage during a WW1 Day organised by Miles Duggen about three years back.
    Last edited by sofa; 10th June 2019 at 00:27.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sofa View Post
    The Belfast government keep pressing for conscription in the north due to so many able body men turning up drunk for the 12th of July marches. It was not brought in due to the high number of "Loyalist" who would have claimed reserved occupation status. The bulk of the conscripts would have come from the Nationalists.
    Loyalists then had to cancel the 12th to hide the fact.
    In the case of Australia, in WW1 a plebiscite on conscription was held by the people and it was rejected. The tory types there tried to blame the Irish in the country for rejecting it. Research years later revealed that the rejection came from the farming sector who were fearful of a shortage of farm labour and the rise in wages that would have brought about.
    Sofa, you've posted stuff along those lines before, my understanding is that this is what happened -

    The Northern Ireland Government were pressing for conscription in May 1939, three months before WW2 had started.

    DeValera, claimed that as Northern Ireland, under his countries constitution, was part of his 'National Territory', any introduction of conscription would be seen as 'an act of aggression'. This was commented upon by Hitler, during a speech in the Reichstag a few days later. In spite of this, Viscount Craigavon, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, travelled to London later that month to press for conscription in Northern Ireland, with Chamberlain. Mr Chamberlain forced Craigavon to back down on the issue, as it would be more trouble than it was worth, as DeValera would agitate on the issue in the US, Canada and Australia.

    That all happened before any 12th of July parades, but I'll come back to that.

    As a compromise, Chamberlain promised Craigavon that more re-armament work would go to the NI workforce. By August that year H&W had just handed HMS Belfast over to the Royal Navy, were in the process of building HMS formidable, an aircraft carrier, converting and arming 7 passenger liners, 2 merchant auxiliaries and 24 trawlers. Aircraft production was being increased, and armaments factories were popping up all over the place, with tanks and other armoured vehicles being produced. The clothing industries in Belfast and Londonderry were flat-out producing battledress and service dress uniforms. In spite of all of this, war-time production levels in Northern Ireland never reached the same output as those in GB, and unemployment remained high in the first few years of the war. It seemed that the Government were unable to unite the people in a common cause.

    I think I've mentioned this before; my Dad's father, was a 35 year old married man with 4 children at the outbreak of the war. A farmer, he left granny to run the farm as he took on a job as foreman at the building of a new RAF Station in Northern Ireland. Most of the men he worked with were from County Donegal. I know this because my granny told me about how she had taken him on a church bus-trip to Donegal town in the 1950's. Granda fell in with some of the boys he worked with, they ended up in a bar, he wasn't allowed to put his hand in his pocket, and returned to the bus that evening drunk, and embarrassed granny in front of the Minister and his wife. Top man my granda.

    He died in 1979, when I was 6, so my memory of him is hazy, but I do recall asking him once which regiment he had been in during the war.

    He laughed, and said he was in the 'Royal Standbacks'.

    Years later, I asked granny; he had been in the Home Guard, and was in fact a lewis gunner.

    As a kid, I can remember being a bit disappointed that he hadn't served. But in later life, on reflection, I can understand why he didn't; why in God's name, given a choice, would he have left his farm, his wife and 4 children to join the army, and probably not see his family for several years, and at worst, end up dead?

    Another factor is that that generation very much recalled the bloodbath that was WW1, especially 1st July 1916 when the Ulster Division suffered 5500 casualties. Thats a lot, in one day, from one province in Ireland. No-one on my grandads side, to the best of my knowledge, served in WW1; they were farmers. His wife, my granny, had a cousin killed in WW1, a pilot, twice MiD, and with a French C de G and two palms. Another cousin was a pre-war regular soldier in the Inniskilling Fusiliers. He survived the war having been gassed, came home to work his family farm in 1919, and never left home again. Craigavon, the man pushing for conscription in 1939, was one of those responsible in 1914 for persuading tens of thousands of Ulster Protestants to volunteer in The Great War.

    It is a fact that enlistment levels in Northern Ireland never reached the same level in WW1 as WW2, was that a case of once bitten, twice shy? I don't know, what I can say is that 38000 men and women from Northern Ireland served in the UK Armed Forces during WW2, and many more served in the US, Canadian and Australian militaries, and the MN. Around 43000 men from the Republic of Ireland served in the UK Armed Forces during WW2, and others in the US, Canadian and Australian militaries and the British MN. And good for them, for taking a stand against a tyranny, that was threatening the very world order at that time. Before anyone starts a pissing contest about numbers from the North vs numbers from the South etc etc...there were about 3 times as many fighting-aged men in the Republic at that time, than in the North.

    When I was 16, I joined what was then the TA. I went to tell granny; she ate the arse off me along the lines of 'What have you done'? She then recounted to me seeing, in 1939, army lorries arrive at the end of our road (a cross-roads near a railway halt), to collect the pre-war TA soldiers and reservists from the area. A few years later, when I joined the RUC, she was delighted for me...not least because I'd have to leave the TA. Paradoxically, the RUC was much more dangerous than the TA...

    On my Mum's side, her father served in the Royal Navy, and her mothers brother, my Great-Uncle served in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. My Great-Uncle survived WW2 and died in a car crash in 1967. Granda didn't come back from WW2, not because he died, but because he fell in with some Welsh slapper and walked out on my granny and my mum. Top man my other granda.

    The Orange Marches...can you cite a source for your assertion that they were cancelled due to large numbers of Loyalists turning up drunk? I do vaguely recall reading about the cancellation of the marches, however my understanding was that this was done because they were seen as inappropriate during the war years. Its late now and I'm busy tomorrow, but if can find anything I'll come back to you. Having been to dozens of them, mainly in full PPE in my MSU days, they are inappropriate at any time, I detest them, but what I can't recall is ever witnessing large-scale drunkenness amongst participants at an Orange March. Drunkeness yes, from individuals, or groups of individuals, but generally, no. Don't always believe what you see in the media...they seek out bad behaviour and exploit it to their own ends, believe me.

    So the reason I ask if you have a source for that, is simply that it doesn't sound right to me. I'm not disagreeing with you; you may have seen that somewhere, and if so I'd love to read it. However, Northern Ireland in the 1940's was very socially conservative, and many of the Orange Lodges (especially the rural ones) would have been 'Temperance' Lodges... turning up with drink on board would have been, from what I can gather, a big no-no.

    You also say that the bulk of conscripts in Northern Ireland would have come from the Nationalists. Why do you say that? Fewer people from 'Nationalist' areas of Northern Ireland joined the UK Armed Forces than from 'Loyalist' areas...not least because of the treatment of ex-servicemen from the 'Nationalist' areas, by republicans, after WW1. That said, 'Nationalist' ex-servicemen weren't always treated well by 'Unionists' either. Only one person from Northern Ireland was awarded the VC during WW2; James Magennis RN, a Roman Catholic from Belfast. He was snubbed by the Unionist-dominated council after the war, probably because he was a Catholic, a wrong which was only rectified in 1999.

    There was, in Belfast in particular, at that time, a defiance amongst the 'Nationalist' community against what were seen as war-time impositions. For example, lights were seen burning all over West Belfast in spite of the blackout order. Bonfires were lit and graffiti such as 'ARP for English Slaves, IRA for the Irish' were common place. The IRA would attack service personnel and murder a number of RUC Officers during the war; one of them, Tom Williams, was sentenced to hang for the murder of Constable Patrick Murphy. Eammon DeValera campaigned to have him spared. Good bloke was Dev. They hung the wretched little murdering bastard anyway, despite Dev's protestations. As an aside, the IRA also murdered a Garda Special Branch Sergeant during this 'campaign'.

    Given that context, how can you assert that the Stormont Government, or Westminster Government, were ever going to hope to exploit most of their conscripts from the 'Nationalist' community?

    In the event of conscription having been successfully introduced, why would it only have been 'Loyalists' who would have claimed reserved occupation status?

    I absolutely love Churchills caricaturing the youth of Belfast as 'hanging around and impeding the work of the shipyard'. Did he really believe that had conscription not been introduced in GB, the youth of England, Scotland and Wales would have all volunteered en-mass to join the Armed Forces? If he did, he must have been hitting the pre-breakfast champagne hard that morning!
    'History is a vast early warning system'. Norman Cousins

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    Quote Originally Posted by spider View Post
    Sofa, you've posted stuff along those lines before, my understanding is that this is what happened -

    The Northern Ireland Government were pressing for conscription in May 1939, three months before WW2 had started.

    DeValera, claimed that as Northern Ireland, under his countries constitution, was part of his 'National Territory', any introduction of conscription would be seen as 'an act of aggression'. This was commented upon by Hitler, during a speech in the Reichstag a few days later. In spite of this, Viscount Craigavon, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, travelled to London later that month to press for conscription in Northern Ireland, with Chamberlain. Mr Chamberlain forced Craigavon to back down on the issue, as it would be more trouble than it was worth, as DeValera would agitate on the issue in the US, Canada and Australia.

    That all happened before any 12th of July parades, but I'll come back to that.

    As a compromise, Chamberlain promised Craigavon that more re-armament work would go to the NI workforce. By August that year H&W had just handed HMS Belfast over to the Royal Navy, were in the process of building HMS formidable, an aircraft carrier, converting and arming 7 passenger liners, 2 merchant auxiliaries and 24 trawlers. Aircraft production was being increased, and armaments factories were popping up all over the place, with tanks and other armoured vehicles being produced. The clothing industries in Belfast and Londonderry were flat-out producing battledress and service dress uniforms. In spite of all of this, war-time production levels in Northern Ireland never reached the same output as those in GB, and unemployment remained high in the first few years of the war. It seemed that the Government were unable to unite the people in a common cause.

    I think I've mentioned this before; my Dad's father, was a 35 year old married man with 4 children at the outbreak of the war. A farmer, he left granny to run the farm as he took on a job as foreman at the building of a new RAF Station in Northern Ireland. Most of the men he worked with were from County Donegal. I know this because my granny told me about how she had taken him on a church bus-trip to Donegal town in the 1950's. Granda fell in with some of the boys he worked with, they ended up in a bar, he wasn't allowed to put his hand in his pocket, and returned to the bus that evening drunk, and embarrassed granny in front of the Minister and his wife. Top man my granda.

    He died in 1979, when I was 6, so my memory of him is hazy, but I do recall asking him once which regiment he had been in during the war.

    He laughed, and said he was in the 'Royal Standbacks'.

    Years later, I asked granny; he had been in the Home Guard, and was in fact a lewis gunner.

    As a kid, I can remember being a bit disappointed that he hadn't served. But in later life, on reflection, I can understand why he didn't; why in God's name, given a choice, would he have left his farm, his wife and 4 children to join the army, and probably not see his family for several years, and at worst, end up dead?

    Another factor is that that generation very much recalled the bloodbath that was WW1, especially 1st July 1916 when the Ulster Division suffered 5500 casualties. Thats a lot, in one day, from one province in Ireland. No-one on my grandads side, to the best of my knowledge, served in WW1; they were farmers. His wife, my granny, had a cousin killed in WW1, a pilot, twice MiD, and with a French C de G and two palms. Another cousin was a pre-war regular soldier in the Inniskilling Fusiliers. He survived the war having been gassed, came home to work his family farm in 1919, and never left home again. Craigavon, the man pushing for conscription in 1939, was one of those responsible in 1914 for persuading tens of thousands of Ulster Protestants to volunteer in The Great War.

    It is a fact that enlistment levels in Northern Ireland never reached the same level in WW1 as WW2, was that a case of once bitten, twice shy? I don't know, what I can say is that 38000 men and women from Northern Ireland served in the UK Armed Forces during WW2, and many more served in the US, Canadian and Australian militaries, and the MN. Around 43000 men from the Republic of Ireland served in the UK Armed Forces during WW2, and others in the US, Canadian and Australian militaries and the British MN. And good for them, for taking a stand against a tyranny, that was threatening the very world order at that time. Before anyone starts a pissing contest about numbers from the North vs numbers from the South etc etc...there were about 3 times as many fighting-aged men in the Republic at that time, than in the North.

    When I was 16, I joined what was then the TA. I went to tell granny; she ate the arse off me along the lines of 'What have you done'? She then recounted to me seeing, in 1939, army lorries arrive at the end of our road (a cross-roads near a railway halt), to collect the pre-war TA soldiers and reservists from the area. A few years later, when I joined the RUC, she was delighted for me...not least because I'd have to leave the TA. Paradoxically, the RUC was much more dangerous than the TA...

    On my Mum's side, her father served in the Royal Navy, and her mothers brother, my Great-Uncle served in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. My Great-Uncle survived WW2 and died in a car crash in 1967. Granda didn't come back from WW2, not because he died, but because he fell in with some Welsh slapper and walked out on my granny and my mum. Top man my other granda.

    The Orange Marches...can you cite a source for your assertion that they were cancelled due to large numbers of Loyalists turning up drunk? I do vaguely recall reading about the cancellation of the marches, however my understanding was that this was done because they were seen as inappropriate during the war years. Its late now and I'm busy tomorrow, but if can find anything I'll come back to you. Having been to dozens of them, mainly in full PPE in my MSU days, they are inappropriate at any time, I detest them, but what I can't recall is ever witnessing large-scale drunkenness amongst participants at an Orange March. Drunkeness yes, from individuals, or groups of individuals, but generally, no. Don't always believe what you see in the media...they seek out bad behaviour and exploit it to their own ends, believe me.

    So the reason I ask if you have a source for that, is simply that it doesn't sound right to me. I'm not disagreeing with you; you may have seen that somewhere, and if so I'd love to read it. However, Northern Ireland in the 1940's was very socially conservative, and many of the Orange Lodges (especially the rural ones) would have been 'Temperance' Lodges... turning up with drink on board would have been, from what I can gather, a big no-no.

    You also say that the bulk of conscripts in Northern Ireland would have come from the Nationalists. Why do you say that? Fewer people from 'Nationalist' areas of Northern Ireland joined the UK Armed Forces than from 'Loyalist' areas...not least because of the treatment of ex-servicemen from the 'Nationalist' areas, by republicans, after WW1. That said, 'Nationalist' ex-servicemen weren't always treated well by 'Unionists' either. Only one person from Northern Ireland was awarded the VC during WW2; James Magennis RN, a Roman Catholic from Belfast. He was snubbed by the Unionist-dominated council after the war, probably because he was a Catholic, a wrong which was only rectified in 1999.

    There was, in Belfast in particular, at that time, a defiance amongst the 'Nationalist' community against what were seen as war-time impositions. For example, lights were seen burning all over West Belfast in spite of the blackout order. Bonfires were lit and graffiti such as 'ARP for English Slaves, IRA for the Irish' were common place. The IRA would attack service personnel and murder a number of RUC Officers during the war; one of them, Tom Williams, was sentenced to hang for the murder of Constable Patrick Murphy. Eammon DeValera campaigned to have him spared. Good bloke was Dev. They hung the wretched little murdering bastard anyway, despite Dev's protestations. As an aside, the IRA also murdered a Garda Special Branch Sergeant during this 'campaign'.

    Given that context, how can you assert that the Stormont Government, or Westminster Government, were ever going to hope to exploit most of their conscripts from the 'Nationalist' community?

    In the event of conscription having been successfully introduced, why would it only have been 'Loyalists' who would have claimed reserved occupation status?

    I absolutely love Churchills caricaturing the youth of Belfast as 'hanging around and impeding the work of the shipyard'. Did he really believe that had conscription not been introduced in GB, the youth of England, Scotland and Wales would have all volunteered en-mass to join the Armed Forces? If he did, he must have been hitting the pre-breakfast champagne hard that morning!
    From "In time of War" by Robert Fisk. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-War-Ir.../dp/0717124118
    My Father went north with his mate to join up was copped by the RUC and turned back.

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    Thank you, I haven't read that but will do.

    Why did the RUC turn them back?

    I'm guessing that most of those from the Republic who served joined in England?

    I believe many Irishmen who were working there joined up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spider View Post
    Thank you, I haven't read that but will do.

    Why did the RUC turn them back?

    I'm guessing that most of those from the Republic who served joined in England?

    I believe many Irishmen who were working there joined up.
    My Dad was wearing his Irish Army Jumper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John P Hannon View Post
    Has Ireland ever had Military conscription?
    Long time no See John P..welcome back....
    Time for another break I think......

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    Hmm. Context. The Treaty forbade the Free State to institute conscription. Maybe because militia along Swiss lines had been one of the balloons floated by Sinn Fein before it was signed. This would give grist to Dev's objections.
    If loyalists were mostly signing up, those conscripted would be those who had not already volunteered in the age group subject to conscription in the North so one can see how nationalists would be more likely to face conscription.

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    Quote Originally Posted by expat01 View Post
    Hmm. Context. The Treaty forbade the Free State to institute conscription. Maybe because militia along Swiss lines had been one of the balloons floated by Sinn Fein before it was signed. This would give grist to Dev's objections.
    If loyalists were mostly signing up, those conscripted would be those who had not already volunteered in the age group subject to conscription in the North so one can see how nationalists would be more likely to face conscription.
    I think the point is that 'Loyalists' weren't mostly signing up...

    It was discussed in Westminster several times that a lot (but definitely not exclusively) of those from NI, who did volunteer, were from a Unionist background.

    However, a lot more could have volunteered, but didn't, from both communities.

    Given a choice, I'm not sure most of those conscripted in GB would have volunteered either.

    Anyway, I'm grateful to those who did, like this man, an ex-Royal Marine Commando, who died at the weekend;

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-48656318

    RIP Mr Spence.
    Last edited by spider; 17th June 2019 at 23:32. Reason: spelling
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    Of course, Irish residents in the UK were conscripted. A cousin of mine was killed at Anzio aged 20, RIP. He was conscripted from Leicester, but served in the Queens (a Kentish regiment). By coincidence, the same brigade that my former TA unit was the Field Ambulance of!
    Last edited by Flamingo; 17th June 2019 at 23:32.
    'He died who loved to live,' they'll say,
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    Like hell! He fought because he had to fight;
    He died that's all. It was his unlucky night.
    http://www.salamanderoasis.org/poems...nnis/luck.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Auldsod View Post
    Oh and some additional trivia. Conscription was also not introduced to Northern Ireland during WW2.
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    "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by spider View Post
    I think I've mentioned this before; my Dad's father, was a 35 year old married man with 4 children at the outbreak of the war. A farmer, he left granny to run the farm as he took on a job as foreman at the building of a new RAF Station in Northern Ireland. Most of the men he worked with were from County Donegal. I know this because my granny told me about how she had taken him on a church bus-trip to Donegal town in the 1950's. Granda fell in with some of the boys he worked with, they ended up in a bar, he wasn't allowed to put his hand in his pocket, and returned to the bus that evening drunk, and embarrassed granny in front of the Minister and his wife. Top man my granda.

    He died in 1979, when I was 6, so my memory of him is hazy, but I do recall asking him once which regiment he had been in during the war.

    He laughed, and said he was in the 'Royal Standbacks'.

    Years later, I asked granny; he had been in the Home Guard, and was in fact a lewis gunner
    I LMFAO'd at this... fair play to your grandad...
    "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"

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