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WW2: Irish Navy at Dunkirk

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  • WW2: Irish Navy at Dunkirk

    Last year I interviewed the last survivor of the Irish Navy's unofficial trip to Dunkirk in 1940. The crew were in the UK doing trials on MTB2 which had just been purchased from the makers in Southhampton. The skipper of MTB2 had formerly been in the Royal Navy and he asked the crew if they would volunteer to go to Dunkirk to rescue [British] soldiers off the beaches. Afterwards they swore an oath of secrecy - though of course, inevitably, the news eventually slipped out.

    I've written about this in my book about the 5,000 men who deserted from the Irish Army during WW2 to join the fight against Nazism. The book is called Spitting On A Soldier's Grave. I'll say no more here to avoid turning this into too much of an advert... however there's an article in today's (UK) Irish Post (repeated on line: http://www.irishpost.co.uk/tabId/68/...-betrayal.aspx) if anyone is interested.

    I'm very curious to get some feedback/reactions about the whole issue of the WW2 Irish Army deserters, from serving Irish Defence Force members. Any comments?

  • #2
    Would it be possible for you to post links to your research sources; eg. govt. records, military records etc. ?

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    • #3
      I've written about this in my book about the 5,000 men who deserted from the Irish Army during WW2 to join the fight against Nazism
      And about the crew of the Walrus who defected to joined the Germans????

      The crew were in the UK doing trials on MTB2 which had just been purchased from the makers in Southhampton.
      Interesting as Thornycroft in Southhampton built mainly destroyers, and Vospers in Portsmouth built MTBs etc, and the company didn't amalgamate until 1966

      From' Vosper Thornycroft Built Warships' by Trevor Piper published by Maritime books .

      Estonia and Latvia if I'm not mistaken were the original customer for the order but they were annexed by the Russians before the boats could be delivered. M1 and M2 were delivered in March and July respectively, M2 having been delayed by 'bad weather'.

      When and where is the book available?
      hptmurphy
      Commander in Chief
      Last edited by hptmurphy; 24 October 2010, 21:57.
      Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

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      • #4
        I'd like to know more about your book,

        diid I read on P.ie that those who deserted to the Allies were treated worse

        than those who simply deserted.
        Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
        Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
        The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere***
        The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
        The best lack all conviction, while the worst
        Are full of passionate intensity.

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        • #5
          You are quite right. The MTBs had been intended for the Baltic.

          The book is available from all the usual outlets online such as Amazon. Bookshops - Easons, Waterstones, etc - have it on their lists and can get you a copy. Or via my website www.robertwidders.co.uk

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          • #6
            Originally posted by hedgehog View Post
            I'd like to know more about your book,

            diid I read on P.ie that those who deserted to the Allies were treated worse

            than those who simply deserted.
            Yes, the men who fought for the Allies were generally treated worse.

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            • #7
              My grandfather who was a former OLD IRA and very activive pre 1921 , my dad , uncles on both sides were in the DF during the emergency, Although relatives had fought in the spanish civil war. and the family had a socialist outlook they really believed that the biggest threat was from the UK but they would have been willing and probably have been masacred, to fight whoever came .There was a ptriotism there that is hard to accept today.

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