Skip to comments.Why Irish soldiers who fought Hitler hide their medals
Posted on 12/28/2011 5:32:30 AM PST by the scotsman
'Five thousand Irish soldiers who swapped uniforms to fight for the British against Hitler went on to suffer years of persecution.
One of them, 92-year-old Phil Farrington, took part in the D-Day landings and helped liberate the German death camp at Bergen-Belsen - but he wears his medals in secret.
Even to this day, he has nightmares that he will be arrested by the authorities and imprisoned for his wartime service. "They would come and get me, yes they would," he said in a frail voice at his home in the docks area of Dublin. And his 25-year-old grandson, Patrick, confirmed: "I see the fear in him even today, even after 65 years."
Mr Farrington's fears are not groundless. He was one of about 5,000 Irish soldiers who deserted their own neutral army to join the war against fascism and who were brutally punished on their return home as a result.
They were formally dismissed from the Irish army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being banned for seven years from any employment paid for by state or government funds.
A special "list" was drawn up containing their names and addresses, and circulated to every government department, town hall and railway station - anywhere the men might look for a job. It was referred to in the Irish parliament - the Dail - at the time as a "starvation order", and for many of their families the phrase became painfully close to the truth.'
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
That’s awful. God bless and keep these brave men for their sacrifices. Too bad they didn’t emigrate to the US after the war. They would’ve been welcomed with open arms.
Is there still animosity between the different factions on the Isles? I’m of Scottish lineage, but most of my predecessors have played their pipes to the Pearly Gates.
We’re off to Dublin in the green, in the green
Our helmets glistening in the sun
Where the bayonets flash and the rifles clash
To the echo of the Thompson gun
Talk about cutting off your nose to spite the face.
I believe there are some Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Dutch and Belgians that have the same problem, and they won’t be seen wearing their Iron Crosses.
It’s understandable, really, when you look at the history of British policies that had the intention of Irish genocide.
G-d bless these men.
This is a case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and the Irish enmity to England has very deep roots. There is a program on the Smithsonian Cable Channel, “Cromwell: God’s Executioner”, that details just one series of episodes in a very long line.
It appears that this feeling is diminishing now but I have a hunch that it is still a bred-in-the-bones thing that can resurface. When you experience an 800+ year battle for independence from a much stronger nation, this feeling does not disappear after just a generation or two.
“Is there still animosity between the different factions on the Isles?”
Does the sun still rise in the east every day?
True. Yet I see so many ignorant fools on FR begging for "let it all crash" and "bring on civil war II."
They have no idea how such things typically go, as with 1916 in Ireland or 1920's in Berlin.
During WWII the IRA would light fires on roofs in Belfast to guide in German bombers.
I’ve also heard that that was a myth. But some of my English friends still spread it around. Is there some documentation on this?
If the Irish had been tangling with the Germans instead of the British, the Irish countryside would be scared with mass graves and burned out villages.
Penetrating political analysis has never been a strong attribute of the Irish, whether there or here.
They define this as “brutally punished”: “They were formally dismissed from the Irish army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being banned for seven years from any employment paid for by state or government funds.”
That’s pretty routine in many countries for deserters. If Ireland had been at war, they could have been shot!
Millions starved to death as the Brits stole their livestock and feasted accross the Iris Sea not 100 years before the rise of Hitler. An injustice such as that is not just forgotten.
The Irish are superb at the Blame Game as Eugene O’Neill once pointed out. Whether Irish-American or citizens of the Old Sod. (And I should know!)
Thats a grossly simplistic reading of the Famine.
A Famine that killed hundreds of thousands of Protestants, contrary to myth which has only the Catholics deliberately starved. And Britain tried in several ways to alleviate the Famine, including buying grain from the US.
There were many Irishmen, and IRA operatives that fought for the whermacht
And the idea that Britain 1840’s feasted is ridiculous.
Most British people in 1845 were little better than the Irish. Most were poor and working class.
In the last few years in Great Britain, on Remembrance Day, English tv does a documentary on some long dead, young English soldier who was executed for cowardice during the First World War. These shows are unbearably moving. They find the descendents of these young soldiers who try and tell their history through photos and family lore. Many of these young men were victims of shell shock and/or gassing.
Personally, I think the men who deserted the Irish Army and joined up to fight Hitler were and are heroes.
There were many Irishmen, and IRA operatives that fought for the whermacht
I think the point is that given what they did, and why they deserted (they didnt desert out of cowardice, in fact the complete opposite!), and that whilst other Irishmen supported and even helped the Nazis, they fought them, that over 70 years after the war started, that Ireland should celebrate these men and their heroism and bravery and moral choice. And treat them accordingly.
Its ironic imo that whilst Ireland was essentially founded by terrorists and had for many years men in govt who were guilty of some appalling crimes and were hateful men towards the British and even simply Protestants, that these brave men who deliberately deserted because they wanted to fight evil are pariahs.
As did some Welsh Nationalists.
Did you read the article? These frail old men who were at the D-Day landings, imprisoned by the Japanese and helped to liberate Bergen Belson?
Of course, I tend to think of the IRA (especially in those days) as a raggle-taggle militia. Some of my ancestors were at the Post Office on Easter Day.
Thankfully they were massively outnumbered by those who fought the Wermacht, SS, Luftwaffe and Kreigsmarine....
Even many who hated the British stopped well short of supporting the odious regime of Hitler.
You either need a course in reading comprehension or a course of psychotherapy.
Sorry, do you mean the lighting of fires on the roofs?
My best pal (a victim of the Blitz) always says they simply lighted lamps during the blackouts. Since he’s always pretty snide about my people, I tend to disbelieve him, lol.
Having said that, the Irish who left to fight Hitler should be honored. Even if they deserted to do it.
They werent, thats a myth.
The early IRA were terrorists, and did target civilians. In 1916, 1918-22, and people completely forget the bombings on mainland Britain by the IRA just before WW2. The idea that the early IRA were somehow morally different to the IRA of 1969-today is frankly a nonsense.
The modern IRA has simply been better armed and more efficient.
I guess about ninety percent of the people on this forum are “messed up” and “sick”, huh?
We do worse to deserters in the U.S. military.
I was just reading about the supporters of Hitler from Ireland and the middle east during WWII. I got your statement reversed. So sorry. I read the entire article and I agree.
They lit fires in the surrounding mountains to guide the Luftwaffe into Belfast.
I would recommend to you a memoir by Hugh Leonard, the fine Irish playwright, entitled “Home Before Dark.” He recounts his Dublin childhood during the ‘30s and ‘40s. His wonderfully naive and kindly adopted father (”Da”) was continually giving the Hitler salute during the War - only to be excoriated by his fellow Dubliners. He had fought during the 1916 Revolution and was very bitter towards the English - the awful Black and Tans.
The Irish have a very sad, mixed-up history...
It is almost impossible for a nation or people to forgive and forget that some of their soldiers who took an oath would desert to fight along side an ancient enemy. The fact that that enemy was fighting an even more evil nation and ideology is essentially immaterial to those who were betrayed.
That’s how real life works. We would be no different most likely.
My wife would agree about the psychotherapy, but I think more coffee would help my reading comprehension.
I have never been a fan of the IRA although, as I said, some of my ancestors were part of the 1916 Rebellion (or so they said!) I didn’t want to call them terrorists as well as a pretty sadsack army, simply to avoid being flamed!!
Thank you for pointing out what should be obvious.
I had to laugh at the part that said the IRA lit the fires but the Luftwaffe did not notice! Typical of the disorganized nature of this crack “army.”
"They were formally dismissed from the Irish army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being banned for seven years from any employment paid for by state or government funds.Not many nations choose starvation of the families of deserters as a suitable punishment. Also most nations grant an amnesty after a few years to those deserters who have evaded capture.
A special "list" was drawn up containing their names and addresses, and circulated to every government department, town hall and railway station - anywhere the men might look for a job.
It was referred to in the Irish parliament - the Dail - at the time as a "starvation order", and for many of their families the phrase became painfully close to the truth.