This is an apolitical forum for discussions on the Axis nations and related topics hosted by the Axis History Factbook in cooperation with Christian Ankerstjerne’s Panzerworld and Christoph Awender's WW2 day by day.
Founded in 1999.
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach
Another reason that some of the Irish soldiers were not treated well was that a number of them deserted from the Irish military to join the British Army and thus were considered criminals. Due to the recent civil war the Irish would likely have considered an irish soldier in the british army in much the same way they considered informers during that conflict. Bitter experiences during civil wars are not forgotten easily.
Perhaps I don't understand this correctly, but no army takes kindly to its soldiers deserting. For obvious reasons, it is a criminal offece in every military law under the sun, I would think. Why would that surprise us in this case?
The Irish contribution to the Allied cause is often overlooked, even, indeed especially, in Britain. Much of industrial Britain was built with Irish labour - the navigators who dug the canals and built the railways. Nothing about the Irish in the Museum of London.
Ireland was a source of labour for the wartime British economy, in particular the massive civil engineering projects such as the construction of airfields, the Mulberry harbours, new munitions factories etc.
There is even a song about it.
"Twas in the year of 'thirty-nine when the sky was full of lead
When Hitler was heading for Poland, and Paddy for Holyhead."
You post that, "The Irish contribution to the Allied cause is often overlooked, even, indeed especially, in Britain."
I would suggest the reverse. The only place outside Ireland where it is known about at all is the UK. The activities of the remaining Irish regiments is fully covered in military histories. It is also widely known that some 60,000 Irishmen volunteered for the British armed services. The Irish civilian contribution by way of labour has been largely subsumed in the wider British civilian war effort but was not obviously distinctive from it.
There is, of course, another side. Ireland's neutrality considerably complicated the Battle of the Atlantic for the Allies.
One probably has to distinguish the Irish State, which was not particularly contributory to the Allied cause, and Irish people, who often were.
Dev Valera blackballing of those who deserted to fight in war showed neither humility or even common sense..one article told of Dev Valera blackballing list had a man who had deserted to the British Forces..ended up in Asia...and became a slave laborer on the River Kiwi Railroad slave labor project.....where he died....possibly Dev was afraid that even the prescence of a ghost of Irish deserter would ruin his versian of Ireland...a green rural country where the populace danced in the streets...?