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Southern Ireland and the Liberation of France

New Perspectives


Edited By Gerald Morgan and Gavin Hughes

This collection of essays sets out to correct an injustice to citizens of the Irish Free State, or Twenty-Six Counties, whose contribution to the victory against Nazi Germany in the Second World War has thus far been obscured. The historical facts reveal a divided island of Ireland, in which the volunteers from the South were obliged to fight in a foreign (that is, British) army, navy and air force. Recent research has now placed this contribution on a secure basis of historical and statistical fact for the first time, showing that the total number of Irish dead (more than nine thousand) was divided more or less equally between the two parts of Ireland.
The writers in this volume establish that the contribution by Ireland to the eventual liberation of France was not only during the fighting at Dunkirk in 1940 and in Normandy in 1944, but throughout the conflict, as revealed by the list of the dead of Trinity College Dublin, which is examined in one chapter. Respect for human values in the midst of war is shown to have been alive in Ireland, with chapters examining the treatment of shipwreck casualties on Irish shores and the Irish hospital at Saint Lô in France. Other essays in the volume place these events within the complex diplomatic network of a neutral Irish Free State and examine the nature and necessity of memorial in the context of a divided Ireland.


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Preface ix Sarah Alyn Stacey Patria non immemor: Ireland and the Liberation of France 1 Edward Arnold Irish Neutrality between Vichy France and de Gaulle, 1940–1945 23 Gavin Hughes Commitment, Casualties and Loss: Comparative Aspects of Irish Regiments at Dunkirk 1940 and in Western Europe, 1944–1945 63 David Truesdale Irish Soldiers and the D-Day Airborne Operations 87 Phyllis Gaf fney A Hospital for the Ruins: The Irish Hospital at Saint-Lô 103 Kevin Myers Perceptions of Irish Participation in the Second World War 121 Fergus D’Arcy Second World War Graves in Ireland 133 Gerald Morgan The Trinity College Dublin War Dead, 1939–1945 143 viii Yvonne McEwen ‘Their Ancient Valour’: The Politics of Irish Volunteering and Volunteer War Deaths in the Second World War 177 Donal Buckley Postscript: ‘And so to D-Day…’ 205 Notes on Contributors 213 Index 217

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