Irish citizens in UK armed forces WWII - Why?

#1
Does anyone have any pointers (e.g. academic or other surveys etc.) to why individual Irish folk decided to join UK armed forces in WWII, given the history between the two countries, independence, the civil war, Irish neutrality, the political fragility of the country and the possible (OK - probable) emnity of some other Irish folk towards the UK?

I was wondering whether the reasons would be:

- Anti-Nazi leanings
- Nostalgia and a sense of historical link to UK (unlikely I know but, 'me Da was a British soldier' may have been a reason (please excuse the poor Irish accent :D ))
- Unemployment and poor job opportunities (although the number of Irish citizens who replaced British workers in UK industry seems to discount this)
- the Wild Geese effect (e.g. Glory)

Any ideas? I became facinated after reading Brian Girvin's book 'The Emergency' and would appreciate any advice or (reasonable) opinions. Some estimates are around 150,000 people, although Girvin reckons the number to be 60-70,000 which in itself is a significant number of young people for the Irish population to lose.
 
#4
Ran out of spuds???
 
#5
didnt fancy learning german, there are only so many hours in the day and im sure they would rather use them drinking the black stuff
 
#7
#8
Probably just for the craic. Also note the amount of Luftwaffe crews who made it back to Deutschland after coming down in Eire. None.
 
#9
Going on what I've heard, many lads went because even if de Valera's government lacked the bottle to face up to Hitler at least there was something you could do on an individual level. If it came to it being a neutral country would have been as much of a defence for Ireland as it was for Denmark or Norway. By joining the British forces you could do something to defend Ireland.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#11
REG002 said:
Many Irish citizens still join the British forces and have been doing so for years, before and after independence.
Yep, my Ma and two of her sisters joined the Brits - two in the WAAFs, one in the WRENS. Not only was it a job, it was a job with a uniform, decent pay, regular food, a bit of glamour, and a world away from working in a Dublin shitehole earning a pittance.

Besides, the Germans bombed Dublin now and again when lost, so you may as well be in England and get paid for it :)

One of them went back, the other two didn't. Of the three brothers, one joined the Irish Defence Force, and stayed in that . The other two joined the British Army.

Mind you, this was a Dublin family, and a very large proportion of Dubs were - if not pro-Brit, then certainly not happy with Dev and his pals. My granny cried as the English withdrew from Dublin, and when the Irish Regiments were disbanded, and this was a pretty common occurrence. Dev was NOT popular throughout Ireland, and that's a fact.
 
#12
OldSnowy said:
Dev was NOT popular throughout Ireland, and that's a fact.
For God's sake man, don't let fact get in the way of myth! Next you'll be telling that there aren't colleens dancing at crossroads and that we Irish don't spend all night clustered round a peat fire bemoaning "800 years of British oppression"!
 
#13
Purple_Flash said:
OldSnowy said:
Dev was NOT popular throughout Ireland, and that's a fact.
For God's sake man, don't let fact get in the way of myth! Next you'll be telling that there aren't colleens dancing at crossroads and that we Irish don't spend all night clustered round a peat fire bemoaning "800 years of British oppression"!
I'm amazed,you mean there's not !!!
 
#15
Dev wasnt pro or anti nazi or pro or anti British

there is a very good new biography on him that was serialised on a radio

programme- he actually liked the King as a person - hated Churchill

and had the height of respect for Lloyd George

I personally think he was wrong for not joining the war

he was and is still an extremely popular person here in God's land

personally I think he was a cnut- give me Collins any day

Now there was a Soldier
 
#16
My father joined the RAF and as an apprentice engineer he was working on Spitfires. I remember him saying he joined up for the excitement and wanting to be involved in the fight against Hitler.
 
#17
Try

Bartlett T. & Jeffery, K. (1996): A Military History of Ireland, Cambridge University Press.

Chapter 19: "The British Army and Ireland since 1922" might be of particular interest.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
Are these the same Irish that stopped rescue attempts from their coast when HMS Mashona was sinking after being attacked by German aircraft in 1941? This considerably increased the loss of Brithsh lives in that incident.
 
#19
hedgie said:
Dev wasnt pro or anti nazi or pro or anti British

there is a very good new biography on him that was serialised on a radio

programme- he actually liked the King as a person - hated Churchill

and had the height of respect for Lloyd George

I personally think he was wrong for not joining the war

he was and is still an extremely popular person here in God's land

personally I think he was a cnut-
give me Collins any day
Now there was a Soldier
He didnt do a bad job in who dare wins.........but he wasnt a real soldier...LoL
 
#20
Why wouldn't they join up ? Not a lot of opptunties back home and certainly fighting Hitlers forces put you on the right side even if you have to wear a British uniform to do it.
 

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