Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

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Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Post by Shergar »

Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Below is a list of aircraft crashes that happened during the war years in Éire .
please feel free to enter link ,photographs of planes to follow

Also in the North of Ireland some peoples memories

My mother was evacuated from Belfast in 1940, to a farnm in the north of Ireland. At one time a Kraut aircraft did crash on the farm. Soldiers cordoned off the area of the crash. That's all I know.

I am wondering if anyone can help me, I am looking for information on a he-111 that crashed in the blackstairs mountains in County Wexford, Southern Ireland on Oct 11, 1941 killing 4 airmen, I am trying to find the exact crash site as I live nearby and would like to visit the site, any info would be very helpful, I already have found the names of the airmen and the planes reg number, thank you.

Any queries you might have, ask xxxxx, of the xxxxxxx . They have a web page, with his contact details on it. I know for a fact that he has extensive research built up over 30 years about allied aircraft that had crashed all over Ulster, so he may have info on other Axis aircraft, if there were any....
(name removed to stop others contacting and making nusience of themselves)

Did a German Aircraft not come down close to Six road ends between Bangor and Newtownards sometime around 1942? Apparently it crash-landsd into a field, the farmer and his wife rescued the pilot, brought him into their farmhouse, gave him an Ulster fry and then called the security guys.

Friday, 19th/Saturday, 20th July 1940 N321
1/KG40 Focke-Wulf FW200C. Brought down by AA fire during a minelaying sortie and crashed into the North Sea between Hartlepool and Sunderland 23.55. Fw H. Kulken and Fw K. Nicolai both captured unhurt. Fw W. Meyer killed. Hptmn R. Stesszyn (Staffelkapitän), Gefr S. Zaunig and Gefr J. Perl all missing believed killed. Aircraft F8+EH lost. The body of Willy Meyer was later washed ashore on the Yorkshire coast and originally buried at Driffield. Undercarriage leg trawled ashore and now in the North-East Aircraft Museum.

Several luftwaffe aircraft are known to have come down in the sea around Northern Ireland, none however crashed on land. A Focke - Wulf Condor belonging to 1st Staffel of Kampfgeschwader 40 (I/KG40) crashed on the 25th of July 1940 whilst on a minelaying sortie at the mouth of Belfast Lough. Three survivors were picked up by a anti-submarine trawler and landed at Larne, no bodies are on record as being recovered.

Squadron Leader J.W Simpson, C.O. of 245 Sqdn based at Aldergrove, shot down two Luftwaffe aircraft whilst stationed there - A Heinkel 111, east of Downpatrick during the air raid on Belfast, during 7/8th April 1941, and a Junkers 88, brought down near Ardglass on 6th May, both aircraft crashing into the sea.

Quite a number of Luftwaffe aircraft did crash in the South either from accidents or combat. About 140 Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine men were interned at the Curragh Camp, separated from Allied servicemen interned, only by a barbed wire fence. There is also a German cemetery in Co Wicklow. It seems unlikely there are any Luftwaffe aircrew buried on the North Coast, although it would be interesting if anyone can prove otherwise.

I lived to the North of Belfast and seem to remember that a German plane came down in the Lough. I remember the searches of the houses in Trooperslane, looking for the pilot. I think the plane came down opposite Lady Clark's property which was on the shores of the Lough between Carrickfergus andNorth Belfast. I was only a young child at the time but I do remember th planes over the Lough. Could anyone help with these memories?

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Re: Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Post by Shergar »

k lines internment camp no 2

this also answered the question or topic posed about the german officers uniform in the uniforms section

In September 1939 the then Irish Taoiseach, Eamon de Valera, announced that his government intended to keep Ireland out of the Second World War, a declaration of Irish neutrality. Eire (Rep. of Ireland) would be closed to all belligerent ships and aircraft of the war. Between September 1940 and June 1941, the fiercest period of the Battle of Britain would be fought in the skies over the British Isles between the German “Luftwaffe” and the British “RAF” and other allied air forces.

"K-Lines" (No.2 Internment camp) was built in 1939 in the East side of the Curragh Camp. The No.1 Internment camp was situated in the West side of the camp and members of the IRA were imprisoned there. The main function of the K-Lines was the internment any servicemen of either the axis or allied forces, who were captured on Irish soil during the Second World War. It would prevent their escape and thus prevent them returning to their respective countries and rejoining the war effort.

In appearance, K-Lines

was very similar to most concentration camps scattered in Europe at that time. It was modeled on the No.1 Internment camp which was built by the British forces during their occupation of Ireland. It consisted of a rectangular perimeter fence made of barbed wire, with large double gates at the outer entrance. There was then an internal barbed wire fence and between it and the perimeter fence, a grass corridor. An elevated gun post marked each of the four corners of the perimeter and was connected by the grass corridor, which was patrolled by the camp guards. The area inside was divided into two compounds by a corrugated iron fence topped with barbed wire. There was separate pedestrian gates to enter each compound. Inside these gates was a parole hut, which crossed the dividing fence and had a door and window in each compound. The entry and exit of the internees was controlled from this hut. One compound was occupied by the German forces, known as "G" camp and the other occupied by the allied forces, known as "B" camp (because the first allied internees were British).

The first internees of the war were six German Airmen who had crashed their plane at Mount Brandon, Co. Kerry on the 20 August 1940.

Oberleutnant (Lieutenant) Kurt Mollenhauer - Commander.

Feldwebel (Sergeant Major) Ludwig Wochner - Navigator.

Stabsfeldwebel Robert Beumer - Pilot.

Unteroffizier (Sergeant) Hans Bell.

Gefreiter (Corporal) Kurt Kyck.

Meteorologist - Eric Kruger.

On the 31 August 1940 four of the Germans were conveyed to K-lines and two admitted to the Curragh General Military Hospital for injuries received in the crash. They joined their comrades 12 days later.

Members of the Irish Local Defence Forces (LDF) interchanged the guard duty of both No.1 and No.2 Internment Camps on a regular basis. There was a tense relationship between the guards and the IRA internees and initially this tension would effect the attitude of the Irish soldiers towards the new internees of K-Lines.

For the first few weeks, security at the camp was tight and the internees privileges were limited. The General Officer Commanding Curragh Command, Colonel Thomas McNally considered the internees to be prisoners-of-war and stated "These prisoners in my opinion are the type who consider it a duty to effect escape at the first available opportunity". This attitude was also adopted by Commandant James Guiney, OC of both No.1 and No.2 Internment camps and thus would pass down the chain of command. In September of 1940, the German minister to Ireland, Edouard Hempel, visited K-Lines where he found the German internees to be uncomfortable with the conditions of their imprisonment. Hempel requested that there be a relaxation of the prison like procedures and during October 1940, the Irish Department of External Affairs agreed to grant certain liberties and privileges to the German internees. The German officers were paid £3 per week and the other ranks £2 per week as well as each to purchase civilian clothing. These payments were billed to the German government. The internees were allowed to attend religious services. They were given garden tools to cultivate their own vegetables. They were facilitated with a wireless radio for entertainment and keep in touch with the affairs of the war. Internees could avail of a postal system, which was however strictly censored. There was also a limited parole system introduced for all ranks allowing them to leave the compound, on their word of honor that they would return by the times laid down.

The next internee of K-Lines was a British pilot, Flying Officer Paul Mayhew. He was forced to make an emergency landing in his "Hurricane" fighter plane near Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford. on the 29 September 1940. He was on a mission from his Bristol Air base to intercept German bombers approaching the south of England. After downing one German bomber, he lost his bearings and running low on fuel, decided to land in a field in what he thought to be southern Wales. He arrived at K-Lines on the 17 October 1940. Unlike the German internees, the British government insisted that Mayhew received his full salary. He received all the privileges afforded to the German internees.

While on parole, the Curragh Camp offered the most modern sports and recreation facilities in the country at the time. These included a gymnasium, indoor swimming pool, tennis, squash and handball courts and playing fields for all outdoor sports. The initial strict parole system was relaxed gradually in order to avail of these facilities. Parole consisted of a signed statement on paper declaring:

" I hereby promise to be back in the compound at o'clock and, during my absence, not to take part in any activity connected with the war or prejudicial to the interests of the Irish state".

Parole was initially for a period of three hours each afternoon but gradually extended to two nights a week to attend the three cinemas in the Curragh. This soon expanded to cinemas in the neighboring towns of Kilcullen, Newbridge and Kildare. While going to these towns the internees had to ware civilian attire and they were forbidden to enter pubs or hotels, talk to the locals or visit their homes. The Irish soldiers would also follow the internee's movements mainly for their own protection. There would have been a threat to the British from IRA elements and to the Germans from pro-British locals.

Officers and NCOs were accommodated two to a room. The enlisted men were housed in 20 X 120 foot wooden huts divided into six rooms containing a bed, table, chair, electric light, chest of drawers, wardrobe, mirror, curtains and a mat. The huts were heated by small coal burning stoves. Two of these huts had abolitions attached containing two toilets, two showers and three wash hand basins. Hot water was available from 0800 hrs until 2130 hrs. Meals were served three times daily. Breakfast consisted of bacon, eggs, tea, and bread and butter. At 1300 hrs the main meal usually consisted of roast beef, turnips and potatoes with creamed pudding as desert. Fish was served on Fridays. Bread and butter, Tea and jam were available in the evenings.

The next group of German internees arrived at K-lines on the 01 Dec 1940. Their Flying boat landed beside Innishvicillaun, one of the Blasket Islands off the coast of Kerry on the 25 Nov 1940. The crew of the reconnaissance mission consisted of:

Unteroffizier (Sergeant) Hans Biegel.

Unteroffizier (Sergeant) Wilhelm Krupp.

Leutnant (Lieutenant) Konrad Neymeyr.

Feldwebels (Sergeant Major) Erwin Sack.

Feldwebels (Sergeant Major) Ernest Kalkowski.

On the 21 Dec 1940, five British airmen were interned. Two of these pilots were forced to land there Miles Master aircraft near Dundalk, Co. Louth, thinking it was Northern Ireland. They were:

William A. Proctor from Blairgowie, Perthshire, Scotland.

Aubrey R. Covington from Kingston on Thames.

Three pilots baled out of their Blenheim bomber over Co. Donegal.

Sergeant Douglas V. Newport.

Sergeant Sydney J. Hobbs.

Sergeant Herbert W. Ricketts.

Belligerent aircraft would end up on Irish soil for one of two reasons:

1. The allied pilots would land, mistaking Eire for Britain. This was quite common considering that aircraft navigation systems then were very basic compared to today’s standards.

2. Aircraft would either be damaged during battle or run low on fuel, forcing the pilots to crash or emergency land. In the case of allied pilots they sometimes could not make it to Britain or Northern Ireland. Luftwaffe pilots would land in Eire in preference interment in Britain.

When a warplane was forced to land in Eire, the crew would destroy all documents, maps and as much of the aircraft as possible, before they were captured. Allied pilots, on realizing where they had landed would attempt to travel to the North of Ireland, although not usually with much success.

Escape from K-Lines for German internees would prove undesirable, as France was the nearest axis occupied country to Ireland and traveling there, especially via England would prove very difficult. On the other hand, if British internees succeeded in escaping they would only have to travel little over one hundred miles in order to cross the boarder into Northern Ireland. However, the practice of breaking parole in an attempted to return home was condoned by the respective governments as it was seen as an abuse of privilege. Each internee had a duty to affect his escape but this would have to be done legitimately in the form of a break out from the camp. It was also the duty of the military guard in K-lines, to the escape or rescue of the internees. The guards were armed with rifles but ordered not to fire at internees who attempted escape. Even if an internee successfully effected escape from the compound, the Curragh Camp and surrounding towns were populated with off duty troops stationed in the Curragh. It was not long before Irish authorities had a good intelligence network known as G2, to counter escape attempts. Yet many pro British people were willing to aid the allied internees and an organization known as the “Escape Club” was formed. It was headed by Dr. Hugh Wilson who was a veteran of the First World War and established by M19, British Military Intelligence. The “Escape Club” would organize and aid many British internees to attempt escape during the war.

Conditions continued to improve in K-lines and in January 1941, it was authorised for parole to be extended to three hours a day for exercise and four hours each evening for recreation. The parole area consisted of the Curragh, and the three neighboring towns of Kildare, Newbridge and Killcullen. The British senior officers were allowed to telephone their diplomatic representative at any time. The ban on frequenting hotels in the local towns was lifted. Internees who were married were given extended parole from 1030 hrs to 2230 hrs to spend with their wives who traveled over to visit them. German internees took English lessons from local teachers every afternoon. Oberleutnant Kurt Mollenhauer incessantly fought with the Irish authorities for further concessions for his men. In May 1941, it was decided to extend parole to the neighboring town of Naas and internees were permitted to engage in horse riding. The restriction on visiting private homes was lifted and internees were permitted to attend local dances and functions. Tickets were obtained for the German and British officers to attend the Irish Derby at the Curragh racecourse that month.

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Re: Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Post by Shergar »

Luftwaffe Personel interned at the Curragh camp
Curragh camp internees
Curragh camp internees
german internees curragh camp.jpg (15.31 KiB) Viewed 16930 times

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Re: Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Post by Shergar »

World War II

During World War II, which the Irish government referred to as the Emergency, Ireland decided to remain neutral. At the time anti-British feeling was still high after the Anglo-Irish War of 1919-1921, and the government felt it could not aid Britain, which controlled Northern Ireland, while maintaining popular support. The government of Taoiseach Éamon de Valera could not bring itself to support Nazi Germany either. Until the signing of the 1938 Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement three Irish deep water ports remained under British control. By remaining neutral during World War II, Ireland ensured that Britain did not regain naval rights to the ports that would have provided either Britain or Germany exceptional control of the North Atlantic if they were attacked and captured.

Fianna Fáil and the political elite of Ireland also decided that there was no way Ireland could handle a major war due to the economic problems of the time and the neglect of the military since the civil war. De Valera stated in his wartime speeches, based on the experience of the League of Nations, that small states should stay out of the conflicts of big powers; hence Ireland's policy was officially "neutral", and the country did not publicly declare its support for either side – although in practice, while Luftwaffe pilots who crash-landed in Ireland and German sailors were interned, Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), and United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) pilots who crashed were usually allowed to cross the border into British territory. The internees were referred to as "guests of the nation". The German embassy had to pay for their keep. If they were on a non-combative mission they were repatriated. While it was easy for Allied pilots to make that claim, it was not realistic for Luftwaffe pilots to make a similar claim. Towards the end of the war, the German embassy was unable to pay, so the internees had to work on local farms. Strict wartime press censorship had the effect of controlling a moral reaction to the war's unfolding events and reiterated the public position that Irish neutrality was morally superior to the stance of any of the combatants.

USAAF aircraft were allowed to overfly County Donegal to bases in County Fermanagh. Many of these aircraft were manufactured in the United States, to be flown by the RAF. This was known as the 'Donegal Corridor'. Navigational markings are still, faintly, visible on mountains, such as Slieve League. There were many unfortunate crashes into these mountains. The bodies of dead airmen were handed over at the border. At the border the Guard of Honour performed a drill with reversed arms, a Bugler sounded the Last Post and a Chaplain gave a Blessing. An Allied officer, embarrassed that the coffins' journeys were being continued in open lorries, thanked the Irish for the "honour". The reply was: "Ours is the honour, but yours is the glory".

USAAF aircraft en-route to North Africa refueled at Shannon Airport, flying boats at nearby Foynes. A total of 1,400 aircraft and 15,000 passengers passed through Foynes airport during the war years.

In the course of the war an estimated 70,000 citizens of neutral Ireland served as volunteers in the British Armed Forces (and another estimated 50,000 from Northern Ireland ), although this figure does not include Irish people who were resident in Britain before the war (though many used aliases). Some 200,000 Irish migrated to England to participate in the war economy— most of them stayed after the war. Those who went without proper papers were liable to be conscripted. Irish military intelligence (G2) shared information with the British military and even held secret meetings to decide what to do if Germany invaded Ireland in order to attack Britain, plans which were formulated into Plan W, a plan for joint Irish and British military action should the Germans invade. The Germans did have a plan to invade Ireland called Operation Green but it was only to be put into operation with the plans to conquer Britain, Operation Sealion. Irish weather reports were crucial to the timing of the D-Day landings. When the Irish aircraft sighted any German ships, planes or submarines, they reported back to base by radio knowing that the messages were being picked up by the British authorities.

On Easter Tuesday, April 15, 1941, 180 Luftwaffe bombers attacked Belfast. De Valera responded immediately to a request for assistance from Basil Brooke, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Within two hours, 13 fire tenders from Dublin, Drogheda, Dundalk and Dún Laoghaire were on their way to assist their Belfast colleagues. De Valera followed up with his "they are our people" speech and formally protested to Berlin. Joseph Goebbels instructed German radio not to repeat their report of the raid as Adolf Hitler was surprised at the Irish reaction, which might influence Irish Americans to bring the United States into the war. Although there was a later raid on May 4, it was confined to the docks and shipyards.

However Ireland wanted to maintain a public stance of neutrality and refused to close the German and Japanese embassies, and the Taoiseach Éamon de Valera even signed the book of condolence on Adolf Hitler’s death, on May 2, 1945. Unlike many other non-combatant countries, Ireland did not declare war on the near-defeated Germany in order to seize German assets. Other neutral countries like Sweden and Switzerland expelled German embassy staff at the end of the war, as they no longer represented a state, but the German legation in Dublin was allowed to remain open.

Irish neutrality during the war was threatened from within by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) who sought to provoke a confrontation between Britain and Ireland. This plan collapsed however when IRA chief of staff Seán Russell died in a U-boat off the Irish coast as part of Operation Dove; the Germans also later came to realise they had overestimated the abilities of the IRA. The American Ambassador, David Gray stated that he once asked de Valera what he would do if German paratroopers 'liberated' Derry. According to Gray, de Valera was silent for a time and then replied "I don't know". De Valera viewed the IRA threat to the authority of the state as sufficiently significant to intern 5,000 IRA members without trial at the Curragh Camp for the duration of the war.

At ceremonies for the first Holocaust Memorial Day in Ireland, January 26, 2003, Justice Minister Michael McDowell openly apologized for an Irish wartime policy that was inspired by "a culture of muted anti-semitism in Ireland," which discouraged the immigration of thousands of Europe's threatened Jews. He said that "at an official level the Irish state was at best coldly polite and behind closed doors antipathetic, hostile and unfeeling toward the Jews". In 1966 a forest was planted in De Valera's honour at Kfar Kana near Nazareth, suggesting that any anti-semitism in Ireland was personal and not official.

Many German spies were sent to Ireland, but all were captured quickly as a result of either good intelligence or sometimes the ineptitude of the spies. The chief spy of Abwehr was Hermann Görtz. In 1983 RTÉ made Caught in a Free State, a dramatised television series about Görtz and his fellow spies.

As Ireland was neutral, Irish ships continued to sail with full navigation lights. They had large tricolours and the word "ÉIRE" painted large on their sides and decks. At that time, Allied ships travelled in convoy for protection from the U-boat ‘wolf packs’. If a ship was torpedoed, it was left behind since the other ships could not stop for fear of becoming a target. Irish ships often stopped, and they rescued more than 500 seamen, and some airmen, from many nations. However many Irish ships were attacked by belligerents on both sides. Over 20% of Irish seamen, on clearly marked neutral vessels, lost their lives.

Irish neutrality during World War II had broad support, with only one vote against it in Dáil Éireann from a Fine Gael TD that demanded Ireland side with the Allies. However, as noted earlier, tens of thousands of Irish citizens fought in the Allied armies against the Nazis, mostly in the British army.

Winston Churchill, the British wartime Prime Minister, made an outspoken attack on the Irish Government and in particular Eamon de Valera in his radio broadcast on VE Day. Churchill maintained that the British government displayed restraint on the Irish state while the de Valera government were allowed to "frolic with the Germans". Churchill maintained that the British could have invaded the Irish state but displayed "considerable restraint" in not doing so. De Valera replied to Churchill in a radio broadcast which drew praise from political opponents and the media in general in Ireland for its restraint:

Mr. Churchill makes it clear that in certain circumstances he would have violated our neutrality and that he would justify his action by Britain’s necessity. It seems strange to me that Mr. Churchill does not see that this, if accepted, would mean that Britain’s necessity would become a moral code and that when this necessity became sufficiently great, other people’s rights were not to count….this same code is precisely why we have the disastrous succession of wars….shall it be world war number three?

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Luftwaffe Belfast Blitz

Post by Shergar »

Belfast Blitz

The Belfast Blitz was an event that occurred on the night of Easter Tuesday, 15 April 1941. Two hundred bombers of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) attacked the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland. One thousand people died as a result of the bombing and even more were injured. In terms of property damage, half of the houses in Belfast were destroyed. Outside of the city of London, this was the greatest loss of life in a night raid during the blitz. Roughly 100,000 people of a total population of 425,000 were rendered homeless.


Although the Republic of Ireland had declared its neutrality during World War II, Belfast, being part of Northern Ireland and therefore part of the United Kingdom, was at war.

Belfast had an enviable engineering tradition. As Britain was preparing for the conflict, the factories and shipyards of Belfast were gearing up. Belfast made a considerable contribution towards the Allied war effort.


Unfortunately, the government of Northern Ireland lacked the will, energy and capacity to cope with a major crisis when it came.

James Craig, Lord Craigavon, was Prime Minister of Northern Ireland since is inception in 1921, until his death on November 24, 1940. Lady Londonderry confided to Sir Samuel Hoare, the Home Secretary, that Craigavon had become "ga-ga
Richard Dawson Bates, was the Home Affairs Minister. According to Sir Wilfred Spender, the cabinet secretary, "incapable of giving his responsible officers coherent directions on policy" – actually, he was drunk for most of each day.

It appears that Sir Basil Brooke, the Minister of Agriculture, was the only active minister. He successfully busied himself with the task of making Northern Ireland a major supplier of food to Britain in her time of need.

Mention must be made of John Clarke MacDermott, the Minister of Public Security, who, after the first bombing, initiated the “Hiram Plan” to evacuate the city and to return Belfast to 'normality' as quickly as possible. It was MacDermott who sent the telegram to deValera seeking assistance.

There was unease with the complacent attitude of the government, which led to resignations:

John Edmond Warnock, the parliamentary secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, resigned from the Northern Ireland government on May 25, 1940. He said "I have heard speeches about Ulster pulling her weight but they have never carried conviction." and "the government has been slack, dilatory and apathetic."
Lt. Col. Alexander Robert Gisborne Gordon, Parliamentary and Financial Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, resigned on June 13, 1940, explaining to the Commons that the government was "quite unfitted to sustain the people in the ordeal we have to face."
Craigavon died on Sunday, November 24, 1940. He was succeeded by the 70 year old, John Miller Andrews, who was no more capable of dealing with the situation than his predecessor. The minutes of his cabinet meetings show more discussion on protecting the bronze statue of Carson than the provision of air-raid shelters.

On April 28, 1943, six members of the Government threatened to resign, forcing him from office. He resigned on May 1.

Manufacturing facilities

Harland and Wolff was one of the largest shipbuilding yards in the world. It is best known for the ill-fated RMS Titanic. Its yards constructed many ships for the Royal Navy, including aircraft carriers such as HMS Formidable and HMS Unicorn; the cruisers, HMS Belfast and HMS Penelope; and 131 other naval vessels. Up to 35,000 people were employed.
During the war years, Belfast yards built or converted over 3,000 naval vessels, repaired more than 22,000 vessels and launched over half a million tons of merchant shipping - over 140 merchant vessels.
Short Brothers manufactured aircraft. They are best known for the Short Sunderland flying boat and the Short Stirling long-range heavy bomber. Up to 20,000 people were employed. They were re-equipping as early as 1936 for the manufacture of 189 Handley Page Hereford bombers
James Mackie & Sons were re-equipped in 1938. They were the primary supplier of Bofors anti-aircraft shells.
Harland’s Engineering works built tanks. They designed the Churchill tank.
Aero linen for covering aircraft, such as the Hawker Hurricane, and glider frames was manufactured by a number of Belfast flax spinning mills, such as The York Street Flax Spinning Co.; Brookfield Spinning Co.; Wm. Ewart's Rosebank Weaving Co.; and the Linen Thread Co.
Other Belfast factories manufactured gun mountings, ordnance pieces, aircraft parts and ammunition.
War materials and food was sent by sea from Belfast to Britain, some under the protection of the “neutral” Irish flag. The M.V. Munster, operated by the ‘Belfast SteamShip Company’ plyed between Belfast and Liverpool under the Irish flag, until she hit a mine and was sunk outside Liverpool.


Unfortunately there was almost no preparation for the conflict with Germany.

James Craig, Lord Craigavon, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland since its inception in 1921, claimed; "Ulster is ready when we get the word and always will be." He was asked, in the N.I. parliament: “if the government realized 'that these fast bombers can come to Northern Ireland in two and three quarter hours'.” His reply was: “We here today are in a state of war and we are prepared with the rest of the United Kingdom and empire to face all the responsibilities that imposes on the Ulster people. There is no slacking in our loyalty.”

Richard Dawson Bates, the Home Affairs Minister, simply refused to reply to army correspondence and when the Ministry of Home Affairs was informed by imperial defence experts that Belfast was a certain Luftwaffe target, nothing was done.

Air-raid Shelters

Belfast, a city with the highest population density had the lowest proportion of air-raid shelters. Prior to the "Belfast Blitz" there were only 200 public shelters, although 4,000 households had built their own shelters. No searchlights set up, as they only arrived on April 10. There were no night-fighters. On the night of the raid, no RAF aircraft took to the air. There were only 22 anti-aircraft guns, six light, and sixteen heavy. On the night, only seven were operated for a short time. There was no smokescreen ability. There were some barrage balloons.

These air-raid shelters were Anderson shelters. They were just sheets of corrugated galvanised iron. Since most casualties were caused by falling masonry rather than by blast, these structures provided effective shelter for those who had them.


Unlike other British cities, children had not been evacuated. There had been the "Hiram Plan" initiated by Richard Dawson Bates, the Home Affairs Minister, but it failed to materialise. Fewer than 4,000 women and children were evacuated. There were still 80,000 children in Belfast. Even the children of soldiers had not been evacuated, with calamitous results when the married quarters of Victoria barracks received a direct hit.

German Preparation

From papers recovered after the war, we know of a Luftwaffe reconnaissance flight over Belfast on November 30, 1940. The Germans established that Belfast, was defended by only seven anti-aircraft batteries, which made it the most undefended city in the United Kingdom. From their photographs, they identified suitable targets:

Die Werft Harland and Wolff Ltd
Die Tankstelle Conns Water
Das Flugzeugwerk Short and Harland
Das Kraftwerk Belfast
Die Grossmühle Rank & Co
Das Wasserwerk Belfast
Die Kasernenlagen Victoria Barracks

Earlier Raids

There had been a number of small bombings, probably by planes that missed their targets over the Clyde or the cities of the north-west of England.

On March 24, 1941, John McDermott, Minister for Security, wrote to the Prime Minister, John Andrews expressing his concerns that Belfast was so poorly protected. "Up to now we have escaped attack. So had Clydeside until recently. Clydeside got its blitz during the period of the last moon. There [is] ground for thinking that the ... enemy could not easily reach Belfast in force except during a period of moonlight. The period of the next moon from say the 7th to the 16th of April may well bring our turn." Unfortunately, McDermott was proved right. On 7th April 1941 Belfast suffered the first of three air raids.

The first deliberate raid took place on the night of April 7. (Some authors count this as the second raid of four). It targeted the docks. Neighbouring residential areas were also hit. Six Heinkel He 111 bombers, from Kampfgruppe 26, flying at 7,000 feet, dropped incendiaries, high explosive and parachute-bombs. By British blitz experience, casualties were light. 13 lost their lives, including a soldier killed when an anti-aircraft battery, at the Balmoral show-grounds, misfired. The most significant loss was a 4½ acre factory floor for manufacturing the fuselages of Short Stirling bombers. The Royal Air Force announced that Squadron Leader J. W.C. Simpson shot down one of the Heinkels over Downpatrick.

The Luftwaffe crews returned to their base in Northern France and reported that Belfast's defences were, "inferior in quality, scanty and insufficient".

The "Easter Tuesday" Blitz

William Joyce (known as "Lord Haw-Haw"), announced in radio broadcasts from Hamburg that there will be “Easter eggs for Belfast”.

Junkers Ju-88On Easter Tuesday, April 15, 1941, spectators watching a football match at Windsor Park noticed a lone Luftwaffe Junkers 107 circling overhead. There was no military response. Distillery F.C. defeated Linfield F.C. by 3 goals to 1.

That evening up to 200 bombers left their bases in Northern France and the Low Countries and headed for Belfast. There were Heinkel He 111s, Junkers Ju 88s and Dorniers.
At 10:40PM the air raid sirens sounded. Accounts differ as to when flares were dropped to light up the city.

The first attack was against the city's waterworks, which had been attacked in the previous raid. High explosives were dropped. Initially it was thought that the Germans had mistaken this reservoir for the harbour and shipyards, where many ships, including HMS Ark Royal were being repaired. However that attack was not an error. When incendiaries were dropped and the city burned, the water pressure was too low for fire-fighting.

Wave after wave of bombers dropped their incendiaries, high explosives and land-mines. Altogether 203 metric tons of high explosives bombs, 80 landmines attached to parachutes, and 800 firebomb canisters containing 96,000 incendiary bombs were dropped on the city.

There was no opposition. In the mistaken belief that they might damage RAF fighters, the 7 anti-aircraft batteries, ceased firing. But, the RAF had not responded. The bombs continued to fall until 5AM.

About 1,000 died. 56,000 houses (more than half of the city's housing stock) were damaged leaving 100,000 temporarily homeless. Outside of London, this was the greatest loss of life in a night raid during the Blitz[citation needed].

A stray bomber attacked Derry killing 15. Another attacked Bangor killing 5.

By 4AM the entire city seemed to be in flames. At 4:15AM John MacDermot, the Minister of Security managed to contact Basil Brooke (then Agriculture Minister), seeking permission to seek help from the Irish Free State ("southern" Ireland). Brooke noted in his diary "I gave him authority as it is obviously a question of expediency". Since 1:45AM all telephones had been cut. Fortunately, the railway telegram from Belfast to Dublin was still operational. The telegram was sent at 4:35AM, asking the Irish Premier, de Valera for assistance.

Human Cost

Over 900 lives were lost, 1,500 were injured, 400 of them seriously. 35,000 houses, more than half the houses in the city were damaged. 11 churches, 2 hospitals, and 2 schools were destroyed. They rely on newspaper reports of the time, personal recollections and other primary sources, such as Jimmy Doherty, an air raid warden, (and later served in London during the V1 and V2 blitz), who wrote a book on the blitz; Emma Duffin, a nurse at the Queen’s University Hospital, (who previously served during the Great War), who kept a diary; and Major Seán O’Sullivan, who produced a detailed report for the Dublin government. There are other diarists and narratives. Dr. Brian Barton of Queens University has written most on this topic, but there can be a different slant to his accounts.


When the bombs fell, the population did not know what to do. There were few bomb shelters. An air raid shelter on the Hallidays Road received a direct hit killing all those taking shelter within it. Many people who were dug out of the rubble alive had taken shelter underneath their stairs and were fortunate enough that their homes had not received a direct hit or had even caught on fire.

The population did not know whether to run, hide or stay in their beds.

In the New Lodge area people had taken refuge in a Mill, which presumably appeared to them to be a sturdy building. Tragically 35 were crushed to death when the mill wall collapsed. In another mill, the York Street Mill, one of its massive sidewalls collapsed on to Sussex and Vere Streets killing all those who still remained in their homes.

Major O’Sullivan reported "In the heavily ‘blitzed’ areas people ran panic-stricken into the streets and made for the open country. As many were caught in the open by blast and secondary missiles, the enormous number of casualties can be readily accounted for. It is perhaps true that many saved their lives running but I am afraid a much greater number lost them or became casualties."

That night almost 300 people, many from the Protestant Shankill, took refuge in Clonard Monastery in the Catholic Falls Road. The crypt under the sanctuary and the cellar under the working sacristy, had been fitted out and opened to the people, as an air-raid shelter. Prayers were said and hymns sung by the mainly Protestant women and children during the bombing.


The mortuary services had emergency plans to deal with only 200 bodies. In the event, the public baths on the Falls Road and on Peter’s Hill, and the large fruit market, Saint George’s market, were used as mortuaries. 150 corpses remained in the Falls Road baths for three days. Then they were buried in a mass grave, with 123 still unidentified. A further 255 corpses were laid out in St. George’s Market. Many bodies and parts of bodies could not be identified

Mass graves for the unclaimed bodies were dug in the Milltown and City Cemeteries.

Nurse Emma Duffin

Nurse Emma Duffin, who had served in the Great War, contrasted death in that conflict with what she saw:

“ (Great War casualties) had died in hospital beds, their eyes had been reverently closed, their hands crossed to their breasts. Death had to a certain extent been...made decent. It was solemn, tragic, dignified, but here it was grotesque, repulsive, horrible. No attendant nurse had soothed the last moments of these victims; no gentle reverent hand had closed their eyes or crossed their hands. With tangled hair, staring eyes, clutching hands, contorted limbs, their grey-green faces covered with dust, they lay, bundled into the coffins, half-shrouded in rugs or blankets, or an occasional sheet, still wearing their dirty, torn twisted garments. Death should be dignified, peaceful; Hitler had made even death grotesque. I felt outraged, I should have felt sympathy, grief, but instead feelings of revulsion and disgust assailed me.”

Major Seán O’Sullivan

Major Seán O’Sullivan, reported on the intensity of the bombing in some areas, such as the Antrim Road, where bombs “fell within fifteen to twenty yards of one another.” The most heavily-bombed area was that which lay between York Street and the Antrim Road..

His opinion was that the whole civil defence sector was utterly overwhelmed. Heavy jacks were unavailable. He described some distressing consequences, such as how “in one case the leg and arm of a child had to be amputated before it could be extricated.”

In his opinion, the greatest want was the lack of hospital facilities. He went to the Mater Hospital at 2PM in the afternoon, 9 hours after the raid ended, to find the street with a traffic jam of ambulances waiting to admit their casualties. He spoke with Professor Flynn, (Thomas Flynn an Australian based at the Mater hospital and father of Errol Flynn of Hollywood fame) head of the casualty service for the city, who told him of “casualties due to shock, blast and secondary missiles, such as glass, stones, pieces of piping, etc.” O’Sullivan reported: “There were many terrible mutilations among both living and dead - heads crushed, ghastly abdominal and face wounds, penetration by beams, mangled and crushed limbs etc”. His report concluded with: “a second Belfast would be too horrible to contemplate’.

Gasworks Vacuum

To a Dún Laoghaire fireman the most haunting sight were not the horribly wounded dead, but those without a blemish. When the city’s gasworks exploded, there was a temporary vacuum. This smothered all fires and all life. Windows, slates, and all loose material were sucked from the houses. Those inside, mostly still lying in their beds, were lifeless, their eyes wide open with fright, and their mouths wide open seeking a breath.


220,000 fled from the city. Many “arrived in Fermanagh having nothing with them only night shirts”. 10,000 “officially” crossed the border. Over 500 received care from the Irish Red Cross in Dublin. The town of Dromara saw its population increase from 500 to 2,500. In Newtownards, Bangor, Larne, Carrickfergus, Lisburn and Antrim many thousands of Belfast citizens took refuge either with friends or strangers

Major O’Sullivan reported on a

“continuous trek to railway stations. The refugees looked dazed and horror stricken and many had neglected to bring more than a few belongings” … “Any and every means of exit from the city was availed of and the final destination appeared to be a matter of indifference. Train after train and bus after bus were filled with those next in line. At nightfall the Northern Counties Station was packed from platform gates to entrance gates and still refugees were coming along in a steady stream from the surrounding streets... Open military lorries were finally put into service and even expectant mothers and mothers with young children were put into these in the rather heavy drizzle that lasted throughout the evening. On the 17th I heard that hundreds who either could not get away or could not leave for other reasons simply went out into the fields and remained in the open all night with whatever they could take in the way of covering.”
Moya Woodside noted in her diary: “Evacuation is taking on panic proportions. Roads out of town are still one stream of cars, with mattresses and bedding tied on top. Everything on wheels is being pressed into service. People are leaving from all parts of town and not only from the bombed areas. Where they are going, what they will find to eat when they get there, nobody knows.”
Regrettably, there were those who took advantage of the misfortune of others. Cabinet Minister Richard Dawson Bates informed the cabinet of rack-renting of barns, and over thirty people per house in some areas.

Newspaper reaction
The Irish Times editorial on April 17:

“Humanity knows no borders, no politics, no differences of religious belief. Yesterday for once the people of Ireland were united under the shadow of a national blow. Has it taken bursting bombs to remind the people of this little country that they have common tradition, a common genius and a common home? Yesterday the hand of good-fellowship was reached across the Border. Men from the South worked with men from the North in the universal cause of the relief of suffering.


Southern reaction
By 6AM; within two hours of the request for assistance, 71 fire men with 13 fire tenders from Dundalk, Drogheda, Dublin, and Dún Laoghaire were on their way to cross the Irish border to assist their Belfast colleagues. In each station volunteers were asked for, as it was beyond their normal duties. In every instance, all volunteered. They remained for three days, until they were sent back by the Northern Ireland government. By then 250 fire men from Clydeside had arrived. (See: Clydeside's Ordeal by Fire by M. Chadwick)

De Valera formally protested to Berlin. He followed up with his "they are our people" speech.

“In the past, and probably in the present, too, a number of them did not see eye to eye with us politically, but they are our people – we are one and the same people – and their sorrows in the present instance are also our sorrows; and I want to say to them that any help we can give to them in the present time we will give to them whole-heartedly, believing that were the circumstances reversed they would also give us their help whole-heartedly …”
Frank Aiken, the Minister for Defence was in Boston, Massachusetts at the time. He gave an interview to the press there, saying: “the people of Belfast are Irish people too”.

German response

Initial German radio broadcasts celebrated the raid. Luftwaffe pilot gave this description "We were in exceptional good humour knowing that we were going for a new target, one of England's last hiding places. Wherever Churchill is hiding his war material we will go…Belfast is as worthy a target as Coventry, Birmingham, Bristol or Glasgow." William Joyce "Lord Haw-Haw" announced that "The Fuhrer will give you time to bury your dead before the next attack … ….Tuesday was only a sample."

However Belfast was not mentioned again by the Nazis. After the war, instructions from Joseph Goebbels were discovered ordering it not to be mentioned. It would appear that Adolf Hitler, in view of the negative reaction of Eamon de Valera, was concerned that de Valera and Irish American politicians might encourage the United States to enter the war.

Eduard Hempel, the German ambassador called to the Irish Ministry for External Affairs, to offer sympathy and attempt an explanation. J.P. Walshe, assistant secretary, recorded that the German was "clearly distressed by the news of the severe raid on Belfast and especially of the number of civilian casualties". He stated that "he would once more tell his government how he felt about the matter and he would ask them to confine the operations to military objectives as far as it was humanly possible. He believed that this was being done already but it was inevitable that a certain number of civilian lives should be lost in the course of heavy bombing from the air".


Among the people of Northern Ireland, reactions tended to blame their government for inadequate precautions. Tommy Henderson, an Independent Unionist MP in the House of Commons of Northern Ireland, summed up their feelings when he invited the Minister of Home Affairs to Hannahstown and the Falls Road, saying "The Catholics and the Protestants are going up there mixed and they are talking to one another. They are sleeping in the same sheugh, below the same tree or in the same barn. They all say the same thing, that the government is no good."

There were those who sought to attribute blame for the calamity.

One claim was that the Germans located Belfast by heading for Dublin, which was not observing a blackout and following the railway lines north. In "The Blitz: Belfast in the war years", Dr Brian Barton writes "Government Ministers felt with justification, that the Germans were able to use the unblacked out lights in the south to guide them to their targets in the North." Dr Barton insists that Belfast was "too far north" to use radio guidance.

Other writers, such as Tony Gray in "The Lost Years" say that the Germans did follow their radio guidance beams. It seems strange that the railway line, and the railway telegraph wire which was used to call Dublin for help, remained intact if they were following it. Several accounts point out that Belfast, standing at the end of the long inlet of Belfast Lough, would be easily located.

Another claim was that the Catholic population in general and the IRA in particular guided the bombers. Dr Barton writes: "the Catholic population was much more strongly opposed to conscription, was inclined to sympathise with Germany", "...there were suspicions that the Germans were assisted in identifying targets, held by the Unionist population. It is true that the bulk of the damage caused by the raids was in Protestant areas.", and "The police, at the time reported seeing lights shining from the hills surrounding the city and thought it suspicious."

He is correct to say that the bulk of the damage caused by the raids was in Protestant areas. However many of the industries attacked, such as the Harland and Wolff Shipyards, mainly employed Protestants. The areas adjoining these industries were largely Protestant.

This view was probably influenced by the decision of the IRA Army Council to support Germany. However they were not in a position to communicate with the Germans. Information recovered from Germany after the war showed that the planning of the blitz was based entirely on their own aerial reconnaissance. See main article on IRA Nazi links IRA Abwehr World War II.

Firemen Return South

After three days, sometime after 6pm the fire crews from south of the border began making up their hose and ladders to head for home. By then most of the major fires were under control and the firemen from Clydeside and other British cities were arriving. Some had received food, others were famished. All were exhausted. Two of the crews received refreshments in Banbridge; others were entertained in the Ancient Order of Hibernians hall in Newry.

Belatedly in 1995 on the fiftieth anniversary of the ending of the Second World War an invitation was received by the Dublin Fire Brigade, addressed to any survivors of those historic days, to attend a function at Hillsborough Castle and meet Prince Charles. Only four of those who were there were still known to be alive at that time, one Tom Coleman, travelled north to receive some recognition for his colleagues' solidarity at such a critical time.

Later Raids

There was a later raid on Belfast on May 4; it was confined to the docks and shipyards. Again the Irish emergency services crossed the border, this time without an invitation.

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Dublin in World War II

Post by Shergar »

Bombing of Dublin in World War II

The Bombing of Dublin in World War II occurred on May 31, 1941, when amid World War II, the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) bombed Dublin, the capital of neutral Ireland (Éire), killing 34 persons


At the beginning of the Second World War, Ireland declared its neutrality. After Germany’s military conquest of Poland, Denmark, Norway, the Low Countries, and France, the United Kingdom stood alone in fighting Germany. By May 1941, the German Air Force had bombed numerous cities in the United Kingdom, including Belfast in Northern Ireland. Thus, by virtue of the division of the island, Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom was at war, but the independent state of Ireland (Éire) was neutral.

Earlier German bombings of Éire

Despite its neutrality, Ireland (i.e., Éire; the island excluding Northern Ireland) had not been totally spared German air bombardment before the Dublin raid. Earlier bombing raids of Éire included:

August 26, 1940, German bombs were dropped on County Wexford, the bombs hitting Duncormick and Ambrosetown did no discernable damage. However, a bomb hit a restaurant in Campile killing 3 persons. In 1943, the German government paid £9000 in compensation.

December 20, 1940, German bombs hit Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, and Dun Laoghaire and the Sandycove railway station, both near Dublin. There were no fatalities, but 3 persons were injured.

January 1, 1941, German bombs hit Duleek and Julianstown (both County Meath), without casualties.
January 2, 1941, German bombs hit Terenure in Dublin, destroying several houses and injuring 7 persons, and Ballymurn (County Wexford) without casualties. Dublin itself (Fortfield Road) was hit, without damage or casualties, and the nearby and Curragh Racecourse was hit with incendiary devices, and other bombs hit County Wicklow. German bombs also destroyed a house in Knockroe (County Carlow), killing 3 persons.
January 3, 1941, Dublin was again hit by German bombers, this time injuring 20 persons.

The May 31, 1941 raid on Dublin

May 31 was a Friday preceding a Bank Holiday weekend. Just after midnight, the sound of approaching aircraft was heard in Dublin along with the sounds of bombs exploding in the distance, searchlights began sweeping the skies for the planes. At about 12.30 am, anti-aircraft batteries began shooting at the targets; this was in keeping with Ireland’s stated policy of armed neutrality. At 1.30 am, the first bombs began falling on Dublin. The bombs hit a mostly working-class area of Dublin, including the areas of the North Richmond Street, Rutland Place, Phoenix Park, the Dublin Zoo, and most especially hard hit, the North Strand. The raid claimed the lives of 34 persons, injured 90, destroyed or damaged approximately 300 houses, and left 400 persons homeless. Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of Irish President (Douglas Hyde at the time) was also damaged.

On June 5, a mass funeral was held for 12 of the victims; Éamon de Valera, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister), and other government officials attended. De Valera made a speech in the Dáil Éireann (the lower house of the Irish Parliament) on the same day, recorded in the acta thus:

Members of the Dáil desire to be directly associated with the expression of sympathy already tendered by the Government on behalf of the nation to the great number of our citizens who have been so cruelly bereaved by the recent bombing. Although a complete survey has not yet been possible, the latest report which I have received is that 27 persons were killed outright or subsequently died; 45 were wounded or received other serious bodily injury and are still in hospital; 25 houses were completely destroyed and 300 so damaged as to be unfit for habitation, leaving many hundreds of our people homeless. It has been for all our citizens an occasion of profound sorrow in which the members of this House have fully shared. (Members rose in their places.) The Dáil will also desire to be associated with the expression of sincere thanks which has gone out from the Government and from our whole community to the several voluntary organisations the devoted exertions of whose members helped to confine the extent of the disaster and have mitigated the sufferings of those affected by it. As I have already informed the public, a protest has been made to the German Government. The Dáil will not expect me, at the moment, to say more on this head.
The then-West Germany accepted responsibility for the raid and by 1958 it paid compensation of £327,000. Over 2000 claims for compensation were processed by the Irish government, eventually costing £344,000.[4] East Germany and Austria, which were both part of Germany in 1941, made no contribution.

Cause of the raid

Several reasons for the raid have been asserted over time. Among the most discussed are: a navigational error; a deliberate attack in retaliation for Irish assistance to the victims of the Luftwaffe’s bombings of Belfast; a warning to Ireland not to assist Britain during the war or a deflection of radio beams on which the Luftwaffe relied.

The most readily apparent cause was a navigational error and mistaken target. Numerous large cities in the United Kingdom were targeted for bombing, including Belfast, which like Dublin is across the Irish Sea from the mainland of Great Britain. Navigational error, equipment malfunction, or weather may have played a role. A pilot who was one of the pathfinders on the raid later recounted this as the cause of the raid. War-time Germany’s acceptance of responsibility and post-war Germany’s payment of compensation are cited as further indications that the causation was error on the part of the Luftwaffe pilots.

Irish neutrality in the Second World War was stretched. In April 1941, Germany had launched the Belfast blitz. Belfast, in Northern Ireland and therefore part of the United Kingdom was bombed severely during April. In response, Ireland had sent rescue, fire, and emergency personnel to Belfast to assist the city, and De Valera formally protested the bombing to the German government and made his famous "they are our people" speech. Ireland's response must have seemed unexpected from a neutral state, and some have contended that the raid served as a warning to Ireland to keep out of the war. This contention was expanded upon by Colonel Edward Flynn, second cousin of Ireland's Minister for Coordination of Defensive Measures, who recalled to the press that Lord Haw Haw warned Ireland that Dublin's Amiens Street Railway Station, where a stream of refugees from Belfast was arriving, would be bombed. The station, now called Connolly Station, stands a few hundred meters from North Strand Road, where the bombing damage was heaviest. He similarly contended that the German bombing of Dundalk on July 4 was pre-warned by Lord Haw Haw as a punishment for Dundalk being the point of shipment of Irish cattle sold to the United Kingdom.

After the war, Winston Churchill said that the British could interfere with radio signals that the Luftwaffe used to guide German planes to their targets, and some intelligence officials claimed that such interference caused the planes to hit Dublin. The technology, however, was not sufficiently well-developed by mid-1941 to have deflected planes from targets rather than making the planes unable to receive the signals.

Subsequent German bombings of Éire

Even following the bombing of Dublin, German planes bombed other sites in Éire, including:

June 2, 1941, Arklow was bombed by the luftwaffe.
July 4, 1941, George’s Quay, Dundalk was bombed by the luftwaffe.

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Lord Haw Haw / William Joyce

Post by Shergar »

William Joyce

This article is about the Second World War propagandist.

Born April 24, 1906(1906-04-24)
1906 Herkimer Street, Brooklyn, New York City, United States
Died January 3, 1946 (aged 39)
Wandsworth Prison, London, England
Cause of death Execution (hanging)
Other names Lord Haw-Haw

William Joyce (24 April 1906 – 3 January 1946), the man generally associated with the nickname Lord Haw-Haw, was a fascist politician and Nazi propaganda broadcaster to the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He was controversially executed for treason by the British as a result of his wartime activities.

Early life

Joyce was born at 1906 Herkimer Street in Brooklyn, New York City, to an English Protestant mother and an Irish Catholic father who had taken United States citizenship. A few years after his birth, the family returned to Galway, Ireland. He attended the Jesuit St. Ignatius College, Galway, from 1915 to 1921. Unusually for Irish Roman Catholics, both William Joyce and his father were strongly Unionist. William Joyce later said that he aided the Black and Tans and to have been a target of the Irish Republican Army because of this .

Following a failed assassination attempt in 1921 (which only failed due to the 16-year old Joyce taking a different route home from school) he left for England where he would briefly attend King's College School, Wimbledon for a foreign exchange, followed two years later by his family. William Joyce applied to Birkbeck College of the University of London and to enter the Officer Training Corps. At Birkbeck, Joyce developed an interest in fascism, and he joined the British Fascisti of Rotha Lintorn-Orman. In 1924, while stewarding a Conservative Party meeting, Joyce was attacked and received a deep razor slash that ran across his right cheek. It left a permanent scar which ran from the earlobe to the corner of the mouth. Joyce was convinced that his attackers were "Jewish communists". It was an incident that had a marked bearing on his outlook.

British Union of Fascists

Flag of the British Union of Fascists.In 1932, Joyce joined the British Union of Fascists (BUF) under Sir Oswald Mosley, and swiftly became a leading speaker, praised for his power of oratory. The journalist and novelist Cecil Roberts described a speech given by Joyce:

"Thin, pale, intense, he had not been speaking many minutes before we were electrified by this man... so terrifying in its dynamic force, so vituperative, so vitriolic."
In 1934, Joyce was promoted to the BUF's director of propaganda and later appointed deputy leader. As well as being a gifted speaker, Joyce also gained the reputation of a savage brawler. Joyce's violent rhetoric and willingness to physically confront anti-fascist elements head-on played no small part in further marginalizing the BUF. After the bloody debacle of the June 1934 Olympia rally, Joyce spearheaded the BUF's policy shift from campaigning for economic revival through Corporatism to antisemitism. He was instrumental in changing the full name of the BUF to "British Union of Fascists and National Socialists" in 1936, and stood as a party candidate in the 1937 elections to London County Council. In 1936 Joyce lived for a year in Whitstable, where he owned a radio and electrical shop.

However, Joyce was sacked from his paid position when Mosley drastically reduced the BUF staff shortly after the elections, and Joyce went on to form a breakaway organisation, the National Socialist League. Unlike Joyce, Mosley was never a committed antisemite, preferring to exploit antisemitic sentiment only for political gain. After 1937, the party turned its focus away from antisemitism and towards activism opposing a war with Nazi Germany. Although Joyce had been deputy leader of the BUF from 1933 and an effective fighter and orator, Mosley snubbed him in his autobiography and later denounced him as a traitor because of his wartime activities.

Lord Haw-Haw

In late August 1939, shortly before war was declared, Joyce and his wife Margaret fled to Germany. Joyce had been tipped off that the British authorities intended to detain him under Defence Regulation 18B. Joyce became a naturalised German in 1940.

In Berlin, Joyce could not find employment until a chance meeting with fellow Mosleyite sympathiser Dorothy Eckersley got him an audition at the Rundfunkhaus (radio centre). Despite having a heavy cold and almost losing his voice, he was recruited immediately for radio announcements and script writing at German radio's English service. ... re=related

The name "Lord Haw-Haw of Zeesen" was coined by the pseudonymous Daily Express radio critic Jonah Barrington in 1939, but this referred initially to Wolf Mitler, (or possibly Norman Baillie-Stewart). When Joyce became the best-known propaganda broadcaster, the nickname was transferred to him. Joyce's broadcasts initially came from studios in Berlin, later transferring (due to heavy Allied bombing) to Luxembourg and finally to Apen near Hamburg, and were relayed over a network of German controlled radio stations that included Hamburg, Bremen, Luxembourg, Hilversum, Calais, Oslo and Zeesen. Joyce also broadcast on and wrote scripts for the German Büro Concordia organisation which ran several black propaganda stations (many of which pretended to broadcast illegally from within Britain)

Although listening to his broadcasts was officially discouraged (but not actually illegal), they became very popular with the British public. The German broadcasts always began with the announcer's words "Germany calling, Germany calling, Germany calling" (because of a nasal drawl this sounded like: Jairmany calling, Jairmany calling, Jairmany calling). These broadcasts urged the British people to surrender, and were well known for their jeering, sarcastic and menacing tone. However, far from breaking British morale they served only to increase either resentment or ridicule of Joyce. There was probably also a covert desire by listeners to hear what the other side was saying, since information during wartime was severely censored and restricted and at the start of the war it was possible for German broadcasts to be better informed than those of the BBC. This was a scenario which reversed towards the middle of the war, with some German high command officers tuning to the BBC for an accurate version of events.

Joyce recorded his final broadcast on April 30, 1945, during the Battle of Berlin . In an exhausted, possibly intoxicated voice, he chided Britain's role in Germany's imminent defeat and warned that the war would leave Britain poor and barren. (There are conflicting accounts as to whether this last programme was actually transmitted, even though a tape was found in the Radio Hamburg studios.) He signed off with a final defiant "Heil Hitler" . The next day Radio Hamburg was seized by British forces who on 4 May used it to make a mock "Germany calling" broadcast denouncing Joyce .

Besides broadcasting, Joyce's duties included distributing propaganda among British prisoners of war, whom he tried to recruit into the British Free Corps. He wrote a book, Twilight Over England, which was promoted by the German Ministry of Propaganda, a work that unfavourably compared the evils of allegedly Jewish-dominated capitalist Britain with the wonders of National Socialist Germany. Adolf Hitler awarded Joyce the War Merit Cross (First and Second Class) for his broadcasts, although they never met in person.

Capture and trial

At the end of the war, Joyce was captured by British forces at Flensburg near the Germany-Denmark border. He was engaged in conversation by soldiers who initially thought he was a German civilian. However, his voice betrayed him, and he was arrested and eventually returned to Britain. During the course of his arrest he was shot in the buttocks when the soldiers thought he was going for a gun (he was actually reaching for a false passport, claiming he was a schoolteacher, after one of the soldiers asked if he was "Lord Haw Haw").

He was tried on three counts of high treason:

William Joyce, on the 18th of September, 1939, and on other days between that day and the 29th of May, 1945, being a person owing allegiance to our Lord the King, and while a war was being carried on by the German Realm against our King, did traitorously adhere to the King's enemies in Germany, by broadcasting propaganda.
William Joyce, on the 26th of September, 1940, being a person who owed allegiance as in the other count, adhered to the King's enemies by purporting to become naturalized as a subject of Germany.
William Joyce, on the 18th of September, 1939, and on other days between that day and the 2nd of July, 1940, being a person owing allegiance to our Lord the King, and while a war was being carried on by the German Realm against our King, did traitorously adhere to the King's enemies in Germany, by broadcasting propaganda.
During the processing of the charges Joyce's American nationality came to light, and it seemed that he would have to be acquitted, based not upon innocence of the charges of aiding the Nazi war effort but rather upon a lack of jurisdiction; he could not be convicted of betraying a country that was not his own. He was acquitted of the first and second charges. However, the Attorney General, Sir Hartley Shawcross, successfully argued that Joyce's possession of a British passport, even though he had mis-stated his nationality to get it, entitled him (until it expired) to British diplomatic protection in Germany and therefore he owed allegiance to the King at the time he commenced working for the Germans. It was on this technicality that Joyce was convicted of the third charge and sentenced to death on 19 September 1945. His conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 1 November, and by the House of Lords (on a 4-1 vote) on 13 December.


Joyce, in his appeal to the House of Lords, argued that mere possession of a passport did not entitle him to the protection of the Crown, and therefore did not perpetuate his duty of allegiance once he left the country, but the House unanimously rejected this argument. Lord Porter's dissenting opinion was based on his belief that whether Joyce's duty of allegiance had terminated or not was a question of fact for the jury to decide, rather than a purely legal question for the judge.

Joyce also argued that jurisdiction had been wrongly assumed by the court in electing to try an alien for offences committed in a foreign country. This argument was also rejected, on the basis that a state may exercise such jurisdiction in the interests of its own security.


He went to his death unrepentant and defiant. “In death as in life, I defy the Jews who caused this last war, and I defy the power of darkness which they represent. I warn the British people against the crushing imperialism of the Soviet Union. May Britain be great once again and the hour of the greatest danger in the West may the standard be raised from the dust, crowned with the words — you have conquered nevertheless. I am proud to die for my ideals and I am sorry for the sons of Britain who have died without knowing why.”

Joyce was executed on January 3, 1946, at Wandsworth Prison, aged 39. He was the second-to-last person to be hanged for a crime other than murder in the United Kingdom. (The last was Theodore Schurch who was executed for treachery the following day at Pentonville. In both cases the hangman was Albert Pierrepoint.)

Joyce's family

The Crown considered trying his wife Margaret as well. It is not entirely clear why no trial took place. A straightforward explanation is that her nationality status was much more complex and a conviction thought unlikely. Some also consider a deal for clemency was made on her behalf, perhaps recorded in a secret memo. Margaret Joyce died in Soho in 1972, reportedly from alcohol abuse.

William Joyce had two daughters by his first wife, Hazel, one of whom, Heather Iandolo, has spoken publicly of her father. Joyce was reinterred in 1976 at the New Cemetery in Bohermore, County Galway, Ireland.

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Re: Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Post by Shergar »

German bombers (Heinkel He 111) over Britain during WW2 - similar to the type that bombed Campile and that crashed near Kiltealy.Ireland remained officially neutral during World War 2. During the War, on 26 August 1940, the German Luftwaffe bombed Campile. Three women were killed. On 11 October 1941 a German Luftwaffe Bomber (Heinkel He 111H-6) crashed into the Blackstairs mountains near Kiltealy, killing all of its four-man crew, having taken off earlier from France. A number of other planes - German and Allied - crashed on Co. Wexford soil and in its coastal waters during the War, and in many cases there were fatalities. German U-boats were again active in Wexford's coastal waters in World War 2. On 11 November 1940, SS Ardmore struck a mine near the Saltee Islands - all of the 24-man crew died.

In Ireland, the Wartime period is referred to as The Emergency. There was a scarcity of goods, as trade between Britain and Ireland was badly disrupted - though some households had stocked up on certain supplies before the outbreak of War. Most of Ireland's imports at that time, unlike today, then came from Britain.

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Re: Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Post by Shergar »

The four men who died were Kurt Tiggemann, Wilhelm Böhmer, Ehrfried Kolwe, and Hans Szuflita.

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First sighting of luftwaffe in Ireland

Post by Shergar »


A Focke-Wolfe 200 is detected over Northern Ireland, the first time that the enemy has penetrated this area and proof that Ireland is not free of the war situation. The aircraft managed to drop bombs on the steamship 'Longfort' just off the coast at Belfast and also submitted an unidentified vessel to gunfire but there were no reports of damage.

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Re: Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Post by Tychsen »

Shergar, the photo below might be of interest to you.
St. John's Point as seen from a 422 RCAF Sunderland which was returning to Castle Archdale.
Today you can still "trip over" the large stone squatres and the word EIRE.
Most folks don't know its there , but get low down to the ground and you can still see it.
Castle Archdale lost four Sunderlands and a Catalina in the "Corridor" , two Halifax also crashed - one of Mullaghmore and another into the cliff above Tulland Strand , a B-17 on a ferry flight from the US force landed on the Tullan strand in 1943.
Add to this a Martinet which came down on Mountbatten's land (1945) and a Lerwick which landed at Bundoran out of fuel. (1941).
These spring to mind when you mention the "Donegal Corridor" , the use of which is now recalled on a plaque opposite Belleek Pottery.

The Castle Archdale based aircraft.
21/3/41 AM265 of 240 Squadron - the first catalina to fly on ops with the RAF - crashed near Kinnlough - 9 crew killed , most are buried in Irvinestown Co.Fermanagh , one officer returned home for burial.
06/02/42 W3997 of 201 squadron RAF - crashed into the sea off Donegal , wreckage was washedashore in the days which followed.
LOP logs record a concentrated search by RAF aircraft for the crew - none of whom were recovered.
Several years ago I was visited by the son of the Captain of the Sunderland.
13/11/43 DD863 of 423 RCAF , engine failure over Donegal Bay - all on board lost.
A Squadron leader from the OTU at Killadeas told me that the crew had no hope - as part of the search for the crew he recalled that "I had never seen Donegal Bay so rough".
The crew lost were all experienced , a heavy loss for 423. Five aircraft from Lough Erne were lost in Nov. 43 .
12/08/44 NJ175 of 422 RCAF - Crashed near Belleek - an engine fire shortly after take off , she crashed east of Belleek , just inside the republic , 3 of the crew were killed, the Canadian members are buried in Irvinestown.
Three engines could not keep a fully laden Sunderland aloft , attempts to lighten her ran out of time, when the crew tried to dicth their DC's it further reduced airspeed beyond that which could be recovered- a catch-22 , a no win situation.
Local people helped take the injured crew from the burning wreckage.
Devine's lads , they creashed at belleek;
F/E Sgt Jeal , A/G Sgt. Colburne , A?G Sgt Singer , F/E. P/O. R C Parker.
Seated. W.Op /AG Sgt J Forrest , Nav. F/O Allen , CApt. F/Lt. Devine , 2nd pilot Platsko , W.Op /AG Hawkins.

(F/O Hawkins was not on this final flight , he had been replaced by P/O Locke.)
The graves of crew killed on 12/08/44 , and a memorial stone which marks the site of the crash in bogland to the NW of Lough Erne.
Some wreckage from the aircraft - I found this in and around various small farm houses in the area and on site.
14/03/45 - ML743 of 201 RAF - Crashed into high ground above Killybegs out boundon patrol.
This crew had sunk U-247 in December 44 , although this was not known at the time of their loss, they are buried in Irvinestown.
Commonwealth Plot in Irvinestown Cof I - the first row of graves hatton's 201 crew which crashed above Killybegs , behind them a 3423 RCAF crew which attacked and damaged U-921 in May 44 off Norway.
The Captain of the U-boat had just seen his guncrew shoot down a Sunderland of 422 ( they thought they had shot down a Catalina) when another Sunderland bore down on them - their 37mm jammed and the captain ordered the boat down - several of the gun crew were wounded and the captain ( Wolfgang leu, knew he would have to closthe hatch - this he did from the outside as his boat crash doved under his feet .
( See my post in aces of the Reich) - I mentioned Leu as he was awared nothing for saving his crew and his command - not a bloody word of thanks.
Courage is not always rewarded.

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Re: Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Post by Shergar »

lltown cementry there are polish british and canadian graves all marked kept in excellent condition next time i am up ill take some photos although like your self ill do with respect and in good taste and leave flowers as well . as these graves were very neglected for decades now they are looked after in the fashion becoming the heroes these guys were .

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Re: Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Post by Tychsen »

Times have changed sufficently to allow most reasonable people to view all the war dead of 14-18 and 39-45 as not having political overtones , it has taken a while but glad to see we in this neck of the woods have managed to move on and accomadate our collective past more than we did.

In rcent years there have been quite a few visitors from 41-45 back - all nationalities British , Australians, Canadians , all have found a great welcome in the County - sadly with each passing year fewer are able to come - age and the grim reaper.

The photo take over St. John's Point , taken in 1943 by the CO of 422.

I have details in a file / folder upstairs of a JU-290 which was shot down off the West Coast by a 235 Squadron Beaufighter which was operating out of St. Angelo (Enniskillen).
This was in February 1944 - a detachment from 235 Squadron was moved over to St. Angelo to provide cover for convoys approaching the NW Coast - they had been subjected to attacks by DO-217's and JU-290's attacking with "Glider bombs".
The 290 was one of two shot down - the first fell to a Marlet from an escort carrier - the other by a Beaufighter - the Pilot was a Belfast man P/O Wright.
No surivors from either aircraft.

I have another account from a 201 squadron crew which was making its way down the West Coast of Ireland and was just clearing away to go to crew positions when by chance a gunner looked through the astrodome to find a JU-88 bearing down on them - he immeadiatly went into a runnig commentery for his skipper telling to break starboard ... HARD cannon shells flew at them , the JU only made one pass before each gave up on the other.
Pure luck had saved the Sunderland crew , seconds later and they would have been cut to ribbons.
240 Squadrons records for 1941 include several encounters with FW-200's - encounters being a regular occurance.
423 RCAF certainly has its fair share of exchanges with the Luftwaffe - Johnnie Musgrave brought back a bdaly damaged Sunderland which wa ssaved by finding cloud cover - the cannons of the FW out rtanging and inflicting serious damage on the Sunderland .
For Coastal aircraft Biscay was no place to be on your own.

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Re: Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Post by Shergar »

a fantastic book to read and i pick it up every so often is written by father william pollock about bomber command and his time there ill get the details very sad book but beautifully written .

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Re: Luftwaffe crashes in Éire during WW2 / Emergency

Post by Tychsen »

From my memory the papers held in Military Archives in Dublin gives a huge amount of information on aircraft which came down and (or) those observed in irish air space.
the information even accounts for volunteers called out to help , who found what , townlands , bills relating to the care of survivors , which hospital they went to injuries and remains of those killed.
Aircraft type , serial numbers , crewmembers names and serial numbers - quite a good start in terms of research.
It is evident that the irish Goverment did allow the RAF a great deal of lea way - RAF officers came over the border to assist in identifying remains , clearing sites , arrnaging transport of salvagable parts to the North.
The G2 ( intelligence men ) reported in detail on what were judged to be significant comments from the RAF / USAAf men they talked to and within this some threads of misinformation can be found , some of the conclusions drawn are best looked at with an open mind and not taken as read.
The Irish forces always treated the dead with all due respect providing a guard of honour for the dead , as the war went on most Allied aircrew were not interned but send directly back to the "North".

On the other hand - one RAF officer told me about going down to the Curragh to talk to soem members of his squadron who were interned there , he went in civilian clothes and spent that night in Dublin - in the early hours of the morning he was evicted from his bed , made to dress and was escorted "North" - obviously someone thought he was up to no good !

It has been a long time since I looked at material I have from "M.A." , most of which again relates to Lough Erne based aircraft which came down in that quarter.

Attached a photo taken in August last year - to eddicate a memorial garden to the crew of an OTU halifax crew from Marston Moor ( Yorkshire) which crashed near Tuam , Co.Galway in November 1943 , some of the crew are buried in Irvinestown , Co.Fermanagh.

A number of events like this have been well supported by both the RAF and IDF.

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