A petition was launched outside Dail Eireann (Parliament), on 30 June 2011, calling for pardons for Irish Defence Force personnel who allegedly deserted the Irish Army during World War Two. These men joined the (British) Navy and RAF, and the British Army, including Special Forces, to fight fascism. But after the war they were subjected to a kangaroo court-martial, en masse, and in absentia, via Emergency Power Order (362) introduced by the Irish government. Many of these brave men, who were unjustly convicted, are at rest in various battlefields across the world. They died fighting the Nazis and fascists, from North Africa to Italy, Kohima to Normandy, and through France, Holland, Belgium and the liberation of the concentration camps in Germany. The survivors, who returned to Ireland, were treated with utter contempt by the DeValera government. And, unbelievable as it sounds, even the dead were publicly vilified and banned from employment, along with the survivors.
My good friend, and fellow ex British serviceman, Robert Widders wrote an excellent book about this, Spitting on a Soldiers Grave. It reveals a story that has been kept secret for over half a century. And it is one of the most shocking incidences of injustice targeted at service personnel, post World War Two, that I have come across. Hence the recent launch of the Irish Soldiers Pardons Campaign (WW2). Even the soldiers 'Shot at Dawn' during WW1 had a chance to defend themselves, albeit summary. Yet the Irish WW2 veterans were condemned without any trial. And, in some cases, the Irish government even imprisoned (and abused) their children.
We are calling upon organisations and individuals to support the objectives of the Irish Soldiers Pardons Campaign (WW2). We believe that we owe the few elderly survivors a debt of honour. You are invited to contact Robert Widders in the UK (author of Spitting on a Soldiers Grave) and to view our website online for further information, and then make an informed decision. Robert can be contacted at his email address firstname.lastname@example.org
The Irish government are now considering the issues. Hopefully they have the political capacity, wisdom and compassion, to revoke this legislation or use some other mechanism to re-instate and pardon these men who fought Nazi terrorism on our behalf. We trust you agree - will you help us by publicising the issues
Peter Mulvany Coordinator Irish Soldiers Pardons Campaign (WW2) www.forthesakeofexample.com
Note: The 4983 alleged deserters in the list are mainly from Ireland. But hundreds have addresses in Northern Ireland and mainland UK.