Thursday 15 October 2009

Defence of the realm

Some time ago this blog drew attention to the somewhat under-enthusiastic response from loyal 'Ulster' to the military needs of Britain's new imperialistic ambitions.

However, it seems that this military reluctance is not a new phenomenon. Kevin Myers, writing in today's Irish Independent, draws attention to the situation around the time of the Second World War:

"There is a delightful quote in the recently published 'Behind the Green Curtain' (Gill and Macmillan), T Ryle Dwyer's excellent and probably definitive account of Irish neutrality during the Second World War.

It came from Sir Charles Wickham, Inspector General of the RUC. The possibility of conscription in the North, he said, was "a political ramp" by unionist politicians.

"They wanted to appear as great loyalists, but in actual fact hoped that their suggestion would not be acceptable to the home (London) government. Had it been accepted, they intended to conscript the Catholics, and leave the Orangemen in their factories."

And this from the head of the RUC!
"

Bad enough, but worse was yet to come.
"Moreover, there were three main parties in the old Stormont in 1971. One was the Ulster Unionists, led by Brian Faulkner, a unionist old enough to have served in the Second World War, but didn't. There was the Democratic Unionist Party, led by Ian Paisley, a unionist old enough to have served in the Second World War, but didn't. And there was the Social Democratic and Labour Party, led by Gerry Fitt, a nationalist old enough to have served in the Second World War, and who did."

Ouch!

So why didn't Faulkner or Paisley 'serve their king? Faulkner, of course, cannot answer any more, but Wikipedia claims that:
"Faulkner entered the Queen's University of Belfast in 1939 to study law, but, with the advent of war, he quit his studies to work full time in the family shirt-making business."

That seems like a valuable thing for a healthy 18 year old 'loyal ulsterman' to do when his country is engaged in a fight to the death with fascism!

Paisley, of course is still with us – surely someone over the years has been brave enough to ask him why, when he reached the age of 18 on 6 April 1944 – just before the Normandy landings, and at a time when 'his king' needed all the manpower he could muster – he stayed at home!

Normandy, Burma, Arnhem, the Ardennes, the liberation of France, the crossing of the Rhine – all the hard-won battles of 1944 and 1945 – all were fought without the participation of young Faulkner and Paisley.

Why?

When unionists bluster about their 'pride' in 'their troops', and obsessively over-commemorate dates and events largely forgotten by those who actually participated – just remember that key unionist leaders who could have 'done their bit' … didn't.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

We have a word for these guys in America - chickenhawks.

SocialistIreland said...

We have a word for American's in this country - arseholes.

Anonymous said...

Another new name, Andy.

Is that what they call Americans in England!

MPG .....

Watcher said...

Terence O'Neill - Ulster Unionist Prime Minister Northern Ireland:

Served Irish Guards WWII

Watcher said...

James Molyneaux - Ulster Unionist Leader:

WWII RAF Bomber Command

Watcher said...

James Chichester-Clark - Ulster Unionist Prime Minister Northern Ireland:

WWII Irish Guards

Watcher said...

Lord Brookeborough - Ulster Unionist Prime Minister Northern Ireland:

WWI Royal Fusilers

Military Cross
Croix de Guerre

Watcher said...

James Craig - Ulster Unionist Prime Minister Northern Ireland:

Royal Irish Rifles

second Boer War

Watcher said...

Bill Craig - Vanguard Leader:

WWII RAF Bomber Command

Rear Gunner

Watcher said...

Gusty Spence - UVF Commander:

Royal Ulster Rifles

Watcher said...

Ken Maginnis - Ulster Unionist MP:

Ulster Defence Regiment

Company Commander

Watcher said...

Jeffrey Donaldson - DUP MP:

Ulster Defence Regiment

Watcher said...

It is true that Ian Paisley was never in HM Armed Forces, but his brother Harold fought with The RAF in WWII.

As a clergyman, Paisley could never have actually engaged in armed combat, in common with all other UK clergymen.

MaleStripper said...

Anonymous said:

"We have a word for these guys in America - chickenhawks"

You must be feeling a little bit sheepish now, my American friend. Next time, don't respond so quickly to anything a cowardly Irish leprechaun says...

bangordub said...

I'm actually embarrased for you Andy

Watcher said...

James Molyneaux (RAF) was one of the men who actually liberated The Jews from Belsen - a terrible ordeal no doubt.

It's interesting to note that whilst future MP Jim was fighting his way across Europe against the might of Nazi Germany, The Irish Government actually commiserated with Nazi Germany on Hitler's death. Hard to believe.

There's scum, cowardly scum, then there's The Irish...

Watcher said...

bangordub said:

"I'm actually embarrased for you Andy"

No idea who Andy is, but I think it's safe to say, that Horsearse won't be bringing this topic up again.

I haven't even started with all The UVF/UDA commanders who were in The UK armed forces prior to the troubles breaking out. The Ulster Worker's Council leadership was comprised mainly of WWII veterans.

Croppy Lie Down? The only position The Irish know is on their knees - absolute scum.

FGAU

Watcher said...

Faulkner and Paisley might not have served in The UK Armed Forces, but like all Unionist politicians, they were IRA targets - both were victims of failed IRA assassination attempts.

Others were not so lucky, such as Unionist MP Rev Bradford who was murdered by The IRA in front of a group of children.

Lest We Forget

Anonymous said...

What about you Watcher? Are you fight for your unelected head of state and country? Or are you too scared?

Anonymous said...

One thing to note is it was only because Ireland had left the union that it was able to avoid the war. Otherwise it would have been dragged into fighting an unnecesarry war with a country it had no quarrel with, just like in 1914. Perhaps thousands of Irishmen lived who might otherwise have been killed and wounded. These facts alone are a powerful argument for justifying independence from London. And Britain historically had a very interventionist foreign policy. To those who subscribe to the "good war" mythology and see WW2 as some kind of "noble' crusade I would point out there was no moral, ethical or spiritual advantage in siding with Stalin against Hitler. Nor was there any political or strategic adavatage in surrendering eastern Europe to the USSR. I could also mention the horrific way the British fought the war with their carpet bombings of German cities...almost all of it strategically senseless and continuing right to the end of the war like the nightmarish Dresden attack. Churchill started bombing German civilians THE VERY FIRST DAY he became Prime minister. Ireland was right to stay out of the war. A decision only made possible by leaving the U.K.

Anonymous said...

Munsterman says :
Thank you for this excellent post -

" One thing to note is it was only because Ireland had left the union that it was able to avoid the war. Otherwise it would have been dragged into fighting an unnecesarry war with a country it had no quarrel with, just like in 1914. Perhaps thousands of Irishmen lived who might otherwise have been killed and wounded. These facts alone are a powerful argument for justifying independence from London. And Britain historically had a very interventionist foreign policy. To those who subscribe to the "good war" mythology and see WW2 as some kind of "noble' crusade I would point out there was no moral, ethical or spiritual advantage in siding with Stalin against Hitler. Nor was there any political or strategic adavatage in surrendering eastern Europe to the USSR. I could also mention the horrific way the British fought the war with their carpet bombings of German cities...almost all of it strategically senseless and continuing right to the end of the war like the nightmarish Dresden attack. Churchill started bombing German civilians THE VERY FIRST DAY he became Prime minister. Ireland was right to stay out of the war. A decision only made possible by leaving the U.K. "

bangordub said...

Clue for Andy
Ulster defence regiment
Defending who exactly from who exactly?
Ps... Check the dates

MaleStripper said...

defence has a capital 'D' and regiment a capital 'R' - it's a real name...

Anonymous said...

so ireland has no quarrel with the murder of millions of inocent jews. that really sounds like a country that you`d want to be part of. or is it was it just pursueing a little ireland mentility which it seems to have a habbit of doing eg neutrality?

Anonymous said...

Reply to Anonymous on Oct 18th 2009

First learn how to spell properly, but in regards to your statement, I would say Ireland had no more interest in the matter then it did with Stalin's murder of millions of Ukranians. This mentality that the war was some kind of "noble crusade" is completely wrong. In any case the vast bulk of European Jewry lay in the interior of eastern Europe in areas far removed from where the Anglo-American forces operated. Even while occupying much of continental Europe, fighting Tito's Partisans in the Balkans, the Red army on the eastern front, the Anglo-Americans in north Africa, Sicily, Italy, and being terror bombed by the R.A.F. etc, the Nazis were able, without any real difficulty, to kill about six million Jews. The idea that Irish beliggerency would have saved many, if any at all, Jewish lives is extremely specious at best. It DID though, save thousands of Irish lives.

Watcher said...

Should Hitler have been fought at all then? Perhaps all nations should have given him a free run? Unfortunately, should that policy have been applied by all and sundry, The SS would eventually have appeared on Ireland's shores. Perhaps The Irish would have been happy with that?

Ireland's freedom was bought by the blood of other men...

Anonymous said...

Watcher said...

"Ireland's freedom was bought by the blood of other men..."

Ireland's freedom was also denied by other men for centuries. Despite this, during WWII they were mature enough that:-

-Huge numbers of Irishmen joined the British Army to fight the Nazis- the same army that had machine gunned civilians in Croke park a few years before.

-Dublin regularly passed information such as intelligence gained from eavesdropping on the Germans to the allies, as well as weather reports prior to D-Day landings etc.

-Captured axis military were interned in Eire, while allied airmen always "escaped" across the border.

-When the luftwaffe bombed the North Eire sent emergency services across the border to help.


Ireland was in no position to enter the war, but there was no question who's side they were on, and they did pretty much everything they could bar actually taking part to help the allies win.

Anonymous said...

Watcher said...

Should Hitler have been fought at all then? Perhaps all nations should have given him a free run?


Britain did give him a free run while he rearmed, breaching the Treaty of Versailles. They also turned a blind eye to persecution of Jews and other political groups, and stood by while the fascists invaded several European countries.

Why did they do this? Presumably because a strong Nazi Germany was seen as a bulwark against communism. That, and the fact that any sensible government will avoid what it knows will be a catastrophic war if it can.

Pragmatism, in other words. Don't delude yourself that GB fought WWII out of some noble urge to protect the Jews. GB's motivations were self preservation, same as Ireland's.

Watcher said...

The UK did not see Nazi Germany as a bulwark against communism. The Rhineland was part of Germany and Austria and The Sudetenland were also Germanic and both favoured joining The Reich. Once Hitler invaded a truly foreign country The UK declared war.

The question remains, should anyone have fought Germany and if so why didn't Ireland as a state play it's part?

Anonymous said...

Reply to Watcher:

Hitler sought expansion in eastern Europe, principally at the expense of the USSR. He outlines all this in great detail in Mein Kampf. The real mistake was not Munich but the insane pledge to Poland. Had there been no pledge Hitler would have fought a war with the USSR. The western allies could have watched this war on the sidelines and eventually imposed peace on their own terms while the two totalitarian dictatorships wore themselves out. But with the insane pledge to Poland - which they couldn't save anyways - the foolish British RE-DIRECTED Hitlers' eastward expansion westwards. Even WITH war with the British and French empires, Hitler DID atack the USSR in 1941 ANYWAYS. He doubtless would have done so a year earlier about the time he attacked France, had there been no insane pledge to Poland. The pledge was very dumb. This is the view of a Briton himself, Major-General J.F.C. Fuller. More recently Patrick Buchanan has written much the same in CHURCHILL, HITLER AND THE UNNECESARRY WAR. VERY DUMB.

Consider; After the war ended about 100,000 Czechs had died. Prague was the only capital city in eastern Europe that was virtually undamaged. Poland lost about 6,000,000 lives, 100,000 square miles of her territory was absorbed by the USSR, Warsaw and virtually every city or large town was practically wiped out. What was better? To be a "betrayed" Czech, or a "saved" Pole.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant!

Éire Abú.

Anonymous said...

Watcher said...

"The UK did not see Nazi Germany as a bulwark against communism."


Richard Griffiths, Fellow Travellers of the Right: British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany, 1933-39, Oxford University Press 1983:

"In 1934, Lloyd George warned the House of Commons that, within a short time, many Conservatives would be hailing Germany as the great bulwark against communism. By 1936, Lloyd George was praising Hitler himself in the columns of the Daily Express."

And despite your perplexing defence of Hitler's invasion of the Sudetenland, you know full well the circumstances of the following invasion of the rest of Czechoslovakia.

Your grasp of history is poor, your statements rely more on what you want to believe than by accepted facts.

Anonymous said...

so the rest of the world can go to hell just so long as irelands not affected. and they accuse ulster of having an inward looking mentality.

Anonymous said...

so the rest of the world can go to hell just so long as irelands not affected. and they accuse ulster of having an inward looking mentality.

Watcher said...

Anonymous said:

"In 1934, Lloyd George warned the House of Commons that, within a short time, many Conservatives would be hailing Germany as the great bulwark against communism."

He warned them - that doesn't prove that they followed his 'warning'.

"By 1936, Lloyd George was praising Hitler himself in the columns of the Daily Express."

Many were impressed by The Fuhrer and for many reasons, not necessarily as a bulwark.

"And despite your perplexing defence of Hitler's invasion of the Sudetenland, you know full well the circumstances of the following invasion of the rest of Czechoslovakia."

Not a defence, just an acceptance of the ethnic realities that existed at that time.

"Your grasp of history is poor, your statements rely more on what you want to believe than by accepted facts."

What are you on about? On the one hand you're condemning The UK for it's naivety in going to war with Germany and on the other hand criticising it for not acting earlier!

I have NO hard and fast 'beliefs' about WWII...

Anonymous said...

Ireland made the right choice in avoiding war. But my original point was that at least Ireland HAD the choice. Scotland and Wales did not.

Anonymous said...

Or did Ireland have a choice. Think about it ireland was and is too weak a nation to be able to mount a war against such a world power. After all Britain only just managed to itself however it was able to. Thus Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland had more of a choice than Ireland did as they had a say in a nation that had the capibility of going to war with such a power and thus the choice of going to war. were as Ireland did not have the capibility of going to war and thus had no choice but to stay out.

Anonymous said...

A previous poster states the churchill entered britain into an unessary war, yet he trys to say that britain only got involved for thier own interests. If it was an unessary war for britain to fight then why did britain get involved then? I will tell you why it was because it was a "noble crusade" as some put it. a crusade for the freedom of europe and the fight for democracy.

Anonymous said...

A previous poster states the churchill entered britain into an unessary war, yet he trys to say that britain only got involved for thier own interests. If it was an unessary war for britain to fight then why did britain get involved then? I will tell you why it was because it was a "noble crusade" as some put it. a crusade for the freedom of europe and the fight for democracy.

Anonymous said...

sorry i made a mistake it was of couse chamberlain not churchill who took britain in to the war.

Anonymous said...

A crusade for the freedom of Europe?......

Led by Britain? The most imperialist country in the world? Tell that to the eastern Europeans. Tell that to the tens of millions who slaved and died in "Uncle Joe's" Gulag. I'll say one thing. The mythology of Churchill and the "good war" is very strong.

hoboroad said...

Robert Runcie tank commander in World War 2 winner of the Military Cross. Later to become Archbishop of Canterbury.