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In The Ranks OF Death (ePub)

The Irish in the Second World War

WWII Military Biography

By Richard Doherty
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 4.6 MB (.epub)
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781844684724
Published: 2nd March 2010

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When war broke out in 1939 over 20,000 Irishmen were serving in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force with the greatest proportion in the Army. During the war this rose to over 120,000, suggesting that about 100,000 enlisted during the war.

Nine earned the Victoria Cross; three members of the Royal Navy, including a Fleet Air Arm pilot, four soldiers, including a member of the Australian forces, and two RAF pilots.

The author looks at the seven Irish regiments in campaigns across the globe, at Irish soldiers across the Army, at Irish sailors from the Battle of the River Plate to the final actions against Japan, and at Irish airmen from the first bombing raids of the war to the closing days of war.

Included are outstanding personalities such as the Chavasse brothers, who earned three DSOs, three DSCs and two MiDs, Bala Bredin, Corran Purden, Brendan 'Paddy' Finucane, Blair Mayne and Roy Farran, the latter pair highly-decorated SAS officers.

There are also Irish generals, such as Paddy Warren who died while commanding 5th Indian Division in Burma and Frederick Loftus Tottenham, who commanded 81st (West African) Division, not to mention giants such as Alexander, Auchinleck, Montgomery and McCreery.

Irish women are not forgotten in the book which also takes a brief look at the Irish in other Allied forces, including a most unusual volunteer for the US Navy whose application to serve had to be approved by President Roosevelt. He was William Patrick Hitler, a nephew of Germany's führer.

This is a fantastic book with thorough research complementing an analytical and well scoped approach.

Daly History Blog

About Richard Doherty

One of the leading military historians in the UK and Ireland, writer and broadcaster Richard Doherty has twenty-nine books to his credit, two of which were nominated for the prestigious Templer Medal. Chronologically his titles range from The Williamite War in Ireland, 1688-1691 to Helmand Mission: With the Royal Irish Battlegroup in Afghanistan 2008 and also include a history of the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC, The Thin Green Line.

Over the years he has researched, written and presented several historical series for BBC Radio Ulster, presented two major historical programmes for BBC TV, for whom he has also researched and written historical programmes, and has contributed to, or advised on, many programmes for BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Four, RTE (Irish radio and TV) and independent producers. His BBC Radio Ulster programme on the North African campaign, part of the Sons of Ulster series, was nominated for a Sony Award in 1989. He has featured twice in the popular 'Who Do You Think You Are?' television series, providing historical background for David Tennent (2006) and Paul Hollywood (2015).

A popular speaker, he has addressed a wide variety of audiences in the UK, Republic of Ireland, France and Italy, as well as the United States, where he has lectured (on limited warfare) at the US Marine Corps Staff and Command College at Quantico, Virginia. Since 2002 he has been a guest speaker on cruise ships with topics ranging from military and naval history, including the Battle of the Atlantic, through Celtic history, to Irish myth, history and culture.

He leads battlefield tours in Ireland, Normandy, Italy and Greece, writes historical articles and book reviews for newspapers, magazines and journals, is Chairman of the Irish Regiments Historical Society, a member of several military history societies in the UK, Ireland and the USA, a trustee of the Royal Irish Fusiliers’ Museum, Armagh and of the Royal Irish Regiment Museum, a trustee of the International School for Peace Studies, a trustee, and member of the Council, of the Northern Ireland War Memorial, and honorary historian of the Royal Irish Regiment.

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