7 July 2010

Spitting on a Soldier’s Grave - Court Martialed after death, the story of the forgotten Irish and British soldiers

The story of the Irishmen who deserted from the Irish Army to join the Allies in the struggle against fascism and Nazism during the Second World War, has been kept secret for over half a century. These men fought, and sometimes died, in some of the bloodiest battles of the war. And after the war they were all Court Martialed - even the dead.

This meticulously researched book tells the story of the men who fought for freedom but were vilified after death. It tells the story of men like Joseph Mullally who died on D-Day, 6 June 1944, fighting with the British Army on the beaches of Normandy - a year before his court-martial. And Stephen McManus who'd already suffered torture and starvation whilst being worked to death in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Gerry O'Neill risked his life with the newly formed Irish Navy, rescuing wounded British soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. And Nicholas McNamara volunteered to serve with RAF Bomber Command knowing it meant almost certain death.

The freedoms and democratic rights we enjoy today were earned by men like these, who fought, and sometimes died, on the home front and the battlefields of World War II. The stories of the deserters from the Irish Army are now told in Spitting on a Soldier's Grave.

Author's website - Robert Widders
Listen to an interview with the author on BBC Radio 4

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