Fisk back writing on Ireland

Nice piece yesterday:

The serious stuff is about Saville but I enjoyed this:

“So thoroughly did I check out every possible lead that I came up with three U-boat stories, at least one of which is absolutely copper-bottomed. The first was a U-35 which sailed in to Dingle Bay on 4 October 1939 to put ashore the crew of a Greek ship called Diamantes which it had sunk 40 miles west of the Skelligs. Those were the days when U-boat crews tried to be honourable to their victims, who in this case were duly taken by the police to Michael Long, the Lloyd’s agent in Dingle. Local rumour, however, suggested that the U-boat captain had bid his captive goodbye with the astonishing adieu: “Give my best wishes to Micky Long.” Had he been one of the many German “tourists” travelling in Ireland before the war? When my thesis was later published as a book, I received a polite letter from the long-retired U-boat captain. He had never been to Ireland before the war, he told me. And he had never heard of Michael Long”

Better from last week….

An astonishing vignette: (1st Para had just been clearing up a Shankhill Road riot)

“…There were howls of rage and curses from the Brits and eventually the Prods cleared off and the soldiers of 1 Para stood in the street looking bored. Then a door opened and out came a man in his fifties. A Belfast Protestant, hair greying, he sort of hobbled on to the street as if he’d been hurt badly years ago and he walked right up to a group of Paras and plunged his hand into his pocket. He brought out an old Army red beret with a metal badge of parachute wings fixed to it and a tatty old regimental tie.

The soldiers watched him, bemused. Then he began to tear the beret to pieces, right there in front of the soldiers, and ripped up the tie. The man was shouting ‘Bastards, bastards,” over and over again at them and he dropped the ruined beret and tie at his feet and stomped on them. The soldiers laughed. And the man kept shouting “bastards” and he was crying and then he shouted at the soldiers: “I was at Arnhem.”