“This is perhaps a good week to pause and remember them and the long and lonely war that they waged.”

Military historian David Murphy has an interesting article in today’s Irish Times on the Irish men and women who joined the French Resistance during World War II.  From the Irish Times article

While the Irish contingent within the Resistance was extremely small, it can be shown that a number of them came to the attention of the authorities.

It is known that 10 were arrested, tried and later sent to prison, a labour camp or a concentration camp. Four Irish women were caught and ended up in Ravensbrück. They were Mary Cummins (Belgian Resistance), Catherine Crean, Sr Katherine Anne McCarthy and Sr Agnes Flanagan. Crean died shortly after the camp was liberated in 1945.

Six men were arrested and sent to various camps. Of these, two simply disappeared from the record while another two (Robert Armstrong and Robert Vernon) are known to have been executed by the Germans in 1944 and 1945 respectively.

In the postwar years, the services of these Irish men and women were recognised but this was predominantly by France. The majority of Irish resistors were awarded French decorations, including the Croix de Guerre and the Médaille de la Résistance. Samuel Beckett, for example, was awarded both of these medals. Some, such as William O’Connor, were also awarded certificates of valour.

Those who served in the SOE were awarded both British and French medals. Patricia O’Sullivan received both the Croix de Guerre and the MBE.

There is a whole series of memorials to the Resistance across France. These commemorate local groups and sometimes specific individuals. In the upper corridors of Les Invalides in Paris, where the military history of France is commemorated, there are memorials to different communities of non-French men and women who served in the Resistance.

To date, the Irish resistors remain uncommemorated either in Ireland or France. This is perhaps a good week to pause and remember them and the long and lonely war that they waged.

Read the whole thing.

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  • pippakin

    It is changing. Today forty three people buried in unmarked graves in Dublin were officially recognised.

    The second world war was so important. The allies had to win. It is, perhaps, understandable that some of us hated the British more than we hated the Nazis but we are beginning to recognise we had heroes fighting with the allies in WW2.

  • Alan Maskey

    Interesting that two of them were nuns, considering all the hatred spewed at them and elsewhere. I guess they were just decent people, like that English French Resistance woman who died recently in poverty and obscurity but who the RBL etc latched on to.
    Those nuns and all the others were ordinary people doing extra odinary things. No special need to latch Irish people playing bit parts in keeping France under the Nazis civilised with the blasphemies the Poppy commemmorates (World War One, Indian Mutiny, Boxer Rebellion, Boer War. Cyprus, Kenya, Malaya etc).
    As regards the stupid Irish:

    So here, while the mad guns curse overhead,
    And tired men sigh with mud for couch and floor,
    Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead,
    Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor,—
    But for a dream, born in a herdsman’s shed,
    And for the secret Scripture of the poor.

    It is that sacred Scripture that should be honoured, not the self styled Royal Families, who treat soldiers and civilians as so much pieces of disposable confetti.

  • Alias

    There is a lot of propaganda aimed at luring the Irish nation into expressing allegiance to the British state, positioning that nation as non-sovereign and rightfully subservient to the sovereign British state and its armed forces in respect to Poppy commemorations.

    Ireland should defeat this propaganda by declaring a day of remembrance for all Irish people who have died overseas in whatever circumstances are applicable. It should not be a national holiday, of course.

  • RepublicanStones

    There already is one Alias. The main ceremony is held up at Kilmainham hosiptal grounds.

  • RepublicanStones

    Interesting story Pete. Although would it be fair to say that many French people like to imagine that there were a lot more people in the resistance than is accurate.

  • joeCanuck


    Any more information? I for one would appreciate it, . Just a link, even to wiki would be helpful.

  • pippakin

    How does recognising Irish people who fought in the two world wars and giving them the respect they deserve endanger our independence. I don’t believe we are so weak that recognising one endangers the other.

  • Alias

    Why single out those who died in the British army as being more worthy of commeration than those who died in other wars or in other armies?

    No reason other than it promotes the propaganda that the Irish nation has no right to be a sovereign nation and that its rightful place is as a non-sovereign nation in the sovereign British state, supplying cannon fodder to Her Majesty.

    In fact, why single out Irish people who died in wars but ignore those who died by other means, such as on famine ships or in car accidents?

    I see no special reason to toady to the British here.

  • Alias

    The other absurdity of the Poppy is that it asks the Irish people to celebrate the army that committed the Bloody Sunday actrocity. In other words, the fools should lick the boot that kicks them…

  • RepublicanStones


    Been at it a few times. It’s a grand day out if the weather holds.

  • joeCanuck

    Many if not most of us are not celebrating; quite the opposite, in fact. As to those who fought on the British (Allied) side, they are not more worthy. Each nation mourns its own. It just so happens that a lot of Irishmen went to their needless slaughter in WW1 as members of the British Army. It”s no big deal. Don”t let your bitterness get in the way of remembering the slaughter..

  • Pete Baker


    I didn’t mention the poppy, and neither does David Murphy.

    And, for example, Samuel Beckett wasn’t in the British Army.

    Try to rein in your tendency to resile to overly familiar territory and address what’s actually being said.

    To date, the Irish resistors remain uncommemorated either in Ireland or France. This is perhaps a good week to pause and remember them and the long and lonely war that they waged.

  • pippakin


    I think the answer to your own insecurity is the:

    ” I see no reason to toady to the British here ”

    Recognising Irish people is something we should do for ourselves not for the British. The connection, and that is all it is, is because most of the Irish soldiers were fighting with the British.

    It is time you stopped being so paranoid about the British, they don’t care if we commemorate or not, why should they.

    I get the impression you don’t like the Irish. You certainly don’t seem to think we are capable of commemorating our own without being subservient to the British. We are better than that.

  • Alan Maskey

    Alias: You will no doubt see the irony in all this. The Irish went off in their lemming like droves in 1914, believing, we are told, that being sacrificial lambs would hurry up the demand for Home Rule and bottled Guinness. Now we have to celebrate their naivety.

    German peace keeping forces had many problems during the 1940-45 period. These included masive inflation in Greece, which aided the Greek dissidents: remember Stalin gave the West Greece and there was a huge civil war afterwards.
    When foreigners invaded France on June 6th 1944, 177 French men joined them on the beaches of Normandy.
    The French colonial troops raped their way through Italy, where there were plenty of Irish, including some high profile protectors of Jews in the Vatican; many Jews had been in Mussolini’s Fascist Party.
    On VE Day the French killed hundreds of Algerians who wanted Liberte and the other two bits.
    Ireland’s Own writes about such Irish people on a regular basis. In the Second World War, tens of millions were killed, millions more raped. We are supposed to get frozen in time because a handfull of Irish adventuers and clerics got caught up in it.
    What about the Colomban priests who stayed behind in Manila when the Japanese navy and the terrorist Americans slugged it out? Or the Irish Colombans who were captured, killed and/or put on death marches in Korea?
    Now that G20 is being held, here is the Korean link:

    At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them. Much mnore so than gun toting morons.

    As the Irish CVitizen Army said:
    We serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland (and God).

  • Pete Baker

    Stop trolling, Alan.

  • joeCanuck

    Thanks, RS.
    As you say, the weather always dominates.

  • Alan Maskey

    Sorry if it comes across that way. But you cannot just say A in vacuo. On “The Provisionals must etc”, someone has just given another example of Marty’s lack of scruples/moral compass. I wil let that pass.

    1. You raise some interesting Irish ghosts: those who were with the French Resistance.
    2. The French Resistance were small beans compared to the YugoSlavs, Poles, Greeks and Soviets and the French have a patchy track record.
    3. Why not commemmorate the equally brave Irish priests who died with unsullied bravery during the (shameful) battle of Manila or of those who died in Korea?
    Anyway, hopefully goodbye Poppy frennzy for at least another year. Given the saturation coverage, it must have been a bumper collection for the RBL.
    It was an interesting story and was no doubt timed for Poppy day, more to make it topical, than for some dark plot.

    I saw a fallen popy myself two days ago but I left it there. My sister wears a poppy.

  • HeinzGuderian

    If whinging was an Olympic sport,dear old Oirland would win gold every time !!

    Telling ye,I have yet to read a thread on here that doesn’t mention a famine,1916,those pesky Brits,the misunderstood El Beardo,bloody ‘good’ sunday,and MOPERY !!!

    It grows ever so wearisome !!! 🙂

  • Alan Maskey

    What you see as trolling is a shift in emphasis. Whether it is a little tangential or not, some questions:
    1. What is your opinion of the fatalities the Colomban priests suffered during the Battle of Manila? Do you accept those Irish priests were brave (and probably a little fool hadry) by staying with their parishioners? Ditto in Korea. ps: They are still remembered by the Philippinos to this day.
    2. What do you think of the massacre the French committed in Alegeria on VE Day? Should the Algerian martyrs be remembered?
    3. Do you accept that in incredible times, countless ordinary people show incredible courage and that these include, for example, the very successful but largely peaceful Danish resistance?

    The Roman Catholic tradition is to wear a white poppy with the red. Though I would prefer neither, the white seems a better option to me.

    Finally, a word on the resitance put up by France, eldest daughter of the Church as many Popes have called her. Why do they have so many monuments? Is it to fool themselves? The rreal fighting was done on the Eastern front and France got off relatively lightly. Troops were sent there to recuperate. Indeed, the serious reistance done to the D Day invasion was by SS troops perfectly positioned to resist; they were there taking a break form the real fighting in the East.
    All countries and peoples build their myths. The French resistance is part of the French mytrh (more joined Vichy than De Gaulle, more Yanks fought with the Red Coats than with the slave trader Washington but hey). The Irish who was a part of the story you cite are part of the great Irish story but no more so than other Irish people who found themselves caught up in extra ordinary times abroad.


  • Didlee D O’Squat

    Too true Herr Guderian. It all becomes rather tiresome. Sadly however given the government’s tendency to indulge the MOPE the whinge will be on continuous loop for many many years to come.

    I sometimes ponder why are the Irish republicans alone in maintaining so obvious a chippy attitude? Given the many examples from across the world of peoples living under the changes brought about by the political upheavals of the late 19th and early to mid 20th century the Irish standout as being unable to move on.

    I think that it is because they are too close to, too alike their perceived oppressor and that makes them uncomfortable.

    Take for example those countries that emerged from the ruins of the Habsburg Empire. Each was able to restablish its national character and language despite the cultural dominance that had been the leitmotif of the empire. In Ireland the same cannot be said. The Irish language for example is a minority interest, and that given the compulsion to learn it at school and its requirement for a job in the Irish civil service.

    They say that family disputes are the most bitter. The Irish republicans’ attitude to finding themselves living in the British Isles is testament to the truth of that.

  • mark

    Bored are we ? HeinzGuderian , where do you come from ? I know the name Heinzguderian has a touch of the master race about it , but maybe it’s an alias . This website which seems a big part of your life is in Ireland not Oirland . Where you not taught how to spell in school ? So anyway , where did you say you came from again ?.

  • Alan Maskey


    BBC graphing where our brave boys and girls fell. Part of the Provo plan was to give the Brits their highest fatlaity rate since World War 2. So close. Nearly never won the race.