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Article: Curragh – the war’s most bizarre POW camp Continues

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    Curragh – the war’s most bizarre POW camp Continues

    0 Comments by Doc Vernon Published on 13th June 2018 06:24 AM
    Escape attempts were rare. The Germans had no easy way of reaching continental Europe and the British had their own special problem,best demonstrated through the story of Roland “Bud” Wolfe. AnAmerican citizen, Wolfe signed up with the RAF before the U.S.entered the war, getting stripped of his American citizenship as aconsequence. After flying cover for a ship convoy off Ireland, hisSpitfire’s engine overheated and he had to land in the Republic ofIreland, where he was taken to the Curragh. Unwilling to sit out thewar, he made his move two weeks after his capture, in December 1941.One day he walked out of the camp, deliberately “forgetting” hisgloves. He quickly went back for them and left again without signinga new parole paper, so he now considered his escape to be alegitimate one. He had lunch at a nearby hotel, left without payingand made his way to nearby Dublin, where he boarded the first trainto Belfast in Northern Ireland. To his surprise, his superiors werefar from pleased when he reported at his base and he was quickly sent back across the border to the internment camp.

    Thereason was that Ireland’s neutrality was important not only to theIrish but to Great Britain as well. Though Churchill consideredIreland’s refusal to fight a betrayal, he understood that apro-Nazi Ireland would have allowed the Kriegsmarineto use its Atlantic ports and wreak havoc on vital convoys fromAmerica. In order to guarantee Ireland’s neutrality, however, theBritish also had to play fair and prevent K-Line internees fromjeopardizing the diplomatic status quo by escaping whenever theypleased. As a result, attempts were sparse: Wolfe tried to escapeagain only to be captured this time around as well, finally settlinginto the relaxed life of the camp. There was an aborted tunnelingattempt and a successful mass rush on the gate, which the Irishdecided was a “legal” escape and the men who made it back toBritish territory were not returned.

    In1943 it became clear that the Allies were slowly winning, Britishairmen were moved to a separate camp and secretly freed, while 20Germans were allowed to rent residences in Dublin and attend thelocal colleges. All remaining German prisoners were repatriated afterthe war, ending the history of what
    might well have been history’s strangest, and possibly most comfortable POW camp.

    The story of the British and German prisoners living together in Ireland,hushed up during and after the war, only came to light in the 1980s,when English novelist John Clive heard the story from a taxi driverwho had served as a guard at Curragh, and decided to research the matter for a novel.
    Last edited by Brian Probetts (Site Admin); 15th June 2018 at 10:50 PM.
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website


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