Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

Formation of the Irish Brigade

The original idea to create an Irish Brigade within the British Army during the Second World War was stimulated by a letter to The Times by General Hubert Gough, the man who commanded the British 5th Army during the First World War. When the letter was brought to the attention of Winston Churchill, he prompted his cabinet colleagues to investigate the possibilities for its formation.

Following a review, the Secretaries for War and Dominions wrote a detailed memorandum on the subject and this set in train the actions that would lead to the formation of an Irish Brigade. It can be presumed that the final result was not exactly as Churchill had originally envisaged as he had marked their paper with the comment “as proposed, it is a half way house”.

The setting up of an Irish Brigade within the British Army prompted the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland to write a concerned letter to Churchill, which included a partial reading of Irishmen’s contribution to previous campaigns.

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