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Second World War in Ireland: the real facts

Robert Fisk's article in the Belfast Telegraph (Comment, September 19) is interesting if only for the number of errors in it.

While some of these may be due to Fisk not having checked the material supplied to him by his anonymous reader, others can only be laid at his own door.

For example, Fisk tells us that Londonderry was "the last of our Irish Treaty Ports". Whether as Londonderry or Derry, the city was not included in the list of Treaty Ports.

We are then told that "our man" was sent to Derry in 1940 with five members of 30 Commando, Royal Marines.

Two errors: 30 Commando was not formed until September 1942 and then as the Naval Intelligence Unit. It included Royal Navy, Army, RAF and Royal Marines troops and was later renamed 30 (Royal Navy) Commando and eventually 30 Assault Unit.

HM Trawler Tamara was not a Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel, but a Royal Navy auxiliary boat. We are also told that the uniforms worn by the Irish Defence Forces at the time "were German-looking".

The only element of Irish uniforms that looked German was the British-made 'coal-scuttle' helmet that was rapidly phased out in favour of the familiar British-style helmet.

Finally, Fisk, having rubbished other myths of the war in Ireland, recounts with relish another that places Lt Philip Mounbatten RN at Lough Eske in Donegal in 1940. However, the future Duke of Edinburgh spent 1940 in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean - far from Lough Eske.

RICHARD DOHERTY

Co Londonderry

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