A new Irish-language documentary tells the story of the 67,000 Irish men and women who ignored Irish neutrality to fight for Britain during the Second World War.
TG4's new documentary "Paddy Devlin - Gunnadóir Na Gaillimhe" (The Galway Gunman) tells the story of Paddy Devlin, who traveled from Galway to Belfast as a teenager in 1941 to join the British Army during World War II.
As a member of the Royal Ulster Rifles, Devlin was one of the deadliest snipers in the British Army and served in a glider battalion that fought on D-Day and the subsequent Allied invasion of Germany. He was seriously injured by German machine-gun fire during a battle on the Rhine while protecting his comrades.
Devlin joined the RAF after the war and retired as a warrant officer after 28 years of service.
The TG4 documentary, which is set to air on Wednesday, November 8, at 9:30 p.m., features an interview with Devlin's niece Elayne, who explores why her uncle and nearly 70,000 Irish men and women chose to ignore Ireland's neutrality and fight for the Allies during the Second World War.
Paddy Devlin - Gunnadóir na GaillimheNovember 6, 2023
Elayne, an RTÉ journalist, explores how Irish people like her uncle were given a warm reception in Britain for their service during the war but faced hostility at home for their decision to fight for the British Crown.
The documentary also details how their involvement in the war was largely ignored in Ireland for half a century, with tens of thousands of families refusing to speak of their relatives' heroism or bravery.
The silence only began to lift when the Troubles in Northern Ireland came to an end and the 5,000 Irish men who died during the war began to be recognized for their sacrifice.
TG4's new documentary tells the story of that sacrifice through Devlin's own experiences in the war.