Why Irish soldiers who fought Hitler hide their medals
5,000 Irish soldiers who deserted their own neutral army to join the war against fascism and who were brutally punished on their return home as a result.
They were formally dismissed from the Irish Army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being banned for seven years from any employment paid for by state or government funds.
A special "list" was drawn up containing their names and addresses, and circulated to every government department, town hall and railway station - anywhere the men might look for a job.
It was referred to in the Irish parliament at the time as a "Starvation Order", and for many of their families the phrase became painfully close to the truth.
Paddy Reid - whose father and uncle both fought the Japanese at the battle of Kohima Ridge - recalls a post-war childhood in Dublin spent "moving from one slum to another".
Maybe one slice of bread a day and that would be it - no proper clothing, no proper heating.
"My father was blacklisted and away all the time, picking turnips or whatever work he could get. It's still painful to remember. We were treated as outcasts."
John Stout served with the Irish Guards armoured division which raced to Arnhem to capture a key bridge.
He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge, ending the war as a commando.
On his return home to Cork, however, he was treated as a pariah. "What they did to us was wrong. I know that in my heart. They cold-shouldered you. They didn't speak to you."
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