Returning Home: Irish Ex-Servicemen After the Second World War

Returning Home investigates one of the least well known periods in Irish history the story of the estimated 12,000 Irish veterans who returned to Ireland after the end of the Second World War. They came back to a country in which jobs were scarce, commemoration was a divisive issue and the public had little understanding of the veteran s experiences. Even worse, an estimated 5,000 deserters from the Irish army faced potentially severe punishment when they returned home. Based on interviews with surviving veterans and drawing on a wide array of archival sources, Returning Home explores how Irish ex-servicemen coped with the difficult task of re – integration into Irish civilian society. It details their impact on government policy, their economic difficulties, struggles with psychological problems, the vexed issue of Remembrance and the treatment of deserters from the Irish forces. Returning Home makes an important contribution to how we view Ireland s connection to the Second World War and Irish participation in it.

Bernard Kelly is from Galway and is an Irish and British military historian, who has an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and a PhD from NUI Galway. He is currently working as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Edinburgh.