Wednesday 17 January 2018

Nazis were preparing to invade Ireland, files reveal

Fergus Black

GERMAN troops would have landed in Ireland had an invasion of Britain gone ahead in WWII, newly released files suggest.

The files also reveal a German intelligence agent was reported to have sought to use Ireland as a base for spying on its neighbour during the war.

Details of the invasion plan were released by the National Archives in Britain yesterday, 70 years, to the day, since three women were killed in a Luftwaffe bombing raid on the tiny village of Campile, Co Wexford.

Church bells rang out yesterday to mark the anniversary of the attack, when four bombs fell over the Shelburne Co-op in Campile, killing sisters Mary Ellen (30) and Kitty Kent (36) and restaurant worker Kathleen Hurley (27).

Tomorrow, survivors, relatives and public figures will attend the opening of a memorial garden at the site.

The just-published MI5 file reveals that Ireland would have been targeted for German landings had the Luftwaffe won the Battle of Britain.

The plan, which would have involved the landing of German shock troops at Dover, was abandoned because invading troops would have faced attacks by the Royal Air Force.

Ireland's inclusion in the invasion plan is revealed in an extract of a post-war debrief of a German soldier, Cpl Werner Janowski, who worked for the German intelligence service, the Abwehr.


"Janowski states that it was planned that landings would be attempted at several points along the English coast, in Scotland and in southern Ireland but the main attack would be centred around the Dover area," according to the file.

The National Archive said his reference to Ireland was the only one made in the Janowski file, which revealed that German shock troops wearing Allied uniforms were to make the initial landings and hold strategic positions before the main invasion force could be brought across the Channel in barges. Historian Diarmaid Ferriter said: "These would have been contingency plans and they would have caused great concern to Irish military intelligence."

Other details in the MI5 files tell how it was also planned to use Ireland to spy on England.

According to the documents, Wilhelm August Hollman was a former secretary to the Jahnke Buro -- an intelligence gathering agency in Germany in the 1930s.

"Hollman joined the Abwehr in 1940 and was reported to have sought to use Ireland as a means of spying on England," according to the archives.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News