Saturday 24 March 2018

Pardon the least World War heroes deserve

Kevin Myers's invitation to apply the spirit of Islandbridge to World War Two heroes (Irish Independent, May 24) is most appropriate. It seems that a place of honour for the Ulster Defence Association to attend the recent ceremonies in Islandbridge was more a priority to the powers that be rather than issuing an invitation to Merchant Navy hero, 88-year-old Harry Callan. Harry was captured while serving on a British merchant vessel in January 1941, refused to voluntarily work for the Nazis and was put into a slave labour camp in Germany as a punishment.

Ironically, on the day of the queen's visit, Harry was with me in Engelbelmer Cemetery on the Somme, where a memorial plaque was placed dedicated to the Irish shot at dawn during World War One.

Pardons were given to these WW1 Shot at Dawn in 2006 by a British government. Surely, in this new dawn of Irish-Anglo relationships a new Irish Government has the political capacity to revoke the Special Powers Order of 1945 and reinstate those Irish volunteers who went to fight the Nazi terror. Their memory deserves that at least.

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