Search Results for 'Neville Chamberlain'

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War victims come to Galway

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At 11.15am on September 3 1939, Neville Chamberlain went on radio to announce that Britain had declared war on Germany. Hitler was still hopeful of a diplomatic resolution and to this end, he issued strict orders for U-boats to follow the Prize Regulations under which attacks on passenger liners were prohibited. Unfortunately, the first ship that was sunk by a U-boat was the SS Athenia,  which was carrying 1,418 passengers and crew. She was about 200 miles off the west coast of Ireland at the time.

Wrong-way Corrigan and other wonders

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Early morning July 17 1938, Douglas Corrigan, a young aviator, climbed into a small and rather battered nine-year old Curtiss Robin monoplane, at Brooklyn airfield New York. He was cleared to fly to California. It was a misty overcast morning. Instead of turning east, he headed out over the Atlantic. Twenty-eight hours later, surviving on two chocolate bars, two boxes of fig bars, and a few gallons of water, he landed in Baldonnel airport, Dublin, to everyone’s amazement. He was immediately christened ‘Wrong Way’ Corrigan, and the world press loved him. The New York Post printed its headline back to front to join in the fun. Especially as it emerged that Corrigan’s plane had many modifications made to it, including two large petrol tanks strapped in front of the cockpit, allowing him to only see out sideways. One of the tanks leaked on the way over. He had to slash a hole in the floor to allow the fuel out.

De Valera’s Galway speech angers Nazi Germany

Eamon de Valera was in Galway on the evening of May 11 1940 engaged in a by-election campaign, when he was told that Germany had invaded Belgium and Holland that morning. He was outraged. Belgium felt that by declaring its neutrality it was protected from Hitler. But it was sadly mistaken. Germany felt threatened (at least it pretended to be), that the Allies may use Belgium as a ‘jumping off’ base to attack her. With terrifying speed and ruthlessness, using new tactics of fighter bombers and tanks, Germany subdued both countries in a matter of days.

 

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