A CAMPAIGN has been launched to honour the Irish soldiers who served in World War Two who hailed from Kilkenny.
The Kilkenny Great War Memorial Committee are leading the search for the names of these soldiers and urge the Irish community in Britain to help.
Committee Chairman Donal Croghan told The Irish Post: “When Ireland chose to be neutral in World War Two it did cause some consternation in Britain, but this neutrality was not absolute.
“De Valera allowed Irishmen to freely join the Allied armies and up to 40,000 did , along with another 200,000 civilians who crossed over to Britain to work in the mines and factories.
“Many were also conscripted into the British Forces.”
He added: “Returning to Ireland after the war many were treated disgracefully and were seen as anti-national because of their service.
“These men and women had left the safety of neutral Ireland and risked death or injury in the Second World War. They played their part in defeating Hitler.
“We believe there are at least are 100 dead and 1,000 veterans/survivors from Kilkenny and we need your help to find them.”
It’s estimated that between 4,468 to 9,100 Irish soldiers died in World War Two – while 12,000 veterans are believed to have returned to Ireland after the war.
The Committee, which previously successfully unveiled two memorials to the Kilkenny soldiers who served in World War One, plan to unveil their World War Two memorial at Kilkenny railway station in 2020.
“Now is the time to do this,” Mr Croghan explained, “as our generation pass away, names and stories connected to World War Two will be gone.”
He added: “Please help and spread the word of the appeal and together we will remember them.”
So far, the Committee has received 54 names of those who died and 106 names of the survivors of the War.
They are looking for the names, rank, regiment, service number or any other relevant information about Kilkenny soldiers who served in the battle.
Details can be emailed to [email protected], by post to 48 John Street, Kilkenny or given over the phone by calling (00353) 863369080.