Crashes and Forced Landings of Belligerent Aircraft

German Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe Officers in the Curragh Internment Camp, Emergency Period (Private Collection, Military Archives)
German Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe Officers in the Curragh Internment Camp, Emergency Period (Private Collection, Military Archives)
Reference Code: IE/MA/G2/X or IE/MA/ACF/
Title: Crashes and Forced Landings
Dates: 1939-1945
Level of Description: Fonds
Extent and Medium: 6 boxes with 184 files of reports, letters, memoranda, copy photographic prints, foreign military identification cards and Photostats.
Creator(s): Defence Forces G2 Branch and the Irish Air Corps
Administrative / Biographical history: Ireland declared its neutrality and enacted the Emergency Powers Act in September 1939 “to secure the public safety and the preservation of the State in time of war”. Thousands of foreign aircraft flew over or near neutral Ireland during World War II and were recorded by both permanent and reserve defence force personnel stationed in Look-Out Posts (LOPs) located on Ireland’s coastline.

More than 167 aircraft crashed or force-landed on Irish territory, or in its coastal waters, between 1939 and 1945 due to adverse weather conditions, navigational error, low fuel or combat damage.  The course, height, approximate speed and, if possible, identification of any intruding aircraft was reported to the appropriate Defence Forces Headquarters. The reports were sent on to the Air Marine Intelligence Headquarters (otherwise known as Central Control) where they were collated and analysed before being passed on to General Headquarters.

The regional Command Intelligence Officer was sent to each site as soon as possible to take charge of the crash-site with a detachment of either permanent or reserve defence forces personnel to guard the site and assist with the removal of the aircraft and surviving aircrew. After examining the crashed aircraft, interrogating the surviving aircrew, listing personal effects, weapons and any other items of interest, this officer then sent a detailed report to G2 Branch Headquarters (Army Intelligence).

The Air Corps was responsible for the dismantling and removal of these aircraft. The condition of the aircraft was evaluated before a salvage party was sent from Baldonnel Aerodrome. Any weapons, ammunition or explosive ordnance were removed from the aircraft. If the crash-site was in a bog or on a mountainside, a controlled explosion was sometimes used to make the site safe. A report on this aspect of operations at a crash site was also produced for a number of these crashes and forced landings.
Scope and Content: This collection contains both the G2 and the Air Corps files for crashes and forced landings of British, German, American and Canadian aircraft during the Emergency period. The files contain such detail as reports on the crash, including details on its flightpath, any evidence of aerial combat involved, condition of aircraft and crew, etc.; inventories of personal effects and other material found aboard the aircraft as well as salvage reports regarding armaments and ordnance on the aircraft; Garda Siochána reports on ammunition or other items found or incidents in the surrounding area of the crash; correspondence regarding the tracking down of personal effects of members of the aircrew; transcripts of interviews with members of the aircrew; copies of letters from interned aircrew to their relatives and loved ones; newspaper cuttings regarding the crashes;  maps with annotations detailing the crash or forced landing of particular aircraft.

Access Conditions



Language: English
Finding Aid: Paper, available in Reading Room