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Posts Tagged ‘Irish War of Indendence’

Great Uncle Emmet Dalton was a man full of surprises. A soldier with nerve and cunning, and a leader with imagination and forethought. And a man with more than his fair share of great stories. Here’s another one: he instigated the Irish Air Force.

Discovered in the National Military Archives of website of the Cathal Bruga a barracks is a witness statement made by Emmet in 1951. In this he documents how he came to arrange for an aeroplane to be purchased by the fledgling Irish state on the occasion of a visit to London by Michael Collins following the end of the Irish War of Independence. As a figure of national importance to Ireland, and still a person of some ill repute to the English, Collins’ safety was a real concern if the negotiations with the British government should break down. Emmet Dalton was by this time one of the inner circle that protected Collins and so it was agreed that, following his idea, a purchase of a plane should be made, and that it should be held on stand-by at Croydon airport, ready to whisk the Big Fellow away if necessary.

The witness statement sets this out more elegantly:

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Collins_Plane

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