Irish citizens , volunteered or conscripted?

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by mac657, Apr 3, 2021.

  1. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Hello all , is it possible to establish from service records whether a person volunteered or was conscripted?

    I'm researching an Irish citizen (my Grandad) who served in the Royal Engineers during WW2 and trying to establish the above.

    They arrived in the UK in 1939 and enlisted August 1944.

    I was always led to believe that he volunteered (which may be the case) but recently found out that Irish citizens who had lived in the UK for more than two years could be conscripted.

    I'm curious as to whether it's possible to confirm this either way.


  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Apply for his service records and see if they can enlighten you to an answer - forms for the MOD are here Request records of deceased service personnel also need a copy death certificate

    Assume as he had lived in UK for a specific period of time he came under UK rules and regs, much like today for example if he came to live in UK with his Irish car then that would need to conform to UK laws of the road at a specific point - probably 12 months


    You could also have a read through this thread - UK conscription ages

    and - Conscription: the Second World War - UK Parliament

    and - Conscription

    and - Conscription question
  3. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Thanks Dick.

    I already have his service records hence the question.

  4. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member



    Please post his attestation/enrolment forms and we can likely see which category he is in.

    Men could enlist on regular army terms of service in which case Attestation forms are used. If conscripted it is an enrolment form.

    If he attested as a regular soldier he would be committed to a total of 12 years service - in peacetime usually 7 years (or 4 years in the Foot Guards) regular service and 5 years in the Class B reserve.

    If conscripted under the National Service Act the service was hostilities only and demobilisation to Class Z reserve as per his Age & Service group.



    If you aren’t happy posting in the open forum I am happy to give an answer if you send me the forms via the forum personal message system.
    Owen likes this.
  5. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    All Irishmen, both from Northern Ireland and Eire, were volunteers....if they were living in England, Wales or Scotland they could have gone home - if they stayed, then they would have been sent a letter.. but they were still a volunteer.

    As noted by Brigadier Scott in June 1944:
    " It is sometimes overlooked that the services of every Irishman from any part of Ireland are given of their own free will for the good of the cause, be they fighting men or those or those priests, who helped the English prisoners in Rome..."
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2021
    Owen likes this.
  6. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Brigadier Scott was, I am sure, referring to the wonderful Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty.

    bexley84 likes this.
  7. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Thanks all, Steve attached are some docs which i think are pertinent. There are more if required.

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  8. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Thanks for posting the documents.

    The second one is the National Service Act enrolment form.

    The third document shows he was transferred to Class Z Reserve in 1947.

    You can therefore be satisfied he was conscripted into the Army rather than voluntarily enlisted into the Regular Army - had he done the latter he would have joined his chosen regiment/corps directly rather than attending a Primary Training Wing.

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  9. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    That's really interesting to know Steve. I really appreciate it.


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