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MartH

Irish Men Serving with the Germans

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MartH

Hi

I'm about to embark on some study into a little known topic about the Great War that has intrigued me no end, and might have been airbrushed out of history, if it was recorded at all in the first place.

It started with a conversation with my grandfather a long time ago about his army training, and where he originally learnt english. He had been a member of the 27th Royal Prussian Jaeger Battalion, which was composed of Finnish volunteers who trained at Lockstedt in Germany before action on the Eastern Front, and then being the core of the White Independence Army in Finland . The Finnish Jaegers activities are well documented, and Sibelius even wrote a famous march for them, for which he was condemned to death by some Red Finns/Russians in the Finnish Independence and Civil war.

I enclose a link to a translation of the Document out lining the set up of Finnish Jaegers .

Anyway my grandfather once asked me where did I think he first learnt english, I forget my reply, but his was "Your wrong, it was in Germany at Lockstedt in World War One doing the Jaeger training, you see we were the 27th Jaeger Battalion, there was a 28th, the Irish Volunteers, thats where I first learnt english."

Now I've looked off and on, for references on this. I know about Sir Roger David Casement, and his execution for going around prisoner of war camps trying to recruit POW's from Irish Regiments, and negotiations that resulted in a German arms shipment to Ireland, but what I've read suggests that a unit was never formed. That is until earlier this month, when I discovered a reference to an article about Finnish and German Jaegers in the Balitc, which refers to the Irish Jaeger contingent. I'm in the process of getting the article, and contacting the author in the US. I'm also going through the standard work on the Finnish Jaegers published in the 1930's, and obtaining a copy of Casement's biography. I might also contact the 27th Jaeger association.

But back to my first line of the post, I doubt shortly after WW1 and the lead up to Irish Independence that this would have been published much, and might have caused a huge backlash during the process and embarrassment - hindering it. I'm also in no doubt that my grandfather did learn English from some Irish men at the German army camp. So was a Unit formed, or did the Finns feeling sorry, bestow on the few Irish men in the camp the Honorific title of the 28th Jaegers?

Do any members have any references, or ideas?

Who knows there might even be a book in this!

Many thanks in advance,

Mart

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