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Thread: Donegal Corridor

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    Default Donegal Corridor

    A friend is curious about the Donegal Corridor through the Republic of Ireland (Éire) from Lough Erne to the Atlantic for the purposes of U-boat patrols; also possibly used by ferried bombers making their way via this route when low on fuel. He has communicated with Dennis Burke (of the Irish Crash site) who mentioned a book (In Time of War) that referred to this Corridor. Was there any real discussion about this whole deal ? My own guess is that the Republican Government, notwithstanding strict neutrality, and that in London, nevertheless took a “Don’t ask - don’t tell” attitude to this, and thus documentation would be minimal. On the other hand, Britain was producing official histories about just about everything, military and civilian, in the ten years after the war. Could there have been a few volumes published about diplomatic or Foreign Office actions in that period - particularly those involving foreign neutrals - which might describe how the Donegal Corridor came to be ?

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    Hugh,

    Why do you ask hard questions ! For Irish historians this is a difficult subject to properly explain due to lack of official documentation. On the Irish side much was either not written down as you suggest, or the relevant paperwork destroyed later. There is certainly more in British archives but I have not examined these sources.

    All I can report is that talks were initiated by the UK Air Ministry through Sir John Maffey, the British Representative to Ireland, apparently in December 1940. These were concluded on 20 January 1941 with a limited agreement for a narrow corridor to the Atlantic. At this time a new flying-boat base was under construction at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland. The first flight to use the corridor occurred on 21 February 1941.
    Over the course of the war the area of the corridor was expanded de facto, maybe by tacit agreement, certainly not by official sanction.

    Most of the above comes from 'GUARDING NEUTRAL IRELAND (The Coast Watching Service and Military Intelligence 1939-1945)' by Michael Kennedy, 2008. A very fine book.
    There is a wonderful official series of many volumes published in recent years titled 'DOCUMENTS on IRISH FOREIGN POLICY'. These contain copies of all the extant important documents relating to Irish foreign policy. An excellent resource of primary material for Irish historians - but I cannot find one mention of the 'Donegal Corridor' and this bears out the point I made in the first paragraph about lack of certain documents.

    I really don't know if this adds any clarity !

    Regards,

    Martin Gleeson.

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    Some of what i sent to Paddy via email includes, and I just hadn;t time to look up much more:

    "The Corridor would have been of less importance Ferry operations and hence Carl Christie would have little reason to mention it Ferry aircraft were usually bound for Prestwick in Scotland if flying the Northern Route. If flying the south Atlantic they were heading for Cornwall and Wales.

    The Corridor was mainly used by Coastal Command as you know. The Corridor is what I would call a 'well known secret'. I searched today on an archive of Irish newspapers and it is a common term that shows up from 1985 onwards, and likely would have been beforehand. It is one of those stories that people gasp at each time they hear it but they likely have heard it before. Also, the people in the area involved would have been extremely aware of the noise of aircraft."
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    I wonder if AIR 2/8337 contains anything, it dates from 1940/41 and carries the title "MISSIONS AND VISITS (Code B, 51): Proposed Mission to Eire"
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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