Or not necessarily on leave, but in some capacity where they were present in numbers but not allowed to fight?

  • Yes, don't know about the famous football match between the Huns & English at christmas in WW1? 2014 marked the 100th anniversery of this event. Check the wikipedia article on this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce – user5062 Sep 5 '15 at 19:26
  • Does meeting in a third country for peace negotiations or mediations count? – Semaphore Sep 5 '15 at 19:30

Germans and British combatants frequently visited Ireland which was neutral in WWII. German submarine crews would frequent pubs in Dublin as did RAF pilots and crews of British Navy vessels. Sometimes there would be knowing encounters of Germans and British; sometimes unknowing encounters; sometimes just vague suspicions that the bunch of square-heads sitting at the bar were German submariners. This wasn't the proper venue for violence so visiting belligerents either avoided each other or talked shop with each other. Under Article 17 of the Hague Convention belligerent vessels or aircraft requiring repairs or with sick, wounded or dead crewmen on board could stay in neutral ports for a period of 72 hours. After that time internment of ship and crew would occur. To avoid internment, belligerent ships and aircraft had to leave the neutral country after the prescribed time had elapsed. Ireland has a long history of allowing aircraft of belligerent nations to overfly Irish territory or to refuel at Shannon. The prerequisites were: no weapons, no armaments on board, no explosives. Allied pilots frequently landed in Ireland or crash-landed, refueled or hospitalized and were then escorted to the border with Northern Ireland. Crews of German aircraft had to prove they were not on a 'combative mission' which was a hard test for them, but not impossible. I should note here that ROI neutrality was never a statutory matter of law. It was a policy of the government then in power. So internment or no internment was decided on an ad hoc basis.

  • 1
    That's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for, but I can't find sources for german soldiers/sailors/airmen in Dublin. I did manage to find something similar express.co.uk/expressyourself/255828/The-Cushiest-PoW-camp , is this what you were referring to? – TimSim Sep 5 '15 at 22:04
  • I refer to fraternization between Germans and British servicemen--not POWs. Entry into Ireland was often surreptitious to avoid internment. But Irish rules of neutrality were flexible, especially in rural coastal areas. A German submarine crew might hide somewhere in an inlet and the crew goes ashore. Ireland was less neutral when it came to British servicemen and many were not interned. In truth, I have read of only one incident of a British officer and a German officer meeting in a pub and discreetly avoiding military topics--but the circumstances were not that unusual to the bartender. – user3847 Sep 5 '15 at 23:32
  • 2
    Some actual data, please? Neutral countries are forced to avoid being used as a military base by belligerants (Switzerland shot down both German and Allied planes), and given Ireland officers pro-Allied stance, a German submarine crew might hide somewhere in an inlet and the crew goes ashore is difficult to believe (other issue are submarines delivering/receiving spies/commandos, but those usually try to not get identified). – SJuan76 Sep 5 '15 at 23:38
  • @user3847 What these sorts of discussions seem to overlook is that although Ireland was technically neutral, thousands of the Republic's citizens served in the British armed forces during the war (many of them winning the highest decorations for bravery - such as the Military Cross, and even a few the Victoria Cross). Nobody should get the idea that German U-boat crews were all over Dublin. They would fairly quickly have been popped off had they been, and perhaps Mr de Valera with them. – WS2 Sep 5 '15 at 23:48
  • It would be a mistake to conclude that every belligerent vessel or aircraft entering a neutral country is automatically interned and the crews consigned to an internment camp. Even the crew of the Graf Spee had a pleasant shore leave before being forced to leave Uruguay. – user3847 Sep 12 '15 at 21:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.