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There we go.
556746, Trooper A Freeman.
This'll be Albert.
'Albert Freeman came from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire.
'His local paper records the tragic events of his death in 1940.'
Trooper Freeman was drowned when his ship, the Arandora Star,
a former luxury liner that was carrying
German and Italian internees to Canada,
was torpedoed into the Atlantic.
Albert's body was one of many washed up on the Donegal coast.
He was found by the Irish servicemen manning this observation post
as they watched the Second World War unfold offshore.
Ireland's National Archivist, Michael Kennedy,
is with me to explain the role of the men stationed at lookouts like this.
They could see convoys,
they'd see aircraft flying over protecting the convoys,
and they'd occasionally see German aircraft flying by
attacking the convoys. The idea is you're here,
you're observing the Battle of the Atlantic
out in front of you there, out off Ireland's west coast.
These watchmen were onlookers to a world at war,
because Ireland was neutral.
The Irish didn't even call it a war.
It was known as The Emergency.
Publicly, the British Government denounced Ireland's neutrality.
But Michael's discovered that the two governments
were holding talks in secret.
Let's looks at some secret documents that show more of what was going on.
It's not just secret, it's "most secret."
This only came out in the early 1990s.
It was hidden in the archives until then.
It's written by a man named Joseph Walshe,
who was Ireland's top diplomat.
The title of it is, "Help Given by the Irish Government
"to the British in Relation to the actual Waging of the War."
So there's a lot being done here that we didn't know about.
OK, so the important ones here, say, point two, here.
"Broadcasting of information relating to German planes
"and submarines in or near our area," so out here.
-So these posts were actually feeding information.
The men of the coast watching service
were reporting first to the Irish Intelligence Services,
and then the reports were going over
to the British military, as well.
'Ireland's close contact with the British government
'brought other benefits, too.'
And you can see here another one, the third point.
"Permission to use the air for their planes,"
that's British planes, "over certain specified areas."
The Allies used flying boats to help protect
the vital North Atlantic convoys from U-Boat attack.
Those flying boats were stationed on Lough Erne in North Ireland.
The shortest route to the Atlantic
meant flying through Irish air space directly over Donegal.
Using this route required the permission
of Ireland's leader, Eamon Da Valera.
The Donegal air corridor, it was called,
it was negotiated over the Christmas of 1940 into 1941.
And through it, Da Valera gave the Royal Air Force permission to fly
right behind us here, across Donegal bay,
and out into the North Atlantic.
-The shortest route to get out to port.
-Exactly. Protecting the convoy.
-Stopping the Germans starving Britain into submission.
Walshe writes at the bottom here, he says, and it's in his own hand,
"We could not do more if we were in the war."
So it's serious, high level co-operation
that is twisting and bending the parameters
of legal neutrality out of shape.
Evidence on this coast tells us a surprising story
of Ireland's active participation in the Second World War.
Testimony to a secret bond between countries
on the edge of the Atlantic during desperate times.
Around here, you can't escape the power of the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
It's carved out massive sculptures to remind us
that for millions of years, it's battered Ireland's north-west coast.
The islanders of Arranmore have an intimate relationship
with the fickle sea.
So at the heart of the community there's a lifeboat station.
Now, there's no way I could leave these shores
without meeting the men who know more than anybody else
about the harsh realities of life on the edge of the Atlantic.
The lifeboat men, who brave the wildest storms
to bring help to those in peril.
The RNLI here in Ireland is the same organisation
that operates in Britain.
Yet the crew of the RNLI's Arranmore boat
are Irishmen operating in Irish waters.
It's remarkable that the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's
presence in Ireland has survived
the struggle for independence and the troubles that followed.
It begs a question for Terry Johnson,
one of the RNLI's top brass.
I must admit, I'd never really thought about it.
It was almost a surprise to think that there's
a ROYAL National Lifeboat Institution
in the Republic of Ireland.
Well, it's always been the RNLI.
And it was operating for nearly 100 years
before Ireland's government was formed in 1922.
And they approached the Irish Free State Institution and said,
"We're here in Ireland, our lifeboat crews want to continue the work."
And the government said, "Well, we welcome and support you in that."
The Irish Coastguard work with the RNLI to provide a vital search
and rescue service for mariners in the North Atlantic.
The Sikorsky Search And Rescue helicopter is on its way to join us
for an exercise that'll test the skills of both crews.
There's about to be a seafarer in trouble...me!
Am I going in, yeah?
Let the air out of your suit.
'Without my dry suit,
'I wouldn't expect to last more than matter of minutes.
'Being adrift in the ocean as the life boat disappears from view
'In a real emergency, my distress flare could be a life saver.
'The plan is to pick me up and land me
'on the deck of the moving life boat.
'A procedure the crew practise for rescues
'when there's a number of people in the water.
'Imagine this in a ten foot swell.
'With the ten tonne helicopter hovering directly above me,
'I'm being blasted by the downdraft from the rotor blades.'
'The lifeboat's purposely travelling into the wind,
'and I'm flying through the air at 15 knots, following it! The reason?
'It gives the pilot more control, because flying forward,
'the helicopter gains lift, so it's more stable, if more scary.'
I would never even contemplate taking part in an exercise like this
if it wasn't with the RNLI and the Coastguard.
Not only will they rescue anyone,
irrespective of nationality or creed,
but they'll go out a 100 miles into the worst
the Atlantic storms have to offer to get their job done.
Now, that's class!