Ireland played a minor part in the reign of Henry VIII. Royal concern in Ireland extended as far as the Pale - four small counties around Dublin. The Irish nobility ruled the area around the Pale - known as the Colony. Royal decrees had given them the right to do this. The most powerful family was the Fitzgerald's, the Earls of Kildare.
The fall of Crete took place in May 1941. The battle for Crete - 'Operation Merkur' - was unique in that it entailed the use of the greatest number of German paratroopers in the whole of World War Two. The fall of Crete reinforced in the mind of the Wehrmacht the value of the paratroopers it had. Hitler, however, was shocked by the number of losses and at the end of the campaign to capture Crete, he ordered that paratroopers should no longer be used to spearhead an attack on a major target.
The Women's Auxiliary Air Service was formed in June 1939 in response to the worsening European situation. For the duration of World War Two, the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) was commanded by Katherine Trefusis-Forbes. A pre-war publication for the WAAF stated its function with a degree of clarity.
The 'Big Wing' was the name given to a tactic for fighter planes during the Battle of Britain and beyond. 'Big Wing' was much favoured by Trafford Leigh-Mallory, head of No 12 Group. During the early stages of the Battle of Britain, it quickly became apparent that the pilots from FighterCommand would always be outnumbered when they went into aerial combat.
While pilots from abroad fought with distinction in the Battle of Britain, the majority of pilots were from Great Britain. No official record of Battle of Britain pilots survived World War Two - only those who had died, and it is their names that are on a memorial in Westminster Abbey, which was unveiled in 1947.
Gordon Welchman worked at Bletchley Park during World War Two. Welchman studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was a brilliant mathematician. Welchman, along with the likes of Alan Turing, William Tutte, Tommy Flowers and Max Newman, played a vital part in the Allied victory. But because of the sensitivity of what they did, no one in the immediate aftermath of World War Two knew about their role.