Going into the interview with Mr. James Ireland, I was both excited and nervous. I had learned a great deal from watching Mr. Buckley interview William Landis the day before. But this was the first interview that JR and I were going to be participating in. Mr. Buckley would be there to guide us, but we had to prepare and ask questions.
The morning before the interview, Mr. Buckley briefed us on the information he had gotten from Mr. Ireland over the phone. JR and I then started to research and prepare some questions about Mr. Ireland’s service. We knew he was Military Police (MP), and that he served in both North Africa and Italy during the War.
|Mr. Ireland with Brady and J.R.|
When we got to the interview, Mr. Ireland was very reserved, and said that he was not sure how helpful he would be because he believed his service to be uneventful, and his job not of importance.
James Ireland is a native of Kent County who enlisted in the Army. He was excused from the draft do to a childhood injury that left him blinded in his left eye. Mr. Ireland remembers telling the recruiter that he would not leave without enlisting. The recruiter told Mr. Ireland that he would spend the War state side, and he agreed. Six months later, Mr. Ireland was deployed to Casablanca and later Italy.
During the War, Mr. Ireland's duties included watching German and Italian soldiers who had been captured. Mr. Ireland said he was never concerned about prisoners trying to escape, and he believed this was because none of them wanted to return to the front lines.
His other duty was patrolling the towns watching out for the off duty soldiers who were blowing off steam before heading back to the front lines. Mr. Ireland recalled that most of the solders were very unappreciative of his duty giving all the MP’s nicknames like “Military P****”.
|Ireland's discharge paper|
During his time overseas, Mr. Ireland remarked on the different cultures he was able to experience. He remembered vividly the time he was able witness a volcano exploding, and how extraordinary those experiences were.
At the end of the War, James Ireland was sent on a plane filled with German prisoners back to the states where he continued to guide them until he was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946 after around three years of service.
I want to thank Mr. Ireland for his openness and for taking the time to share his story with us.