From top: Mayo-bound German parachutist?l The Evening Herald, November 28, 1945
Or did he?
Forgotten Irish Tricksters‘ is a series by historical blogger Sibling of Daedalus exploring the absolute chancers that brought acting the maggot to an artform but are now barely remembered.
Number 2: Maureen Corrigan and Charlotte Brownlee.
Sibling of Daedalus writes:
Throughout the Battle of the Atlantic, the bodies of dead German airmen washed up with regularity onto the rocks of the coasts of the west of Ireland.
Occasionally it was rumoured that, like the sailors of the Spanish Armada, some of them survived, hidden in remote cabins, awaiting a more formal invasion by their countrymen.
No one was entirely surprised, therefore, when, in 1944, two teenage girls, Maureen Corrigan and Charlotte Brownlee, reported the presence of foreign parachutists in the Ballina area.
But, after an apparently thorough search by army and Gardai failed to uncover any trace of foreign men, the girls were charged, convicted and sentenced to several months for wasting official time and general trickery.
According to the judge hearing the case, Corrigan and Brownlee were thoroughly bad, their actions prompted by exhibitionism, the wish for their photographs to appear in the papers, and the desire to be interviewed at length by high-ranking army officers.
However, the following year, Sergeant Michael Cavanagh, a Mayo-born soldier in the American Army, disclosed to the Evening Herald the existence of Nazi documents designating North Mayo as a leading airfield base in the event of an invasion of Ireland.
Nothing has been heard of the girls since their conviction and sentence.
High-level trickers or lowly victims of a Churchill-deValera cover-up?
Previously: Forgotten Irish Tricksters: Mary Kate Hodges