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1939 – First PoW Honour Is No Flattery to Slattery

Blenheim IV N6240

Tipperary Star, 16 September 1939

Laurence “Larry” Slattery, a Littleton native, was a gunner on a Bristol Blenheim IV when it was shot down over Wilhemshaven, Germany, on 4th September 1939. Slattery’s pilot, Willie Murphy, from Mitchelstown, was killed in the crash, whilst Slattery himself escaped relatively lightly, sustaining both a broken foot and jaw. Murphy was the first fatality of World War II on the British side, and Slattery, or “Flattery”, as he was referred to in this report, became the first British Prisoner of War (PoW) to be captured by the Germans. As well as being the first, he would go on to become the longest detained “British” PoW of the entire War, his captors being reluctant to release him as he was an excellent interpreter when communicating with the other prisoners. He was finally freed when Allied troops reached Stalag PoW camp in April 1945. Slattery returned to Ireland, where he married, but returned to Germany again for a short period, where it has been suggested that he acted as a translator during the Nuremburg Trials.

In 2015 Littleton National School told the remarkable story of their parishioner in a play entitled “Heroes and Ghosts – The Life & Times of Larry Slattery”.

TS 16 Sept 1939

Heroes & Ghosts 2015 littleton ns

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