Jan 02, 2012 6:28 AM GMT
Five thousand Irish soldiers who swapped uniforms to fight for the British against Hitler went on to suffer years of persecution.
One of them, 92-year-old Phil Farrington, took part in the D-Day landings and helped liberate the German death camp at Bergen-Belsen - but he wears his medals in secret.
Even to this day, he has nightmares that he will be arrested by the authorities and imprisoned for his wartime service.
"They would come and get me, yes they would," he said in a frail voice at his home in the docks area of Dublin.
And his 25-year-old grandson, Patrick, confirmed: "I see the fear in him even today, even after 65 years."
Mr Farrington's fears are not groundless.
He was one of about 5,000 Irish soldiers who deserted their own neutral army to join the war against fascism and who were brutally punished on their return home as a result.
They were formally dismissed from the Irish army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being banned for seven years from any employment paid for by state or government funds.
A special "list" was drawn up containing their names and addresses, and circulated to every government department, town hall and railway station - anywhere the men might look for a job.
It was referred to in the Irish parliament - the Dail - at the time as a "starvation order", and for many of their families the phrase became painfully close to the truth.