"Gentlemen and Ladies I beg that you would agree with me that it is high time we help our Brethren. If our British Overlords wish to hold against both us and Canada our still maintained argument in regards to the treating of the Indian peoples, and would seek to harm our Brethren ability to defend their nation then I say to you, Let us fill that gap, Let us stand firm beside them, Let us arm them and Let us stand against the Breech and to hell with His Majesties Armories opinion."
- PM Arthur Griffith, Address to Parliament, 23rd December 1915
"The Irish-Canadian Trade Act of 1916 was actually drafted and signed as early as November 1915. It wasn't until December of 1915 that both governments revealed the details of the colloquially named "War-Support Act" that would see the establishment of a trade between Ireland and Canada in regards to military equipment. From East to West came Irish made Pattern 13's, ammunition, clothes, LAAC Guns and most importantly to Canada, Ships to carry these goods on. From West to East came at first Aeroplanes, coincidentally stopping the hopes of German Industry of providing Ireland with Aircraft, and later the Huot. However the idea of trading Rifles for Planes meant that the stubborn Irish Army had to accept that an Air Force was coming. It's creation however would be at the hands of two totally different men."
- Ireland and the World, 1900 - 1947.
5 Miles from Dock.
"Those god-damn frogs, why did they have to make that airship such a good bloody target?" As the ship rolled on the wave again he tried his best not to be sick. "After all if they want to send up slow moving, highly flammable bags of gas near positions known to be within range of my airplane of course I'm going to comply them by destroying it." Once more the ship rolled. " "Special Assignment" No assignment is worth this." The ship rolled again and Manfred felt like screaming, in fact he would have if he didn't feel that he couldn't even stand up. He had shot down a Zeppelin near Strasbourg and for his troubles had been promoted to Major, which meant he was now in charge of his own Air-Wing, and quite literally shipped off on a "Special Assignment." For not the first time since the journey had began he felt envious of his brother stationed against the Russians, in his last letter he had pointed out how rare it was for one to encounter Russian aircraft but not rare at all for one to encounter targets.
As the god-dammed ship rolled again a sailor stuck his head into the cabin, or as close as one got on this Cargo ship. At least the British and Irish had the French bottled in their ports, and the ship hadn't run into any u-boats. The sailor in question had also been the only member of the crew who spoke German. Speaking English, while not difficult, required more concentration then Manfred could spare in his current state.
"We're docking now Sir. If you want to make your way up to the deck we can have you on solid ground in a minute." Manfred thanked the sailor and climbed up the stairs to the deck were rain raked the ship while the wind did it's best to blow it over. At least in an aircraft you could fly over the clouds. It was also dark and a quick check of his wristwatch, a fashion style becoming rapidly popular for it's practicality, told him that it was little over 9 PM. There was a metallic grating noise as a stairs down from the ship to the dock was raised. The Captain of the ship was here to see him off and a sailor came carrying his luggage. He made his way down to the ground and after walking like a drunk for a few steps began to walk normally. A man in German uniform, German Naval uniform, stood there and saluted to him.
"Greetings Major. I am Ensign Leopold Holowitz and I am here to drive you to your over-night lodgings. The car is just over here." The young Ensign lead Manfred over to the car, a German model of course, and after fitting his luggage in the back started driving away from the ship. Now that he was back on dry land Manfred finally felt confident enough to speak without throwing up.
"Tell me" he said to the Ensign "Is it always this bad?" Pointing out the window at the sky. The Ensign smiled to him.
"Welcome to Dublin Major Von Richthofen." Was all he said in reply.
The weather had cleared up after last nights rain spell. A sudden spell that had tested the local builder from Clondalkin's roofing that had been built over the newly constructed sheds were the Canadian made Bristol F.2 fighters were sitting. Built off a British design that had been looked over in favor of the Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5, the aircraft were still in their original paint scheme and bizarrely enough had the British roundel painted on the wings. They were taxied out onto the cleared patch of ground that the Irish had for a runway while in the older sheds the doors opened and the two Wright aircraft bought so long ago were wheeled forward so that the recruits could go over the machines to learn the fundamentals.
Only the fully trained pilots got to touch, never mind fly, the new Canadian aircraft. And one of those pilots just happened to be the young man on who's shoulders the whole of the Aerodrome's responsibilities had landed. However on the shoulders of James Fitzmaurice the weight had met a stable holding force. He had joined the Irish army at the age of 16 in early 1914. His keen interest in aircraft saw him become one of the original batch of Air Cadets learning how to fly. His Father attempted to have him pulled from service for being under-aged but the armed forces had been put at a state of alert and as such that was impossible. Being one of the small number of pilots who graduated and even then being the only one who had remained in the micro sized Air Corps James had found himself in a position of being the second most senior officer in Baldonnel at the age of 17 when war broke out. Due to this and a general mobilization James's responsibilities grew and while other men his age may have been crushed by them James grew with them. When the Major in charge of the base had been killed in a motor accident in October James found himself getting promoted and now at little over the age of 18 he was a Major of the newly formed Irish Army Air Corps and technically in charge of the whole Corps.
This was not something that went down well in the halls of power. The Army had demanded that such a young man could not be in charge of such a position. They demanded that an Army Colonel be put in charge of the base immediately to save the nation from the embarrassment of having a child running such a facility. The Ministry of Defence attempted to have him demoted and a Navy captain installed as the head of the facility and denied his budget requests and even tried to prevent him receiving the Canadian aircraft. However James had one Ace in his hand and that was that the Minister of Defence himself regarded the Aerodrome as his own pet project. And Sir Roger Casement was not a man to be trifled with. So James got to keep his position, his budget and his aircraft but he was under near constant observation from the higher ups. The Navy and Army both wanted command here but James was determined to keep the Air Corps free.
"The sooner we lose that "Army" bit the better." He muttered to himself. The local builder who was helping put the aerodrome together looked up from the plans he was working on at him with a quizzical expression. "Nothing to worry about Seamus. Just thinking aloud. Anyway what do you think if instead we place the weather tower over here?" The builder opened his mouth to reply when the door to the office banged open and a Junior Leftenant, who was probably older then James himself, stood breathless in the doorway.
"Sir *puff* sorry for interrupt *puff* ing you but you wanted to know when the car was spotted sir." The Leftenant leaned against the doorway to gather his breath while James jumped to his feet from the table.
"Sorry Seamus but we'll continue this discussion tomorrow. For now keep your lads working on the barracks." Seamus raised his hand to interrupt "I'm sorry but this really can't wait." James shot down his interruption before turning to the Leftenant. "What are you waiting around for man? Get to the Sergeant and tell him I want everyone to fall in. Christ knows it's an important enough visitor."
James made his way down to what could be called the drive of the aerodrome and took a few moments to make sure his appearance was acceptable, he adjusted his uniform and did his best to look like an officer while the German made Mercedes pulled up in front of him to a stop. Right behind it came the un-welcome sight of an Army Green Harper car. His already not very optimistic mood started to noise dive immediately. Out of the rear car came the form of Colonel Butcher, the man the army very much wanted to put in charge of the place. However James couldn't give a damn about him as he was feeling optimistic as out of the front car came a man whom he had only seen pictures of. Major Manfred Von Richthofen himself. He was Germany's premier flying Ace and had been flying sorties since the beginning of the war, originally against the Austrians. However his actions at Strasbourg had turned him from a German hero into a figure of international renown. James saluted him as he approached.
"Major Von Richthofen? I'm Major Fitzmaurice. The senior officer here. Welcome to Baldonnel sir." The Irish Major said as he approached Manfred. Immediately Manfred noticed he was quite young. In reality he knew the difference between them was only six years but the man just looked so young. That was part of the reason why he was here, to evaluate the aerodrome, it's commander, and to teach the Irish the basics of Aerial combat theory. He returned the salute of the Major and with Ensign Holowitz and the Irish Army colonel in tow followed the young Major out onto a field were the staff of the aerodrome were assembled. He was offered and accepted the opportunity to inspect the men who ranged from as young as the Major who had led him here to a few years older. He was then brought on a tour of the facility and shown the new Aircraft the Irish had been issued. He didn't know why but there was something about the Canadian aircraft that seemed to get to him. He couldn't explain what it was but it was there.
He was introduced to the rather comfortable quarters that would be his for his tenure at the aerodrome and before the Ensign left he filed his first report back to the ambassador. The fact he was here at all was that ambassador's fault. The Irish Defence minister and the German ambassador in Ireland were good friends so when the Irish minister had approached him with a request to bring in a German officer who could independently report on the condition of the camp so as to settle the concerns of the Irish Army and Navy they had sent for Manfred. As it was Manfred had seen men who were not even half trained in some cases. Mechanics who were clearly very new at their jobs. A base that was woefully under-constructed and an officer who seemed to be on the brink of being overwhelmed. However what he saw was a lot of potential.
Hell they had already designed a roundel for their new aircraft. So while the builders worked away at extending the living quarters and mechanics worked on engines in the yard Manfred grinned at the small patch the men here had given him of their roundel. Small at the moment yes. But with much potential.
The Roundel of the Irish Air Corps, 1st Squadron markings
So then Questions etc?
 An Irish Motorcar company. Any resemblance to Ford in their designs is totally coincidence I swear .
And the Air Force is off. Manfred Von Richthofen helping to train and establish it. James Fitzmaurice for those interested was an Irishman who was part of the first East-West Trans-Atlantic flight which was based out of Baldonnel Aerodrome. I accept that he is quite young here but hey, Creative license.
Next update is news from the new front. Which New Front however?