Lecture 20 March 14

The development of an Irish Flower: HMS Oxlip to LE Maev

Lecture in Stella Maris on 20 March 2014 at 8pm

John Tracy will speak

LE Maev served the Irish State for almost a quarter of a century, during
some of the darkest periods of Irish naval policy. Suffering from a
chronic lack of economic resources, flagging political support and a
comical social perception, the Maev and her sisters struggled to provide
the maritime security envisaged after the Emergency.

Hastily built in 1941, to make up a shortfall in Royal Navy coastal
convoy escort vessels, HMS Oxlip served valiantly in some of the worst
conditions seen, across a variety of theatres. Bearing many scars from
the numerous battles in which she participated, Oxlip was placed on the
disposal list in September 1945. By early 1946, the Irish Government had
decided to form a Naval Service and had a pressing desire to acquire
ships rapidly. Acting on Admiralty advice, Oxlip was one of a trio of
vessels selected for the transaction. However her scarred past would
result in a succession of engineering failures under the tricolour, with
many of these associated with her wartime experience.

This talk seeks to outline the wartime contribution of HMS Oxlip and her
subsequent service life in the Republic. It will draw on administrative
and engineering records which were thought to be fragmentary or
destroyed. Ultimately this paper seeks to critique the procurement
process that led to her acquisition, in addition to evaluating the
relationship between the Royal Navy and the Irish Naval Service, at this
early juncture.

Bio of John Tracy

I am formerly an Engineering Cadet with the Irish Naval Service. I
completed an Honours BA in Liberal Arts (History & Geography) in 2011. I
am currently in the process of final writing up of my PhD thesis
entitled ‘Irish Naval Service Operations 1946-84: Victims of
Circumstance or Architects of their own decline?’. I lecture in the
development of Irish Naval policy at the Centre for Military History and
Strategic Studies at NUI Maynooth. I have participated in naval and
defence conference proceedings both nationally and internationally. I am
reading for my PhD

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