THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: More war work for Ulster urges commerce minister

From the News Letter, February 12, 1941

By Darryl Armitage
Friday, 12th February 2021, 6:00 am

Ulster’s contribution to the national war effort, her devotion to the cause of freedom and the development of her industrial resources were among the questions which were dwelt on by Sir Basil Brooke, the Minister for Commerce, at a Press conference which was held at the Ulster Government Agent’s office in London.

He spent some considerable time of the meeting tackling how Northern Ireland might assist in the war effort and telling how he had been lobbying the London administration to transfer industries to the Province.

He remarked: “We in Northern Ireland are bitter-enders. That is to say, we are out to do everything we can – and we will go on to the end; we will sacrifice everything if necessary to help win the war.”

Ulster’s contribution to the national war effort, her devotion to the cause of freedom and the development of her industrial resources were among the questions which were dwelt on by Sir Basil Brooke, the Minister for Commerce, at a Press conference which was held at the Ulster Government Agent’s office in London in February 1941 reported the News Letter

Sir Basil admitted that the Province’s wartime effort had been somewhat hindered by industrial restrictions which had lead to a shortage of raw material in the country.

But all the same he said: “We have to get on with the job [of winning the war], and if every man was doing something towards winning the war then I should be happy and feel that we were pulling our weight to the full extent.”

One reporter asked Sir Basil if it might be feasible to transfer some unemployed Ulstermen to England to help with the war effort.

He replied: “A good many are being employed here but I think you will agree that no man likes being from his home, and psychologically it is better to get the industries over there [to Northern Ireland].”