At the outbreak of the Second World War, Ireland declared neutrality and thus was isolated as never before. But total isolation could not be sustained; it was imperative to continue essential trading overseas. A life line had to be formed and so the nucleus of a merchant marine was established. For the following five years a tiny fleet of vessels ventured the seas under the Tricolour, the badge of neutrality clearly emblazoned on their hulls. this is the story of that fleet, diminutive in size but large in heroism. It is the story also of exceptional courage of the mariners themselves, many of whom perished as victims of a war in which they were non-participants. The author's narrative has been enriched by patient research through the official papers of both Britain and Germany and by interviews with survivors. The stark logbook entries from German submarines, British naval vessels and the Irish ships themselves provide a dramatic counterpoint to contemporary accounts of the period. A neutral flag was no guarantee of safety from attack.