Fingal 1916 & Civil War - boards.ie
Boards.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more x
Post Reply  
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
12-02-2011, 06:43   #1
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
Fingal 1916 & Civil War

Since we have an election coming up, I thought this would be an interesting thread to start. Apart from parish pump politics most political commentators have blamed Irelands obsession with Civil War politics as helping to cause our current woes.

So what I hope to do with this thread is to look at the part Fingal played in 1916 and the subsequent War for Independence and Civil War that shaped peoples political alligiance. We may grumble about elderly relatives voting religiously for either FG/FF but we have to remember they had first hand accounts from relatives that lived through those times while we had a chapter in history class.

HB had a great story about his family smuggling guns on bikes from Lusk to Blanch. So if anyone else has family stories from that time or even photos etc
Corsendonk is offline  
Advertisement
12-02-2011, 06:48   #2
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
1916 Rising

Fingal Battalion 1916

Irish Times
Quote:
'I had eight dead men in the cart when I had finished'
Outside Dublin, the major engagement of the Easter Rising took place in Ashbourne, Co Meath. It was carried out by the Fingal battalion (based in north Co Dublin), only half of whom - about 60 men - mobilised on Easter Monday. They were disorganised and inexperienced, and had only a few weapons.

Once the Rising began, Patrick Pearse had ordered rebels to take the main road at Finglas and ambush army officers returning from the Fairyhouse races. The battalion also attempted to blow up a railway bridge over Rogerstown Estuary, in north Co Dublin, in order to disrupt military communications, but caused only minor damage. Then, on the Tuesday, Thomas Ashe was ordered to send 40 men to the GPO. He sent 20.

As the week progressed, the Fingal Battalion expected to be joined by others from nearby Skerries, and to join up with those from counties Meath and Louth. It never happened, but the small battalion became more organised and efficient as it split into four fighting columns. One would stay and protect the camp, while the others would go on raids. Ashe sent three columns on a successful raid of the post office and RIC barracks in Swords. This was followed by a raid on the RIC in the Dublin villages of Donabate and Garristown.

Just after 10.30am on Friday morning, the RIC barracks about half a mile north of Ashbourne was stormed by the insurgents. Ashe had offered the 40-strong police force a chance to surrender, sending two RIC officers captured on the journey to Ashbourne to deliver the message.

A post office worker, John Austen, watched as Ashe and his men arrived on bicycles, with their rifles slung over their shoulders. "The police refused to surrender. Ashe went back to his men, got them under cover and the battle began in earnest.

"Some of the rebels got onto the footpath along the road, behind the fence in front of the barracks, and behind the fence on the opposite side of the road, whilst some others were on the north side of the Barracks. Some were behind a wall which was on the south-west side of the crossroads."

A gun battle began, with the rebels gaining the upper hand and about to force an RIC surrender, when a column of about 55 police in 17 cars suddenly arrived from Slane. However, this was outflanked by the insurgents, who eventually won out when seven of their number charged with fixed bayonets and the RIC officers surrendered. They had suffered heavy casualties, with eight killed and 15 wounded. The rebels had one man killed and six wounded (one of whom would later die of his wounds).

Austen was asked to assist in moving the bodies. He used a horse and cart for the purpose. "I told Ashe what I was going to do, and he told me to go ahead. Two of the policemen who had not been wounded helped me to collect the dead policemen into the cart. I had eight dead men in the cart when I had finished . . . Two of the dead men were civilians who I believe were drivers of cars."

The rebels, buoyed by their victory, made off to set up camp and await orders. When an order did come from Dublin, however, it told them to surrender.
Corsendonk is offline  
Thanks from:
12-02-2011, 06:59   #3
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
Thomas Ashe C/0 Fingal Battalion 1916

Commanding the Fingal Battalion during 1916 Rising was Thomas Ashe from Kerry who was a school teacher in Corduff at the time.

From RSF Kerry
Quote:
Similarly to many of his counterparts, Ashe was arrested for his role in the Rising. Although sentenced to death on 11 May 1916, public uproar resulted in this being commuted to penal servitude for life. From Dublin, he was transported to Lewes Gaol in England where he became one of the leaders of the prisoners at that time alongside Eamon de Valera.

In the Summer of 1917, the Irish prisoners were released and made their way back to Ireland. Ashe resumed his political activities, giving speeches around the country in defiance of orders from the British Authorities. For his own safety, Ashe went into hiding but was subsequently arrested when he attended, and spoke at, a meeting in Dublin.

Sentenced at a court martial, Ashe was imprisoned at Mountjoy Gaol, Dublin. Similarly to the Suffragettes at this time, Ashe and his Republican counterparts were denied political status. Demands were issued for a change in their status but to no avail. As a result, these inmates began a hunger strike on 20 September 1917 believing that it was the only means open to them to obtain their demands.

The prison authorities retaliated by taking away the prisoners� bedding and boots. Such actions, however, did not break the resolve of these men

Forcible feeding, a method for dealing with hunger striking prisoners, began almost immediately. All requests to Ashe to end the hunger strike were refused. He was adamant in his opposition saying: "They have branded me a Criminal. Even though I do die, I die in a good cause."

Administered by a trainee doctor, the process of feeding was often quite brutal. On the third day, Ashe collapsed shortly after the procedure.

It was later discovered that the tube had pierced his lung among other complications. He was released immediately from the prison and when asked where he would like to be taken, he responded to the nearby Mater Hospital. That was 23 September. Two days later, he died of heart and lung failure.

After lying in state at City Hall, Ashe's cortege made its way through Dublin to Glasnevin Cemetery on 30 September 1917. It is estimated that 30,000 people lined the streets, some having travelled great distances and over coming such obstacles as limited transport to attend. The Archbishop of Dublin's car was also visible in the funeral procession. At the graveside, a volley of shots rang out and Michael Collins gave the oration. Ashe was 32 years old.
Corsendonk is offline  
12-02-2011, 07:10   #4
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
List of Volunteers involved in Battle of Ashbourne

Some familiar surnames from Fingal. 3 of the Volunteers involved later became TDs.


An Cosantoir circa 1939-1945
Quote:
The following is a list of Volunteers who were involved in the fighting at Ashbourne County Meath.

Commandant Thomas Ashe
Richard Aungier
Peadar Blanchfield
Thomas Blanchfield
Paddy Brogan
James Connor
John Crenigan, known as Jack, aged 21. Killed in Action. Was employed by the Dublin Tram Company.
John Devine
Francis Daly
Paddy Doyle
Richard Duke
Thomas Duke
Walter Farrelly
Michael Fleming
Jerry Golden
Jack Gowan
Paddy Grant
Dr Richard Hayes medical officer. He had been the Officer Commanding resigned in favour of Ashe. Became a TD (Teachta Dála Member of the Irish Parliament).
Paddy Houlihan or Holohan
James Kelly
Matthew Kelly
Edmund Kent
Colm Lawless
Frank Lawless, Quarter-Master later became a TD.
Jim Lawless Captain.
Joseph Lawless
Bennie McAllister
John McAllister
Michael McAllister
John McCann
James McArdle
Patrick McArdle
Tom Maxwell
Richard Mulcahy, Vice-Commandant. Initially posted at the G.P.O. Connolly sent him to Howth to cut the undersea telephone wires between Dublin and London, unable to return to Dublin he went to Ashbourne where Ashe appointed him Vice-Commandant. He succeeded Michael Collins as Commander in Chief of the Free State Army.
Éamonn Murphy
William Norton
Christy Nugent
James O’Connor
Arthur O’Reilly
Jack Rafferty
Thomas Reilly
Edward Rooney Captain
James Rooney
Paddy Sheehan
Ned Stafford
Joe Taylor
Nicholas Teeling
Joe Thornton
William Walsh
Bartle Weston
Charles Weston

Three women also took part in the battle acting as messengers and attending the wounded.

Molly Adrian, messenger.
Monica Fleming
Eileen Lawless
Corsendonk is offline  
12-02-2011, 07:18   #5
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
How well armed were the Volunteers?

An Cosantoir, the Irish Army’s Magazine, during the Emergency Period (1939 – 1946)
Quote:
THE FINGAL VOLUNTEERS.

It is interesting to remember that the Fingal Volunteers in 1916 were in fact the prototype of the present day cyclist squadrons, and although the significance of their existences as a cavalry unit was not understood or recognised even by themselves, they did in fact, to a great extent, adopt correct cavalry tactics in the series of raids and reconnaissance movements carried out throughout North County Dublin from Easter Monday till the Friday of that week, when the first really serious engagement took place at Ashbourne, County Meath, just over the county border.

Previous to Ashbourne, the Column, about 45 strong, all mounted on bicycles, had been engaged during the week in a series of lighting raids upon Royal Irish Constabulary (R.I.C.) Barracks and communications in the area, with the threefold purpose of collecting arms, hampering enemy movements, and drawing some enemy attention away from the hard pressed Volunteers fighting in the city. Originally we had 20 more men, but this number had, on orders from James Connolly, been sent in to the city from our camp in Finglas. These twenty gave a good account of themselves in the fighting in O’Connell Street, and at the Mendicity Institute, where one of their number was killed.

It may be well, before proceeding to the description of the actual fight, to give some kind of picture of the organisation and equipment of the Volunteer unit, so that the reader may more readily grasp the significance of later details.

The Volunteers of North County Dublin or Fingal, as the territory is know, constituted, up to 1916, the 5th Battalion of the Dublin Brigade, but like most Volunteer units of the time was never near Battalion strength. In fact, if memory serves me right, I think the area at that period was, at best, able to muster a strength of about only one Infantry Company. Due, however, among other causes, to the confusion of the cancelled orders on Easter Sunday, little more than half the number answered the mobilization call.

The following summary of the equipment of the Fingal Volunteers on Easter Monday is taken from some old notes of mine. ARMS:

Modern Service Rifles including long and short Lee-Enfield and 9m/m Mauser – 12 to 15.
Old type Mauser (Howth Rifle) – 10 to 12.
Martini Enfield Single Shot Carbine – 12 to 15.
Single barrel 12 bore Shot-guns – 20 to 30.
Revolvers and pistols, various types and calibres (.455 .38 .32 .25) – 12 to 14.
AMMUNITION: Total available to all units:
.303 and 9mm – About 100 rounds per weapon.
Old Mouser about 60 rounds per weapon.
Shot-gun loaded with buck-shot, about 300 rounds per weapon.
Pistol ammunition, various – about 30 rounds per weapon.
UNIFORM AND EQUPMENT.

About 15 to 20, including most of the officers had uniforms. The remainder wore their equipment, bandolier, haversack and belt over their civilian clothes.

BICYCLES

Most of the men who reported on Easter Monday did so on bicycles.

TRANSPORT

One horse and a farm draw belonging to my father was the only heavy transport until the commandeering on Wednesday of a Ford motor bread-van. In addition to this there was a Morris Oxford two-seated belonging to Doctor Hayes, and a motor cycle belonging to Thomas Ashe.

EXPLOSIVES


Sixty pounds gelignite which was used to destroy the G.N.R. (Great Northern Railway) line on Easter Monday. There remained two home-made canister grenades.
On arrival in camp of five or six stragglers from city units and the detachment on Tuesday from our camp at Finglas of 20 men to the city, the urgent need for reorganisation of our forces arose. We had received orders from James Connolly at the G.P.O. that our activities were to take the form of diverting enemy attention and troops, if possible, from the city, and a rapid survey of the situation resulted in throwing overboard the old British Infantry organisation, upon which we had trained, and the adoption of a scheme made to fit the numbers available and the tactical requirements of our mission.
The arrangement adopted, which incidentally was quite sound from a cavalry viewpoint, was to divide the entire force into four more or less equal sections of ten to twelve men, each section under the command of an officer, the remaining four senior officers constituting the headquarters and command staff.

The operation procedure adopted was that each day one section was detailed for foraging duty with the job of protecting the camp day and night, and also locating and procuring food supplies for the column. The remaining three sections, proceeding on a daily raid or other mission, moved always with the sections so spaced and detailed that the leading section constituted the advance guard; the rearmost section the rearguard, while the commander with his staff moved normally with the main body, in between. The sections changed over duties daily.

ASHE AND MULCAHY

The commander and staff of the column were largely, if not entirely, responsible for the success of the unit. Thomas Ashe, the commander, was a fine physical specimen of manhood, courageous, and high-principled; something of a poet, painter and dreamer. In military matters he was, perhaps, somewhat unpractical. Early in the week, however, we had been joined by a few stragglers from a city Battalion, amongst whom was Dick Mulcahy. Mulcahy was known already to the other members of the staff, and it was soon apparent that he was the mind necessary to plan and direct operations. Cool, clear-headed and practical, and with a personality and tact that enabled him to take virtual control of the situation, without in any way undermining Ashe’s prestige as commander. My Father, Frank Lawless, was quartermaster, and because of his wide local knowledge of the country and the people was of great help in planning operations and movements as well as in the essential matter of supplies. Dr. Dick Hayes, the other member of the staff, in addition to his medical duties was a valuable voice in the staff councils, and was also available for intelligence duties
Corsendonk is offline  
Advertisement
12-02-2011, 07:49   #6
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
General Richard Mulcahy

Of interest to note, the three men involved in the Battle of Ashbourne on the Volunteers side later went on to be TDs for FG or were FG supporters in Lawless case.

Richard Mulcahy had been sent to Howth to cut the underwater telephone lines to London, he was a telephone engineer by training. He then linked up with the Volunteers when he couldn't get back into the city.

He later became the commander in chief of the Pro-Treaty forces and leader of FG but his involvement in the execution of 77 anti-treaty prisoners during the Civil War prevent him becoming an acceptable Taoiseach.

Wikipedia
Quote:
He was second-in-command to Thomas Ashe (who would later die on hunger strike) in an encounter with the armed Royal Irish Constabulary at Ashbourne, County Meath during the Easter Rising in 1916. In his recent account of the Rising Charles Townsend principally credits Mulcahy with the defeat of the RIC at Ashbourne for conceiving and leading a flanking movement on the RIC column that had engaged with the Irish Volunteers. Arrested after the rising he was interned at Knutsford and at the Frongoch internment camp in Wales until his release on the 24 December 1916.

Upon his release he immediately rejoined the republican movement and became commandant of The Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers. Elected to the First Dáil in the 1918 general election, he was named Minister for Defence in the new (alternative) government and later Assistant Minister for Defence. In March 1919 he became IRA chief of staff, a position he held until January 1922.

He and Michael Collins were largely responsible for directing the military campaign against the British during the War of Independence. During this period of upheaval in 1919 he married Mary Josephine (Min) Ryan, sister of Dr. James Ryan and sister of Kate and Phyllis Ryan, successive wives of Seán T. O'Kelly, two men who would later be members of Fianna Fáil governments.

Mulcahy supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and became commander of the military forces of the Provisional Government during the subsequent Civil War.

He earned notoriety amongst anti-treaty supporters through his order that captured anti-Treaty activists found carrying arms were liable for execution. A total of 77 anti-Treaty prisoners were executed by the Provisional Government. Mulcahy served as Defence Minister in the new Free State government from January 1924 until March 1924, but resigned in protest because of the sacking of the Army Council after criticism by the Executive Council over the handling of the so-called Army Mutiny — when Irish Army some veteran War of Independence officers almost revolted after Mulcahy demobilised many of them at the end of the Civil War. He re-entered the cabinet as Minister for Local Government and Public Health in 1927.


Corsendonk is offline  
12-02-2011, 08:08   #7
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
The national archives has a number of eyewitness accounts from the Fingal Volunteers. One such statement from Michael McAllister who was from Turvey Donabate.


Part 1
Old Tales of Fingal 1984, An Taisce
Quote:
I was born and reared where I now live at Turvey and went to school in Donabate and Swords. There was nothing of an ultra national nature in the curriculum of the schools then, and I felt it was from reading English papers that I developed any sense of patriotism I had. The English papers were very biased and hostile towards anything Irish. Any little concession tending towards further liberty for the people of this country was always the occasion for an outburst of hostility and puerile articles about Ireland.

The late Thomas Ashe was a frequent visitor to our house, where he used to play cards. On one occasion I mentioned to him that we in this country should have some kind of intelligence organisation to counteract the propaganda about this country in the English Press. He said we had such an organisation here and asked me if I would like to join. I said I would. The organisation that I visualised was quite different from the one which I discovered that Ashe belonged to. He took me to a meeting of this organisation, which was the I.R.B. There were quite a number of men at this meeting whom I knew, including the Taylors of Swords and the late Frank Lawless of Saucerstown. I learned that this was a secret Oath-bound organisation and, as I had an objection to secret organisations particularly Oath-bound ones, I did not join.

When the Irish Volunteers were started in Swords in 1913, I joined that organisation. I think it was Frank Lawless who took me in. There was no Oath to take, not even a declaration of any sort. We were issued with membership cards and we paid a small weekly subscription towards he funds of the unit. There was a big number of men of all types in the Volunteers then and of very different ages. I think that Dick Coleman, Who later died in Usk Prison, was in charge of the Company. Parades were held every other evening and nearly every Sunday. A man named Emor Duffy used to come down from the city and put us through drill and other exercises, and also to give us lectures. We had no arms except a few .22 Sporting Rifles with which we had target practice. Most of the men were good natural shots, which is usual with young men from the
Country, while some of them were exceptionally good and could be said to be marksmen with a rifle. The .22 Rifles were the property of individual members of the Company and some few of the men also had revolvers. I had a small Calibre Revolver which belonged to our family.

The first major event that took place in the area was the Howth gun-running. All the Volunteer units in the North County Dublin area, as well as the city units, were mobilised for this affair and the Swords Company were also mobilised. It was not until the rifles were being handed out that we realised what was really happening. Our Company received a number of rifles that day. They were the Mauser type with a large bore and were very cumbersome articles. They came to be known as “Howth Mausers” and, as far as I can remember, had no magazine, being single shot weapons. Yet in our innocence we were very proud of them.

On Sundays we took part in field exercises with the Dublin City units and all over the North County Dublin and around Rathfarnham and the Dublin mountains. When the first Great War broke out in August 1914, things took on a different aspect. Quite a number of young men joined the British Army or were called up to that force of which they were members of the Reserve. The people’s attention was distracted towards the War and there was a surge of pro-British feeling throughout the country. The Irish Parliamentary Party which should have been forcing the issue of Home Rule for Ireland were also badly bitten by the pro-British bug and had realty turned themselves into recruiting agents for the British Army. Finally, their leader, John Redmond, made a speech at Woodenbridge, County Wicklow, in which he said that it was the duty of the Volunteers to join the British Army, or words to that effect. The effect of this speech was to bring to a head a situation which had been brewing for quite a while, and overnight the Volunteer organisation was split in twain. The vast majority of the Volunteers continued to support Redmond and his party while the minority supported Pearse and McNeill and the original executive of the Irish Volunteers. We had now a spectacle of two Volunteer forces in the country. The supporters of Redmond now became the Irish National Volunteers while the others continued to be known as the Irish Volunteers. In our Company in Swords, as was generally the case elsewhere, the greater portion of the Volunteers declared for John Redmond. I would say that about seventy per cent or more went on the Redmond side while about thirty per cent remained loyal to the Irish Volunteer executive. I remained with the Irish Volunteer Party. Whatever arms were available at that time were kept by the individual Volunteers to whom they were on issue so that in our case the greater portion of what we had went to the Redmond side.

A Battalion of the Irish Volunteers was now organised in the North County Dublin area. Doctor Richard Hayes was Battalion O/C, Tom Ashe was Battalion Adjutant and Frank Lawless was Battalion Quartermaster. Some short time before the Rising, Doctor Hayes and Tom Ashe changed appointments and Ashe was then O/C and Doctor Hayes adjutant. Doctor Hayes, I think, felt that on account of his medical training he could act better that way as he could combine the duties of Medical Officer and Adjutant.

The Companies comprising the Battalion were—Swords, St. Margarets, Skerries and Lusk. All the Companies were of skeleton formation and the whole Battalion would not be near a hundred strong. Training and field exercises were still carried out in conjunction with the City Battalions which, together with our Battalion, made up the Dublin Brigade. We were the Fifth Battalion. In the course of those exercises I got to know a number of the leaders of the Volunteers including Pearse, McDonagh, De Valera and others.



Prior to the Rebellion we had acquired quite a good few Lee Enfield Service rifles. Where they came from I do not know. Frank Lawless the Quartermaster had obtained them, I suppose, from General Headquarters of the Volunteers. Each Volunteer had to pay for his rifle either in cash or in instalments. During Holy Week 1916 we were ordered to mobilise at Knocksedan on Easter Sunday about midday. Each man was to carry what arms and ammunition he had got and also to provide himself with two days’ rations. We thought that some extended exercise was on the programme, but yet there was an undercurrent that something much bigger and more dangerous was afoot. There was quite a full mobilisation at Knocksedan that Sunday. Quite a lot of the Volunteers were armed with Lee Enfield rifles and each had a good supply of ammunition. I had about two hundred rounds. Again I do not know where the Lee Enfields came from. Quite a few of the Volunteers were also armed with brand new repeating shotguns of American type. Sometime before the Rebellion I remember a car loaded with rifles arriving at our house one day. There was a big number of rifles which we took in and hid in a field. They were consequently taken away by Doctor P. McCartan. I do not know where went to. At Knocksedan on that Easter Sunday, Tom Ashe gave me the rifle he had which was a lovely Service Lee Enfield type.
Corsendonk is offline  
12-02-2011, 08:12   #8
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
Part 2 Michael McAllister Statement

Old Tales of Fingal 1984, An Taisce
Quote:
We spent the rest of the day — Easter Sunday — around Saucerstown the home of Frank Lawless where we got some food. There was great Coming and going of Battalion Staff Officers and it was quite apparent at something serious had gone wrong. We had got the Sunday newspaper and had seen McNeill’s countermanding order on it and we were surmising what had happened and, of course, there was the usual batch of rumours afloat. Late that night we were told to go home but to hold ourselves in readiness to mobilise again at a moment’s notice. I returned home taking my arms with me.

On Easter Monday morning Dick Coleman arrived with orders for a mobilisation at Knocksedan at once. My brother and I packed up the work we were doing on the farm and set out for Knocksedan on our cycles and, on arriving there, we found men arriving from the other different areas. Doctor Hayes, Tom Ashe and Frank Lawless and his sons, Joseph and Frank, two brothers Ned and Jem were there amongst many others that I knew. Tom Ashe was in charge of operations. Every man had a cycle and was armed with a Service Rifle or a shot gun. Roughly, about fifty men had mobilised. This was much smaller than the mobilisation on the previous day.

We soon realised that this was the real thing and that an uprising was in progress throughout the country. A small party of Volunteers were detailed to proceed to Rogerstown and destroy the railway bridge there. This bridge covered the Great Northern Railway which was an important link between Dublin and Belfast. They had some explosives for this purpose but, as far as I know, they failed to destroy the bridge, and only succeeded in dislodging a length of rail. Other men were detailed to cut telephone and telegraph lines in the neighbourhood. That afternoon the whole party moved on cycles to Finglas village on the Ashbourne / Devlin road and on the outskirts of the city. Here we occupied positions and dug trenches covering the approach from the city. During the evening large numbers of people passed through our positions returning to the city from Fairyhouse Races. We did not hold them up or interfere with them in any way. During the night a party of Volunteers left Camp and proceeded to Blanchardstown to destroy the railway there. This was the main line to the West of Ireland and was the Midland and Great Western Railway at that time. I was not one of this party and I do not know what happened, but I don’t think it was a very successful operation. We were not well up in the uses or power of explosives at this time. We remained in Finglas on that Easter Monday night which turned out very wet and, as we had no tents or shelters, we all got a good soaking. I can’t remember anything about how we were fed. It must have been alright or some incident in connection with it would have stuck in my memory. It is peculiar that food is the one subject I cannot remember anything about during that eventful week.

On Easter Monday evening after we arrived in Finglas, Dick Mulcahy, Paddy Houlihan and another man named Blanchfield joined us. They really belonged to city units of the Volunteers, but said they could not get in contact with their own men and came out to us. Whether this is correct or, as some believe, they had been detailed by Volunteer Headquarters to join us, I do not know but, from thence on Dick Mulcahy, without actually assuming command, was, to all intents and purposes, our Commanding Officer. He seemed to be in charge of planning and operations. While in Finglas nothing unusual happened and life seemed to be going on normally in the city.

On the Tuesday morning following our arrival in Finglas a party of our men, about ten or twelve strong, were sent into the city to reinforce the units there. This party included Ned Lawless, Kelly, Wilson and Jem Crennigan and others. Wilson was killed in the Mendicity Institute and Crennigan and some of the others who had been sent there were taken prisoners by the British forces on Wednesday evening.

We left Finglas about midday on Tuesday. By this time we could hear heavy firing going on in the city but we had made no contact so far with the enemy. We cycled to the Knocksedan area and went into camp at an old farmhouse at Kileek, sleeping on straw in the sheds. On Wednesday morning we left Kileek and cycled towards Swords, travelling via Mr. Ussher’s training establishment and Knocksedan cross-roads. I was one of the rear party. We travelled in pairs, well dispersed out to guard against surprise. As we came near Swords a motor cyclist dressed in civilian attire came from that direction and travelling very fast. Frank Lawless shouted at me to stop him. He did not stop when I signalled to do so but rode through, so I fired at him but, to my dismay, I did not hit him or at least he did not stop and got clean away. I do not know who he was but suspect that he was scouting for the British forces.

When I and the rear party arrived in Swords the garrison in the R.I.C. Barracks there had already surrendered to our foremost elements. They had put up no resistance. Their rifles and ammunition were collected by our men and they were warned not to take any part in the struggle which was now becoming very serious. The Post Office in Swords was also entered and the telephone and telegraph put out of action. There were only four or five police in Swords. We now remounted our cycles and in the same formation started for Donabate where there was another R.I.C. Barracks. Here, I understand, the police refused to surrender when called on to do so, but did so when one of our men fired a shot through the window or door, which wounded one of the Constables in the hand. A few rifles and a small amount of ammunition were taken here also. We were joined here by Bernard McAllister. Bernard, or Bennie as we knew him, had thrown in his lot with the Irish National Volunteers at the time of the split. He was at Fairyhouse Races when the rebellion started but on returning home and hearing that we were out, he decided to join us. After searching around the country side for us he caught up with us at Donabate. He was armed with a good rifle. Having finished our work at Donabate we returned to our billets at Kileek.

Very early on Thursday morning we left our billets at Kileek and set out for Garristown with the object of taking the barracks there. When we got to Garristown we found that the police had withdrawn to Baibriggan, leaving only one Constable in the barracks who was unarmed. The barracks was searched but nothing was found there. The Post Office in Garristown was also entered and the telephone and telegraph instruments destroyed. The whole party now went into billets at Baldwinstown near Garristown.

On Thursday morning there was some grousing among a section of our men who were complaining that the rest of the country had not risen and that we had no right to be out in view of McNeill’s countermanding order. Ashe paraded all the men and told them briefly of what he knew of the situation. He said that the rest of the country had not risen yet, but would do so and that our men had complete control of the city. He said that he was not going to keep any man against his will and that anyone who wished to leave was perfectly free to do so and without any hard feelings. Only a few men elected to leave and went away leaving their arms behind them. While we were in this place a priest came to us and Ashe asked us to kneel down and that the son of a Fenian would bless us. We knelt down and received the priest’s blessing. The priest was Father Kelvehan. At about 2 o’clock that day the whole party moved to Borranstown and went into billets there. Borranstown was between Ashbourne and Ballymadun and from here we could hear the artillery at work in the city.
Corsendonk is offline  
12-02-2011, 08:16   #9
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
Old Tales of Fingal 1984, An Taisce
Quote:
On Friday morning, Ashe detailed a party of which I was a member and of which Charles Weston was in charge to proceed to Ashbourne and take the R.I.C. barracks there. Ashbourne was only a few miles from our camp. Our party consisted of eight men all told. Mounted on cycles we set off for Ashbourne. When we reached a bend on the bye-road which we were travelling and about a quarter of a mile from the junction with the main road at the cross of the Rath we came across a policeman armed with a rifle and, apparently, guarding a barrier which was comprised of a pole laid across the road. He made no attempt to resist and calmly handed over his rifle and ammunition and handcuffs and then asked if he could smoke. We sent him back with an escort of one of our men to our main body at Borranstown while we proceeded on towards Ashbourne. On reaching the road junction at the Rath Crossroads we dumped our cycles and proceeded along the main road in single file towards the barracks. We kept well under cover of the road bank so that our approach could not be seen from the barrack windows. There was no sign of any activity around the barracks and no policemen to be seen. We took up a firing position along the road bank only a few yards from the front of the barracks which was set back from the road. We shouted at the police to surrender. There was no reply so we fired a volley through the windows and Blanchfield, who was with us, threw some kind of home-made bomb. This made a terrific noise and let off smoke but otherwise did no damage.

The police now shouted out to us that they would surrender. We shouted back at them to come out with their hands up, immediately after telling the police to come out we were the recipients of a volley of rifle fire from the Cross of the Rath which was a few hundred yards on our left rere [sic]. On looking in that direction we could see a number of cars pulled up on the side of the main road just short of the crossroads and on the Kilmoon side of the crossroads. More cars were in the act of pulling up further back along the road and we could see figures of men jumping from them and, apparently, taking cover on the side of the road. There seemed to be a mile of cars halted north of the crossroads. Rumours had been prevalent during the preceding days, one of which was that a British Naval Brigade had landed in Dundalk and we now concluded that this was this Brigade coming for us. We now jumped up and ran across the road and jumped into the field on the opposite or west side. From here we made our way under cover of the roadside hedge back to the Rath crossroads where the firing was coming from. On getting to the crossroads we took up a firing position behind the banks of the roadside fence there. This position gave us a good view of the main road in the Kilmoon direction, there appeared to be about 100 cars pulled up along the road leading back towards Kilmoon and the leading cars were only a short distance from the crossroads with the remainder close up in the rere. [sic] We immediately opened fire on the cars. The road at this point slopes down gradually from Kilmoon direction towards the cross of the Rath so that from our position we could see fairly well under the cars along the road except where this was obstructed by wheels.

We could see that a number of the enemy force had taken cover underneath the cars and we also realised that it was a big force of R.I.C. we were up against. We proceeded to deal with the policemen underneath the cars and those that exposed themselves on the roadside. We opened up with rapid fire on them and soon my rifle was burning my hands. This pinned the police to the ground and what fire was coming from them
now became very erratic. Some of our men alleged that the R.I.C. in the barracks at our rere [sic] also fired on us. I doubt this. Under the circumstances it would be very hard to say if they did, If they did, their fire would, to a small extent, be a danger to their comrades. As I said before, our men were good natural shots and at this short range I knew we were decimating the enemy in their positions. After the initial burst of fire by us, our men settled down very calmly and, although this was our first experience of being under fire, they were behaving as veterans. They were not firing wildly or wasting their ammunition but deliberately picking their targets and dealing with them very coolly in their own time. I was satisfied that whatever would be the outcome of the fight the R.I.C. would have a lot of casualties.

Dick Mulcahy, who was with the main body of our force back on the treet w:st="on">Borranstown Roadtreet>, had come up to us prior to this and asked Charlie Weston how many policemen were up the road. Charlie replied that there were about a hundred. Mulcahy said “Pity it is not a thousand. I will deal with them fellows. Do not let them get down below the crossroads”. He then crossed the ditch and the road as if nothing was happening and disappeared across country towards Borranstown. We continued to engage the enemy whose firing now became very spasmodic. They occasionally hit the bank we were behind but did not injure any of us and there was little or no movement on their part. They were, apparently, hugging mother earth for dear life. Some of them had realised their mistake in getting under the cars and tried to get out of that position but were promptly dealt with by us, while those that remained were either dead or so badly wounded as to be incapable of any movement.

This was the position for quite a long time. I do not know how long we were in position at the crossroads. It is impossible to reckon time under such circumstances. Some of our fellows say we were there for a couple of hours. At any rate it took some considerable time for Mulcahy to get back to the main body and take them across country to outflank the enemy. Meanwhile, eight of us were holding up a big force of R.I.C.

After a long period we could observe a commotion starting near the top of the incline in the Kilmoon direction and could hear the fire of rifles and shotguns and we knew that our main body was engaging the police at the other end of their position. Soon we could see some of the police leaving their positions and running towards our position. They would run a short distance and then throw themselves down on the roadside. Soon they would be up again and repeat this performance. All this time they were presenting beautiful targets to us and were crowding in on their comrades who were nearest to us and who were not in any happy position. It was soon apparent that the police were in a state of confusion, and some of them had already discarded their rifles. We now ceased firing and got up from our position and advanced up the road. The enemy fire had died out completely now and there seemed to be no further fight left in them.

The police now came out from their positions with their hands up and we herded them together to a central position where we were joined by Mulcahy and Ashe and the remainder of our men. Their arms and Equipment were now collected up and Doctor Hayes, who had now come up, set about tending to their wounded. They seemed to have a big number killed and wounded. I remember that District Inspector Smith was sitting in a car with what appeared to be half his hand blown away. While Doctor Hayes was treating him he never winced and I remarked to Doctor Hayes that he was a brave man. The Doctor agreed with me. Tom Ashe now asked me about the barracks and I told him what had happened there and he said “Come on down there”. I accompanied Ashe to the barracks but when we were about eighty yards or so from it, twelve policemen came out of the barracks unarmed. They were led by District Inspector Fitzgerald — I think that was his name — who, strangely, was wearing a white-crowned yachtsman’s cap over his R.I.C. officer’s uniform. Fitzgerald had a revolver in his hand and he walked up to Ashe and presented the revolver to him in the proper way, saying “Allow me to present you with my revolver Commandant”. Ashe took the gun and thanked him. We then took them back the road to where the other prisoners were the arms from the barracks were now collected by our men. All told, the police numbered seventy-five including the dead and wounded. County Inspector Gray of Meath, who was in charge of them and who was killed, was in civilian attire, or at least he wore a light civilian coat over his uniform. As far as I can remember they had travelled to Ashbourne in eighteen cars, which were provided by the gentry of Meath. They had assembled in Slane that morning.
Corsendonk is offline  
Advertisement
12-02-2011, 08:21   #10
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
Old Tales of Fingal 1984, An Taisce
Quote:
The survivors of the police were put into any of the cars which were still in running order and sent home to their stations. Doctor Hayes did all he could to relieve the sufferings of the wounded, using our medical equipment to do so. They had no medical equipment of their own. We had two men killed and three wounded. Some others of our men had slight wounds but not of any serious nature and not serious enough to stop their carrying on which would be a hard thing to do now. I cannot remember now what the police casualties were, but from what I saw they were heavy. There were quite a few dead and large number of wounded.

Our Quartermaster had a bread van which we had commandeered in Swords the day we were there and this now arrived from Borranstown and was loaded up with the captured arms and ammunition and we all returned to Camp at Borranstown. Meanwhile, the services of a Priest had been procured for the wounded police and a couple of civilian Doctors had also arrived and were tending to them. Father Dillon was the priest’s name and he was very displeased with us and told us in no uncertain manner.

On arrival at Borranstown we were given a good meal. Everyone was in good spirits and our morale had rocketed upwards. This was our first engagement and we had come out of it with flying colours. We now felt that we were a match for any force the British might send against us, even if we were reasonably outnumbered. We knew that the troops the British had in Ireland at that time were a poor lot and not comparable with the R.I.C. who were Irish and stubborn fighters even if badly led.

The R.I.C. on that day at Ashbourne were badly led. Initially, they had all the advantages. They had surprised us; they outnumbered us in the first stages, at least by ten to one, and they had the advantage of ground having caught us in low ground while they were on the high and had observation over us. Had they deployed into the fields from the road they could easily have outflanked us in the early stage before our main party got into action. After all, they had plenty of men to execute a wide turning while still leaving a party to keep us pinned down. Had this been done, the Battle of Ashbourne would have been a different story and I doubt if there would have been any victory for us. I think weight of numbers would have compelled us to retire and we would have suffered severe casualties as well. Instead of this they showed complete lack of initative and, as they had no one capable of commanding in such a situation, their morale quickly cracked and they were only concerned with trying to live. Such is the way battles and wars are won and lost.
When everyone was fed and rested at Borranstown, the whole unit moved to new billets at Newbarn near Kilsallaghan where we put up in the out-offices and sheds of that place. The place was occupied only by a herdsman and his family. Outposts were established on the surrounding roads and everyone turned in to rest completely happy with themselves and satisfied that they had struck a successful blow for Irish freedom and particularly that they had beaten the proud R.I.C. whom we considered Irelands greatest enemies. Our happiness was short-lived.

The Ashbourne fight took place on the Friday of Easter Week. On the Saturday morning I saw a civilian come into the yard ot Newbarn. I recognised him as the Sergeant of the R.I.C. from Swords Barracks. He went to Ashe and told him that the Volunteers in Dublin had surrendered. He wanted us to surrender also. Ashe would not believe him and he, Ashe, decided that Mulcahy and Frank Lawless should go to Dublin to have this verified with the Sergeant of the R.I.C. Mulcahy and Lawless travelled to the city and were not long away. They verified the bad news and informed us that a cavalry escort were on their way to take us prisoners. There was immediate reaction by the men to this news. There were groans and cat calls and some of them shouted that it was a trick tate w:st="on">andtate> that even if the Dublin men had surrendered why should they do so. Mulcahy reminded them that they had come out as soldiers, had behaved s well-disciplined soldiers of Ireland and that Pearse, whom he had seen, was proud of them. It was his orders that they should now surrender as soldiers, this had a quietening effect on the men and you could feel their pride returning.

What a contrast this was to the scene even early that morning when everyone was in good spirits. Now we were like the near relatives at a funeral. Some of the men were crying; every few were talking and everyone looked dejected. They had thrown away their rifles while some of them broke them up. I am quite sure that had anyone of the leaders stood up and said “We won’t surrender” there would have been a rousing cheer and the men would have grabbed their arms again and rushed to follow him. But our leaders had too much honour, discipline and respect for higher authority to do a thing like that.
We hung around the place for some hours waiting for the cavalry to come for us, but so far they had not arrived and about 2 p.m. or so in the afternoon I went to Tom Ashe and told him that some of us were going to make a getaway before the escort arrived. I said to him that the Germans, I believed, would land in Ireland inside another week and that we could hold out until that no matter what happened. Mulcahy, who was standing by Ashe said, “If you are going don’t bring anyone with you”. Ashe said nothing. Tom Weston, my brother and I then left the camp taking our rifles with us.

We kept together for about a week, sleeping in barns and in the shelters of hedges in the fields and so forth and getting food from the people when we could. It was very few people that one could trust then and it must be remembered that the country, as a whole, had condemed the Rebellion. Every County Council and Board in the country were tripping over themselves in their anxiety to pass resolutions condemning us. Even some of the priests of the Catholic Church were out against us. This made it all the harder for us and yet I believe we could have gone on indefinitely living ‘on the run’. My brother and I decided we would go home but that we would not sleep at home, which we did, sleeping away from the house in different places nightly. We learned that the military end police had been to our house after the surrender but had not returned since. They were looking for us

After about a month of this sort of life I received a message one day from the late J. J. Keane, who was a forage contractor at the Haymarket, Dublin, and a large buyer of hay there. He was also president of N.A.C.A. of Ireland. Mr. Keane had sent word to me that a number of the men who had escaped arrest were going to America and that if I wished to go there he could fix it up for me. I decided to go to America. Even unknown America was better than imprisonment or perhaps hanging. I got in touch with Keane and he sent me down to the North Wall, Dublin where I was smuggled on board a Liverpool boat by a man called Kavanagh who took me to Liverpool. Here, through the good offices of a man called Kerr, I got signed on under the name of Berg in which was my mother’s maiden name, on the S.S. Baltic as a coal trimmer. All the trimmers on the Baltic were men who were escaping to America to avoid conscription. I had been used to farm work, so working a coal shovel was no trouble to me, but it was not so with the other men who were not used to such work and the engineers were very dissatisfied with us. We were all taken individually before the first Engineer. He asked me my name and my mind went blank and I could not remember the name I had signed under. I played for time by saying, “Why are you always asking me that question”. The second Engineer who was standing by said, “This man is alright” and I was then told to go back.
When we got to tate w:st="on">New Yorktate> we all deserted the ship and a new set of trimmers had to be recruited. I made contact with the late John Devoy and he sent me to Judge Cohalan, who is also dead now, and he got me employment in a seed store in tate w:st="on">New Yorktate>. Here again I was lucky, having come from a farm previously which was a help. I spent a year in tate w:st="on">New Yorktate> and while there I met a lot of the men who had taken part in the Rebellion including Donal Hannigan, Pat Brazil and many others. I met a man named Sullivan who told me he owned a ranch in Dakota and he offered me the position of Manager of his ranch, which I accepted. Before leaving for my new employment I informed Devoy and Brazil and the others of my new location in case they wanted me. I was in my new job until April 1918 when I received a telegram from Brazil informing me that Conscription was being enforced in Ireland and that all the boys were returning for the fight which was about to take place. I immediately chucked up my job and set out for tate w:st="on">New Yorktate>. It took me four days to get there.
On arriving in tate w:st="on">New Yorktate> I found that nearly all the boys had left for home. I got in touch with Sean Donovan, who was still there, and through him I got a seaman’s book, the description of the rightful owner tallying with mine. I had to get my own photo put on it, and I was now James Burke of Youghal, Ireland. The police and detectives in tate w:st="on">New Yorktate> were largely Irish and members of “Clann na GaeI” there, and I did not anticipate any trouble from them. However, America was now in the war as an ally of England and that put a different complexion on matters. I was anticipating that I would get a handwriting test. The American emigration authorities asked me what I had been doing in the United States and why I was now going to sea again. I told them that I had been working in a Brewery but that was closed down now owing to Government restrictions. The British agents asked me to sign my name and compared it with the signature of Burke on the book. I had spent some time practising Burke’s signature and I got through alright.
This time, in accordance with my book, I was a fireman on the ship in which I sailed. I got into London on the 18th May, l9l8 and one of the first things I noticed there was a huge poster for the ‘Daly Sketch’, a London newspaper which proclaimed “De Valera betrays Ireland”. I travelled to Liverpool and there I met Donal Hannigan whom I had last seen in tate w:st="on">New Yorktate>. He was about to try and make his way to Germany to arrange with the German Government to smuggle explosives into the country by submarine. The explosives were to be used for sabotage woik against British installations here. I gave Hannigan my seaman’s book as it was of no further use to me. I heard afterwards that the British did find out that a man named Burke had made his way to Germany and were trying to trace his family here.

I smuggled aboard a B+I Cattle-boat at Liverpool and got to Dublin. I had to stay on the boat in Dublin until late at night before I could chance going ashore. I returned to my home in Turvey but did not sleep there at night. By this time the Conscription threat had died down as England flinched at enforcing the measure. I came to my home regularly In the daytime. One day I was in the house for a short period and, on looking out the window, saw that a force of military and police had surrounded the place. I went to the front door and opened it and was confronted by Lieutenant Small. Small was the intelligence Officer from Swords where the British Army had now established an outpost. Small said, “Come on I want you”. I asked him what he was arresting me for end he replied “Murder”, to which I replied that I had not murdered anyone. I was put up on a lorry on which there were already two other prisoners named Doyle and Devine. I was brought to Swords Barracks (Military) and from there to Collinstown Camp at the old aerodrome (Dublin Airport). Here there were a number of prisoners detained including Emor O’Duffy’s father. We were kept a long time at Collinstown and I was then moved to Arbour Hill Prison, Dublin. Here I met Mr. Quigley who was County Surveyor for Meath and who had got a courtmartial over the fight at Ashbourne. He was a prisoner there also.

While the Christmas festivities were still taking place we were taken to the North Wall and put aboard a Destroyer and shipped to Belfast. We were met by a military escort at the Quays in Belfast with a supply of handcuffs. We were met in Belfast by a very threatening situation. The Orangemen from the shipyards had armed themselves with bolts and nuts with which to attack us. On seeing this, the officer in charge of the military escort ordered that we should not be handcuffed and he let the Orange crowd know that he would tolerate no interference with us. We were escorted to Ballykinlar Camp in the County Down. Here I met a number the men whom I had got to know in tate w:st="on">New Yorktate>. I was in Ballykinlar Camp until about a week before the Treaty was signed when I was released and I came home and that finished my soldiering. Prior to this the British had released some other men also

Last edited by Corsendonk; 12-02-2011 at 08:23.
Corsendonk is offline  
(2) thanks from:
12-02-2011, 10:10   #11
cathy01
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,154
My aunty , well her father was a member of the IRB, (now Im not good at history at all).He was arrested around the GPO.He was sent to Fragknock.He made a magaberry cross, and some type of bag , and anyway she has his letters asking fora war pension, and she has the cross and he was given a medel, her sister has that.She has all the things from 1916. Its a nice bit of history.She has photos of him with Micheal collins ,I think and some other guys.They are all safely stored in Fingal.
Sorry for the bad spelling, I cant spell and have an 8 yer old ranting on about steven Backshall.
cathy01 is offline  
Thanks from:
12-02-2011, 13:38   #12
santry_goonshow
Registered User
 
santry_goonshow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ballymun
Posts: 232
Corsendonk, great reseach here. Keep it up. You should write it up and you already have the book title

I heard that Fingal or NCD was always troublesome!

1798 is more my thing and the men of the Naul seem to have been as ardent anti-royalist pikemen as them Wexford boys!
santry_goonshow is offline  
Thanks from:
12-02-2011, 14:28   #13
LeoB
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: North County Dublin.
Posts: 3,620
Quote:
Originally Posted by santry_goonshow View Post
Corsendonk, great reseach here. Keep it up. You should write it up and you already have the book title

I heard that Fingal or NCD was always troublesome!
Cant agree more with you.

This is great work Corsendonk. You never cease to amaze me with the stuff you come up with and maybe a book would be in order here. You have 4 years to prepare it. I enjoy a good historical talk. I dont however get time to read as much as I should so appreciate what you have done here.

I see Jon McCann listed in the names of the ones who lost their lives. Would he be "Rover" McCann? There is a placque to him on Quay Rd, (Hand Pk) in Rush.

As a young child I remember the late Kit Mackey telling stories or giving accounts of that time in Rush, I remember some of the older people at games sitting under the old dressing room block talking about things like from these times, people like Joe Smyth, Kit Murphy and others knew how to get him talking. I would say he could have beeen a contankerous man in his day, (if my former boss was anything to go by).

There has to be some good stories around families in Rush to this day. Families of Sonny Leonard, Corr's, Daly's

I have 2 McArdle cup medals from G.A.A playing days somewhere in the attic, probably in memory of one of the McArdles mentioned.

Last edited by The Hill Billy; 14-02-2011 at 17:02. Reason: Fixed Quote tags.
LeoB is offline  
Thanks from:
14-02-2011, 16:49   #14
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
British Military Forces in Dublin

Sir John French was Commander in Chief of Home Forces at the Time of the Rising. The following Dispatches were published in the London Gazette on July 21st 1916.

www.1914-1918.net
Quote:
General Headquarters,
Home Forces,
Horse Guards,
London, S.W.
29th May, 1916.


My Lord,-
I have the honour to forward herewith a Report which I have received from the General Officer Commanding-in-chief, Irish Command, relating to the recent outbreak in Dublin and the measures taken for its suppression.

2. It will be observed that the rebellion broke out in Dublin at 12.15 p.m. on April 24th, and that by 5.20 p.m. on the same afternoon a considerable force from the Curragh had arrived in Dublin to reinforce the garrison, and other troops were on their way from Athlone, Belfast, and Templemore. The celerity with which these reinforcements became available says much for the arrangements which had been made to meet such a contingency.

3. I was informed of the outbreak by wire on the afternoon of the 24th ult., and the 59th Division at St. Albans was at once put under orders to proceed to Ireland, and arrangements were put in train for their transport. After seeing General Friend I gave orders for the movement of two brigades to commence as soon as their transport could be arranged. I am aware that in doing so I was acting beyond the powers which were delegated to me, but I considered the situation to be so critical that it was necessary to act at once without reference to the Army Council.

4. On the morning of the 28th April General Sir John Maxwell, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., C.V.O., D.S.O., arrived in Ireland to assume command.

5. I beg to bring to your notice the assistance afforded to me by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, who met every request made to them for men, guns and transport with the greatest promptitude, and whose action enabled me to reinforce and maintain the garrisons in the South and West of Ireland without unduly drawing upon the troops which it was desirable to retain in England.
I have the honour to be,
Your Lordship's most obedient Servant,
FRENCH,
Field-Marshal,
Commanding-in-Chief, Home Forces.

Last edited by Corsendonk; 14-02-2011 at 17:16.
Corsendonk is offline  
14-02-2011, 17:01   #15
Corsendonk
Closed Account
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,894
The blowing up of the GNR Railway line by the Fingal Volunteers forced the British to reinforce the Radio Tower in Skerries by Sea.

www.1914-1918.net
Quote:
From the General Officer, Commanding-in-Chief, The Forces in Ireland.
To the Field-Marshal, Commanding-in-Chief, The Home Forces.
Headquarters,
Irish Command, Dublin,
25th May, 1916.

My Lord,-
I have the honour to report the operations of the Forces now under my command from Monday, 24th April, when the rising in Dublin began.

(1) On Easter Monday, 24th April, at 12.15 p.m., a telephone message was received from the Dublin Metropolian Police saying that Dublin Castle was being attacked by armed Sinn Feiners. This was immediately confirmed by the Dublin Garrison Adjutant, who reported that, in the absence of Colonel Kennard, the Garrison Commander, who had left his office shortly before, and was prevented by the rebels from returning, he had ordered all available troops from Portobello, Richmond and Royal Barracks to proceed to the Castle, and the 6th Reserve Cavalry Regiment towards Sackville Street.
The fighting strengths of the troops available in Dublin at this moment were: -
6th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, 35 officers, 851 other ranks.
3rd Royal Irish Regiment, 18 officers, 385 other ranks.
10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 37 officers, 430 other ranks.
3rd Royal Irish Rifles, 21 officers, 650 other ranks.


Of these troops, an inlying picquet of 400 men, which for some days past had been held in readiness, proceeded at once, and the remainder followed shortly afterwards. At 12.30 p.m. a telephone message was sent to General Officer Commanding, Curragh, to mobilize the mobile column, which had been arranged for to meet any emergency, and to despatch it dismounted to Dublin by trains which were being sent from Kingsbridge. This column, under the command of Colonel Portal, consisted of 1,600 officers and other ranks from the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Brigade. Almost immediately after the despatch of this message telephonic communication in Dublin became very interrupted, and from various sources it was reported that the Sinn Feiners had seized the General Post Office in Sackville Street, the Magazine in Phoenix Park, The Four Courts, Jacobs' Biscuit Factory, and had occupied many buildings in various parts of the City.

As the occupation of the General Post Office by the Sinn Feiners denied the use of the telegraph, a message reporting the situation in Dublin was sent at 1.10 p.m. to the Naval Centre at Kingstown, asking that the information of the rising might be transmitted by wireless through the Admiralty to you. This was done.

(2) The first objectives undertaken by the troops were to recover possession of the Magazine in Phoenix Park, where the rebels had set fire to a quantity of ammunition, to relieve the Castle, and to strengthen the guards on Vice-Regal Lodge and other points of importance. The Magazine was quickly re-occupied, but the troops moving on the Castle were held up by the rebels who had occupied surrounding houses, and had barricaded the streets with carts and other material. Between 1.40 p.m. and 2.0 p.m., 50 men of 3rd Royal Irish Rifles, and 130 men of the 10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers reached the Castle by the Ship Street entrance. At 4.45 p.m. the first train from the Curragh arrived at Kingsbridge station, and by 5.20 p.m. the whole Cavalry Column, 1,600 strong, under the command of Colonel Portal, had arrived, one train being sent on from Kingsbridge to North Wall by the loop line to reinforce the guard over the docks.

(3) During the day the following troops were ordered to Dublin : -
(a) A battery of four 18-pounders R.F.A., from the Reserve Artillery Brigade at Athlone.
(6) The 4th Dublin Fusiliers from Templemore.
(c) A composite battalion from Belfast.
(d) An additional 1,000 men from the Curragh. This message being sent by one of the troop trains returning to the Curragh. During the afternoon and evening small parties of troops were engaged with the rebels. The 3rd Royal Irish Regiment on their way to the Castle were held up by the rebels in the South Dublin Union, which they attacked and partially occupied; a detachment of 2 officers and 50 men from the 6th Reserve Cavalry Regiment which was convoying some ammunition from North Wall, was surrounded in Charles Street, but succeeded in parking their convoy and defended this with great gallantry for 3 1/2 days, when they were relieved ; during this defence the officer in command was killed and the remaining officer wounded.

The rebels in St. Stephen's Green were attacked, and picquets with machine guns were established in the United Service Club and the Shelbourne Hotel with a view to dominating the square and its exits. At 9.35 p.m. Colonel Kennard, Officer Commanding Troops, Dublin, reached the Castle with another party of 86 men of the 3rd Royal Irish Regiment.

The defence of the Docks at North Wall was undertaken by Major H. F. Somerville, commanding a detachment from the School of Musketry, Dollymount, reinforced by 330 officers and men of the 9th Reserve Cavalry Regiment. The occupation of the Customs House, which dominated Liberty Hall, was carried out at night, and was of great assistance in later operations against Liberty Hall.

(4) The situation at midnight was that we held the Magazine, Phoenix Park, the Castle and the Ship Street entrance to it, the Royal Hospital, all Barracks, the Kingsbridge, Amiens Street, and North Wall railway stations, the Dublin telephone exchange in Crown Alley, the Electric Power Station atPigeon.House Fort, Trinity College, Mountjoy Prison, and Kingstown Harbour. The Sinn Feiners held Sackville Street and blocks of buildings on each side of this, including Liberty Hall, with their headquarters at the General Post Office, the Four Courts, Jacobs' biscuit factory, South Dublin Union, St. Stephen's Green, all the approaches to the Castle except the Ship Street entrance, and many houses all over the city, especially about Balls Bridge and Beggar's Bush.

(5) The facility with which the Sinn Feiners were able to seize so many important points throughout the city was, in my opinion, due to the fact that armed bodies of civilians have been continually allowed to parade in and march through the streets of Dublin and throughout the country without interference. The result was that the movement of large forces of armed civilians, particularly on a holiday such as Easter Monday, passed, if not unnoticed, unchecked, and no opposition could be offered to them at the moment when they decided to act. Further, the Dublin police, being unarmed and powerless to deal with these armed rebels, were withdrawn from the areas occupied by them.

(6) At the time of the rising Major-General Friend, then commanding the troops in Ireland, was on short leave in England, and when visiting your headquarters at the Horse Guards on that day heard the serious news from Dublin. He returned that night, and arrived in Dublin early on the morning of the 25th April. He has informed me that at a conference with you it was decided to despatch at once two infantry brigades of the 59th Division from England to Ireland, and that the remaining infantry brigade and artillery of this Division were to be held in readiness to follow if required.

(7) On April 25th, Brigadier-General W. H. M. Lowe, Commanding the Reserve Cavalry Brigade at the Curragh, arrived at Kingsbridge station at 3.45 a.m. with the leading troops from the 25th (Irish) Reserve Infantry Brigade, and assumed command of the forces in the Dublin area, which were roughly 2,300 men of the Dublin garrison, the Curragh Mobile Column of 1,500 dismounted cavalrymen, and 840 men of the 25th Irish Reserve Infantry Brigade.

(8) In order to relieve and get communication with the Castle, Colonel Portal, Commanding the Curragh Mobile Column, was ordered to establish a line of posts from Kingsbridge station to Trinity College via the Castle. This was completed by 12 noon, 25th April, and with very little loss. It divided the rebel forces into two, gave a safe line of advance for troops extending operations to the north or south, and permitted communication by despatch rider with some of the Commands. The only means of communication previous to this had been by telephone, which was unquestionably being tapped. The Dublin University O.T.C., under Captain E. H. Alton, and subsequently Major G. A. Harris, held the College buildings until the troops arrived. The holding of these buildings separated the rebel centre round the General Post Office from that round St. Stephen's Green; it established a valuable base for the collection of. reinforcements as they arrived, and prevented the rebels from entering the Bank of Ireland, which is directly opposite to and commanded by the College buildings.

(9) During the day the 4th Royal Dublin Fusiliers from Templemore, a composite Ulster battalion from Belfast, and a battery of four 18-pounder guns from the Reserve Artillery Brigade at Athlone arrived, and this allowed a cordon to be established round the northern part of the city from Parkgate, along the North Circular Road to North Wall. Broadstone Railway Station was cleared of rebels, and a barricade near Phibsborough was destroyed by artillery fire. As a heavy fire was being kept up on the Castle from the rebels located in the-Corporation buildings, Daily Express offices and several houses opposite the City Hall, it was decided to attack these buildings. The assault on the Daily Express office was successfully carried out under very heavy fire by a detachment of the 5th Royal Dublin Fusiliers under 2nd Lieut. F. O'Neill. The main forces of the rebels now having been located in and around Sackville Street, the Four Courts and adjoining buildings, it was decided to try to enclose that area north of the Liffey by a cordon of troops so as to localise as far as possible the efforts of the rebels.

(10) Towards evening the 178th Infantry Brigade began to arrive at Kingstown, and in accordance with orders received the brigade left Kingstown by road in two columns. The left column, consisting of the 5th and 6th Battalions, Sherwood Foresters, by the Stillorgan-Donnybrook road and South Circular road to the Royal. Hospital, where it arrived without opposition. The right column, consisting of the 7th and 8th Battalions, Sherwood Foresters, by the main tram route through Ballsbridge, and directed on Merrion Square and Trinity College. This column, with 7th Battalion leading, was held up at the northern corner of Haddington Road and Northumberland Avenue, which was strongly held by rebels; but with the assistance of bombing parties organized and led by Captain Jeffares, of the Bombing School at Elm Park, the rebels were driven back. At 3.25 p.m. the 7th. Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, met great opposition from the rebels holding the schools and other houses on the north side of the road close to the bridge at Lower Mount Street, and two officers; one of whom was the Adjutant, Captain Dietrichsen, were killed and seven wounded, including Lieutenant-Colonel Fane, who, though wounded, remained in action. At about 5.30p.m. orders were received that the advance to Trinity College was to be pushed forward at all costs, and therefore at about 8 p.m., after careful arrangements, the whole column, accompanied by bombing parties, attacked the schools and houses where the chief opposition lay, the battalions charging in successive waves carried all before them, but, I regret to say, suffered severe casualties in doing so. Four officers were killed, 14 wounded, and of otlher ranks 216 were killed and wounded. The steadiness shown by these two battalions is deserving of special mention, as I understand the majority of the men have less than three months' service. In view of the opposition met with, it was not considered advisable to push on to Trinity College that night, so at 11 p.m. the 5th South Staffordshire Regiment, from the 176th Infantry Brigade, reinforced this column, and by occupying the positions gained allowed the two battalions Sherwood Foresters to be concentrated at Ballsbridge.

In connection with this fighting at Mount Street Bridge, where our heaviest casualties occurred, I should like to mention the gallant assistance given by a number of medical men, ladies, nurses and women servants, who at great risk brought in and tended to the wounded, continuing their efforts even when deliberately fired at by the rebels.

(11) Meanwhile severe fighting had taken place in the Sackville Street quarter. At 8a.m. Liberty Hall, the former headquarters of the Sinn Feiners, was attacked by field guns from the south bank of the River Liffey, and by a gun from the patrol ship Helga, with the result that considerable progress was made. During the night of 26th/27th April several fires broke out in this quarter and threatened to become dangerous, as the fire brigade could not get to work owing to their being fired upon by the rebels. Throughout the day further troops of the 176th Brigade arrived in the Dublin area.

(12) On 27th April the 5th Leinsters, 2/6th Sherwood Foresters, 3rd Royal Irish Regiment, The Ulster composite battalion, under the command of Colonel Portal, began and completed by 5 p.m. the forming of a cordon round the rebels in the Sackville Street area, which operation was carried out with small loss. About 12.45 p.m. Linen Hall barracks, which were occupied by the Army Pay Office, were reported to have been set on fire by the rebels and were destroyed. By night-fall the 177th Infantry Brigade had arrived at Kingstown, where it remained for the night.

(13) At 2 a.m. on the 28th April, I arrived at North Wall and found many buildings in Sackville Street burning fiercely, illuminating the whole city, and a fusilade of rifle fire going on in several quarters of the city. Accompanied by several Staff Officers who had come with me, I proceeded to the Royal Hospital. After a conference with Major-General Friend and Brigadier-General Lowe, I instructed the latter to close in on Sackville Street from East and West, and to carry out a house-to-house search in areas gained. I was able to place the 2/4th Lincolns at his disposal for the purpose of forming a cordon along the Grand Canal, so enclosing the southern part of the city and forming a complete cordon round Dublin. During the afternoon the 2/5th and 2/6th South Staffords arrived at Trinity College, and this additional force allowed me to begin the task of placing a cordon round the Four Courts area in the same way as the Sackville Street area, which had already been so successfully isolated. During the evening the detachment of the 6th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, which had been escorting ammunition and rifles from North Wall, and had been held up in Charles Street, was relieved by armoured motor lorries, which had been roughly armoured with boiler plates by the Inchicore Railway works and placed at my disposal by Messrs. Guinness.

Throughout the night the process of driving out the rebels in and round Sackville Street continued, though these operations were greatly hampered by the fires in this area and by the fact that some of the burning houses contained rebel stores of explosives which every now and again blew up. In other quarters of the city the troops had a trying time dealing with the numerous snipers, who became very troublesome during the hours of darkness.

(14) Owing to the considerable opposition at barricades, especially in North King Street, it was not until 9 a.m. on the 29th April that the Four Courts area was completely surrounded. Throughout the morning the squeezing out of the surrounded areas was vigorously proceeded with, the infantry being greatly assisted by a battery of Field Artillery commanded by Major Hill, who used his guns against the buildings held by the rebels with such good effect that a Red Cross Nurse brought in a message from the Rebel leader, P. H. Pearse, asking for terms. A reply was sent that only unconditional surrender would be accepted. At 2 p.m. Pearse surrendered himself unconditionally, and was brought before me, when he wrote and signed notices ordering the various "Commandos" to surrender unconditionally. During the evening the greater part of the rebels in the Sackville Street and Four Courts area surrendered.

(15) Early on the 30th April two Franciscan monks informed me that the Rebel leader Macdonagh, declining to accept Pearse's orders, wished to negotiate. He was informed that only unconditional surrender would be accepted, and at 3 p.m., when all preparation for an attack on Jacobs' Biscuit Factory, which he held, had been made, Macdonagh and his band of rebels surrendered unconditionally. In the St. Stephen's Green area, Countess Markievicz and her band surrendered and were taken to the Castle. These surrenders practically ended the rebellion in the City of Dublin.

(16) Throughout the night of the 30th April-1st May isolated rebels continued to snipe the troops, but during the 1st May these were gradually cleared out, and in conjunction with the police a systematic house-to-house search for rebels and arms was continued.

(17) During the severe fighting which took place in Dublin the greatest anxiety was caused by the disquieting reports received from many parts of Ireland, and chiefly from -
(a) County Dublin,
(b) County Meath,
(c) County Louth,
(d) County Galway,
(e) County Wexford,
(f) County Clare,
(g) County Kerry.

(18) On the 27th April, as soon as troops became available a detachment was sent by sea from Kingstown to Arklow to reinforce the garrison at Kynoch's Explosive Works, and a small party was sent to assist the R.I.C. post over the wireless station at Skerries. On the 28th April a battalion of the Sherwood Foresters was despatched by rail to Athlone to protect the artillery and military stores there and to hold the communication over the River Shannon.

(19) Brigadier-General Stafford, the Garrison Commander at Queenstown, was directed to use his discretion in the employment of troops under his command, and on 30th April he was reinforced from England by one battalion of the 179th Brigade, 60th Division, a battalion of the Royal Marines, and later by the remainder of the 179th Brigade.

(20) Brigadier-General Hackett-Pain, who assumed command of the troops in Ulster, made effective use of the troops under his command, and it was largely due to the dispositions made by these two Commanders that the Sinn Feiners in the South and North of Ireland were restrained from taking a more active part in the rebellion. I received the greatest assistance from the Inspector-General, Royal Irish Constabulary, and from all his inspectors and men, and throughout the rebellion I worked in the closest co-operation with them. In many districts small posts of these gallant men were isolated and had to defend themselves, against overwhelming numbers, which they successfully did except in very few cases. It was with great regret I received the report on 28th April that a body of Royal Irish Constabulary, under Inspector Gray, had been ambushed by the rebels at Ashbourne, which resulted in Inspectors Gray and Smith and eight constables being killed and 14 wounded. It was not until 30th April that I was able to spare a mobile column to deal with this body of rebels, the leaders of which were secured. In other parts of Ireland similar attacks on police posts had been made by armed bands of Sinn Feiners. In order to deal with these, as soon as the Dublin rebels had been crushed, I organised various mobile columns, each consisting of from one to two companies of infantry, a squadron of cavalry, one 18-pounder gun and an armoured car. Each column was allotted a definite area, which, in close co-operation with the local police, was gone through, and dangerous Sinn Feiners and men who were known to have taken an active part in the rising were arrested; in addition many arms belonging to Sinn Feiners were surrendered or seized. I am glad to be able to report that the presence of these columns had the best possible effect on the people in country districts, in many of which troops had not been seen for years.

(22) That splendid body of men, the Dublin Metropolitan Police, could give me little or no assistance, because they were unarmed. Had they been armed I doubt if the rising in Dublin would have had the success it did.

(23) I am glad to report that the conduct of the troops was admirable; their cheerfulness, courage and good discipline, under the most trying conditions, was excellent. Although doors and windows of shops and houses had to be broken open, no genuine case of looting has been reported to me, which I consider reflects the greatest credit on all ranks.

(24) I wish to acknowledge the great assistance I received from the Provost of Trinity College; the clergy of all denominations; civilian medical men; Red Cross nurses, who were untiring in their attention to the wounded, often rendered under heavy fire; ambulances provided by Royal Ambulance Corps; the Irish Volunteer Training Corps and the members of St. John's Ambulance Corps; the Civilian and Officers Training Corps motor cyclists, who fearlessly carried despatches through streets infested with snipers; telegraph operators and engineers; and from the lady operators of the Telephone Exchange, to whose efforts the only means of rapid communication remained available. I am glad to be able to record my opinion that the feelings of the bulk of the citizens of Dublin being against the Sinn Feiners materially influenced the collapse of the rebellion.

(25) I deplore the serious losses which the troops and the civilian volunteers have suffered during these very disagreeable operations.
I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient servant,
J. G. MAXWELL.
General

Last edited by Corsendonk; 14-02-2011 at 17:23.
Corsendonk is offline  
Thanks from:
Post Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Remove Text Formatting
Bold
Italic
Underline

Insert Image
Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text
 
Decrease Size
Increase Size
Please sign up or log in to join the discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



Share Tweet