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10-05-2011, 20:53   #1
jonniebgood1
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Connaught Rangers Mutiny in India

Was reading into this slightly unusual episode in the war of independence in a post event summary of indian newspaper:
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IN the history of the British armed forces, two mutinies took place. One was the famous naval mutiny, well known as the Mutiny on the Bounty, and the second but lesser known was the mutiny by an Irish regiment in India shortly after World War I in the summer of 1920. This mutiny, which lasted for a month, had its roots in the political struggle of the Irish people.

The rebellion or mutiny by the famous Connaught Rangers, running parallel to the Irish freedom movement under De Valera, was considerably influenced by the Indian struggle for Independence. Nearly a thousand Irish men who rebelled had no real reason for that action except their deep love for their motherland and passionate patriotism. They strongly felt that British colonial rule was perpetrating grave injustice by crushing their countrymen. Hearing of the ugly happenings in Ireland, where the Britishers were hunting down, torturing and executing freedom fighters, the Irish soldiers inwardly simmered.

The British ensured that the newspapers in India did not cover Irish incidents, but news of the cruel and inhuman measures taken by Britishers against the Irish occasionally filtered into the barracks of the Connaught Rangers in Jalandhar cantonment where they were stationed. During that turbulent period of Irish history, many pitched battles were being fought between the Irish Republic Army — the Sinn Fein — and the British security force — Black and Tans. The news of these battles reached Irish soldiers, thousands of miles away in India where a similar wind was blowing.

The fuse blew when one of the Rangers got the shocking news that his brother in Ireland was hanged by the Crown for giving shelter to rebels. He went berserk and beat up an English officer. This set off a chain reaction. The soldiers captured the armoury, took English officers as hostages, declared Jalandhar cantonment as the seat of the ‘free Irish Government-in-exile’ in hardly two days. Caught unawares, the British Government in India was shaken to the core.

The Irish soldiers in India were not fighting for a piece of territory, but for a fundamental principle. Therefore, when they felt confident that they were the masters of Jalandhar cantonment, they started negotiations for the freedom of Ireland in lieu of returning the hostages, releasing the armoury and returning the territory of the cantonment. How could the British pay heed to such nonsense? To them it was tantamount to an act of mutiny, but to the Irish soldiers it was a "protest" against the Crown’s cruelty and breach of the repeated promise of giving Ireland its freedom.

In the barracks, a lot of argument and heated discussion went on to decide the next course of action. One of the major groups was for capturing more territory and strengthening their positions so that the British could be taught a lesson and the world would know of their plight and Ireland’s struggle for freedom. Some level-headed men, however, argued that as violence would be self-defeating, the only way to tackle the British would be through negotiations. The most vocal of this group was one Jim Daley.

He pointed out to his enraged comrades that as long as they did not take to arms, it would not amount to a mutiny, but would be a "sit-down protest" to express their concern for the motherland. Eventually, they wrote a long petition to the King and ceremoniously handed it over to British officers. But no reply ever came. The King obviously never received it!

The British authorities and the top military brass, though caught unawares, reacted fast. They quickly moved eight White regiments from Amritsar, Ambala, Lahore and Simla cantonments and surrounded the Jalandhar cantonment with a tight ring of tanks, guns and infantry. Having cordoned the Irish, they cut off the supplies of food and provisions and finally switched off the water mains also. From a position of strength, the British now asked for a peaceful surrender by the ‘mutineers’. The Irish however, had enough provisions and water from one or two wells inside their ‘territory’ to withstand the siege. Thus, for a while, it was checkmate. In the meantime, all the Indian regiments were moved away from Jalandhar. A tight censorship was clamped with the excuse that some secret war exercise was being conducted in the area. Thus, neither the Indians nor the outside world knew of the high-tension drama taking place in the heart of India.

Having taken all security precautions and after tightening their grip, the British sent a deputation to demand an unconditional surrender. The team was flabbergasted by what they saw when they reached near the regimental barracks. The scenario that greeted them was one of total abandon and gaiety. The Irish tricolour flew majestically not only on the tall flag mast of the regimental quarter guard but atop every single barrack. Most of the Irish soldiers were singing patriotic ballads in the barracks while some danced to Irish jigs instead of listening to the British delegation.

This act of defiance and rowdy behaviour angered the British but they felt that attacking the Irish would be politically suicidal. What would the world say to white men killing white men on Indian soil where the situation was already explosive! It would not only tarnish the British image all over the world but also ignite innumerable political fuses. Thus, having an upper hand, they preferred to wait.

.............................................

In August, 1920, court martial proceeding against 800 men began. The proceedings were conducted at the army headquarters at Simla. Day after day, sentences were passed. Hundreds were to be shot, many sentenced to life imprisonment and the remaining awarded 10 to 20 years of hard labour in lock-ups.

Back home in Ireland, the struggle for independence was gathering momentum. The British knew that they would not be able to hold down the valiant Irish for long. The Viceroy and the Commander-in-Chief of India deliberated on the situation, and took a political decision. This decision was considerably influenced by the situation prevailing in India which was not the least comfortable. All those who were to be shot were pardoned. Sentences of imprisonment were reviewed and remitted. The famous Connaught Rangers were disbanded and their colours shipped back to the King in England where they still hang at Windsor Castle. However, there had to be a show of military discipline and justice. Any defiance by a soldier amounted to an act of mutiny and this had to be firmly established for the dignity and honour of military tradition. To achieve this, somebody had made a scapegoat — symbolic of fair but firm treatment.

The one so chosen was Jim Daley. He was led blindfolded to be shot by a firing squad in one corner of Jalandhar cantonment in November, 1920. Under security cover, the body of Daley was buried in an inconspicuous place, without a cross, and then forgotten. He, who should have been awarded a Nobel Prize for peace, was instead awarded bullets. The other soldiers were packed off to England to serve their respective sentences.

Later, in the fifties, Jim Daley’s mortal remains were dug out on the request of the Irish Government and interned in a churchyard of Simla. They were finally sent to Ireland a decade later, to be buried with honour in the bossom of his motherland.
It seems a heroic stand particularly given that they were serving the crown at the time and were turned to this. It is a slightly obscure event but maybe someone knows of it recorded somewhere.
Does anyone know any more about this event?
Who were these men and who was Jim Daley- did any of them return to any prominence in Ireland either during the war of independence, civil war or later?
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10-05-2011, 23:45   #2
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Daly was buried in a CWGC grave after execution and not as outlined in the article

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_...sualty=1498907

John Miranda, a Liverpool lad with an Irish mother, is the only one of the mutineers still buried in India. He died of dysentry whilst in jail with Daly.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_...sualty=1481689

A number of the mutineers were English.

One mutiny that doesn't get much of an airing is the Singapore mutiny by Indian troops in 1915. Mass execution by firing squad.
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11-05-2011, 08:39   #3
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Originally Posted by johnny_doyle View Post
Daly was buried in a CWGC grave after execution and not as outlined in the article

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_...sualty=1498907

John Miranda, a Liverpool lad with an Irish mother, is the only one of the mutineers still buried in India. He died of dysentry whilst in jail with Daly.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_...sualty=1481689

A number of the mutineers were English.

One mutiny that doesn't get much of an airing is the Singapore mutiny by Indian troops in 1915. Mass execution by firing squad.
What happened in Singapore? The article I used didnt mention that.

What was the story with the english mutineers? had they Irish roots or was there some other factors that the rangers were also protesting against?
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11-05-2011, 14:03   #4
 
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What was the story with the english mutineers? had they Irish roots or was there some other factors that the rangers were also protesting against?
one of the English soldiers who took part in the protest was asked why he sided with the rebels and his reply was that he fought with Connaught Rangers for Britain now he was going to fight for Ireland with them.

"The fuse blew when one of the Rangers got the shocking news that his brother in Ireland was hanged by the Crown for giving shelter to rebels. He went berserk and beat up an English officer."

i never heard this before.

The Mutiny of the Connaught Rangers in India is one of the lost stories of Irish independence and Irish history on a whole. James Dalys name should be held up and remembered in the same way that Kevin Barrys and all of those who gave their lives for our independence.

good post jonniebgood1 and i look forward to the posts.
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11-05-2011, 14:08   #5
 
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here is the grave of JJ Daly.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg...231754&df=all&
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11-05-2011, 18:10   #6
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here's a synopsis from Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1915_Singapore_Mutiny


Anther Mutiny that's not much mentioned is the Nenagh Mutiny 1856 by North Tipp militia

http://homepage.eircom.net/~jbhall/1...ary_mutiny.htm

Mutiny for the Cause is a small book worth reading re the Connaught Rangers mutiny.
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11-05-2011, 18:12   #7
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Here's the memorial in Glasnevin.
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11-05-2011, 21:53   #8
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One of those involved was a man named Joe Hawes. He is buried in one of our local cemeteries in Kilrush, Co. Clare. He is still remembered down home.
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11-05-2011, 22:26   #9
 
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One of those involved was a man named Joe Hawes. He is buried in one of our local cemeteries in Kilrush, Co. Clare. He is still remembered down home.
Joe Hawes grandson , Oliver Hawes , went to India a few years ago to follow in his grandfathers footsteps. apparently Joe Hawes account of the Mutiny had been discredited by historians and he wanted to prove his grandfather was telling the truth.

after Joe Hawes was released from prison he joined the Irish Army. he also started a barber shop but in the early days of it he was so destitute and desperate to feed his family he stole shoes from a local shop , was caught and spent three months in prison.
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12-05-2011, 08:18   #10
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Originally Posted by johnny_doyle View Post
here's a synopsis from Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1915_Singapore_Mutiny


Anther Mutiny that's not much mentioned is the Nenagh Mutiny 1856 by North Tipp militia

http://homepage.eircom.net/~jbhall/1...ary_mutiny.htm

Mutiny for the Cause is a small book worth reading re the Connaught Rangers mutiny.
Good info- I should have included a request for info on all similar mutiny in OP, It might be a simple question but the punishment transportation for life as in:
Quote:
Private Thomas Cauley: Charged with taking part in the mutiny and with having fired at troops of the line. Verdict: Guilty. To be transported for life.
Did this mean being shipped off to Australia?
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12-05-2011, 13:56   #11
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My Great Grandfather, Charles Kerrigan from Glencar,Co.Leitirm was one of the fourteen mutineers. We have a few newspaper articles about the events, the following is a brief synopsis of the events:

The Connaught Rangers were recruited in 1918 and were trained at Renmore Barrricks,Galway.They were the last battalion sent from Ireland to India.

They were first stationed at Gullundur but were later sent up the hills to Solan.As the War progressed very little information filtered through from home about the situation in Ireland,the war with the Tans. On a leave of absence to Co.Clare,Private Hawes witnessed the brutality of the Black and Tans towards the Irish people.

On his return to Solan,Hawes told the brutal stories to his comrades. Thoughts of home grew deep among the young men.On the 28th of June,1920,these men decided they would fight no more for the British. Later that evening two young soldiers went into the town of Solan and bought 3 pieces of linen. They bought the colours Green, White and Gold and an Irish flag. They hoisted it above their H.Q. compound. Next morning their commanding officer demanded them to take it down, they refused stating with determination: 'No more we fight for Britain, we fight for Ireland'. This was the start of the mutiny.

Now that the Connaught Rangers had made their stand they were determined to defend themselves. So they broke into the arms hut and acquired guns and ammunition. But in doing this they were resisted by soldiers on guard, who fired at them injuring two mutineers, Private Patrick Smith and Peter Seers. Unfortunately, due to the lack of manpower and guns, the mutineers were forced to surrender.

They were taken to Lacknow were they were detained until September. They were then moved to Dagshai for sentencing. James Daly from Tyrell's Pass was the leader of the group.Daly along with the thirteen mutineers was sentenced to death. For the next 6 weeks the men faced their own mortality.

After the 6 weeks had passed they were all sentenced to life in prison except that of James Daly,they would make an example of him. Daly was taken into the main yard of the compound, and while the others watched, the British fired a volley of shots, executing Daly.

Six months later all the Connaught Rangers were brought back to England. Some sent to Portland Prison and more to the Maidstone. They remained here in harsh confinement until 1923 when an agreement was reached for their release.

Charlie Kerrigan was the last surviving member of the Connaught Rangers and he died on the 10th August 1991,he is buried in Kilenora graveyard,Glencar,Co.Leitrim.
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12-05-2011, 18:44   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonniebgood1 View Post
Good info- I should have included a request for info on all similar mutiny in OP, It might be a simple question but the punishment transportation for life as in:

Did this mean being shipped off to Australia?
the article missed the Indian Mutiny too but if the origin was an Indian newspaper I don't believe that they refer to the events as a mutiny.

Yes, Australia was the destination.
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13-05-2011, 23:44   #13
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Originally Posted by Dazzler88 View Post
My Great Grandfather, Charles Kerrigan from Glencar,Co.Leitirm was one of the fourteen mutineers. We have a few newspaper articles about the events, the following is a brief synopsis of the events:

The Connaught Rangers were recruited in 1918 and were trained at Renmore Barrricks,Galway.They were the last battalion sent from Ireland to India.

They were first stationed at Gullundur but were later sent up the hills to Solan.As the War progressed very little information filtered through from home about the situation in Ireland,the war with the Tans. On a leave of absence to Co.Clare,Private Hawes witnessed the brutality of the Black and Tans towards the Irish people.

On his return to Solan,Hawes told the brutal stories to his comrades. Thoughts of home grew deep among the young men.On the 28th of June,1920,these men decided they would fight no more for the British. Later that evening two young soldiers went into the town of Solan and bought 3 pieces of linen. They bought the colours Green, White and Gold and an Irish flag. They hoisted it above their H.Q. compound. Next morning their commanding officer demanded them to take it down, they refused stating with determination: 'No more we fight for Britain, we fight for Ireland'. This was the start of the mutiny.

Now that the Connaught Rangers had made their stand they were determined to defend themselves. So they broke into the arms hut and acquired guns and ammunition. But in doing this they were resisted by soldiers on guard, who fired at them injuring two mutineers, Private Patrick Smith and Peter Seers. Unfortunately, due to the lack of manpower and guns, the mutineers were forced to surrender.

They were taken to Lacknow were they were detained until September. They were then moved to Dagshai for sentencing. James Daly from Tyrell's Pass was the leader of the group.Daly along with the thirteen mutineers was sentenced to death. For the next 6 weeks the men faced their own mortality.

After the 6 weeks had passed they were all sentenced to life in prison except that of James Daly,they would make an example of him. Daly was taken into the main yard of the compound, and while the others watched, the British fired a volley of shots, executing Daly.

Six months later all the Connaught Rangers were brought back to England. Some sent to Portland Prison and more to the Maidstone. They remained here in harsh confinement until 1923 when an agreement was reached for their release.

Charlie Kerrigan was the last surviving member of the Connaught Rangers and he died on the 10th August 1991,he is buried in Kilenora graveyard,Glencar,Co.Leitrim.
That is really fantastic information- Thanks.
I hope you don't mind me asking did your grandfather tell you this information himself? Was he bitter about the affair or how did he feel about his treatment?
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14-05-2011, 13:21   #14
 
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That is really fantastic information- Thanks.
I hope you don't mind me asking did your grandfather tell you this information himself? Was he bitter about the affair or how did he feel about his treatment?
I read an interview with Charlie Kerrigan quite a while ago and what I most remember about it was that when they arrived back in Ireland their was no reception or fanfare for the Connaught Rangers, it wasn't until quite a while later their bravery became recognised. The country may well have been bracing itself for the Civil War or whatever. From what I roughly remember Charlie Kerigan just got the train in Dublin down to Sligo and made his way out to Glencar to the warm welcome of his family and neighbours. Though doubtless the surviving Connaught Rangers would have probably shrugged their shoulders and probably said they hadn't done it for medals or glory but of outrage and concern for the people of Ireland back home.
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19-05-2011, 23:18   #15
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That is really fantastic information- Thanks.
I hope you don't mind me asking did your grandfather tell you this information himself? Was he bitter about the affair or how did he feel about his treatment?
It was actually my Great Grandfather so unforunately,I only met him once when I was a child but I have two interviews he done on CD,in the interviews he didnt seem bitter at all,his way of looking at it was they done what anyone in their postion would have done and doesnt see why they should be punished for fighting for the good of their own people.

It always makes me smile when I think of the scene,of an Irish tri-colour blowing in the wind in the middle of a British war camp,thousands of miles from Irish soil.I think it has to be said we gave the British more hassel than any other nation and stories like the Indian Muntiny just prove how brave our ancestors were.
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