Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Sue Light

James Connolly

Recommended Posts

Sue Light

I've just been transcribing an account of life in the hospital at Dublin Castle during the Easter Rising, and came across this little paragraph on James Connolly. I thought perhaps it might prove useful to someone, and otherwise would never see the light of day. It comes from Blackwell's Magazine, December 1916.

The arrival of James Connolly caused an unusual stir. From the window I could see him lying on the stretcher, his hands crossed, his head hidden from view by the archway. The stretcher was on the ground, and at either side stood three of his officers, dressed in National Volunteer Uniform; a guard of about thirty soldiers stood around. The scene did not change for ten minutes or more; somebody gruesomely suggested they were discussing whether he should be brought in, or if it would be better to shoot him at once. It is more likely they were arranging where he should be brought, and a small ward in the Officers’ Quarters, where he could be carefully guarded, was decided upon. The nurses in charge of him acknowledged, without exception, that he was entirely different from their expectations; no one could have been more considerate, or have given less trouble. About a week after his arrival he had an operation on his leg. He was strongly opposed to this himself, but until he had been tried, he had to be treated entirely from a medical point of view. When he was coming round after the ether, the sentry changed, and he turned to the nurse who was minding him and asked, “Have they come to take me away? Must I really die so soon?” All through, his behaviour was that of an idealist. He was calm and composed during the court-martial, and said, “You can shoot me if you like, but I am dying for my country.” He showed no sign of weakness till his wife was brought to say good-bye to him, the night he was to be shot. When she had left, he saw the monks, and about 3 a.m. he was carried down on a stretcher to the ambulance that was to bring him to Kilmainham.

Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

Sue

A transcribers work is never done

I would be interested in any Dublin Fusiliers that are mentioned in the Castle hospital records over the Easter Rising.

My grandfather was in Dublin Castle with them and it is very difficult to get much info on the Castle and its casualties, other than the lists. Happily my grandfather was not in the hospital, but a number of his men were, and it would be reaaly nice if I could get more background other than raw names.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sue Light

There are some references to Dublin Fusiliers, but unfortunately no names - the nurse, also un-named, is very careful to keep all names anonymous when writing. But it's a very good account - quite long, about 13,500 words - but it was all totally new information to me, and staggering that the hospital staff there were probably in more danger than most of those who served in hospitals abroad during the war. If you would like a copy in Word, let me have an email address and I'll send it on.

Regards --- Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

Sue

I'd like to take you up on your kind offer. I have PMed you my email address

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnny_doyle

nice find Sue. I'd like to request a copy too please. Will send PM with email address.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SiegeGunner

Thanks for that snippet, Sue, which inspired me to read potted biographies of Connolly and the others executed for their part in the Easter Rising. The political dimension of the war was more starkly visible in Ireland, and it is chastening to realise what the Government of the day would have been willing to do if dissident politicians, intellectuals and trade unionists elsewhere in the UK had threatened anything approaching insurrection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

Sue

Thanks for the transcript. For me it was both interesting and evocative

The Easter Rising is a very good example of history being written by the winners. The Irish (until now) have quite naturally concentrated virtually entirely on the "rebel" side. And the British have had not interest in researching or writing about a badly handled episode.

Scripts like the one you are transcribing are actually very rare for the Easter Rising, though one hopes that more will be transcribed, particularly as we come to the centenary in 2016

As you well know, nurses were, and are, very brave women

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

There is another VAD account, in as much as I have this

"Easter Rebellion by Max Caulfield "has an account by Lucy Stokes, a VAD nurse on her way home. When she got to the Quays near the Royal Barracks she saw a large body of soldiers running out of the Royal Barracks and taking cover behind the opposite wall of the Quay.An advance party of soldiers ran over the bridge with fixed bayonets, under fire from rebels in Guinness Brewery. Two officers politely suggested to her that she found a safer way home along the north bank of the Liffey. She saw these men, whom she identified as 10th RDF edging their way cautiously towards Dublin Castle."

As your transcript says, there was not much of a garrison on duty at the Castle that morning - most had gone to the Easter horse races. The rebellion broke out at noon, and it took til 1.40pm for the first military relief to arrive at the Ship Street entrance, 180 men in total, 130 from RDF and 50 from Royal Irish Rifles.

Mind you, the force that tried to take Dublin Castle, led by Seán Connolly, consisted of only 25 people - 16 men and 9 women. This Article

http://www.woodfield-press.com/acrobat/lynn3.pdf

is quite an interesting account of them attacking the Castle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sue Light

I enjoyed typing it - the events were really unknown to me so a good way to learn. If anyone else would like a copy, let me know.

Sue

Thanks for that link - another foray into Dublin I think!

Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnny_doyle
Sue

Thanks for the transcript. For me it was both interesting and evocative

The Easter Rising is a very good example of history being written by the winners. The Irish (until now) have quite naturally concentrated virtually entirely on the "rebel" side. And the British have had not interest in researching or writing about a badly handled episode.

Scripts like the one you are transcribing are actually very rare for the Easter Rising, though one hopes that more will be transcribed, particularly as we come to the centenary in 2016

As you well know, nurses were, and are, very brave women

just read the transcript too. Page 5 has a reference "Mr P...." being killed which could well be Guy Pinfield from previous thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michael Pegum
I've just been transcribing an account of life in the hospital at Dublin Castle during the Easter Rising, and came across this little paragraph on James Connolly. I thought perhaps it might prove useful to someone, and otherwise would never see the light of day. It comes from Blackwell's Magazine, December 1916.

Sue

A medical friend of mine worked with Dr. William Stokes, who treated James Connolly in the Castle. After a few days Dr. Stokes was asked to sign a most unusual medical certificate: that Mr. Connolly was now well enough to be executed! He refused to sign.

I have some photographs of the staff and a ward in the Castle, which was used for Army casualties, and will post them next.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michael Pegum

Here is a photo of the medical staff of the Red Cross Hospital in Dublin Castle. Unfortunately, I cannot identify any of them, but one of them must be the Dr. Stokes referred to above.

Michael

post-3328-1262101746.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michael Pegum

And here is a ward in the Castle hospital. Visitors to the Castle today are shown a small room where James Connolly was nursed on his own (apart from the armed guard, that is).

Michael

post-3328-1262101902.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sue Light

Thanks for posting the ward photo Michael - all the wards seemed to have been in the State Apartments and very grand, but I now get a much better idea of what they actually looked like - the thought of being a patient in the Throne Room or the Picture Gallery is really rather appealing.

Regards --- Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dubliner

new to the site so am going through it to see points of intrest. but just as a foot note to james connolly he served some time in the british army , eight years i think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
irishmen1916

Sue, This may be of interest to you, there is a letter in Kilmainham Gaol Museum, it was sent by a nurse to Connollys

wife after his death, it contains a locket of Connollys hair, that the nurse cut of him just before he was taken from the Castle.

The Connolly family later gave the letter to the Gaol when it became a museum,I am sure that it was on headed Dublin Castle note paper,

sorry but cant remember the nurse's name.

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...