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MichaelBully

Fleeing from Britain to Ireland

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MichaelBully

I was wondering if anyone has found examples of men who were trying to avoid conscription relocating from Britain to Ireland.

Regards

Michael Bully

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Magnumbellum

It has been claimed that some conscientious objectors attempted this, but I have not so far found a definite case of this happening.

Conversely, I have come across a case of a CO who gave his home address as Ireland, creating a puzzle as to how he came into the purview of conscription.

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michaeldr

Michael,

I know hardly anything on your subject here, but I have come across an interesting reference which may (?) be related to this

It is in Appendix 4 of our GWF Pal (Oak) Philip Lecane's book 'Torpedoed – the RMS Leinster Disaster'.

Philip had details from an Australian researcher Jeff Kildea regarding correspondence between the AIF Admin HQ in London and the Department of Defence in Melbourne. In this correspondence it becomes clear that

“It is the desire of the authorities that the fact that record of 18 military personnel embarking by the Leinster is not held, be kept secret. This for obvious reasons. Possession of this knowledge by absentees in Ireland might lead to unfortunate complications.”

This is followed by a footnote which includes: “... in 1918 Australian military authorities were concerned that significant numbers of Australian deserters and absentees were making their way to Ireland to evade capture or to avoid returning to their units.”

regards

Michael

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centurion

There seem to have been WW2 cases when the Republic might afford a haven but I would have thought that in WW1 you would be just as likely to be arrested and hauled before a tribunal if you fled to Ireland and did not have genuine residency there. The references in Michael's post are all about deserters and AWOLs not people trying to avoid conscription. It's possible that some people, given the disaffection there, might find people to hide them if they already had the right connections.

BTW the tales of gangs of Australian deserters hiding almost anywhere are various and often apocryphal.

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bill24chev

The other side of the coin as it were!

Could Irish born men living in other parts of the UK be conscripted?

Also if given notice of conscription could they move back to Ireland to avoid conscription?

The words of, if I remember right, a Dubliners song relating to Part two of the disagreement with Germany

"Adolf was heading for Poland and Paddy for Holyhead"

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centurion

Paddy had an independent country to head for in that instance. Some Irishmen living on the British mainland were conscripted in WW1

There was a similar issue in N America with Canadians living in the USA to avoid conscription and US citizens in Canada to avoid the draft. Wilson used the War Emergency Powers Act to sign a treaty with the UK and Canada which essentially said 'you can conscript any of ours in your country and we'll draft any of yours this side of the parallel' Often regarded as an unconstitutional act but the War Emergency Powers Act gave him more powers than any US president before or since ever had.

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Magnumbellum

There seem to have been WW2 cases when the Republic might afford a haven but I would have thought that in WW1 you would be just as likely to be arrested and hauled before a tribunal if you fled to Ireland and did not have genuine residency there.

No-one was ever "hauled before a tribunal" in WW1 (or in WW2, for that matter). Appearance before a tribunal, on any ground, followed a voluntary application, by the man concerned, for exemption; if he failed to attend, after due notice of the hearing, the case could be dealt with in his absence - attendance was never compelled.

A man deemed to have been enlisted under the Military Service Act (including a man whose application for exemption had been refused by a tribunal) but who failed to comply with a notice to report at a designated barracks on a designated day could be arrested by the civil police and "hauled before" the local Magistrates' Court, fined, and handed over to the military. The extent to which this may have happened in the case of British men found in Ireland is not clear.

The best known WW2 case was that of T H White, author of The Once and Future King, who went to the Irish Free State (not formally recognised as a Republic until 1949) in early 1939 (well before conscription) and remained there thtoughout the war.

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MichaelBully

MB, do you think that this chap's (British) employer might have registered him ? He may have felt that he was in (what used to be called 'mainland') Britain for work, but his home was in Ireland-just a thought.

It has been claimed that some conscientious objectors attempted this, but I have not so far found a definite case of this happening.

Conversely, I have come across a case of a CO who gave his home address as Ireland, creating a puzzle as to how he came into the purview of conscription.

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MichaelBully

Thanks for all the replies, interesting that no actual examples spring to mind, but appreciate the opinions offered nevertheless.

I wonder if there were provisions in law to prevent this happening?

Something I will look out for when reading newspapers of the time.

Regards, Michael Bully

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isadore

Isnt that partly why Michael Collins returned to Ireland?

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BrendanLee

The other side of the coin as it were!

Could Irish born men living in other parts of the UK be conscripted?

Also if given notice of conscription could they move back to Ireland to avoid conscription?

The words of, if I remember right, a Dubliners song relating to Part two of the disagreement with Germany

"Adolf was heading for Poland and Paddy for Holyhead"

The reference to Paddy heading for Holyhead refers to Paddy going to England for employment or what was known as joining in McAlpine’s Fusiliers.

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Wexflyer

I was wondering if anyone has found examples of men who were trying to avoid conscription relocating from Britain to Ireland.

Regards

Michael Bully

I think there is a misapprehension here. You could not just travel from Britain to Ireland during either the Great War or the Emergency - explicit permission and travel documents were required. I doubt that they would issue them to you so as to avoid conscription. As an aside, Irish citizens were conscripted in Britain during the Emergency.

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MichaelBully

That's fascinating,thanks for your comments. Had no idea that there were travel restrictions between Ireland and Britain during the Great War ? Was this part of DORA? Anywhere I could find out more details?

Regards

Michael Bully

I think there is a misapprehension here. You could not just travel from Britain to Ireland during either the Great War or the Emergency - explicit permission and travel documents were required. I doubt that they would issue them to you so as to avoid conscription. As an aside, Irish citizens were conscripted in Britain during the Emergency.

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Wexflyer

That's fascinating,thanks for your comments. Had no idea that there were travel restrictions between Ireland and Britain during the Great War ? Was this part of DORA? Anywhere I could find out more details?

Regards

Michael Bully

For WWII, I first came across this in the diary of a relative, where in connection with a trip between Ireland and Britain a control permit number was carefully copied in (not sure what the exact words were, but they indicated it was a permit to travel).

- There is a lot about "exit permits" in Hansard for WWII

- An example of a "travel permit card" on the web at http://www.edinphoto...ermit_cover.htm

- and some discussion of the need for permits at http://www.whai.ie/executive where someone seems to have used archived travel applications as a basis for a historical study.

These controls lasted until 1952!

As for the Great War, Hansard shows that a formal travel permit system came into force on May 21, 1918, see

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1918/aug/06/members-of-parliament-permits#S5CV0109P0_19180806_HOC_80

Before that, Hansard seems to indicate a less formal system of questioning at the ports, e.g. see

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1916/may/22/migratory-irish-labourers#S5CV0082P0_19160522_HOC_180

where it is stated that "passengers, may embark at the approved ports on producing satisfactory credentials or proofs of identity and giving valid reasons for their intended journey."

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jdoyle

the book Fron Goch by Lyn Ebenezer touches on the issue of conscription of members of the Irish Volunteers who had been living in England but who had gone over to Ireland.

Touched on in some of the Witness Statements relating to those in the "Kimmage Garrison". Seamus Robinson's statement lists names and where they were from

http://www.bureauofm...156.pdf#page=11

Joseph Goode's statement touches on some of those interned in Fron Goch being liable for conscription

http://www.bureauofm...0388.pdf#page=1

Patrick Caldwell mentions moving to Dublin after the introduction of conscription (and mentions that a number of the Kimmage Garrison had cockney accents)

http://www.bureauofm...638.pdf#page=12

Nora Connolly mentions the Kimmage Garrison and avoiding conscription

http://www.bureauofm...0286.pdf#page=8

Patrick Caldwell mentions the Nunans from London moving to avoid conscritpion

http://www.bureauofm...43.pdf#page=217

and Seamus Ua Caomhanaigh mentions the Nunans being conscripted along with Pat and George King and Hughie Thornton but treated as Conscientious Objectors

http://95.45.178.102.../BMH.WS0889.pdf

The Conscientious Objector gets a mention in Ernest Nunans pension file (no 11/6151 9th Battn London Regt) but not in the file of his brother John/Sean (no 6256/323184 6th Battn London Regt). Both appear to have refused to sign attestation papers or to have had medicals; both sentenced to terms in military prisons for refusing to obey lawful orders. Both released 1917. Ernest was charged at Marylebone Police Court under Section 15 of the Reserve Forces Act

Sean(John) Nunan's witness statement is online too

http://www.bureauofm...1744.pdf#page=1

http://www.bureauofm...43.pdf#page=222

Hugh Thornton (no 32285, 65th Training Battn) similarly receives a military prison sentence for refusing to obey a lawful order. He too refused to sign forms; also refused to wear khaki uniform. Joined 13/9/1916; discharged 21/12/1916. Thornton gave his home address as that of the Kimmage Garrison while his fathers address was Edgehill. Liverpool. He became Vice O/C 3rd Cork Brigade and was killed in the Civil War. His brother Frank served with Collin's Squad.

http://irishmedals.org/gpage19.html

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jdoyle

Welsh trade unionist Arthur Horner is reputed to have moved to Dublin to avoid conscription.

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MichaelBully

Thanks for the replies guys, that's excellent. Will read over all the information at some length, have only had a chance to give a look so far . Much appreciated.

Regards

Michael Bully

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Guest Ethanlou

HI, I'm doing research on Canadian conscription during the First World War. Do you have a source for the "Canadians living in the USA to avoid conscription" part?

Anything at all will be much appreciated.

Paddy had an independent country to head for in that instance. Some Irishmen living on the British mainland were conscripted in WW1

There was a similar issue in N America with Canadians living in the USA to avoid conscription and US citizens in Canada to avoid the draft. Wilson used the War Emergency Powers Act to sign a treaty with the UK and Canada which essentially said 'you can conscript any of ours in your country and we'll draft any of yours this side of the parallel' Often regarded as an unconstitutional act but the War Emergency Powers Act gave him more powers than any US president before or since ever had.

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MichaelBully

Looking at 'The Sussex Daily News' for Tuesday 30th April 1918: Interesting, Of course by then the USA was fighting as an Associated power, so not quite sure why trying to forge a US consular stamp would be of such benefit.

" ENABLING RECRUITS TO ESCAPE

TO IRELAND

-------------------

A SEAMAN'S SERIOUS OFFENCES

------------------------

At the Old Bailey yesterday an Irish seaman

named John White was sented to 15 months

hard labour for forging and uttering (sic) sea-

men's discharge books and counterfeiting the

seal of the United States consular office in Liver-

pool, with the object of enabling men to get to

Ireland in order to escape military service. "

Regards, Michael Bully

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John_Hartley

On 14 April 1916, the Cheshire War Agricultural Committee discussed this subject, noting that many Irish farm labourers had returned to ireland, where there was no conscription. The Chairman of the Committee, a Colonel Dixon, reported that it had been establsihed that Irish men working in England would not be conscripted under the Military Service Act. The Committee agreed to ask the Board of Agriculture to publicise this in ireland in the hope of persuading men to return.

Now, the question I have (having read the responses upthread) is was Dixon correct. I can't seem to find hard evidence one way or the other.

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tn.drummond

Currently reading "British Spies and Irish Rebels" by Paul McMahon. Boydell Press 2008.

Though the book is not concerned with conscription the following paragraph is of interest:

"The position of Sinn Fein, by now a powerful mass movement, was cemented by the government's decision in March 1918 to impose conscription. The whole of nationalist Ireland rose against this measure. Though the government chose not to follow through on its decision the damage had begun. Sinn Fein swept the board in the 1918 elections..."

The book does deal, in passing, with the subject of a migration but I have to say it's a real ding-dong of internment, expulsion to England, expulsion to Ireland and internment again. If anyone has an interest of depth on such matters this book will be helpful. The chronology is at times a tortuous web of the repetition of mistakes re-enforced by entrenched attitudes.- that's not to criticise the author, rather it's comment on the nature of the beast.

The book very carefully treads the line between Irish nationalism, Ulster Unionism and Liberal Imperialism and reads as good solid of history.

Tim

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MichaelBully

Glad to see this post revived and welcome latest posts. For some time I have realised that there is a lot more besides conscription contrasted to conscientious objection : 'Evasion' of military service, where someone deliberately avoids serving but not by citing their conscience, needs also to be considered.

Tim. Thank you for the reference to the Paul McMahon book. Yes, had heard had been aware that attempts to introduce conscription in Ireland failed somewhat in 1918 .

Regards

Michael Bully

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KGB

Came across a reference to Romany gypsies arriving in Ireland 1914 (first appearance of traditional wagons) as a means of evading enlistment. Odd as many joined the Infantry and were good (resilient) troops

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MichaelBully

Interesting, hadn't thought about Romany gypsies and military service. But would they have already arrived in 1914 in order to evade enlistment?

Came across a reference to Romany gypsies arriving in Ireland 1914 (first appearance of traditional wagons) as a means of evading enlistment. Odd as many joined the Infantry and were good (resilient) troops

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KGB

Interesting, hadn't thought about Romany gypsies and military service. But would they have already arrived in 1914 in order to evade enlistment?

Romanies were in England from about 1500AD.

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