Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
sw63

Roger Casement: How did a hero come to be considered a traitor?

Recommended Posts

kenora

My Grandparents attended part of Casement's trial when they were on their honeymoon in London in July 1916. I remember my Granny saying how handsome he looked in the dock.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Filsell

But he was a traitor wasn't he - a man who was a member of the establishment who worked against it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stoppage Drill

But he was a traitor wasn't he - a man who was a member of the establishment who worked against it?

QED

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jonathanb2701

Consorting with the enemy in time of war.

This would be counted as a traitor in any country.

Could also be described as a fifth columnist { the enemy within }

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Airshipped

Consorting with the enemy in time of war.

This would be counted as a traitor in any country.

Could also be described as a fifth columnist { the enemy within }

The definition of "country" in that regard could give rise to all sorts of political footballs. The Irish patriot/British traitor argument can chase its own tail quite a lot, whether it was 1916 or 1798. (Even then one could probably also reflect upon the fact that a considerable minority of the population of Country Tyrone would've supported the Union but also supported the Ulster Volunteers in the years immediately preceding World War I; sedition and treason are only distinguished by the existence of a state of war).

Interestingly many accounts hold that Casement was most likely betrayed by IRB "patriots" within the Irish volunteer movement, e.g. in the machinations for positional advantage there can be traitors to patriotic causes.

On the link to the article re the 'Black Diaries' it may be noted that these are quite explicit and shocking to an Edwardian era audience but they're not factual accounts of his life, e.g. there are elements of fantasy, desire and so forth.

It was quite sad in the end that they excavated a lump of lime-stained soil in 1965 when perhaps other avenues to lead to a better improvement in North-South and British-Irish relations at the time for living persons could have helped avert some of what transpired over the following decades.

It'd be also wrong to regard him as simply an Irish nationalist: he was far more broadly associated with anti-imperial causes and against injustice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IPT

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

There is no correct answer, only opinions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jhill

I have two books on Casement in my bookshelves: one the biography by Brian Inglis, and the other the account of the trial by H. Montgomery Hyde in the "Famous Trials" series. The question of Casement's guilt or innocence is also wrapped up with the question of whether or not a fair trial was possible during the high emotions of wartime.

An illustration of this can be read in George Bernard Shaw's Preface to Saint Joan, written in 1924. There, Shaw describes the Casement trian as a "national political trial". Shaw contrasted Joan's trial in the middle ages with the recent trials of Casement and of Edith Cavell. His point was that all were flawed by having the judges and juries packed with opponents of the accused, yet the Casement and Cavell cases were no more fair nor just than the earlier case, and perhaps even less so since they tried their defendents during wartime for politcal offences.

Of course, Shaw's views on war are well known.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

Whilst as IPT and Airshipped have pointed out, one can debate one's opinions on Casement, and are unlikely to reach a conclusion

Having done a lot of work on Casement's Irish Brigade, I am aware that we are still missing a lot of the facts behind his arrival in Ireland just before the Rising.

British Intelligence knew that he was coming but that information never percolated to the boots on the ground in Ireland. Regrettably we will probably never know who knew what and when about Casement's final journey to Ireland (and the Aud's)

Had the Army HQ in Dublin known what London Intelligence knew, then they certainly would not have been out of town at the races when the Rising started.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
healdav

Wasn't he gunrunning to Ireland to supply a revolution? Sounds pretty much like being a traitor to me.

Edited by Kate Wills

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nialld

Wasn't he gunrunning to Ireland to supply a revolution? Sounds pretty much like being a traitor to me.

That depends which side of the revolution you're on.One side hanged him.........the other buried him with honour.......Take your pick.

Somehow,I don't think you can (or could) act as a spokesman for the Irish Government

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
keithmroberts

Steady please. We don't want to have to close this, but we are close to it. Rational comment only please. From any viewpoint.

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hedley Malloch

"Roger Casement's body was repatriated in 1965 as a prelude to the 1966 commemorations.http://nationalarchi...E/Article_2.pdf"

Allegedly. There is view - which originated in the Prison Warders' canteen at Pentonville HMP - that on exhumation Casement's remains could not be indentified with any certainty. It is highly likely that 250,000 people in Dublin turned out to pay homage to the remains of Dr. Crippen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jdoyle

Allegedly. There is view - which originated in the Prison Warders' canteen at Pentonville HMP - that on exhumation Casement's remains could not be indentified with any certainty. It is highly likely that 250,000 people in Dublin turned out to pay homage to the remains of Dr. Crippen.

that runs counter to the documented process re the recording of graves at Pentonville which changed significantly in 1922 (ironically documented in a book re Crippen).

Hero or traitor? In the country he helped on the path to independence, he's not regarded as a traitor and that's probably all that matters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Murrough

"Roger Casement's body was repatriated in 1965 as a prelude to the 1966 commemorations.http://nationalarchi...E/Article_2.pdf"

Allegedly. There is view - which originated in the Prison Warders' canteen at Pentonville HMP - that on exhumation Casement's remains could not be indentified with any certainty. It is highly likely that 250,000 people in Dublin turned out to pay homage to the remains of Dr. Crippen.

Allegedly is the operative word here :thumbsup: ,do tell Crippens relatives, they are trying to repatriate Crippens remains, you can tell them they are in Dublin not Pentionville,do the right thing and save them some heartache.They may have some concerns though, seeing as this theory is based on an alleged rumour from the canteen at Pentionville

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Andrew Upton

Allegedly is the operative word here :thumbsup: ,do tell Crippens relatives, they are trying to repatriate Crippens remains, you can tell them they are in Dublin not Pentionville,do the right thing and save them some heartache.They may have some concerns though, seeing as this theory is based on an alleged rumour from the canteen at Pentionville

Indeed - Crippen was very short by todays standards, only 5ft 3 or 4 inches, whereas per the report "The bones indicated a person of exceptionally tall size - which Casement was."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stoppage Drill

Treason doth never prosper,

What's the reason ?

Why, if it prosper,

none dare call it treason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
healdav

That depends which side of the revolution you're on.One side hanged him.........the other buried him with honour.......Take your pick.

Somehow,I don't think you can (or could) act as a spokesman for the Irish Government

Why confine that to civilians? Could we not say that anyone killed by someone in the war was a freedom fighter? After all, the German army was supposedly fighting for freedom from oppression by the British.

Fact is, that Casement was running guns to foment a rebellion in Ireland at a time when Britain was fighting for its life. If he couldn't do the time, he shouldn't have committed the crime.

And crime it was whichever country you are talking about. Imagine running guns into the USA (OK, they don't need them) to supply Al Qaeda and help them start a rebellion. I doubt you would hear much about freedom fighters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jdoyle

gun running doesn't appear as a charge in his trial and is not what he was prosecuted for.

He was charged under a 14th Century statute pre-dating Empire, Act of Union and Parliamentary process.

Quite some time was taken up during Casement's appeal going through "ancient rolls and statutes in Norman French and Latin".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Murrough

Why confine that to civilians? Could we not say that anyone killed by someone in the war was a freedom fighter? After all, the German army was supposedly fighting for freedom from oppression by the British.

Fact is, that Casement was running guns to foment a rebellion in Ireland at a time when Britain was fighting for its life. If he couldn't do the time, he shouldn't have committed the crime.

And crime it was whichever country you are talking about. Imagine running guns into the USA (OK, they don't need them) to supply Al Qaeda and help them start a rebellion. I doubt you would hear much about freedom fighters.

No doubt you feel the same way about this guy.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_H._Crawford

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield

Might as well throw in Gough and the officers of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade.

Trouble is, as Mr Drill opines Thanks to John Harington), treason never prospers ... unless your side wins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jdoyle

the only mention of gun running in the trial of Casement was by Casement himself in relation to the illegal gun running that had taken place in the North of Ireland, He pointed out that this had been "denounced by the Lord Chancellor of England as grossly illegal and unconstitutional" but not acted upon.

Casement thanked the Gentlemen of the jury in his address to the court. There being no women on English juries until July 1920 (and some women over 30 only gaining the right to vote in Feb 1918 - was there something about English men at the time thinking that women had smaller brain capacity or some such nonsense?)

Suffragettes were quick to point out the inconsistency of the law where women were being imprisoned for acts of civil disobedience while the "treasonous" gun running in the North of Ireland and preparations for civil war in defiance of Parliament went unpunished (and were later rewarded by a ministerial position for Edward Carson)

One thing that the Casement trial did do was deflect attention away from the various murders of civilians committed in Dublin during the suppression of the Easter Rising. Sir Edward Troups' report being kept secret until 2001.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hedley Malloch

Indeed - Crippen was very short by todays standards, only 5ft 3 or 4 inches, whereas per the report "The bones indicated a person of exceptionally tall size - which Casement was."

I know that - but Dr. Crippen could well have had a few inches of extra height added as a result of his execution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Murrough

I know that - but Dr. Crippen could well have had a few inches of extra height added as a result of his execution.

Ah ,so you think his bones would have been stretched by hanging,would that include arm bones, ribs,skull and even a jaw bone or just vertebrae : :wacko: :Read the link you posted.The then British PM Wilson was quite satisfied that the correct grave was exhumed.

From another link,http://www.lrb.co.uk/v19/n19/colm-toibin/a-whale-of-a-time

The exhumation took place after dark in Pentonville Prison: Casement had not been buried, as had been believed, beside Dr Crippen, according to the documents which the British officials had, but between two men called Kuhn and Robinson. The lower jaw, eight ribs, several vertebrae, arm bones, shoulder bones, a number of smaller bones and the skull, virtually intact and still covered with bits of the shroud, were found and put into a coffin. The bones belonged to a man of exceptional height – Casement was tall. The British paid for the coffin. (β€˜It was a gesture which they felt they should make and were glad to make,’ an Irish official said.) There was a state funeral in Dublin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...