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Mills bombs in use in Dublin, 1916


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Hi all,

Is there any evidence that mills bombs were in use in Dublin during the 1916 Rising? I can't find any references to confirm or otherwise.

I am assembling artifacts for a display relating to the rebellion and have access to a deactivated Mills bomb. Just need to ascertain if it would be relevant to the exhibition.



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I haven't seen a specific reference in a memoir that was verifiable, but if you look at the Bureau of Military History you'll see that the term 'Mills bomb' was applied to all sorts of improvised devices in the post-1916 period.

It could therefore be of later provenance?

Ten examples:

Thomas Treacy in Kilkenny talks of improvised versions being manufactured:


Similarly, a J.V. Lawless makes reference to bomb manufacture in Parnell St but it's post-1916:


A Seamus Conway in Longford (part of McEoin's unit) found that their consignment hadn't been set properly:


A Thomas Malone, who participated in raids on various barracks in Limerick makes a distinction between the various types available, e.g. percussion or otherwise:


Roger McCorley in Antrim used a version in training exercises etc:


Michael O'Donoghue in Cork seems to use the term 'Mills bomb' interchangeably with other grenade types:


On the other hand the chaps in Wexford are well aware of the distinction between their 'tailer' improvisations and the standard grenade definitions:


However, here's an example of dating to 1917 the use of gelignite in the successors to the Mills bomb, which implies that their familiarity with the latter may suggest that it would have been in regular use in 1916:


Similarly, there's a description of a soldier with a Mills bomb in Easter 1916:


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Thanks for the links Airshipped. I have queried the Irish Times and found much the same frequency of mention.

Not surprising I suppose given that they started production in 1915. No point in including it then I suppose.


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Just saw this now. Interesting stuff. Never heard of the Elm Park Bombing School.

- thanks Johnny.

The grenade's in!


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there are some reports of grenades/Mills Bombs being used against the premises of Alderman Kelly when Captain Bowen-Colthurst sallied forth from Portobello Barracks.


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