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Andrew Hesketh

Sherwood Foresters & Easter Rising

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Andrew Hesketh

I have been asked whether I know anything about the SF's involvement in executions carried out at Kilmainham Gaol.

I don't.

Do you?

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KONDOA

No but I know the 2nd North Midland Division (59th) were there which may have included a few SF's

From LLT we have the following that were in ireland at this time:

2/5th Bn, the Sherwood Foresters (joined October 1914, left as a cadre June 1918)

2/6th Bn, the Sherwood Foresters (joined September 1914, left as a cadre May 1918)

2/7th (Robin Hood) Bn, the Sherwood Foresters (joined September 1914, absorbed by 1/7th Bn February 1918)

2/8th Bn, the Sherwood Foresters (joined September 1914, disbanded February 1918)

Roop

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Andrew Hesketh

Roop, thanks for the quick response. I should have clarified this question more clearly.

I know that the 2/5th, 2/6th, 2/7th and 2/8th battalions were heavily involved in actions around Mount Street on 26 April 1916, but what next? I have no information at all about the events of the following days and weeks and, to be honest, I wasn't aware that they had been involved in providing firing squads for some of the subsequent executions. I suppose what I'm asking is:

i) were they involved in the executions?

ii) if so, which executions and when?

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KONDOA

Andrew, Unfortunately I have no further detail. My grandfather was there at that time with the 2/6th North Staffs but no details remain of events. Be interested if anything crops up.

Roop

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Andrew Hesketh
Be interested if anything crops up.

Ditto! Thanks anyway.

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Glosters

The official announcements make no mention of the troops involved and due to the nature of executions I doubt very much if any record was kept.

Steve

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AGWR

I was told by someone, who has researched this subject, that the SFs were involved in the executions. I also vaguely recall him telling me that most of the men involved came from Chesterfield. I am seeing him in a couple of weeks so I will ask him for more details.

Regards,

AGWR

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Guest

14 people were executed by firing squad at Kilmainham in May 1916 and one more in Cork as a result of the Easter Rising. At Kilmainham, this occurred on five separate days between 3rd and 12th May.

As a firing squad probably consisted of a dozen men, this means that a maximum of sixty were involved at Kilmainham, not necessarily all from the same battalion.

I bet few records were kept.

Executed:

Tom Clarke

Wednesday 3rd May

Thomas MacDonagh

Wednesday 3rd May

Padraic Pearse

Wednesday 3rd May

Joseph Mary Plunkett

Thursday 4th May

William Pearse

Thursday 4th May

Ned Daly

Thursday 4th May

Michael O'Hanrahan

Thursday 4th May

John MacBride

Friday 5th May

Eamonn Ceannt

Monday 8th May

Michael Mallin

Monday 8th May

Conn Colbert

Monday 8th May

Sean Heuston

Monday 8th May

Thomas Kent (in Cork)

Tuesday 9th May

Sean MacDiarmada

Friday 12th May

James Connolly

Friday 12th May

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Andrew Hesketh

Angie,

That's very helpful information and gets me up and running - so thanks.

AGWR,

Brilliant. I look forward to anything you can discover. If Chesterfield is the origin of many men then we are probably talking about firing squads selected from the 2/6th.

Glosters,

I suspect the same.

******

Excellent thus far, but if anyone else has anything to offer please add it!

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barkalotloudly

there was a book printed in 1961 called "the 2/6th sherwood foresters part in the defeat of the rebels in 1916" a small book of 32 pages by wilfred edmonds ltd of Chesterfield Turner Donovan had a copy in cat. 65 regards John

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Andrew Hesketh

John, That's a great tip off. I hadn't heard of that one, but armed with that title I've now got these details:

* Edmunds, Gerald James. The Irish rebellion; the 2/6th Sherwood Foresters' part in the defeat of the rebels in 1916; their early training. Chesterfield : pritned by Wilfred Edmunds Ltd., 1960.

* Edmunds, Gerald James. The Irish Rebellion : the 2/6th Sherwood Foresters part in the defeat of the rebels in 1916; their early training. [new ed.] [Derby] : Derbyshire Times, 1965.

You say "Turner Donovan had a copy in cat. 65". Could you expand on that? Who / what is Turner Donovan?

I don't suppose there's a pal out there with a copy?

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Andrew Hesketh
You say "Turner Donovan had a copy in cat. 65". Could you expand on that? Who / what is Turner Donovan?

Sorry, I'm being dumb. Of course you are referring to Turner Donovan Military Books.

Doh!

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Cliff. Hobson

Andrew,

I read the history of the 2/5th quite a long time ago, but cannot remember the exact details it did mention that the prisoners who were taken were only too willing to co-operate and that due justice was taken. Or words to that effect, at the time it had me reading between the lines re. the co-operation and the justice.

Cliff.

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Andrew Hesketh

Thanks Cliff - every idea is welcome.

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curranl

Hello Andrew,

According to The Easter Risingby Michael Foy and Brian Barton, the firing squad was "provided by the 59th Division" and was commanded, for the first three executions at least, by Major H Heathcote.

There's some additional info. in There's a Devil in the Drum, but I'm not sure if it identifies the battalion or Regiment. I'll have a look tonight.

Regards,

Liam.

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yellow

A company 2nd/8th was caught out in the open. They were mostly young soldiers if I am not mistaken about five were wounded in just the one action. One of the New Balderton lads was there, Albert Edward Wood he later died from bullet wounds on 17/3/16.

Steve.

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curranl

Hello Andrew,

I'm afraid there's no more information in There's a Devil in the Drum, but there is this snippet:

One day Jim introduced me to a natty little English sergeant, a pert, talkative chap with waxed moustaches. Jim, following his usual habit, merely said: ' This chap had something to do with your countrymen in the rebellion last year.' I cocked my ears, and the smart little sergeant spoke: 'Yes, I was there. As a matter of fact I had the job of seeing them off.' My heart pounded. Sickeningly I looked at the Irish harp on his cap badge, and I stared bitterly at his beady brown eyes.

He was restless, and wanted to talk. Knowing my sympathies by hearsay, he had come to me somehow like a man coming back to the scene of some dountful act to attempt reconciliation. He was the first of a number of unhappy Englishmen who tried, and tried vainly, to square their acts against Ireland with me.

My shocked silence was taken for attention, and he talked on while we walked along one side of the barrack square. Jim had politely disappeared.

This sergeant of the firing squad told me of the executions following Easter week. He described in detail the way the leaders met their death. I cannot remember them all because my blood was racing.

McBride evoked the greatest admiration. He refused to be blinfolded. He smiled at his nervous executioners, and told them he had looked down the wrong end of the barrels of rifles before. McBride left a terrific impression of contemptuous invincibility. He was a great man. The sergeant did not like that job.

He then told of young Plunkett, whose fate was to me the most tragic of the lot, because the others gave the impression of being seasoned soldiers, at any rate in mind, and Plunkett seemed so young and fragile. The sergeant stopped and took some rosary beads from his pocket. 'See these. They are his. Souvenir. Want 'em?'

I touched them for a reason he would never understand, and said: 'No. Keep the beads. I hope they will do you good,' but really I did not hope that, because mentally I was wishing him and his like non-existent. He was astonished at my refusal, and hurt because I also refused to drink with him.

A few pages on he tells another interesting little story linked to the Rising:

....among them were certain Reserve officers who had fought against the rebels at Dublin in 1916. One of these latter was very gloomy because his orders for the front had come at last, and he complained that he, at any rate, had no hope of returning alive from France, because if the Germans did not get him, some southern Irishman might shoot him down surreptitiously in battle for the part he had played at Dublin. By some curious trick of fate he was killed in his first action. He left the British front trenches to attack with his men, but did not arrive at the German front line, and his body was not recovered. Already the Sinn Feiners were earning a name for never forgetting.

I confess I was rather indifferent to this officer's fate, because he was an Irishman and should have not fought against his own people. His end impressed me because I went over the top on the left of his company at the same time, and afterwards other officers confirmed that he had confessed to his old fear before advancing

Regards,

Liam.

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Andrew Hesketh

Liam,

Thanks for taking the trouble to check this and type it out. It's a fascinating read but a shame that there's no clue as to which regiment(s) were involved.

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wig

There is a new link to a story about the Forresters in Ireland on the official website, have a look at http://www.wfrmuseum.org.uk/rhr_Ireland.htm

In addition I have a report made by an officer of the Forresters describing in detail how the executions were carried out. No question arises. It was the Sherwood Forresters who were involved and the report quotes how much they appreciated the chance to avenge their comrades deaths at Mount St.

I shall dig the report out and post it on the site.

Liam,

Thanks for taking the trouble to check this and type it out. It's a fascinating read but a shame that there's no clue as to which regiment(s) were involved.

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mikebriggs

post-4619-1133200623.jpgpost-4619-1133200600.jpg

Hi Andrew

It does say in the History of the 2/6th Battalion:-

"One the morning of Tuesday three of the Sinn Fein leaders, TJ Clarke, PH Pearse and T McDonagh, who had been tried by Court Martial and condemmed to death were shot, the 6th battalion providing the firing squad"

Hope that helps. You can see a copy of the History in Matlock Library (a familar place I'm sure)

I've added a couple of pictures of T McDonagh's memorial in Golden, Co Tipperary

cheers

Mike

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Andrew Hesketh

Mike

Long time no hear! Hope things are well with you. Thanks for the above which confirms the involvement of the 6th. It's been a while since I 'did' Matlock!!

Wig

I'm familiar with the link. The chap I'm collaborating with is also collaborating with the author of that article. As for the document you refer to I would be most pleased to see a copy. Thanks for that, it could be very useful indeed!

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Tim1915

My Great Uncle was wounded during the Easter Rising and died of his wounds in 1920

http://www.cwgc.org/cwgcinternet/casualty_...casualty=408280

I do not know the circumstances regarding his injuries.

If anyone has any relevant information I should be most grateful.

Tim

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Andrew Hesketh

Tim,

That's interesting. I have a list of wounded and killed SF's on my website here: http://www.derbyshirelads.uwclub.net/Sherw..._casualties.htm

However your Great-Uncle is not on it. Do you happen to know anything about date / circumstances so that I can amend the list?

If you want to know more about the 2/5th in Ireland see the following, where you'll also find some helpful links: http://www.derbyshirelads.uwclub.net/Sherw...lions/2_5bn.htm

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Tim1915

Andrew thank you for the links.

I contacted the MOD in Middlesex regarding my Grandfather and Great Uncle.

They sent me the whole file they had in respect of my Great Uncle, just three pages.

I attach the appropriate part of one of the pages.

It does not say that much.

If it is not legible, I will happily email you a higher definition scan off Forum.

Do you know of the other men mentioned (Captain Jackson, Lt Brown and I can't decipher the last name)?

Regards,

Tim

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