The Roll of Honour

Over the years there have been various attempts to calculate how many people actually fought in the Rebellion; It is unlikely that we will ever know the exact number, and names, of those Men and Women. In 1936, 20 years after the Rising Eamon de Valera the then Taoiseach of Ireland had “The Roll of Honour” drawn up. This was a list of all the 1916 garrisons, signed by the survivors, or in the case of the deceased, by the senior surviving officers. The garrison rolls (45 pages) were presented to him, first for the GPO, and then for the remainder of the garrisons in alphabetical order: Ashbourne, Boland’s Mills, Cabra Bridge, City Hall, Four Courts, Jacob’s factory, Magazine Fort, Marrowbone Lane, Mendicity Institute, St Stephen’s Green and South Dublin Union. In 1936 there were 1,104 names on the surviving members roll and 254 names of those executed, killed in action or since deceased.

For the most part of the Rising the “The Irish Times” had the field to itself thanks to having its office south of the Liffey at 31 Westmorland Street next to Trinity College and the Bank of Ireland which were in British Army control from the outset. The Paper also benefited from having its own power supply. The rival Irish Independent and the Freeman’s Journal were in the thick of the action beside the GPO and could not publish, and the Daily Express Office in Cork St. opposite City Hall was occupied on Easter Monday by the Rebels led by Sean Connolly after a failed attempt to take Dublin Castle. In 1917 the Weekly Irish Times published the 286 page Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook, which reproduced the contemporary reports of the Rising and its aftermath with Maps and images. It also included later accounts of the courts martials, Roger Casement’s landing, capture, trial and execution, two commissions of enquiry, and lists of those killed, taken prisoner, honours and promotions. It is an amazingly comprehensive account of every aspect of the Rising. It was republished in 1988 in facsimile form and is now a collector’s item. The book recorded that 3,226 men and 77 women had been arrested as of 11 July 1916, of whom 160 were convicted by courts martial, 23 acquitted, and 1,852 interned.  The Book lists the names, addresses and in the majority of cases the occupation of 2491 men deported between April 30th and June 15th 1916, to Knutsford, Stafford, Wakefield, Wandsworth, Perth, Glasgow, Woking, and Lewis Detention Barracks. The names of 64 women arrested and released are also given but not the names of women deported. Charles Townsend in his book “Easter 1916” states that General Maxwell reported 74 women surrendered or were arrested. William Wylie a barrister and 2nd Lieutenant in Trinity College OTC was dispatched to Richmond Barracks (with urgency to deal with the women) to interview the “girls”. Maxwell reported back to London on the 11th of May that he was releasing 62 of the women with a caution. Maxwell found the deportation of women difficult politically, and three weeks later he released another 5 Women and Deported 7 (8 if we include Constance Markievicz who was Court-martialled). As the number of internees threatened to swamp the English Prison system, and public opinion began to shift, the process of “combing out the innocents” by Judge Sankey’s Enemy Aliens Advisory Committee began on the 30th of June with 5 Women in Lewis Prison. It held 21 sitting between July 3rd and July 28th hearing up to 100 Cases a day. By the time Sankey’s Committee was finished he had released 69% of cases brought before him, although the criteria he used for the releases are unknown. From the detainees’ own account it seems that Sankey’s main concern was to ask them whether they had gone out knowingly to Rebel on Easter Monday, or had they been unaware of what was planned, other than a routine parade. Eventually the Majority of the detainees were moved to a Military prison camp at Frongoch in Wales. In Frongoch, University of Revolution Seán O’Mahony lists 1,804 names taken from the prisoners’ camp register maintained by the general council (Volunteers) of Frongoch. He also notes that ‘ideally I would have liked to work with the British register but I could find no such record in the Public Record Office’.

The lists of names and addresses in both the Roll of Honour and the 1916 Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook cannot be taken as definitive, for example, Richard Mulcahy is notably absent from the Ashbourne garrison. Second in command to Thomas Ashe, he became one of the most inspirational and successful leaders of guerrilla war fare of the Rebellion, on who’s tactics the basis of the war of independence was fought. Mulcahy became commander of the pro-treaty forces in the Irish Civil War after the death of Michael Collins and minister for defence in 1924.  Of the succeeding Anti Treaty Fianna Fáil government (1932–7), seven members signed the roll, including Eamon de Valera, Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh, Seán Lemass and Oscar Traynor. Indeed, it is noted in the press coverage that members of the cabinet marched in the Roll of Honour parade, So it would appear that twenty years after the Rising the signing of the roll (and who was included) was overshadowed by Dev and the same Civil War divisions that have dominated Irish politics until recently. In the 1916 Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook, among the names of deported persons officially supplied was that of “Andrew Commerford, 4 Upper Kevin street.”E. Murray of that address wrote to the Times to say that no one of the name of Commerford lived there. In the official list of deported prisoners issued on 16th May there appeared the name of Myles Redmond, 6 Parnell street, Wexford’. Subsequently the Irish Times was requested to state that Myles Redmond did not reside at that address. Mrs. Mary McQuade, of 82Upper Rathmines, pointed out that in the list of deported prisoners officially issued on Friday, 12th May, the name Owen Kerrigan, 82Upper Rathmines, appears. She wished to state that no such person ever resided at 82Upper Rathmines.

On the 28th April 1916 9.30, a.m. Padraic H. Pearse wrote – “I desire now, lest I may not have an opportunity later, to pay homage to the gallantry of the soldiers of Irish Freedom who have during the past four days, been writing with fire and steel the most glorious chapter in the later history of Ireland. Justice can never be done to their heroism, to their discipline, to their gay and unconquerably spirit, in the midst of peril and death. Let me, who have led them into this speak, in my own and in my fellow Commanders’ names, and in the name of Ireland present and to come, their praise, and ask those who come after them to remember them. (Signed) P.H. Pearse Commandant General Commanding- in – Chief, the Army of the Irish Republic and President of the Provisional Government.

Below is a list of entries of over 6,000 names compiled from the 1916 Roll of Honour the 1916 Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook and the Frongoch Camp list, of Men and women who took part in the Rebellion in Dublin or throughout the country and who were either arrested, deported, Court-martialed or killed in action.

On the 25th anniversary in 1941, there were 2,477 recipients of the 1916 combatants Medal.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR

(click below for surname)

 

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