Saturday, April 30, 2016

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Stories From The Rising: The Diaspora In Britain And Their Role In The Effort

From the 1916 Societies:


Continuing their series of short stories in the run-up to the Centenary, the Thomas Clarke Society Dungannon tell of the role of British-based Diaspora in the 1916 Rising.


The Volunteer Movement was organised in some cities, particularly Liverpool, but the IRB always had members in England and Scotland. The Supreme Council was made up of eleven members, seven elected from their seven districts – Ulster, Munster, Leinster, Connaught, Scotland, the North of England and the South of England. Four Honorary Members were elected by the seven and known only to them.

The Military Service Act of 27th January 1916 brought Conscription into effect. Thomas Clarke made arrangements for those who wished to come to Dublin and stay in the disused Mill belonging to the Plunkett family in Kimmage, Dublin.

The Kimmage Garrison (pictured above) was mainly from Liverpool but had members from other English and Scottish cities. They were, in the weeks leading up to the Rising, flat out making homemade hand grenades out of old empty tins of food with a three second fuse. They were unable to test them to see how reliable they were but were soon to find out.

They also made shotgun pellets, some the size of peas. One night they worked through to the next day making 5,000 lead pellets. Hand grenades from old tins would be made at a rate of twenty an hour. This was the first Irish garrison since Patrick Sarsfield in 1690 and the siege of Limerick. Bayonets were also made, some of which were fixed to shotguns. Again, in a short time they were to find out how reliable they were. Those billeted at Plunkett’s Old Mill bonded over the three months from February to April, a bond that would be put to the test in just twelve days time when they would leave Liberty Hall to join the Rising on 24th April 1916.

Had anyone walked into the Mill, with a mix of Liverpool, Manchester, London and Glasgow
accents making home made armaments, they would of been very confused. They were under the Command of Joseph Plunkett’s father, Count George Plunkett, and thus became known as ‘George’s Lambs’. Some joked with him that they hoped he wasn’t leading them to the slaughter…

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