Sunday, 8 September 2019

Private Thomas Highgate

8th September 1914 saw the execution of Private Thomas James Highgate of 1st Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment.

Highgate was the first of over 300 members of the British Army who would be executed by the British Army during the course of World War 1 (WW1).

Stationed in Richmond Barracks, Dublin at the outbreak of WW1, 19year old Highgate and his comrades landed in France on 15th August 1914 and took part in the Battle of Mons.

He was arrested for desertion on the 6th September 1914, tried by Field General Court Martial without a defending officer or witnesses, found guilty and executed early on the 8th September 1914.

While the British Army did bury him, the grave was subsequently lost.,-thomas-james/

Monday, 22 October 2018

William Patrick O'Brien (aka Willie Pa/Liam)

A nice write up of the involvement of William/Liam O'Brien and his comrades in Cork during the Easter Rising appears on this post by Ruari Lynch

William/Liam was more active in 1916 than I had originally understood.

He died not too long after his release from Frongoch, having previously been a healthy and sporting individual

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Irish 1916, 1917-1921 etc medals

Following the Easter Rising and War of Independence, the Irish Government eventually got around to issuing medals and pensions to participants.

The Irish Defence Forces website has a nice write up re the different medals, the dates they covers, some of the political background and some of the issues re who was/was not entitled to a medal etc

The document gives a figure of 2594 as the number of veterans who applied and who qualified for the 1916 medal for example and notes some who were eligible but for whom no application was received.

More information about the medals can be found on Brendan Lee's site :

1916 Medal (and 1966 Jubilee Medal)

1917-1921 Service Medal (and 1971 Truce Commemoration Medal)

For information about medals issued in Ireland before 1916 and others awarded to Irish Defence Forces, Gardai, Fire Brigade etc personnel the following site if a useful resource

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Major Acheson, Fermoy 29th April 1916

While searching for information re Judge Law Smith, I came across the following information re Major Acheson of the Army Service Corps (ASC) who was shot and killed on the 29th April 1916

It appears that he failed to stop when challenged by a sentry who subsequently opened fire.

Not a lot recorded on his gravestone/CWGC entry,-percival-havelock/

He is shown as aged 52 on the 1911 census and born in "Hanpohine" - I think this should be Hampshire.

Just records England in the 1901 census

Buried not far away from Major Acheson is Head Constable Rowe of the Royal Irish Constabulary who was killed in the firefight at the home of the Kent brothers.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Kathleen Lynn Easter Rising DIary

Kathleen Lynn Easter Rising diary now available to view online

Thomas Bryan/Annie Glynn - Who Do You Think You Are

The subject of Thomas Bryan, executed by the British in 1921, came up on the TV programme Who Do You Think You Are looking into the family of Boy George.

The following Irish Times article seems to imply there was some issue re Thomas Bryan's father in law, Joseph Glynn, re WW1.

Irish Times 25th July 2018

It appears that Joseph Glynn served with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and that his daughter Annie Christina Glynn was born in Gibraltar as a result of a posting there. The family are then in Dover in the 1901 census for England.

Joseph Glynn had married Mary Jane Nolan in January 1897, both living in Dominick Place.

Their first child, Patrick Christopher Glynn, was born in December 1897 with the address as Dominick Place.

Ancestry shows that Joseph died in 1902 in Dover aged 30. Presumably buried somewhere in or near Dover. Annie Glynn/Bryan was also to die aged 30.

Joseph's widow, Mary Jane Glynn nee Nolan married Joseph's brother Richard in 1907. Richard was also a soldier, serving in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers during the Boer War and then re-enlisted with the Royal Munster Fusiliers for WW1. Richard survived WW1.

He was born 25th July 1875 and was 18 when he first enlisted in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 22nd October 1894 as number 5274. He served at home, East Indies (6/10/96 to 17/5/97), South Africa (18/5/97 to 11/2/1902) and then East Indies again (12/2/03 to 8/11/03).

He was awarded the Queens South Africa medal with 6 clasps and Kings South Africa Medal with 2 clasps. He left the army after 12 years service. He re-enlisted in 1914 as G/1574 with the Royal Munster Fusiliers and was in Italy 9/11/17 to 8/3/1919. His service record shows his address in Dublin as 75 Upper Dominick Street.

The family is listed in the 1911 census for Ireland living at 69 Upper Dominick Street.

Annie married Thomas Bryan (Brien on the marriage certificate) and lists Joseph as her father with no indication that he was deceased.

She records the family living at 75 Upper Dominick Street and this tallies with the address that Richard Glynn gives in his WW1 service record (available to view on Ancestry).

Thomas Bryan's father James worked at 171 North King Street for Dunne's butchers. This address was smack in the middle of the North King Street murders, cited as the probable location of the troops that shot and killed William O'Neill. It was next door to no 172 where O'Neill's brother John Walsh was murdered. The Hickeys were murdered on the other side of the building in 170 North King Street.

Thomas Dunne seems to have been the landlord for number 173 North King St

and submitted a claim for damages at 171 North King St

The Bryan family were living in North King Street in the 1901 and 1911 census

The 1911 census shows that the parents has 9 children but only 3 had survived as at 1911.

Thomas Bryan, Annie Glynn and the parents of Thomas Bryan later appear to be linked to 14 Henrietta Street.

Thomas Bryan was executed by hanging on the 14th March 1921 in Mountjoy Prison and became one of the "Forgotten 10".

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Judge Law Smith and his Chauffeur

In the foregound of the above photo is the remains of the O'Rahilly's car.

In the background is a car with the registration TI 334. This is a Limerick registration but finding the name of the owner was proving difficult as the online versions of the Irish Motor Directory only goes up to 1915 and the Limerick list only goes up to TI 296.

(I generally use the Lennon Wylie page for the 1915 Motor Directory as it covers all counties but there are Limerick specific versions available to view online too).

Looking through the Rebellion Claims Committee, I thought that the car might belong to the Thompson Motor Company as the claim for the 15HP Landaulette damage description seemed quite close to the damage seen on the car and the car looks similar to a Napier Landaulette. No registration number is mentioned in the claim.

I am grateful to input from members of the Facebook group "Irish Vehicle Registrations Past & Present" who were able to identify the owner from the registration number as Limerick County Court official Judge  Law Smith. 

It appears the Judge Phillip Henry Law Smith had a claim into the Rebellion Claims Committee for a Sunbeam Landaulette and Chauffeurs uniform. Again, no registration number is mentioned in the claim.

There is a note in the claim to the effect that the Chauffeurs outfit was damaged as a result of his confinement in the GPO during the Rising and that the Chauffeur was arrested by the military after the Rising as a Sinn Feiner until his identity was ascertained.

Michael Staines witness statement indicates that the Chauffeur was detained and that he was one of the men who carried James Connolly's stretcher when the GPO was evacuated.

Father Patrick Doyle's witness statement suggests that the Chauffeur stayed with the Volunteers and fought with them in the GPO.

Luke Kennedy's witness statement suggests that the car was used during the Rising in an attempt to collect chemicals and that the car was driven by the chauffeur.

None of the witness statements or the claim form give the name of the Chauffeur. However, a 1916 Roll of Honour website lists M Keilly of 22 Ailesbury Road (the address of Judge Law Smith), a Chauffeur as being detained in Richmond Barracks and transferred to Knutsford Prison on 30th April 1916. The 1916 Rebellion Handbook lists Reilly M of 22 Ailesbury Road, Chauffeur as being detained in Richmond Barracks and transferred to Knutsford on the 20th April.

A Martin Reilly is listed as being released between 13th and 22nd May 1916. Nothing so far to confirm that Martin Reilly was the chauffeur.

Philip Henry Law Smith died 5th January 1920 and is buried in Bath, England.