Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Munitions Factories in Ireland during the Great War

A while ago I posted a link to a National Archives photo on the now defunct Dublin.ie forum re munition workers at a shell factory in Dublin


There seems to have been a Shell Factory and a Fuse Factory on the Parkgate site in Dublin. There also appear to have been shell/cartridge factories in Cork, Waterford and Galway. The Dublin site was expected to be in "full swing" 1st March 1916; the first shell was produced in Galway in February 1917.


Sunday, 24 November 2013

ex-soldier James McAlorum

Reading up on the various death of ex-soldiers in Ireland during the period 1919-1923, one ex-soldier appears to have been subjected to a whipping/flogging under the term of the "Flogging Act".

James McAlorum (there appear to be various spellings of the surname) served with the Royal Irish Rifles through WW1. The following is part of a letter he sent to his wife having been arrested and imprisoned on trumped up charges.

Dear Wife,

After consideration, I feel absolutely compelled to place before you a truthful account of the degradation which I was subjected to in this prison on Thursday night, the 22nd June, by order of the Northern Parliament.

On the night in question I had just finished my supper when four warders entered my cell and took
me to an underground dungeon where the officials had erected what they call a flogging triangle.

Gathered in a cluster around this instrument of torture were the prison doctor, governor, a dozen or
so of prison warders and a number of Special Constabulary, all eager to witness the savagery that was
to be enacted there, and of which myself and a few other unfortunate prisoners, some of them mere
children in their early 'teens, were to be the victims.

I was stripped to the skin and the warders tied me hand and foot to the triangle, and when they had
me secured, the Englishman, who was sent over here specially to administer torture, commenced the barbarity.

When I had received the fifteen lashes, and while the officials were bandaging my back, I had a look at
the man who had flogged me and the sweat was running down his face.

This man, who was almost six feet in height, had exerted all his strength and energy in inflicting
this savage operation and left my back in such a state that a whole piece of my skin could not have
been touched from my waist to my neck with the point of a needle. One of the victims who was led
to the chamber of torture after I had received my flogging was a mere boy of seventeen years of age,
named Edward O'Neill, and when they had this boy stripped and tied up, and when the administerer of
the torture commenced his foul work, the agonising cry of this child-prisoner pleading to the prison
doctor to intervene and save him from the cruel and unmerciful punishment could be heard all over the
prison. It was the yelling of the boy which was the first warning to the other prisoners located in the
prison that some of the prison inmates were being maltreated and they gave vent to their feelings by an
outburst of protest, shouting and kicking their cell doors, which could have been heard a great distance
from the prison and sent consternation into the hearts of the officials, who, for the moment, thought that
the civilian populace had broken into the prison.

ex-soldiers killed in Ireland

Following on from the earlier posts re Joseph Walsh and Malachy Halfpenny, a number of ex-soldiers were killed in Ireland during the War of Independence/Civil War.

From The War of Independence in Limerick 1912-1921 by Thomas Toomey

20th March 1920 ex-soldier Denis Crowley executed as spy

20th May 1920 ex-soldier James Saunders shot by RIC/Black & Tans firing indiscriminately

24th July 1920 B&T Walter Oakley killed. 2 ex-soldiers arrested and tried - Michael Blake and James O'Neill. Both found not guilty but killed by Black & Tans/Auxiliaries(?) on return journey from court

15th Aug 1920 ex-soldier Edward Paget beaten by Black & Tans and dies

20th December 1920 ex-soldier James Hynan shot dead by Black & Tans

31st December 1920 ex-soldier Michael O'Mera executed as spy

18th March 1921 ex-soldier John O'Grady executed as spy

22nd May 1921 ex Canadian soldier Patrick Creamer shot by RIC/Black & Tans. Died of wounds.

27th June 1921 ex-soldier John Creminns shot dead by Auxiliaries

28th June 1921 ex-soldier Michael Boland executed as spy

29th June 1921 ex-soldiers Patrick Sheahan and John Sullivan executed as spies

7th July 1921 ex-soldier Jack Moloney shot dead by unspecified

From the Internet, Catholic ex-soldier Bernard Doherty was shot by a rifle wielding rioter in Derry on the 16th May 1920. His brother William John Doherty had been killed during the war. Bernard Doherty appears to have joined up when underage and was "claimed" by his parents, discharged 25/10/1915.

Quite a few appear to have been killed in Belfast. To be listed on another post.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Colonel Allatt

Colonel Henry Thomas Ward Allat is another person of interest. Involved in the construction of the improvised armoured lorries used during the Easter Rising and also involved with Captain Bowen Colthurst on a raid on the Sheehy Skeffington house. He died just after the Rising but there are conflicting reports re his death.

He was Mentioned in Despatches in Jan 1917 for his work during the Easter Rising.

The 1916 Rebellion Handbook has him as Killed in Action near the South Dublin Union. Forums have him as died of wounds in Belfast. Soldiers Died in the Great War has him as Died which normally means died of natural causes/disease.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission website has him attached to the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (his previous regiment); his medal index card has him attached to the 3rd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. He was a Draft Conducting Officer, tasked with bringing drafts of reinforcements of the Royal Irish Rifles to the theatre of operations. France in his case; his first entry to this theatre being 3rd August 1915. 3rd Royal Irish Rifles were based at Portobello Barracks at the time of the rising.

The British Medical Journal has him as died of heart failure in Belfast following his exertions during the rebellion


His death registration in Belfast gives year of birth as 1839.

He was born in Feb 1847. Baptised in London in Feb 1848. English census records have him born in France. His father was a Physician with a practice in Boulogne (and then later in Dover).

He was an Ensign in October 1866 in the 46th Regiment of Foot, a Lt in the 1871 census, a Captain in the 1881 census, a Major in the 1891 census and a Colonel in the 1901 census. In the 1911 census he was a "retired Colonel of HM Land Forces".

Allatt (written as Allett) is recorded in the 1916 Rebellion Handbook as being involved in the raid on Francis Sheehy-Skeffington's house on the Friday evening with Captain Bowen-Colthurst.



An odd phrase appears in connection with Allatt :

The Military refused to produce others, Colonel Allett had died mysteriously in the interval, according to some he committed suicide in Belfast when Colthurst was condemned, saying, "The game is up."

1966 Insurrection

My aunt Molly (Mary Niland) gave me her copy of the 1966 RTV Guide, a publication listing the various radio and television shows being show in 1966 to mark the 1916 Easter Rising.

A nice write up of the planning and production that took place and a photo of the cover of the RTV Guide can be found at :


The armoured car depicted on the page is a Rolls Royce armoured car which weren't the type used on the streets of Dublin during the Rising  - 7 were ferried across just after the Rising and used in post Rising mop up and Police work. It was one of the improvised armoured lorries built using Guinness lorries and railway smokeboxes that came under attack outside the GPO.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Louis Barron

While researching some Kavanagh's recorded killed during the Easter Rising, I came across an article re Seamus Kavanagh who seemed to have an interesting career with the Fianna and then the Irish Volunteers :


Looking at one of his 2 witness statements, Seamus Kavanagh made reference to a Jewish officer by the name of Lt Barron. Not having come across the name before, it was another tangent to trek off upon....

It would appear that Lt Barron was Lt Louis Barron, a Dublin solicitor from 38 South Circular Road who appears in the witness statements of 2 others :

Gerald Doyle (of interest as Michael Sweeney appears in this witness statement)

Robert Barton

1901 Census

1911 Census

Lt Barron's Medal Index Card shows that he entered France a short time afterwards, 28th June 1916. He appears to have been killed soon after this in July 1916 and is commemorated at The High School and Terenure Synagogue. The Medal Index Card indicates he was commissioned in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in November 1914, transferred to the Border Regiment and attached to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at the time of his death.

He has no known grave but is a name that appears on the Fromelles list where the authorities are looking for DNA samples from relatives :

Herald newspaper 

Western Front Association

From the Internet :

Louis Barron (born on 24th December 1888) was the eldest of six children of Hyman Elias Barron, originally from Lithuania (1861-1915) and Esther Greenberg (1869-1948) from Russia. The family initially lived in Limerick where Louis was born. About 1893 the family moved to Dublin, where his father owned the Munster Furniture Co., at 24 Camden Street. He was a pupil at the High School. They lived on the South Circular Road. He was apprenticed to Michael Noyk, a well-known Republican Solicitor.