Friday, 25 January 2013

Conscripted Irish Volunteers

Following the Easter Rising and the imprisonment of Irish Volunteers in Fron Goch and prisons around the UK (Wakefield, Stafford, Dartmoor), attempts were made by the authorities to find out who was eligible for conscription into the Army.

In his witness statementSeamus Ua Caomhanaigh mentions the Nunan brothers being conscripted along with Pat and George King and Hughie Thornton. Mention is made of them being treated as Conscientious Objectors.

The Conscientious Objector label gets a mention in Ernest Nunans' army file (number 11/6151, 9th Battn London Regiment) but not in the file of his brother John/Sean (number 6256/323184, 6th Battn London Regt). Both appear to have refused to sign attestation papers or to have had medicals; both sentenced to terms in military prisons for refusing to obey lawful orders. Both released 1917. Ernest was charged at Marylebone Police Court under Section 15 of the Reserve Forces Act.

Hugh Thornton (number 32285, 65th Training Battalion) received a military prison sentence for refusing to obey a lawful order. He refused to sign forms and also refused to wear khaki uniform. Conscripted 13/9/1916; discharged 21/12/1916. Thornton gave his home address as that of the Kimmage Garrison while his fathers address was Edgehill. Liverpool. He became Vice O/C 3rd Cork Brigade and was killed in the Civil War. His brother Frank served with Michael Collin's Squad.

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