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Irish Nationalists in British Army?

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    Posted: 22 Jul 2009 at 22:31
..hello...
 
...i would like to find out a little bit more about the aspect of this thead title....please forgive any mistakes or assumptions i make about Irish history during this era, i am certainly no authority so any generalisations or historical errors is out of pure ignorance rather than anything malicious...
 
Anyway....i was watching 'Who Do You Think You Are' tonight and one of the family members traced was an Irish Nationlist who, prior to WWI, was an instructor in a volunteer force raised to combat those Protestant Unionists opposed to home rule...however, as you are most aware, WWI broke out and home rule was put on hold...however, this led to the instructor enlisting in the British Army to fight against Germany...the programmes featured celebrity raised the question why a Nationalist would go to fight in the British Army...??
 
...a historian gave a number of reasons why this might have occured...the most important reason given, i believe, was the impression  that once WWI was over, an Irish contribution to victory would 'ensure' home rule would happen..the expectation being Irish military aid would be rewarded by some form of independence...??...this i can understand, but was it really that simple?...i still cannot fully accept that Irishmen would be willing to put their lives in danger for a government who had yet to fully promise such a 'reward' or am i wrong here?..maybe it was that simple...?...another reason put forward was during times of hardship, it was very easy to take the King's shilling to help provide for the family?... it was suggested that there was no 'real conflict' of interest between a Nationalist fighting in the British Army??....it just all sounded a bit too twee and convenient to me....there must be more to this topic..i can't imagine that 10's of 1000's of Irish would gamely go to war for the British just because they 'thought' they would get home rule....
 
..i would like to read anything members can offer about this subject....i don't really have time to read book recommendations and the like, just some well-informed opinions or stories or better explained reasons.....thanks in advance...
 
..all the best....AoO... 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jul 2009 at 23:28
Hi AoO,

This is a subject I'm very much interested in. I'll break it into coherent bulletpoints:

1) The Irish 'Revolution' is largely regarded to have lasted between 1913-1923. These years are significant because the Ulster Volunteers were formed in 1913 to oppose Home Rule. As a result, the Irish volunteers were formed to back Home Rule. The Easter Rising happened in 1916 and the Anglo irish war broke out in 1919. Finally, the Civil war finished off the Revolution in 1922, leaving a legacy of bloodshed but also a legacy of democratic politics within an autonomous state, which eventually went on to become an independent Republic.

A small group of dedicated Republicans were already members of the Irish Republican brotherhood (IRB) These men infiltrated the Home Rule movement and the Irish volunteers in several different capacities. They numbered maybe 2-3,000 individuals and they were influential in all manner of cultural groups - such as the Gaelic League, who were a very important group who helped spread the Gaelic language and Gaelic culture, which was in revival at this time and the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) A sports group which emerged a number of years before to bring back the ancient Gaelic games of hurling and Gaelic football.

While these men were influential in these very important cultural associations, their influence in the constitutional nationalist movement was very limited - I'll get back to this later.

2) As you already know, Home Rule was on the cards in 1914 and was about to be introduced only for the outbreak of WWI. Unfortunately for the British relationship with Ireland, the war was not going to end in Christmas as many assumed but would drag on and claim 30,000 Irish lives.

3) Within the nationalist movement in 1914 there were two groups. One group, by far the larger, supported John Redmond and the Home Rule party and enlisted in the British army. (not sure of the figures but it was 100,000 +) These men were members of the volunteers and their group was re-named 'the National volunteers'. Redmond whollely bought into the idea that if Irish nationalists declared their loyalty to the Empire in such a way then Home Rule, with a possible Ulster settlement would be introduced immediately after the war. before this the great sticking point was Ulster (Isn't it always? Ouch) Redmond hoped that if the Volunteers participated in the war with great enthusiasm then Unionist leaders would become reconciled with the idea of a United Ireland underneath an Imperial parliament, pretty much the way it had been before 1801 and the Act of Union.

The other, very small group (numbering maybe 8,000 men) refused to fight the war and remained in their organisation, the Irish Volunteers. They chose as their leader the great scholar and level headed intellectual, Eoin Mac Neill, a great exemplar of cultural Gaelicism and moderation. However, within the movement were the IRB infiltrators who now dominated the military council of the Volunteers. Mc Neill was a moderate, an all round Irish patriot, and he tried to call of the Easter Rising in 1916 which had been masterminded by a group of warrior poets religiously devoted to the Republican cause.

4) 1916 was the ultimate random revolutionary engagement - it came out of absolutely nowhere. Its initial reaction was one of outrage - the volunteers were pegged with rotten fruit by Dublin civilians when the weeks fighting had concluded. However, as W.B. Yeats put is so eloquently - 'All changed, changed utterly, a terrible beauty is born'. Ireland changed irrevocably from this moment on. Constitutional nationalism was discredited in 1918 with the conscription crisis and Sinn Fein, the Republican political movement was the most powerful force in the country.

5) It is therefore easy to see how an irish nationalist would have fought and died in the British army in WWI - Ireland was a radically different place in 1914 than it was in 1918.

Hope this makes sense - I'm afraid I'm after 5 pints of Guiness and am half cut!


Edited by Parnell - 22 Jul 2009 at 23:44
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jul 2009 at 23:37
P.S- that was mean to be 'Sinn Fein', a group I'm pretty sure that you, who would have watched the news between 1960 -> would be very familiar with.

P.P.S- If you want any book reccomendations just ask. This is one period of Irish history that is exceptionally well written about. The reason for this is that most pre-1920 sources were destroyed in 1922 when the Free State blew up the Public Records office in the first day of the Irish Civil War. As a result, Irish historians have obsessed over this 'revolution'.

Though it is possible to write a history of events beforehand, it does largely revolve around personal diaries and a few state papers based in London - thousands of Irish documents were destroyed on that terrible day :(
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Act of Oblivion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jul 2009 at 23:41
..blimey....thanks for this Parnell...i will have a good read now....in the meantime, half cut on only 5 pints of the black stuff eh??..so, ten pints and yer off yer trolley!!!Clap
 
..thanks again, i will get reading...
 
..all the best..AoO...


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...


Edited by Parnell - 23 Jul 2009 at 21:28
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Act of Oblivion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2009 at 00:22
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:


2) As you already know, Home Rule was on the cards in 1914 and was about to be introduced only for the outbreak of WWI. Unfortunately for the British relationship with Ireland, the war was not going to end in Christmas as many assumed but would drag on and claim 30,000 Irish lives.
 
..ah yes, that is a very good point....i guess the Nationalists must have shared that sense of optimism regarding a quick victory on the continent, and as such, must have presumed that Home Rule must be just around the corner if only they could just get the matter of Germany out of the way first...i was kinda looking in hindsight regarding the matter of deaths suffered by the Nationalist volunteers in the British Army...that was wrong of me, they would have no indictation that the war would result in the manner we now know...
 
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:


3) Within the nationalist movement in 1914 there were two groups. One group, by far the larger, supported John Redmond and the Home Rule party and enlisted in the British army. (not sure of the figures but it was 100,000 +) These men were members of the volunteers and their group was re-named 'the National volunteers'. Redmond whollely bought into the idea that if Irish nationalists declared their loyalty to the Empire in such a way then Home Rule, with a possible Ulster settlement would be introduced immediately after the war. before this the great sticking point was Ulster (Isn't it always? Ouch) Redmond hoped that if the Volunteers participated in the war with great enthusiasm then Unionist leaders would become reconciled with the idea of a United Ireland underneath an Imperial parliament, pretty much the way it had been before 1801 and the Act of Union.
 
..yes, Redmond was mentioned and the historian stated that it was 100-150,000 men who enlisted....so, there was a genuine belief among  this group that a settlement would be forthcoming but for the war.....i can accept that, but given the 'prize' at stake, i still find it difficult to comprehend that so many would volunteer on this issue...given the political difficulties with London and the Unionists, i am amazed that there would have been that amount of Irish 'trust' in this particular political arena....very interesting and in a way, quite poignant....the conviction is to be admired i suppose...Redmond must have been some kind of leadership figure to inspire this kind of mass enlistment...??
 
..thanks for the this information Parnell..this was  interesting....my only experience of such politics was when i worked for two Irish civil engineering firms for a number of years, it was laying electric cables and was hard manual labour...its a bit of a tale, but bare with me....
 
....i was in my late teens and i was working alongside what i would call, yer traditional Irish navvy, old boys with a lot of history (and yes, they did wear suits to work until they fell apart and then they would buy another!!)and being the only Englishman in the gang, i certainly got given a lesson in life...i will never forget this...i was told by one fella (called Pious) to "never talk politics, do yer graft, and yer be fine lad"...the thing was, after a while, i realised there were a mixture of Republicans and Unionists but as long as everyone pulled their weight with the work, there was never any trouble..one memory that remains was the fact that i never once saw any of these chaps eat anything (not like me with a flask of tea and my sandwiches!)..but by God, these navvy's could sniff out a pub no matter where we were working...consequently, afternoons were a bit of a casual affair!!...i went once to the pub one dinner time, but after that, they kinda respected the fact that i was fit for nothing after 10 pints....
 
...i never really got to grips with this strange combination of politics and working life...it was quite disconcerting sometimes...one time i remember working on a 'private' job with the supervisor whose name i shall never forget (Patrick Moriarty)..it was in London and after we had finished, i was paid with two £50 pound notes and 'told' we were going for a drink..i sat in the back of the van while Pat drove around some streets in London until we pulled up at this pub...he told me that even though i was English, i will be fine..."just do not refuse a drink if it is offered"....we went in and the place was littered with hard looking types and the place was covered in Republican imagery, flags, pictures etc...i was only 19, and i was a wee bit nervous...however, while at the bar, a pint was placed in front of me by the barman "from the chap at the end of the bar"...i did not know anyone in the pub but Patrick was obviously well-known and popular...to this day, i have no idea where this pub was as after a long evenings drinking, i was practically carried out of the pub and into the back of the van, pissed as a fart, and get this...i still had my £100!!!...no one would take a drink off me!!..the beer all came from blokes i had never met in my life or have never seen again...i think its because, even though i was English, i was young and i was, without boasting, a damn hard worker and boy could i dig!!!...there you go then, my only experiences of the Irish....


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Act of Oblivion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2009 at 00:25
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

P.P.S- If you want any book reccomendations just ask.
 
...i know i said that i would not have time for books but if there is one good, solid, stand-alone text you could recommend, i would be very grateful...i will at some point, make time for it...Cheers...Beer


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2009 at 12:33
A propos you might like to read Shaw's one-act play O'Flaherty V.C. , the full text of which is at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3484/3484-h/3484-h.htm
 
Extract from his preface:
Originally posted by George Bernard Shaw George Bernard Shaw wrote:

I need hardly say that a play thus carefully adapted to its purpose was voted utterly inadmissible; and in due course the British Government, frightened out of its wits for the moment by the rout of the Fifth Army, ordained Irish Conscription, and then did not dare to go through with it. I still think my own line was the more businesslike. But during the war everyone except the soldiers at the front imagined that nothing but an extreme assertion of our most passionate prejudices, without the smallest regard to their effect on others, could win the war. Finally the British blockade won the war; but the wonder is that the British blockhead did not lose it. I suppose the enemy was no wiser. War is not a sharpener of wits; and I am afraid I gave great offence by keeping my head in this matter of Irish recruiting. What can I do but apologize, and publish the play now that it can no longer do any good?



Edited by gcle2003 - 23 Jul 2009 at 12:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Act of Oblivion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2009 at 14:18
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

A propos you might like to read Shaw's one-act play O'Flaherty V.C. , the full text of which is at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3484/3484-h/3484-h.htm
 
 
..thank you for the link GC, that was certainly an interesting view of a British and Irish mentality regarding enlistment...
 
..this bit of the introduction stood out for sure...
 
"The British officer seldom likes Irish soldiers; but he always tries to have a certain proportion of them in his battalion, because, partly from a want of common sense which leads them to value their lives less than Englishmen do [lives are really less worth living in a poor country], and partly because even the most cowardly Irishman feels obliged to outdo an Englishman in bravery if possible, and at least to set a perilous pace for him, Irish soldiers give impetus to those military operations which require for their spirited execution more devilment than prudence."
...i noted that Shaw observes that some Irish were willing to enlist in a spirit of 'adventurism', 'escapism' or even a 'holiday'..??......some..."were willing enough to go soldiering on the side of France and see the world outside Ireland, which is a dull place to live in."...."No one will ever know how many men joined the army in 1914 and 1915 to escape from tyrants and taskmasters, termagants and shrews, none of whom are any the less irksome when they happen by ill-luck to be also our fathers, our mothers, our wives and our children. Even at their amiablest, a holiday from them may be a tempting change for all parties."...
 
....thought provoking observations from a different perspective....thanks again GC...
 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2009 at 16:58
Some minor points:

First, and Parnell certainly alludes on this; Being an Irish Nationalist in 1914 did not necessarily mean being anti-British. Within my father's family, which included some really radical nationalists in the 1970's/80's, those who left Ireland prior to 1914 tended to respect "British institutions".

Second: If you were (are) an Irish Nationalist and wanted to learn the profession of arms, who would your turn to? You can find that answer in the Foreign Legion, some U.S. court cases involving IRA members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the British Army. The Regular British Army once had a fair number of Irish battalions (regiments) on their rolls. You could enlist if you were of Irish descent, and in 1969-70, 93% of the "Royal Irish Rangers" were Catholics from the Republic. (Their infantry roll is now down to a single Irish Regt, the RIR. I assume there are still Irish Guards)

Finally, regarding the 1970's and 80's, I was told by a British SAS officer (named "Mick") that the IRA Provos were advising some young prospects to first enlist in the Legion, British, or U.S. Armies to gain a modicum of military skills before returning to Ireland for the fight.

Parnell; Why not the "Forca"/IrDeFor as a training ground? An Irish American officer who served a 1980s tour with the U.N. in Lebanon sadly informed me that the "Irishbat" there was great for a drink, but appallingly poor as soldiers. He left Lebanon with the opinion that the Irish were the "greatest soldiers in the world ... in every Army but our own". (By his "own", he meant Irish. Obviously growing up in Chicago had effected his viewpoint.) 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2009 at 21:25
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..yes, Redmond was mentioned and the historian stated that it was 100-150,000 men who enlisted....so, there was a genuine belief among  this group that a settlement would be forthcoming but for the war.....i can accept that, but given the 'prize' at stake, i still find it difficult to comprehend that so many would volunteer on this issue...given the political difficulties with London and the Unionists, i am amazed that there would have been that amount of Irish 'trust' in this particular political arena....very interesting and in a way, quite poignant....the conviction is to be admired i suppose...Redmond must have been some kind of leadership figure to inspire this kind of mass enlistment...??
 


Redmond was far from being a charismatic political leader - Charles Stewart Parnell he was not. What he was good at was commanding authority. Redmond effectively re-united the Home Rule movement following its scandalous division in 1891. While it is certain that his endorsement of the war effort led to it attaining respectability amongst Irish nationalists, there is also a lot to be said for the adventure aspect as well as the prospect of earning the Kings shilling.

This also raises the question of what made an Irish nationalist an Irish nationalist? The very term itself changed dramatically post 1916. The effort to attain a fully independent Republic greatly transformed the very notion of Irish nationality. In 1914 being an Irish nationalist simply meant being in favour of the Gaelic revival of the arts, language and sports as well as being in favour of some degree of political autonomy within the Empire. Following 1916 it meant a religious devotion towards the idea of an independent Irish Republic, with all the mystic Gaelic nonsense of the likes of Padraig Pearse in tow.

In terms of books... Now that I think about it, thats a very good question. There are no major 'surveys' on the Revolution, due to the fact that an attempt to draw up a straight forward narrative is exceedingly difficult, given the complexities of Irish Nationalist/Republican politics post 1916. Michael Hopkinson wrote a brilliant narrative of the Irish Civil War, which did a great deal towards the noble attempt to make sense of that senseless carnage. He also wrote a narrative of the War of Independence in 2002, rather unimaginatively called 'The Irish War of Independence'. This book failed for the reasons already mentioned but its still a rather interesting read.

The specialist studies are so vast that I don't think I'd have enough space to mention them all. A book by a British historian, Charles Townshend, might be of interest to you though. Its called 'Political Violence in Ireland' and it traces the origins of revolutionary political violence from the 1867 fenian rebellion right down to the Northern Irish troubles. That might help make sense of this whole thing.

(P.S- Enjoyed the anecdote BTW Big smile)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Act of Oblivion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2009 at 01:39
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

 
The specialist studies are so vast that I don't think I'd have enough space to mention them all. A book by a British historian, Charles Townshend, might be of interest to you though. Its called 'Political Violence in Ireland' and it traces the origins of revolutionary political violence from the 1867 fenian rebellion right down to the Northern Irish troubles. That might help make sense of this whole thing.

....thanks for the recommendations...i will try to track down Townshend's book on Amazon and add to my (long!!) reading list...once again, thanks to you all for the information on my questions...i have now, some insight into the issues at hand and i am sure once i have read a little bit more, the interest will remain...Cheers...
 
..all the best..AoO...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nuvolari Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2009 at 12:44
The size and scope of the very well informed replies to this thread do make the reading of it a somewhat offputting business.  However, I would make the following responses.
 
1.  It is not unknown for Englishmen to both serve in and support even quite extreme Irish nationalist factions.
 
2.  Equally, the flight of the "Wild Geese" has long benefitted the enemies of England, up to and including World War Two, where many Irishmen fought for the Nazis. I well understand the old adage of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend", but that is taking that view a tad too far, as is the enlistment of the Wild Geese in virtually ALL of the French wars under Louis the 14th., where they fought with the French against practically every other European nation, and for well over 100 years.
 
3. Nobody can dispute the honourable intentions of the many thousands of Irishmen who have served , fought and died whilst in the British army, but it must be said that some enlist for nefarious purposes, such as how to learn to use both weapons and explosives to later benefit those same Irish factions. The knowledge they also gain as to the location of armouries and arsenals  again proves to be yet another extremely useful factor to them.
 
END
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2009 at 13:17
Originally posted by nuvolari nuvolari wrote:

The size and scope of the very well informed replies to this thread do make the reading of it a somewhat offputting business.  However, I would make the following responses.
 
1.  It is not unknown for Englishmen to both serve in and support even quite extreme Irish nationalist factions.


Just think of Erskine Childers, an Englishman who wrote the worlds first great spy novel, 'The Riddle of the Sands', warning of an impending German invasion of his beloved homeland, England. That was in 1903.

In 1922 he was fighting on the Republican side against the Free State government in the Civil War.

Quote
2.  Equally, the flight of the "Wild Geese" has long benefitted the enemies of England, up to and including World War Two, where many Irishmen fought for the Nazis. I well understand the old adage of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend", but that is taking that view a tad too far, as is the enlistment of the Wild Geese in virtually ALL of the French wars under Louis the 14th., where they fought with the French against practically every other European nation, and for well over 100 years.


Can you please provide some statistics of Irishmen serving under the Nazi's? While it is clear that the extremist group, the IRA, were in contact with Nazi's and did bomb British targets during the war, their actions were of a miniscule character and not in any way representative of the Irish people. Hell, thousands of Irishmen served on the British side during the war.

I'm unaware of any significant number of Irishmen fighting alongside the Nazi's in WWII. (Though what you say about the Wild Geese is absolutely true. The Irish were always regarded as fine warriors, just as long as they weren't fighting on their island or against the British. There were so many Irish officers in the French army down the generations that we'd loose count. The first president of the third French Republic was of Irish descent, Marshall Mac Mahon.)
 
Quote
3. Nobody can dispute the honourable intentions of the many thousands of Irishmen who have served , fought and died whilst in the British army, but it must be said that some enlist for nefarious purposes, such as how to learn to use both weapons and explosives to later benefit those same Irish factions. The knowledge they also gain as to the location of armouries and arsenals  again proves to be yet another extremely useful factor to them.
 
END


Again, thats something I would dispute. Few Irishmen fought on the British side in WWI in order to learn military skills. The greatest example of an irishman in the British army during WWI was Tom Barry - who only converted to Republicanism after learning of the Easter Rising while serving in Mesoptamia. Methinks this constitutes sheer sensationalism to make such a statement while not providing any coherent examples.

On another note, Irish men and women are still signing up to serve in the British army. Many young people who don't get in to the Irish army apply to the British army every year to serve in some of the old Irish batallions. Its not a huge number by any means but I remember reading an article about it in the Irish Times earlier in the year.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nuvolari Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2009 at 15:21
In addition to Childers, another Englishman that springs to mind who served with Irish Nationalist forces ( I am not sure if the IRA qualifies for the title "forces" , since they are a proscribed terrorist group ) was Sean MacStiofan, whose real name was John Stephenson.
Also, what nationality was Wolfe Tone ?  Was he not English ?
Since I am unable to offer any specific evidence to support my contention that Irishmen served in numbers with the Nazis in WW2, I withdraw that comment until such time as I can submit same. No offence intended.
I had not realised that this thread pertains to the WW1 period, and made my claim about Irishmen joining the British army to learn about weaponry based rather more on a later period, notably WW2.
Apart from the fact that I seem to have made a bit of a pig's ear re my response ( probably largely because this is my first sober Friday lunchtime since I last sucked on me Mammie's nipple ), I have no wish to offend you, Parnell, a man whose loyalties are well indicated by his choice of pen name, and who deserves better than than to have an ignorant Englishman expound on a subject of which his knowledge is dwarfed by your own.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2009 at 16:18
Parnell doesn't mention it, but Childers was executed during the Civil War by the Free State forces (more moderate) when working, at least allegedly, for the IRA (extremists) in their opposition to the establishment of the Free State.
 
His son, another Erskine Childers, later became President of Ireland.
 
Wolfe Tone was born in Dublin, and therefore Irish, though his family were  members of the Protestant Ascendancy. In his day the equation of nationalism with Roman Catholicism was nothing like as clearcut as it became later. Tone was sentenced to death by the English (or British, or rest of the British, depending how you feel) but commited suicide before the sentence was carried out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2009 at 17:19
Originally posted by nuvolari nuvolari wrote:

In addition to Childers, another Englishman that springs to mind who served with Irish Nationalist forces ( I am not sure if the IRA qualifies for the title "forces" , since they are a proscribed terrorist group ) was Sean MacStiofan, whose real name was John Stephenson.
Also, what nationality was Wolfe Tone ?  Was he not English ?
Since I am unable to offer any specific evidence to support my contention that Irishmen served in numbers with the Nazis in WW2, I withdraw that comment until such time as I can submit same. No offence intended.
I had not realised that this thread pertains to the WW1 period, and made my claim about Irishmen joining the British army to learn about weaponry based rather more on a later period, notably WW2.
Apart from the fact that I seem to have made a bit of a pig's ear re my response ( probably largely because this is my first sober Friday lunchtime since I last sucked on me Mammie's nipple ), I have no wish to offend you, Parnell, a man whose loyalties are well indicated by his choice of pen name, and who deserves better than than to have an ignorant Englishman expound on a subject of which his knowledge is dwarfed by your own.


Don't worry about it, wasn't offended. A little bombastic. Big difference... I enjoy our spats Nuvolari!

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Childers role in the Civil war was always exaggerated by the Free State and the British. Churchill was said to have been exceedingly happy upon learning of his execution by the Free State for possessing a gun given to him by Michael Collins!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2009 at 17:24
Quote Wolfe Tone was born in Dublin, and therefore Irish, though his family were  members of the Protestant Ascendancy. In his day the equation of nationalism with Roman Catholicism was nothing like as clearcut as it became later. Tone was sentenced to death by the English (or British, or rest of the British, depending how you feel) but commited suicide before the sentence was carried out.


How enlightened Tone and the United Irishmen were - Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian united in the interests of creating an independent Irish Republic off the American and French model. That is one part of Irish history I can't help but feel intensely emotionally attached to.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2014 at 03:17
Act of Oblivion wrote: "WWI broke out and home rule was put on hold."
 
Hardly, the Easter Rising of 1916 was the largest attempt at self determination that the Irish had participated in for generations.
 
It was this rebellion which led to the Civil War in Ireland, and ultimately the partition of Ireland into the Irish Republic, and the British held Northern Ireland.
 
But I think the two factors which may have inspired Irish Nationalists to fight for the British in WWI could have been:
 
a. An overall distaste for the way in which Germany was running rampant in Europe, and fearing the if England fell, Ireland would become a German target: and
 
b. The hope that a greatful Britain might relinquish control of Ireland.
 
Of course, there could well be a host of reasons why individuals signed up, not the least being an income of sorts.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Kevinmeath Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Mar 2014 at 21:37
The Easter Rising was a comparatively small affair compared to those Irishmen who served in the British army. The Majority of volunteers elected to support the war effort with only a minority electing not to do so.

Of this minority a small fraction actually supported the Rising and some had to be tricked into joining.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Mar 2014 at 02:07
My grandparents talked about a cousin who served in the British Army, and how proud his mother was of a studio photo of him (apparently colorized) wearing his red coat. I presume he was with the Irish Guards. In any event, not being Irish myself, I still did some reading on the Easter rebellion, and my impression was that at the time Dev and the lads took over the post office, the great majority of Irish were angered by their action. However, the British response turned that anger to sympathy and generated the catalyst that pushed a great many latent Irish nationalists over the line and into action.

IIRC, there was also a lot of anti-German propaganda concerning supposed rapes of Belgian nuns, etc, that would have inflamed Irish opinion against Germany. And that too must have had its effect.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Mar 2014 at 03:46
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

My grandparents talked about a cousin who served in the British Army, and how proud his mother was of a studio photo of him (apparently colorized) wearing his red coat. I presume he was with the Irish Guards. In any event, not being Irish myself, I still did some reading on the Easter rebellion, and my impression was that at the time Dev and the lads took over the post office, the great majority of Irish were angered by their action. However, the British response turned that anger to sympathy and generated the catalyst that pushed a great many latent Irish nationalists over the line and into action.

IIRC, there was also a lot of anti-German propaganda concerning supposed rapes of Belgian nuns, etc, that would have inflamed Irish opinion against Germany. And that too must have had its effect.
 
 
Yes, obviously it was a very personal thing, and on the grand scale of things, the Easter Rising was a small affair compared to WWI, I agree.
 
But for Irish Nationalism, it was to be a deciding factor, although the Rising ultimately failed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Mar 2014 at 19:08
Toyomotor, Yes. Here's a random thought: 

Perhaps the drive for independence in Ireland was fueled far more by "Irishness" than "Irish Nationalism". I.e., that which everyone in Ireland recognized as making all Irish "Irish", rather than the political definitions of what Ireland should be as enshrined in the various party platforms.

And if that is true and still holds, The U.K. may be in for a shock regarding Scotland.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2014 at 01:41
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Toyomotor, Yes. Here's a random thought: 

Perhaps the drive for independence in Ireland was fueled far more by "Irishness" than "Irish Nationalism". I.e., that which everyone in Ireland recognized as making all Irish "Irish", rather than the political definitions of what Ireland should be as enshrined in the various party platforms.

And if that is true and still holds, The U.K. may be in for a shock regarding Scotland.
 
 
I couldn't agree more.
 
If Scotland decides to become an independent nation, that could give the Welsh movement sufficient impetus to go the same way.
 
In our lifetime we could see the United Kingdom dissolved.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kevinmeath Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jul 2014 at 19:34
Taken from "The Emperor's Irish Slaves" by Robert Widders

"... Some came from strongly Republican backgrounds. POW Frank McGee from Carrick -on-Shannon, was brought up in a house given to his father as part of his pension for services to the Republican cause. After the war. Frank McGee would sometimes be asked why he and his nine brothers enlisted in the British Army. McGee would give the enigmatic, and wonderfully Irish ,answer that 'the English are our enemies and nobody else is allowed to fight them'. "
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