Appeal for information : 2 British Socialists KIA in 1916

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Appeal for information : 2 British Socialists KIA in 1916

Postby 1968 on Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:03 pm

I am trying to research the lives of two British born socialists who fought and died in the 1916 Easter Rising.

I'm wondering if any readers here can help me and/or forward on this appeal to anyone they think might.


The first is John Neale “a Londoner … with a cockney accent, and a good socialist” (1)(2) who was stationed in the Hotel Metropole garrison under the command of Lieutenant Oscar Traynor and Charles Saurin. Neale acted as lookout, sitting “on the parapet on the top floor, scanning O'Connell Street with a pair of field – glasses” (3). He also allegedly “took 'pot-shots' at nelson's nose on the pillar until Connolly told him to desist.” (4)

During the evacuation of the Metropole, “a carelessly discharged shotgun or a stray British sniper bullet exploded an ammunition pouch (spraying) shrapnel in all directions” (5)(6) injuring volunteers Andy Furlong in the leg, Charles Saurin in the hand and John Neale in the mid region.

Neale’s “lower torso was ripped to shreds” (7), swaying he gasped to his neighbour "Can't you stand away and let a fellow lie down?" (8) He was laid on a pile of mailbags where Traynor asked, "Are you badly hurt?" to which Neale replied wryly, "I'm dying comrade". (9) In one account, Neale died in the “Castle Hospital” (10) while in another, a house in Moore Street (11) both from a severe loss of blood and after the surrender.

The second is Abraham Weekes/Weeks/Wix a Jewish socialist (12) from Norwich (13) .

In email correspondence with Darren Lynch, he has sent me two references to Weekes that he found in his Grandfathers files from research done in the 1940s into those killed in the Rising:

- Arthur "Neill" Weekes ... came over to Dublin with the Kerr brothers and many other Liverpool men to partake in the Rising. He was accidentally shot on Friday the 28th April 1916 as the last of the volunteers were making their way onto Henry Street.

- Arthur Weekes nicknamed "Niall" was from Norwich, Norfolk in the U.K. and was a member of the London Brigade.

Weeks is also named in the 1991 An Phoblact ‘Easter 1916 Roll of Honour’ as an Englishman who died on April 28th 1916 in the ‘GPO area’

Donal Nevin describes an individual who may be Abraham Weeks (or possibly Neale):

"A stranger applied for permission to join the insurgents. He wore an IWW (Wobblies) on his coat. He said he had come over from England hand ad a conscientious objection to fighting for capitalistic and imperialistic governments but that he also had a conscientious objection to being left out of a fight for liberty. This man whose identity is unknown - his name might have been Allen – fought bravely during the week. He was wounded in the excavation of the GPO on Friday and died the following day'" (14)

The intriguing theory now is whether these three (Neale, Weekes, Allen) British socialists could all be the same person. They have all been described as joining the Rising late and being fatally shot during the evacuation of the Metropole/GPO.

Can anyone shed any light on any of these characters or their stories?

===

1. Max Caulfield, Easter Rebellion – Dublin 1916, (1963), 231
2. Neale has also been mentioned in The Irish Times article The Cockneys and Scousers who fought for Ireland in 1916 (March 28, 2005) as “John Neale of the Irish Citizen Army” and a “Cockney member of the Citizen Army” in Donal Nevin’s 'James Connolly, A Full Life' (2005), page 657.
3. Michael Foy and Brian Barton, The Easter Rising (2000), 139-40
4. Joseph E.A. Connell Jr. List of men in the GPO Headquarters Battalion in 'Where's Where in Dublin. A Directory of Historic Locations 1913-23.' (2006), 166
5. Michael Foy and Brian Barton, The Easter Rising (2000), 149-50
6. Caulfield describes the ammunition pouch as being Andy Furlong’s. While Nevin and Good’s, 'Enchanted by Dreams…’ report it has being Neale’s. Coffey doesn’t mention an ammunition pouch but just a “shotgun … (that) sprayed out a cartridgeful of pellets”
7. Foy and Barton, The Easter Rising, 149-50
8. Thomas M. Coffey, Agony at Easter, The 1916 Irish Uprising (1969), 212
9. Max Caulfield, The Easter Rebellion - Dublin 1916 (1963), 327
10. Foy and Barton, The Easter Rising, 267
11. Joe Good, Enchanted by Dreams: The Journal of a Revolutionary (1962), 72
12. The Irish Worker (No.43. Saturday, May 3rd 1924) - “A. Weeks, a Jewish comrade who joined on Easter Monday and died in action”
13. Padraic O'Farrell, Who's Who in the Irish War of Independence and Civil War (1916-23), (2nd Edition, 1997) - WEEKES, A,. Norwich, England, 28-4-1916.
14. Nevin, James Connolly: A Full Life. 646
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Re: Appeal for information : 2 British Socialists KIA in 1916

Postby bannerman on Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:30 pm

Hello 1968,

Kudos on the research into an intrigueing subject. Have you looked at The Bureau Of Military History Witness statements which are held in both the Irish Military Archives at Cathal Brugha Barracks and the National Archives in Bishop St. Dublin? Though they are an oral testimony taken from veterans and should be used with some caution - however this not withstanding they are a mine of information and detail.

Seeing as how both of these men were apparently killed in 1916, you should try and get in contact with Professor Eunan O Halpin and Dr. Daithi O Corrain who are both working on a book called "The Dead of The Irish Revolution" (Yale Press Forthcoming) its due out November 2010 or early 2011 and will give a short biography and details of the deaths of everyone killed in the Irish Revolution from 1916 to the end of 1922. Seeing as how both men were socialists its also worth talking to Manus O Riordan and Ann Mathews two great Dublin based historians who to mind any way would be the best authorithies on the Irish Citizen Army. Finally you should trying writing to Mick O Farrell C/O Mercier Press Cork authour of the thouroughly recommended book "50 Things You Didnt Know About 1916."

Its interesting to note that a Russian named Antli Makanaltis, whose Profession is listed as seaman and whose address is simply given as Belfast was interned as a suspected republican rebel after the Rising and held in Richmond Barracks Dublin before being transferred to Knotsford Prison in Britain on May 3rd 1916.

With regard to Jews in the IRA there was Michael Noyck (Spelling?) a Dublin Lawyer who was involved with the IRA in the War of Independence and Bob Briscoe who was involved in smuggling arms from Germany to Waterford for the IRA at the same time with Charlie Mc Guinness on board the Anita.


Id be very interested in hearing more about what you are working on and if you are planning publication. If i can be of any further assistance please e-mail ma at padraigoruairc@gmail.com

Thats it for now
Slan Tamaill
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http://www.warofindependence.net/

"Is doigh linn gur mor iad na daoine mora mar atamuid fein ar ar nglunaibh. - Eirimis!!!"
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Re: Appeal for information : 2 British Socialists KIA in 1916

Postby 1968 on Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:05 am

bannerman wrote:Hello 1968,

Kudos on the research into an intrigueing subject. Have you looked at The Bureau Of Military History Witness statements which are held in both the Irish Military Archives at Cathal Brugha Barracks and the National Archives in Bishop St. Dublin? Though they are an oral testimony taken from veterans and should be used with some caution - however this not withstanding they are a mine of information and detail.

Seeing as how both of these men were apparently killed in 1916, you should try and get in contact with Professor Eunan O Halpin and Dr. Daithi O Corrain who are both working on a book called "The Dead of The Irish Revolution" (Yale Press Forthcoming) its due out November 2010 or early 2011 and will give a short biography and details of the deaths of everyone killed in the Irish Revolution from 1916 to the end of 1922. Seeing as how both men were socialists its also worth talking to Manus O Riordan and Ann Mathews two great Dublin based historians who to mind any way would be the best authorithies on the Irish Citizen Army. Finally you should trying writing to Mick O Farrell C/O Mercier Press Cork authour of the thouroughly recommended book "50 Things You Didnt Know About 1916."

Its interesting to note that a Russian named Antli Makanaltis, whose Profession is listed as seaman and whose address is simply given as Belfast was interned as a suspected republican rebel after the Rising and held in Richmond Barracks Dublin before being transferred to Knotsford Prison in Britain on May 3rd 1916.

With regard to Jews in the IRA there was Michael Noyck (Spelling?) a Dublin Lawyer who was involved with the IRA in the War of Independence and Bob Briscoe who was involved in smuggling arms from Germany to Waterford for the IRA at the same time with Charlie Mc Guinness on board the Anita.


Id be very interested in hearing more about what you are working on and if you are planning publication. If i can be of any further assistance please e-mail ma at padraigoruairc@gmail.com

Thats it for now
Slan Tamaill
Padraig Og O Ruairc


Thanks very much for your informative reply Padraig.

I haven't yet looked the Bureau Of Military History Witness statements. It is my next port of call.

Thanks for the heads up. I've just sent an email to both Eunan and Daithi.

I've been in contact with Manus and unfortunately he knows nothing more about either of the individuals. The same with Ann. Seeing as we can presume that they were both living/working in England and only traveled over to Dublin for the rising, their information won't be in any official ICA membership lists etc..

Great suggestion re: Mick O Farrell. Will try to get hold of a contact for him.

--

More, in terms of other ''international'' connections to the Rising.

In Frank Robbins biography (p.64), ''Under the Starry Plough'', he speaks of a I.C.A man called 'Hughs' who was ''reputed to have had experience in a South American revolution''.

In 'Dublin 1916'' by Roger McHugh (p.197), there are mentions of ''two seafaring men - a Fin and a Swede'' who fought on the roof of the G.P.O.

In 'Agony at Easter, The 1916 Irish Uprising' by Thomas M. Coffey, there is a fairly detailed account of a wounded volunteer in the G.P.O who couldn't communicate with a medic as he ''spoke no english - only spanish''.

Plus, in Joe Good's memoir (Enchanted by Dreams: The Journal of a Revolutionary [Written in 1962]) he writes that a volunteer called Peadar Bracken ''had seen action in South America - or so i had heard'' (p.29)

On p.40/1, he says that he was ''to learn later that we had some very curious European allies; two Swedish sailors and one Spaniard were manning guns in the GPO, though the story going the round was that the Swedes had offered to fight only until Thursday - when their boat was due to sail''
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Re: Appeal for information : 2 British Socialists KIA in 1916

Postby bannerman on Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:43 pm

We meet again 1968!


In 'Dublin 1916'' by Roger McHugh (p.197), there are mentions of ''two seafaring men - a Fin and a Swede'' who fought on the roof of the G.P.O.



The Russian prisoner - Antli Makanaltis, whose profession is listed as seaman - may in fact be the Fin mentioned above Wasnt Finland ruled by Tzarist Russia at the time or at least in the fledgling stages of an independence struggle? If so then isnt it logical that a British Officer would have listed his as Russian rather than Finnish

I've been in contact with Manus and unfortunately he knows nothing more about either of the individuals. The same with Ann. Seeing as we can presume that they were both living/working in England and only traveled over to Dublin for the rising, their information won't be in any official ICA membership lists etc..


I believe it was fairly common for men Irish men with republican / nationalist sympathies living in Britain to return to Ireland immediately before the rising as they feared conscription. Many of them who were already members of the IRB or the Irish Volunteers were sheltered at Larkfield house in Kimmage which was then owned / or at least rented by the Plunkett family where they were busily employed making ammunition, pikes, explosives etc for the rising. Many of these new arrivals from England were nicknamed the "Liverpool Lambs" or "Refugees" (See Geraldine Plunkett Dillon - "All In The Blood") Many of these men were sought out when held in Frongoch Internment Camp in Wales for avoiding conscription. I dont think its inconcieveable that more than one British socialist opposed to the war would have skipped to Ireland to avoid conscription and ended up in the ICA.

You might also try the O Malley Papers in The UCD Archives as an aditional resource - that is if you can read O Malleys handwriting!!!

If you can let me know by PM or otherwise the specific topic your researching I might be able to point you to other resources.

Generally however Id advise you to look at the book "The Impact Of The 1916 Rising Among The Nations" Edited by Ruan O Donnell. It has a chapter by Ann Mathews on the ICA and Another by Mairtinh O Cathain on Scottish republicans in 1916, and finally one by David Granville on The British Labour Movement and 1916. Ive come across a fair few mentions of Welsh men joining or at least attempting to join the ICA after 1916. Presumably this was due to Jack Whites Influence who had been a socialist and trade union organiser amongst Welsh miners until his arrest in April 1919.

On the British side the book "Anzac's and Ireland" has a chapter about Australians and Newzealanders involvement in supressing the 1916 Rising, I Believe there were also a few canadians here at the time who helped fight the republicans. A rifle used by these Canadian soldiers in Dublin 1916 is currently on display in the National Museum Collins barracks.

Finally just on a note to get you thinking - if you take a look at the RIC register in Kew London covering late 1919 -1921 you will find men of all nationalities who enlisted in the Black and Tans including Australian, Canadian (Including French Canadian), American a number of Russians (Presumably White Russian Refugees from the Russian Civil War in which Britain was fighting at the time) and a number of Black and Tans who were listed as "Born At Sea". James Durney's book "on the one road" also mentions a Mexican Black and Tan who was stationed in Naas.


Very Little about the 1916 - 1923 period is capable of surprising me at this stage!
Sin e don am seo
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