180 : A black soldier in Dublin, 1916

The rebellion in Dublin at Easter, 1916, was a pivotal moment in Irish history. The declaration of the provisional government of the Irish Republic, the house-to-house fighting between Crown forces and the Irish rebels, the burning of downtown Dublin, and the execution of fifteen ringleaders by the British military are widely known. At least 485 civilians, 63 rebels, 128 soldiers and 3 policemen died. Nearly 2,000 were interned in England.

The Crown forces were Irish regiments, with two English regiments joining them – rushed from England. The Sherwood Foresters had been raised in Derbyshire (military service was voluntary at this stage of the First World War) and came from Nottingham, and the South Staffordshire Regiment’s battalion was raised in Wolverhampton and was stationed to the north of London when orders came to go to Ireland in April 1916. They remained in Dublin into January 1917. One of these infantrymen was black.

He can be seen in a contemporary newsreel, showing prisoners being escorted through central Dublin to the docks and imprisonment in British jails. The metal knot of their cap badge is distinctive. He is the nearest infantryman to the camera.

We do not know anything about this soldier.


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