Categories
Uncategorized

‘Irishmen to Arms’: The Irish response in the North East of England to the Great War, 1914-1918.

[Note: This post was originally given as a paper at the ‘Minorities and the First World War’ conference organised in 2014 by the University of Chester. Some small changes have been made to the text.]

In June 1897, the annual convention of the Irish National League of Great Britain met in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall under the chairmanship of T. P. O’Connor, Nationalist MP for Liverpool’s Scotland division. Some 200 delegates attended, including representatives of INLGB branches in Consett, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Newcastle, Stockton, Sunderland and Wallsend. Under discussion were the enduring demands for Irish Home Rule, Catholic education, and an amnesty for all Irish political prisoners, but, in addition, the delegates agreed to boycott celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, after Councillor J. G. Taggart from Liverpool had argued that the Irish had ‘nothing to rejoice at, as her reign in Ireland has been marked by oppression, starvation, and deportation’.[1]

Two years later, during the Second Anglo-Boer War, Irish nationalists across the diaspora openly supported the Boers, with John Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, describing the war as ‘an unjust and shameful war’ against a ‘gallant little Republic’.[2]

Little wonder then that the Irish in Britain were seen as disloyal.

The Irish in the North East of England

Irish migrants had first begun to settle in Britain in numbers in the Eighteenth Century, and they were, until 1945, the largest ethnic group in Britain.[3] Irish migration to the North East of England first become significant in the 1840s, powered by the expansion of the region’s heavy industry.[4] The majority of these migrants were Catholics from the North and West of Ireland, and, by 1851, the North East had the fourth highest Irish-born population in England, after London, Liverpool, and Manchester. In later decades, the number of Irish-born migrants declined.[5] But their children and grand-children remained, and by 1900 an estimated seventy-five per cent of the Irish living in England were locally born.[6]

In 1914, as in the rest of Britain, most Irish living in the North East were working-class, though a few, especially in Newcastle, had escaped into the middle-classes through education or business acumen.[7] It was amongst this Irish Catholic constituency that the nationalists sought support for Irish independence.

Irish Nationalists in the North East of England

At first those nationalists were revolutionaries. But the shootings and bombings in mainland Britain in the 1860s achieved little other than to condemn Fenian prisoners to hard labour or transportation.

In the North East, the number of active Fenians was small. But, though a failure militarily, Fenianism acted as a ‘catalyst for an Irish political awakening’[8] and led to the formation of clubs and institutes, for example Newcastle’s Irish National Club.[9]

From the 1870s, a succession of constitutional nationalist organisations sought to mobilise the Irish in Britain in support of Home Rule, culminating in 1900 with the formation of the United Irish League of Great Britain. And, by May 1914, the League had 550 branches and 47,000 members.[10]

The Irish Volunteers in the North East

In April 1912, some twenty years after the failure of the Second Home Rule Bill, a third bill was introduced in parliament.[11] Opposition to Home Rule had intensified in those twenty years, and in Ulster, an armed – and overwhelmingly Protestant – citizens’ militia was raised – the Ulster Volunteer Force. By July 1914, the UVF’s strength stood at 110,000.[12]

It was inevitable that Irish nationalists would respond in kind.[13] And in November 1913, the nationalists’ own militia – the Irish Volunteers – was launched in Dublin. Before March 1914, recruitment was slow, then Army officers based at the Curragh demanded that the British Army should not be used to enforce Home Rule on Ulster.[14] The British government’s surrender to these demands outraged nationalist opinion in Ireland, and in Britain.[15] The unhindered landing of weapons in Ulster in April 1914, further enraged nationalists, and, by July, Irish Volunteer strength in Ireland stood at 150,000.[16] That summer, Civil War in Ireland seemed inevitable.

It was not only in Ireland, however, that the call to join the Irish Volunteers was heard. In January 1914 a company was formed in Glasgow.[17] And by the end of April, Volunteers were openly drilling in Liverpool, London, and Manchester.[18] 

In May, an ex-British Army sergeant living in Gateshead proposed ‘a Tyneside army of Irish Volunteers’, and that he was ready to train these Volunteers ‘to defend their people against the religious bigotry of Orange fanatics’.[19] In June, a Volunteer company was formed in Gateshead.[20] Few other companies, however, followed, and this lack of enthusiasm in the North East may reflect the attitude of the UILGB’s president, T. P. O’Connor, who argued that nationalists in Britain should raise funds for the Volunteers in Ireland, and not form local units. O’Connor may also have feared armed Volunteers triggering sectarian violence in Britain.[21]  But then everything changed.

War and the Irish Nationalist Response

On Bank Holiday Monday 3 August 1914, the twelfth annual gala of the County Durham branches of the United Irish League of Great Britain was held in Durham City. On the platform were the local leaders of the League, and two quasi-nationalist organisations – the Irish National Foresters, and the unashamedly sectarian Ancient Order of Hibernians. Several of these leaders also held elected public office, and one, John O’Hanlon, was Mayor of Wallsend.[22]

Some of the optimism of the previous year’s gala, however, was absent, as platform speakers railed against ‘the enemies of Ireland’. There was also real anger, as, just days before, British soldiers had shot and bayoneted unarmed civilians in a Dublin street.[23]

Meanwhile, that same afternoon, whilst nationalists gathered in Durham, John Redmond spoke in parliament on the worsening European crisis, and offered the British government nationalist support in the event of war; expressing the hope that this would benefit ‘the future welfare and integrity of the Irish nation’.[24]

Over the next few weeks, Redmond expanded his pledge of nationalist support for the war, calling for a distinctive Irish Brigade within the British Army ‘so that Ireland may gain national credit for her deeds’.[25] The British government responded, and, ignoring Unionist opposition, enacted Irish Home Rule, though withholding its implementation until the end of the war.[26] After decades of struggle, Irish Home Rule was finally law, but that independence would only be realised through Ireland sharing Britain’s victory on the battlefield.

In the first optimistic months of war, the majority of nationalists in Ireland, and in Britain, supported Redmond. T. P. O’Connor, however, who had counselled against Redmond’s offer, remained cautious, but he was surprised by the genuine enthusiasm for the war being shown by the Irish in Britain.[27]  

As ‘recruiting fever’ took hold in Britain, Peter Simkins has argued that ‘no area of Britain answered the call for recruits more enthusiastically than Tyneside’.[28] And, in the North East, that fervour was shared by the Irish. What prompted that fervour is unclear, though a similar response was observed on Clydeside.[29]

The Raising of the Tyneside Irish

Tyneside’s Irish nationalists have left few records but an account written by an Irish journalist, before Easter 1916, gives entry to the private meetings that led to the formation of the Tyneside Irish Brigade.

The first of these meetings was held in Newcastle’s National Club in mid-September. The ‘old Fenians’ present reportedly expressed their concern for the ‘spiritual and national ideals’ of the young Irish Catholics joining British regiments, but none advocated the advanced nationalist view emanating from Ireland that these recruits were no more than ‘cannon fodder in exchange for Home Rule’.[30]

Others at the meeting, however, grasped that the spontaneous and uncontrolled recruiting might be used to advance the nationalists’ cause.[31] And that night, it was agreed to raise a Tyneside Irish Regiment for the British Army, and a letter with this proposal was sent to the Newcastle Chronicle.[32] The letter, written without any prior consultation with Redmond or O’Connor, ended by appealing to every Irishman on Tyneside ‘regardless of politics or religion’ to support the formation of the Tyneside Irish.[33]

A public meeting the next day overwhelmingly endorsed the proposal, and a committee was appointed under the chairmanship of Tyrone-born Peter Bradley, a veteran nationalist leader in Newcastle.[34]

There was, however, an unexpected name on the committee Nicholas Grattan Doyle. Born in County Wexford, Grattan Doyle was a Catholic Unionist, for whom Irish Home Rule was a ‘preposterous measure’ that would only bring ‘disaster’ to Ireland.[35] Now Grattan Doyle told the predominately nationalist meeting that the war had changed everything.[36]

Within a week, the new committee had recruited 600 men, and had applied to the War Office for approval.[37] The offer was rejected.[38]

In Ireland, Redmond’s call for an Irish Brigade of Irish Volunteers was also rejected. Stephen Gwynn, Redmond’s biographer, believed that Kitchener was motivated by the simple axiom ‘I will not arm enemies’. And, more recently, Matthew Kelly has argued that the British establishment viewed Irish nationalists as ‘a fundamentally disloyal population’.[39]

Following the War Office’s rejection, some on the committee suggested that local recruits should be redirected to Ireland.[40] But the mood was for an Irish corps locally raised – regardless of Kitchener, and regardless of O’Connor’s insistence that Irish recruits should join Irish regiments.[41]  

Two weeks later, Newcastle was given permission to recruit two more battalions, but only of English and Scottish recruits.[42] After intervention by the Lord Mayor, Johnstone Wallace, however, permission was given for an Irish battalion. But it would have to be raised under the patronage of Wallace, who, as an Ulster Protestant and Unionist, presented a more acceptable face to the War Office.[43] According to Simkins, this decision was not the result of any change of attitude in the War Office, but, rather, because it had become clear that the ban was impeding recruiting on Tyneside.[44]

Before the Tyneside Irish could be revived, however, the nationalist leaders, who had been so recently rebuffed, had to be persuaded.[45] So Wallace approached James Courtney Doyle, an Irish Catholic member of Newcastle’s Board of Guardians, to act as intermediary, and on 14 October, Irish leaders from across Tyneside ‘Unionists and Nationalists, Protestants and Catholics’, met in the Lord Mayor’s rooms.

At the subsequent meeting in the town hall, the Lord Mayor began by addressing his audience as ‘fellow Irishmen,’ and then put his case for the Tyneside Irish, insisting that, because of the war, ‘party views were put to one side’. John O’Hanlon, the Mayor of Wallsend, agreed and reminded his audience that Redmond had advised all Irish nationalists ‘to stand loyally by the Empire’.[46] The meeting ended with the appointment of a new committee.[47]  

Reflecting the new committee’s inclusive nature, the press and poster campaign sought to recruit both Irish traditions; simultaneously calling on Catholic Irishmen to avenge German atrocities in Catholic Belgium, and praising the achievements of Irish Protestant generals.[48]

By the end of October, the first recruiting office had opened at Newcastle’s Corn Exchange and, by the end of the year, a further fifteen offices had opened in a diverse mix of locations ranging from Catholic Institutes to Newcastle’s town hall, and a café in Blaydon.[49]

Outdoor and indoor recruiting events were organised. Thus, on Saturday 24 October, a motorcade slowly drove around Newcastle. At each short stop, speeches were made, and, at one, the crowd was swelled by football supporters.[50]  

The first major indoor meeting was held in Newcastle’s town hall on 31 October, with O’Connor as the main speaker, despite his continuing insistence that Irish recruits should join Irish regiments.[51] There, in a hall decorated with green and orange flags, over 1,500 people heard calls for all Irishmen to ‘rally to the defence of the Empire’.[52]

The Tyneside Irish also received the blessing of the Catholic Church, when the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle offered his support.[53] Current research suggests, however, that at least twenty per cent of the recruits were Protestants.[54] Armed with their bishop’s approval, many local clergy aided the recruiting campaign, though some were unhappy that Catholic Unionists were involved.[55]

Others too voiced their protest, and, at one meeting in Durham, a veteran Fenian waved his walking stick at the Unionists on the platform, shouting ‘Sweep them away!’ More significant opposition came from Charles Diamond, the Catholic newspaper publisher, who accused Catholic Unionists of ‘currying favour with the Irish Volunteers’, but who were, in reality ‘the same Tory and Orange gang’.[56] Diamond’s warning had no apparent effect on recruiting at the time, but it possibly reflected the private concerns of many Tyneside nationalists, and not simply of old Fenians.

By mid-January 1915, the Tyneside Irish Brigade was complete. Four active service battalions had been raised in a just a few months and, with the later addition of a reserve battalion, over 7,300 men had enlisted.[57]

The inspiration for, and leadership of, the Tyneside Irish clearly sprang from the nationalist movement on Tyneside, but the extent of nationalist sentiment within the ranks is less clear. Regardless, however, of the nationalist zeal, Catholicity, and even Irishness, of that rank and file, nationalists both in Britain and in Ireland claimed the Tyneside Irish as their own.

In Ireland, the nationalist leader, John Dillon, called the Tyneside Irish ‘our men’.[58] And the UILGB’s annual report described the Brigade’s formation as ‘the outstanding feature of the Irish rush to the Colours’; whilst on Tyneside itself, several of the nationalist leaders were prepared to offer their own sons as testimony to their commitment.[59]

Though the rationale of the Tyneside Irish Committee had been achieved by January 1915, the committee remained in existence, reluctant to relinquish its role in the Irish community, and continued to function until the end of the war.

In March 1915, the traditional St Patrick’s Day con-celebration in Newcastle of Irish Catholicism and nationalism was abandoned in favour of the Tyneside Irish Brigade. At a parade in the city, the new Lord Mayor, John Fitzgerald, himself an Irish Catholic, took the salute, supported by the Tyneside Irish Committee, and told the soldiers that ‘their fight would be gallant one – for freedom, faith, and fatherland’.[60] And the shamrock-wearing Tyneside Irish soldiers gave three cheers for the King.[61]

1916

Twelve months later, in March 1916, with the Tyneside Irish Brigade on active service on the Western Front, an Irish Soldiers’ Flag Day replaced St Patrick’s Day.[62] And, at its inauguration in Newcastle, the Lord Mayor foresaw a happier post-war Ireland.[63] Little over a month later, there was rebellion in Dublin, and, little over three months later, the Tyneside Irish Brigade was all but destroyed on the first day of the Somme. Amongst the Tyneside Irish dead was the Lord Mayor’s own son.[64]

The fighting in Dublin, however, had little public impact in the North East. The Tyneside Irish Committee sent Redmond a telegram of support and similar telegrams were sent by North East nationalists condemning the ‘Sinn Fein revolt’.[65] In the rebellion’s aftermath, whilst Irish nationalists in Liverpool and London protested at the executions of the rebel leaders, no public protest appears to have been made in the North East.[66]  

Meanwhile, as battle raged in Dublin, the British Army was preparing its long-expected offensive in France. At La Boisselle on 1 July 1916, the Tyneside Irish Brigade, 3,000 men strong, lost 600 men killed and over 1,500 wounded.[67] This marked the end of the Tyneside Irish as a distinct unit, for, when the Brigade was rebuilt, it was with reinforcements drawn indiscriminately from any available Army source.

Conclusion

The Tyneside Irish Brigade – the only Irish corps raised in Britain during the Great War – was the crowning achievement of the pre-1916 Irish nationalist organisations in Britain: disciplined, khaki-clad proof of nationalist Ireland’s loyalty to Britain; and Ireland’s fitness for self-government.[68]

But the Tyneside Irish was only one part of a massive recruitment campaign led by the nationalist organisations in Britain. In January 1915, recruiting figures for the North East reveal that some 15,000 Irishmen had enlisted since August 1914.[69] Of this total, just over a third, 5,400, had joined the Tyneside Irish. By late 1915, over 150,000 Irishmen in Britain had volunteered.[70]

How many of these men had been members of nationalist organisations prior to their enlistment is not known, but, in the North East, an average of twenty-six per cent of Hibernian branch members enlisted. Whilst in Easington, in East Durham, only six from a membership of 85 did not enlist.[71]

The Great War consumed both the energy and membership of the nationalist organisations in Britain, and left them, and their aging leadership, exhausted and ill-prepared to respond to events in post-1916 Ireland; and the crushing, electoral defeat of the Irish Parliamentary Party by Sinn Féin in 1918.

But did the voluntary enlistment of so many Irishmen nationalists achieve what Redmond had hoped? Certainly not in Ireland, but in Britain, in the North East of England, did participation bring emancipation? 

The transference of working-class Irish Catholic allegiance from nationalist to labour politics – the journey from ‘green’ to ‘red’ – and the assimilation of that community into the wider British community, through inter-marriage and work-place association, had begun before 1914, but the raising of the Tyneside Irish positively contributed to that assimilation.

First, however, the North East had to endure the Irish Revolution, when new advanced nationalist organisations aroused old nationalist sentiments. Thus, in 1920, in protest against British military action in Ireland, nationalists in Newcastle boycotted a reception for the future King George VI.[72] And, in that same year, Anthony Mullarkey, and an unknown number of other ex-Tyneside Irish soldiers, joined the Tyneside Brigade of the Irish Republican Army, and brought war to the North East of England.[73]

After 1922, that process of assimilation revived – and accelerated – as nationalist sentiments faded. The Tyneside Irish soldiers, however, were not forgotten, and in 2003, during her visit to Newcastle, Mary McAleese, then President of the Irish Republic, unveiled a plaque to their memory in St Mary’s Cathedral inscribed: ‘Their name will never fade on Tyneside’.[74]


[1] Freeman’s Journal, 7 June 1897.

[2] Northern Echo, 9 October 1899.

[3] Donald M. MacRaild, Irish Migrants in Modern Britain, 1750-1922 (Basingstoke, 1999), pp.1, 43.

[4] Donald M. MacRaild, ‘Foreword’, in Roger Cooter, When Paddy Met Geordie: The Irish in County Durham and Newcastle 1840-1880 (Sunderland, 2005), pp.xi-xii.

[5] Frank Neal, ‘Irish settlement in the north-east and north-west of England in the mid-nineteenth century’, in Roger Swift and Sheridan Gilley (eds), The Irish in Victorian Britain. The Local Dimension (Dublin, 1999), pp.75-100.

[6] John Hutchinson, ‘Diaspora Dilemmas and Shifting Allegiances: The Irish in London between Nationalism, Catholicism and Labourism (1900-22)’, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 10.1 (2010), p.108.

[7] Joseph Keating, ‘The Tyneside Irish Brigade: History of its Origin and Development’, in Felix Lavery, Irish Heroes in the War (London, 1917).

[8] Cooter, When Paddy Met Geordie, p.157.

[9] Founded in 1871, Newcastle’s Institute became the Irish National Club in 1908. Keating, ‘Tyneside Irish’, pp.54, 59, 77-78.

[10] Alan O’Day, ‘Irish Diaspora Politics in Perspective: The United Irish Leagues of Great Britain and America, 1900-14’, in MacRaild (ed.), The Great Famine and Beyond, p.225.

[11] For 3rd Home Rule Bill, see Alan O’Day, Irish Home Rule, 1867-1921 (Manchester, 1998).

[12] Timothy Bowman, Carson’s Army: The Ulster Volunteer Force, 1910-22 (Manchester, 2007), pp.208-209.

[13] Charles Townshend, Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion (London, 2005), p.30.

[14] David Fitzpatrick, ‘Militarism in Ireland, 1900-1922’, in Thomas Bartlett and Keith Jeffery (eds), A Military History of Ireland (Cambridge, 1996), p.385.

[15] Letter from William Burke, Heaton, Newcastle. North Mail, 9 July 1914.

[16] Michael Wheatley, ‘‘Ireland is out for Blood and Murder’; Nationalist Opinion and the Ulster Crisis in Provincial Ireland, 1913-14’, in Boyce, D. George and O’Day, Alan (eds), The Ulster Crisis 1885-1921 (Basingstoke, 2006), pp,182-183.

[17] Máirtín Seán Ó Catháin, Irish Republicanism in Scotland, 1858-1916, Fenians in Exile (Dublin, 2007), pp.233-234.

[18] The Irish Volunteer, 4 April 1914; UVF units were formed outside Ulster, but none in North East. Bowman, Carson’s Army, p.61.

[19] Tyneside Catholic News, 23 May 1914.

[20] Newcastle Illustrated Chronicle, 19 June 1914.

[21] Daniel M Jackson, Popular Opposition to Irish Home Rule in Edwardian Britain (Liverpool, 2009), pp145. 181.

[22] Durham Chronicle, 7 August 1914.

[23] The Bachelor’s Walk killings, 26 July 1914, left 4 dead and 37 wounded. F. X. Martin (ed.), The Howth Gun-Running and the Kilcoole Gun-Running 1914 (Dublin, 1964), pp.171-184.

[24] James McConnel, The Irish Parliamentary Party and the Third Home Rule Crisis (Dublin, 2013); Hansard, House of Commons Debates, 3 August 1914, vol 65, cols 1828-30.

[25] Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 17 September 1914.

[26] O’Day, Irish Home Rule, p.261.

[27] T. P. O’Connor, ‘The Irish in Great Britain’, in Lavery, Irish Heroes, p.33.

[28] Peter Simkins, Kitchener’s Army: The raising of the New Armies, 1914-16 (Manchester, 1988), pp.64, 89.

[29] McFarland, Elaine, “‘How the Irish Paid Their Debt”: Irish Catholics in Scotland and Voluntary Enlistment, August 1914-July 1915’, The Scottish Historical Review, 82.214 (2003), pp.261-262.

[30] Matthew Kelly, ‘The Irish Volunteers: A Machiavellian Moment?’, in Boyce and O’Day (eds), The Ulster Crisis, p.82.

[31] Keating, ‘Tyneside Irish’, pp.78-79.

[32] Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 12 September 1914, quoted in John Sheen, Tyneside Irish: A history of the Tyneside Irish Brigade raised in the North East in World War One (Barnsley, 1998), p.7.

[33] Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 12 September 1914.

[34] Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 15 September 1914.

[35] Irish Independent, 10 June 1914; Grattan Doyle was elected as Unionist MP for Newcastle North in 1918. The Catholic Who’s Who and Year-Book (London, 1936), p.134.

[36] Newcastle Illustrated Chronicle, 14 September 1914.

[37] Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 15 and 19 September 1914.

[38] Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 21 September 1914.

[39] Stephen Lucius Gwynn, John Redmond’s Last Years (London, 1919), p.139; Kelly, ‘The Irish Volunteers’, p.82.

[40] Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 21 September 1914.

[41] Tyneside Catholic News, 26 September 1914.

[42] The Times, 12 October 1914.

[43] Johnstone Wallace born in Maghera, Derry, in 1861, and moved to Newcastle as a child. A successful businessman, Wallace was first elected to Newcastle council in 1900, Lord Mayor in 1913. Keating, ‘Tyneside Irish’, pp.84-86.

[44] Simkins, Kitchener’s Army, pp.99-100.

[45] Keating, ‘Tyneside Irish’, pp.79-80.

[46] Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 19 October 1914.

[47] Sir Charles Parsons president; Peter Bradley chairman; Johnstone Wallace treasurer, and John Mulcahy, UILGB’s northern organiser, joint-secretary. Keating, ‘Tyneside Irish’, p.94; Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 20 October 1914.

[48] Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 28 October 1914; Redmond described the German Army as ‘the brutal destroyers of Louvain and Ypres; the violators of shrines and altars of Belgium and France; the brutal murderers of nuns and priests of our faith’. Tyneside Catholic News, 12 December 1914.

[49] Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 24 October 1914; Newcastle Daily Chronicle, October-December 1914; Sheen, Tyneside Irish, p.22.

[50] Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 24 and 26 October 1914.

[51] Keating, ‘Tyneside Irish’, pp.96-98.

[52] Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 2 November 1914.

[53] Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 27 October 1914.

[54] Sheen, Tyneside Irish, pp.27-29.

[55] Freeman’s Journal, 4 January 1915.

[56] Tyneside Catholic News, 21 November 1914.

[57] Tyneside Irish Brigade comprised 124th Brigade of 41st Infantry Division, with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Battalions TI numbered as the 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th (Service) Battalions of The Northumberland Fusiliers. 30th (Reserve) Battalion formed in July 1915 from the TI’s Depot companies, plus additional recruiting. Sheen, Tyneside Irish, pp.34-35, 183.

[58] Freeman’s Journal, 19 November 1914.

[59] Southern Star, 30 October 1915; James Courtney Doyle’s son was killed in action John O’Hanlon’s son, also wounded. See Sheen, Tyneside Irish, pp.208, 210-211.

[60] Sheen, Tyneside Irish, p.32; Fitzgerald replaced Johnstone Wallace as Mayor October 1914. Born in Tipperary, he was elected to Newcastle’s council in 1891. Tyneside Catholic News, 16 October 1915.

[61] 1st Battalion paraded at Alnwick; 2nd at Birtley; and 3rd in Eldon Square. Sheen, Tyneside Irish, p.36.

[62] Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 17 March 1916.

[63] Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 18 March 1916; Sheen, Tyneside Irish, pp.71, 73.

[64] 2nd Lt. Gerald Fitzgerald aged 26. Sheen, Tyneside Irish, p.208.

[65] Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 29 April 1916.

[66] Irish Independent, 12 May 1916.

[67] On 1 July 1916, the Tyneside Irish lost 22 officers and 574 ORs killed, and 53 officers and 1,522 ORs. Sheen, Tyneside Irish, p.111.

[68] In Scotland & Wales, most Irish recruits joined territorial or service battalions of their local regiments, whilst in London & Liverpool, Irish war-fever was focussed on existing territorial battalions – London Irish Rifles (18th Bn The London Regiment) & Liverpool Irish (8th Bn King’s Liverpool Regiment). McFarland, ‘How the Irish Paid Their Debt’, pp. 261-262.

[69] Freeman’s Journal, 21 January 1915; Of 3,760 Tyneside Irish recruits with a known home address, 69.3% were from County Durham, and 26.7% from Northumberland, with 4% from elsewhere in Britain and Ireland. Sheen, Tyneside Irish, p.34.

[70] UILGB annual report, October 1915. Southern Star, 30 October 1915.

[71] Tyneside Catholic News, 8 May 1915

[72] Including James Courtney Doyle. Tyneside Catholic News, 24 April 1920.

[73] Mary A Barrington (compiler), The Irish Independence Movement on Tyneside 1919-1921 (Dun Laoghaire, 1999); Anthony Mullarkey born County Mayo, c.1888; coal miner Bedlington, 1911. Enlisted Tyneside Irish, November 1914. Discharged February 1919. Captain commanding ‘E’ (Bedlington) Company IRA, 1920. Arrested and deported to Ireland, 1923. Moved to North America, 1925.

[74] Newcastle Journal, 17 September 2003.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s