Children of the revolution
Forty babies, toddlers and other children were killed in the Easter Rising and its aftermath. Joe Duffy has been finding out who they were
Easter 1916: children search for firewood among ruined Dublin buildings. Photograph: Central Press/Getty
On April 10th an ecumenical service will be held at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on City Quay in Dublin to commemorate the children who died in the Easter Rising, in 1916.
Children from City Quay National School will take part in the service, which will be celebrated by Fr Pearse Walsh of City Quay, and also by relatives of two of the children who died in April 1916.
Canon Barbara Fryday is married to the nephew of Neville Fryday, a 16-year-old Tipperary man who lied about his age to enlist in the Canadian army and was shot, while in Dublin on leave and wearing his uniform, near his home at East Wall, at the beginning of Easter Week.
Fr Michael Scott is the nephew of eight-year-old Walter Scott, who was shot dead – through the head – near his home.
In some cases there have been years of silence. Fryday remembers that she and her husband, John, first heard of Neville Fryday at a family funeral in 1990. Some families have done their own research. Andrew Ryan, a grandnephew of Walter Scott, has found both his death and birth certificates.
The broadcaster Joe Duffy, the guiding hand behind the service, says its purpose is “just to remember and reclaim”. While doing some charity work last year he began to wonder how many children had died in 1916. “I never thought of it before. I asked a senior librarian friend of mine how many children had died, and she said, ‘I haven’t a clue.’ ”
Thus began a labour of love for Duffy, who has trawled through death certificates, graveyards, newspaper reports and the returns of the 1911 census. He admits to being obsessed by the project.
Duffy has documented the deaths of 40 people under 17, among the 374 civilians who were killed during the Easter Rising. Thirty boys and 10 girls died. Five of them were under five years of age, two were toddlers and one is listed as an infant. Many of the children were Protestant, though the exact number is unclear.
Most died between the two Dublin canals. A disturbing number were shot through the head. As Duffy points out, both the rebels and the army had strict policies against looting. Amid the chaos and the curfew, families must have been running out of food.
Not always included on the list here are the previous addresses of the children, taken from the 1911 census. Families seemed to move accommodation frequently. As Duffy says, when all your possessions can be fitted on a dog cart, and your living conditions are wretched, moving house is not such an undertaking. The impression is of a city population always on the move.
Duffy aims to complete a proper record of the child fatalities within a year, and to establish a permanent memorial to the children at the GPO. He is eager to hear from relatives of children who died in 1916.
Even if these children had lived, survival would have been a struggle. Andrew Ryan, who lives in Paris, is a grandnephew of young Walter Scott.
In an email to The Irish Times, he says: “Walter’s own father died of pneumonia a few months before him. He was captain of a dredger in Dublin Bay and had fallen overboard. My great-grandmother was left with five children to rear. So my grandfather Gerald Scott, Walter’s older brother, went off to the first World War, probably as a result of the hardship at home.”
The names that follow are from the list compiled by Joe Duffy. If you have any information about these or any other children who died during the Rising, you can write to him at PO Box 1916, Dublin 3, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
16 years old. 27 Arran Quay
Died of gunshot wounds and received “no medical attention”. Bridget’s profession is listed as “packer”. Her mother was present at her death. In 1911 the family lived at 128 Thomas Street; 19 people were living in the house.
14 years old. 8 Stephen’s Place, Mount Street
Schoolboy. Killed by a bullet wound to the thorax. His father, Patrick, was a labourer for Dublin Gas Company. In the 1911 census the family lived at Grattan Court, Mount Street. Nine families, comprising 37 people, lived in a five-roomed tenement.
MARY ANN BRUNSWICK
15 years old. 57 Lower W ellington Quay
Killed on Friday, April 28th, at “Wellington Street”. Suffered a fractured skull and “laceration of the brain; shock”. Her father, J Brunswick, a boilerman, was present at her death. She was the third-youngest of eight children. In 1911 six families, comprising 27 people, lived in the four-roomed house.
Two years, four months old. 27 Corporation Buildings
Shot in her mother’s arms at 2pm on April 25th, in “the precincts of her own home”. The bullet passed through the hand of her mother, Sarah, before entering the child’s back. Sarah, a charwoman, later applied for £40 compensation, claiming that she was unable to work due to her hand injury.
10 years old. 28 Charlemont Street
Killed on Easter Monday. Died at Portobello Barracks of “a gunshot wound”. His father, Patrick, was a coachbuilder. In 1911 they shared the six-roomed house with three other families; they were 27 in total.
15 years old. 4 Murphy’s Cottages, Gloucester Diamond, Summerhill
Member of the Irish Citizen Army. Listed as part of an Irish Citizen Army group that was holding “Henry & James Clothiers” at Parliament Street. Charles is said to have been shot dead on the roof; other reports say he died at Liberty Hall, for which he had “given his days and nights to guard duty”. His father, a labourer, told him to choose “between Liberty Hall and his family”.
15 years old. 25 Summerhill
Died on April 26th, at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, of a bullet wound to the lung.
Nine years old. 7 Whitefriar Street
A labourer’s son. The Glasnevin archive records that he was shot at his home on Easter Monday, April 24th.
12 years old. 1 Long Lane, Dorset Street
Hit in the thigh by a bullet on Easter Monday, April 24th. He died at Jervis Street Hospital of “shock and haemorrhage”.
JOHN FRANCIS FOSTER
Two years 10 months old. 18 Manor Place, Stoneybatter
Shot in his pram near Father Mathew Hall, on Church Street, on Easter Monday morning. He was one of the first victims of the Rising. “Shot through the head at level of the ears.” His mother, Catherine Foster, was present at his death. A leader of the volunteers, Piaras Béaslaí, later wrote: “A second Lancer galloped up Church Street and was shot down after he killed a child.”
16 years old. 74 Thomas Street
Member of Na Fianna. Killed in a trench on the Royal College of Surgeons side of St Stephen’s Green. Youngest of seven children.
13 years old. 6 Holycross Cottages, Clonliffe Road
Killed at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, on Marlborough Street.
16 years old. Dundrum, Co Tipperary. Buried in Mount Jerome
Killed outside Trinity College. Had emigrated to Canada and lied about his age to enlist in the 75th Battalion Canadian infantry, Central Ontario Regiment. He was probably in Dublin to visit his sister, Meta Richardson, who lived around Rathmines. Neville went into the city centre in his uniform. He has a military grave, with the Canadian maple leaf. Meta was later buried with him.
Five years old. 16 Henrietta Place
Died of shock from what the Glasnevin cemetery records call “cannonading”.
14 years old. 188 Phibsborough Road
Messenger boy for Na Fianna and one of 10 children. His father was a plumber. John had been sent home by one of the rebel leaders, Thomas McDonagh, who deemed him too young to be involved. Hit by a ricochet near his home on Easter Monday. Died in the Mater. A nun described “ his brain hanging out all over his forehead when he was brought in. He died two days later.”
16 years old. 168 North King Street. Buried in Dean’s Grange Cemetery
Killed with his father, Thomas, and 12 other civilians in the “North King Street Massacre” on Saturday, April 29th. Thomas owned a butcher’s in which his sons were shop assistants. Members of the South Staffordshire regiment, under the command of Lt Col Henry Taylor, shot or bayonetted victims to death. “Christopher pleaded for his father’s life: ‘Oh, please don’t kill father.’ ” Official papers relating to this incident were released only on January 10th, 2001. Christopher and Thomas are buried in unmarked graves at Dean’s Grange cemetery.
14 years old. 15 Cumberland Street
15 years old. 4 North King Street
The Glasnevin archive says this labourer’s son died of “effects of bullet wound” in St Joseph’s Hospital. One of three children.
15 years old. 205 Phibsborough Road
12 years old. 128 Townsend Street. Buried in Dean’s Grange Cemetery
Died April 30th at Lombard Street, of a gunshot wound. Her father was a Pte Kelly.
12 years old. 24 Buckingham Buildings
Death certificate states he was killed on April 28th. Gunshot wound to the neck; fractured lower jaw. Mentioned in The Irish Times on Saturday, April 29th. Listed for Dublin University Voluntary Aid Detachment hospital, on Mountjoy Square, a voluntary hospital set up by female graduates and students of Trinity College Dublin.
15 years old. 3 Lower Erne Place
He died on Erne Street. This is near Boland’s Mill, which was a rebel station, so activity was intense.
Eight years, nine months old
4 Vincent S treet, Goldenbridge. Buried in Goldenbridge
Child of Joseph and Anna Lynch. Cemetery note says he died on April 28th from the effects of a bullet wound. Death certificate not found.
15 years old. 10 Henry Place
On the night of Friday, April 29th, as the rebels retreated from the GPO to Moore Street, chaos ensued. Trying to shelter in homes, they broke open the door of 10 Henry Place. In the confusion Bridget was shot when a rebel’s rifle discharged accidentally. Her father was a labourer. Her mother, Margaret, was present at her death. Margaret signed Bridget’s death certificate “x”. The incident was mentioned by three rebels in the 1966 Witness Statements. Those involved were deeply traumatised.
12 years old. 45 York Street. Buried at Mount Jerome
Died on April 28th at Mercer’s Hospital. His father, Henry, a boilermaker, was with him when he died. Cause of death: “Gunshot wound to the head, lacerated brain.”
Nine years old. 8 or 5 Moore Place
Died 28th April at his home, about 500m from the GPO. As the rebels retreated from the GPO he was shot accidentally in the thorax and died. He received no medical attention. His mother, Lizzie Mullen, was present at his death.
14 years old. 2 S t Augustine Street
16 years old. 93 Church S treet
A young labourer.
‘MALE’ O’T OOLE
14 years old. Died at the Adelaide Hospital
These brief details are taken from his death certificate.
4 Mary’s Abbey
Previously listed as “Mary Raymond.” Her mother, Alice, was a widow and a “fowl dealer” who lived with her five children, her father, John Sullivan, and her uncle, Richard Sullivan. In 1911 they lived at 8.3 Mary’s Abbey, home to 43 people in seven families.
13 years old. 2 Sitric Place
His father, James, a labourer, came from Kildare. There were five children, of whom two had died before Patrick.
GEORGE PERCY SAINSBURY
Nine years old. 54 South Circular Road. Buried in Mount Jerome
Died of a gunshot wound at 54 Haroldville Terrace on April 27th. He received no medical attention. He had three siblings and his religion was entered as Protestant in the 1911 census. George’s father, Arthur M, was a managing clerk in a solicitors’ firm. His mother, Edith Annie, was from Kildare.
Eight years old. 16 Irvine Crescent, North Dock
Possibly the last child to die as a result of the Rising. He died at Mercer’s Hospital on July 5th, 1916, of a gunshot wound to the head. His father, from Scotland, was a dredging master in Dublin Bay.
11 years old. 3 Pembroke Cottages
Died on April 28th, in the Royal City Hospital on Baggot Street, of “gunshot wound to the chest, shock and haemorrhage.” Her father, Charles, was a general labourer. Bridget’s sister “Mary Connolly” was with her when she died. Another casualty of the Rising, Margaret McGuinness, who was 54, was listed as living at the same address.
MARGARET MARY VEALE
13 years old. 103 Haddington Road
Daughter of John and Mary Jane Veale. John was a commercial clerk. She had three brothers. She was killed “because she used binoculars to look out the window of her house”.
11 years old. 10 Hacketts Court
Died of haemorrhage at Mercer’s Hospital following a gunshot to the abdomen.
15 years old. 7 Fumbally Lane. Buried at Mount Jerome
Shot through the jaw and killed on April 24th. Died in the Meath Hospital. Eleanor’s father, Thomas, was a van driver and iron merchant, from Wicklow, and was a member of the Church of Ireland. Eleanor was one of seven children. Her mother, Bridget, was from Kildare.
15 years old. 30 North Great George’s Street
According to the 1911 census, Christopher was an only child. His father, Lawrence, was “ a hotel proprietor”, one of 28 people living in the house.
BOY and INFANT
Both bodies had bullet wounds. Dr MJ Russell, probably of 83 South Circular Road, who seems to have been working as a de facto medical officer, had them taken from the city morgue and buried.
The ecumenical service of remembrance for the children killed in the Easter Rising is at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, City Quay (at the south side of Matt Talbot Bridge), Dublin, on Thursday, April 10th, at 10am. All are welcome