Fighting for Ireland a family affair
The Bevans: Stewart Bevan’s grandfather Charles and his grand-uncles Seamus and Bevan fought in the Easter Rising
A view of Sackville Street (O’Connell St) and the River Liffey at Eden Quay in Dublin, showing the devastation wrought during the Easter Rising.
Stewart Bevan’s grandfather Charles Stewart Bevan and his grand-uncles Seamus Bevan and Thomas Bevan fought in the Easter Rising. Bevan’s grandfather was the first volunteer into the Four Courts under the command of Ned Daly, one of the leaders of the Rising who was executed afterwards. He was just 25.
According to some reports, it was Charles Bevan who relieved the Four Courts gatekeeper of his keys and led the rebel force into occupation of the courts for the duration of the Rising.
A photograph of him hangs in the Law Library.
Stewart Bevan, who is originally from Dublin but now lives in Belfast, said the proximity of the centenary of the Easter Rising is increasing the interest in families who have a direct link to the events of 1916.
“All the memorabilia was passed on to me as a family heirloom and it’s just been there. As it is getting nearer to 2016, it is provoking talk and there is a lot of emotion involved.”
The military pensions archive has details for two of Bevan’s relatives: his grandfather and his grand-uncle Thomas Bevan.
The archive confirms that Charles Stewart Bevan received a pension for his part in Easter Week and up to the end of March 1917.
It notes that he was sentenced to death following the Rising, but his sentence was commuted and he was detained in prisons in both Ireland and Britain.
After his release in 1917, he was involved in the War of Independence, when he unsuccessfully attempted to rescue Kevin Barry from Kilmainham Jail on the night before he was executed.
However, he was more successful in helping to spring Longford-born republican Matthew Brady, the father of former Sinn Féin President Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, from Richmond Hospital in Dublin where he had been recuperating after being shot.
That raid had been organised by Michael Collins. The files also state that Thomas Bevan took part in the Rising at the Four Courts. He too was sentenced to death which was later commuted.
His military service ended in September 1917 after the funeral of hunger striker Thomas Ashe, according to the records.