Your stories of relatives who fought in the Rising

Huge response from readers about family members histories

The Military Archives have released the pensions records of those who fought in the Easter Rising in 1916. Archivist Cecile Gordon explains what is being released in the collection which can be viewed online at

Thu, Jan 16, 2014, 17:30

Earlier this week, we posted a message on The Irish Times Facebook page asking for you to tell us the stories of relatives who you think may have been involved in either the Easter Rising or the War of Independence.

We were inundated with responses. Some of the files relating to those who fought in the War of Independence have yet to be released, but there were plenty whose family stories are backed up by the archive.

Dave Hendrick, Dublin: My grandfather James Hendrick of 7 Hardwicke Street, Dublin fought in the Easter Rising. At the time there was a file with quite an amount of information contained in it. What does the file state?

The military service pensions collection states: James Hendrick was awarded a military service pension for action during Easter Week. He evaded capture after the Rising. His file contains a claim that he was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood prior to 1916 and references that his house continued to be used as a safe house by the IRA during the War of Independence and Civil War.

Colm Rudden, Edinburgh: My Mam was from Dublin. Her father, my grandfather, was Bartholomew Burke. He was in the Irish Volunteers from December 1913, fought in the GPO with Pearse’s own 4 Battalion E Coy, was interned in Frongoch, and from what I can gather joined the national army in 1922. He died in December 1955.

The military service pensions collection states: Bartholomew Burke received a pension for service with the Irish Volunteers between April 1916 and March 1917 and with the IRA and national army from April 1920 to September 1923. The files confirm that he fought in the GPO under Pádraig Pearse and that he was interned afterwards. It also states that he took part in the War of Independence including “raids for arms, armed patrols, burning of RIC barrack(s) as well as the making of arms dumps and training/instruction”. It also confirms that he served in the national army against the anti-treaty forces

Geraldine McCormick Dublin: My grandfather Captain Richard McCormick fought in the Rising. He was in the GPO with James Connolly and then took position on the College of Surgeons roof to try and hold St Stephen’s Green but alas they were captured and sent to English prisons. We are all very proud of him and take great pleasure reading about him in such books as Under the Starry Plough etc. Gone but never forgotten. RIP to Granda and all the other heroes of the Easter Rising.

The military service pensions collection states: Captain Richard McCormick received a military service pension for his part in the Irish Citizen Army between April 1, 1916 and March 31st, 1918, between April 1920 and March 31st 1921 and between July 1921 and March 1923. There is no mention in his file of him having been involved in fighting in the GPO. His own file states that he saw action in St Stephen’s Green, the railway station at Harcourt Street and Davy’s Pub overlooking Portobello Bridge which rebels occupied in an attempt to stop British forces entering the city centre. He was interned after the Rising. In September 1917 he was in charge of an ICA raid for arms in Portobello barracks. He also took the anti-treaty side in the Civil War and took part in an unsuccessful operation to isolate Dublin by destroying bridges in and out of the city. He also claims to have passed munitions to anti-treaty units based in Co Tipperary.

Niall Oman, Dublin: My great-grandfather William Oman fought in the Easter Rising, War of Independence and Civil War. He was in the Irish Citizen Army and IRA. He was known as ‘The Bugler’ having sounded ‘The Last Post’ at O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral in 1915 and sounded the ‘Fall In’ at Liberty Hall Easter Monday 1916 signalling the start of the Rebellion. He gave a witness statement and his name is inscribed on a plaque with others at Dublin City Hall. His brother George and uncle Robert Oman were also quite active in the same period.

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