Protests in Cork and London about coercion to join up and Anglo-German aristocrats

1916/2016: a miscellany

A daily notebook, Monday to Friday, recalling the events of the day 100 years ago leading to the Easter Rising, and a noticeboard for commemorations this spring

JANUARY 12TH, 1916

A public meeting in Cork city protests against the actions of some Cork employers who are encouraging or forcing their employees to join the British forces.

The Irish Volunteer argues that "there is only one way to fight this. Proof of such action by any firm must be followed by a rigid boycott of that firm by the Irish Volunteers . . ."

In the House of Commons, Swift MacNeill (right), a Protestant Nationalist member for South Donegal, asks the prime minister what he intends to do about the dukes of Cumberland and Albany “who are in command of German forces against this country as members of the British and Irish peerages with the right of sitting and voting in the House of Lords”.

The British royal family is closely related to many of the royal families of Germany – the 1837 accession of Queen Victoria caused the kingdom of Hanover, in personal union with the British crown for more than a century, to pass to her uncle the Duke of Cumberland. During the first World War, both Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Ernest Augustus, crown prince of Hanover, are British princes and dukes, even while also officers in the German army.


“Is he aware,” Swift MacNeill asks Asquith, “these two persons are dividing seven British and Irish peerages between them and that they have been deprived since last May of the Order of the Garter? How is it more difficult to take the collar off these men’s heads than to loosen the garter?” (Laughter.)

Mr Asquith: “The answer is that one is an act of administration, and the other requires legislation.” (“Hear, hear” and laughter.) The Bill passed in 1917.

There is a report from Athens that a French force has landed in Corfu for the provisional occupation of the island. Austrian despatches confirm the capture of the' Lovchen position above Cattaro after three days of fighting. An armistice is concluded between Montenegro and Austria. Sir Douglas Haig reports a successful raid on German trenches east of Armentieres.

The second stage of the Military Service Compulsion Bill passes easily following the decision of nationalists to support it – 431 to 39.

Oswald Boelcke and Max Immelmann (right) receive the German empire's highest military award, the Pour le Mérite, the first aviators to earn it, for achieving eight aerial victories each over Allied aircraft.

The Rotterdam correspondent of the Daily Telegraph reports that military tailors in Berlin have decided to strike unless their grievances are settled to their satisfaction.