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Diggers' bloody role in Irish uprising

 
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Regulus 1



Geregistreerd op: 17-7-2005
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Woonplaats: Jabbeke, Flanders - Home of the Marine Jagdgeschwader in WW I

BerichtGeplaatst: 20 Aug 2007 12:14    Onderwerp: Diggers' bloody role in Irish uprising Reageer met quote

Brendan Nicholson
August 15, 2007

THE year was 1916. Australian soldiers involved in the brutal fighting on the Western Front had been granted leave and went to Ireland for a break.

But instead of catching up with relatives and resting up, the Australian troops found themselves reluctantly pressed into more action by the British — to help crush the Easter Rebellion in Dublin.

Some of the Anzacs involved in this little-known episode were Gallipoli veterans prized by the British for their sharp-shooting skills.

One group was ordered onto the roof of Dublin's Trinity College to snipe at Irish dispatch riders delivering messages to the the headquarters of the rebels, whose leaders included Michael Collins.

Barrister and historian Jeff Kildea has researched the episode and described the colonial soldiers' dilemma in a new book, Anzacs and Ireland, which will be launched today by former Australian Defence Force commander Peter Cosgrove.

"For soldiers who enlisted to fight Germans, it was not a happy time," Mr Kildea said.

These veterans of Gallipoli went to Ireland on leave but found themselves once again in battle, he said. "(They were) given a rifle and, in effect, told to shoot their Irish 'cousins'."

According to the book, Australian soldiers who left the Western Front for leave in Ireland dubbed themselves "six-bob-a-day tourists". Ten-day or 14-day "Blighty leave" passes gave thousands of soldiers the opportunity to travel throughout the United Kingdom, which then included all of Ireland.

Many took the opportunity to visit where they were born or where their parents or grandparents had come from.

But when the fighting erupted in Dublin, many of the soldiers on leave were rounded up by British officers in hotels and clubs and at the local railway station and had rifles thrust back into their hands.

It was a mixed group that found itself defending the famous college. With the Australians were fellow Anzacs from New Zealand and troops of Irish background from Canada and elsewhere.

It was said later that "there can be no doubt that the accurate fire maintained from the college was an important factor in the salvation of the city".

One unnamed Australian sergeant tried to use shots from his rifle to cut a communications cable lying across Sackville Street.

Among at least a dozen diggers known to have been involved in the Dublin fighting were Private Michael McHugh, Private George Davis and Private John Joseph Chapman, who was born in Ballarat.

Mr Kildea found the diary of Private Davis, who described how the soldiers made the best of a bad job — "but we would prefer to be anywhere but this unenviable city".

Chapman and a mate teamed up with two Australian nurses sightseeing during their leave and were marched off their train and into action when they arrived in Dublin.

He found himself in the thick of the fighting to recapture buildings along the famous River Liffey. The nurses stayed safe in a hotel room but were "a little scared as a stray bullet occasionally whistled through their window".

Chapman wrote later: "Given rifle and ammunition and had to fight enemy in the streets. Nearly got hit several times. Only a few casualties on our side." He later returned to the Western Front, was wounded but survived.

Davis and a friend were ordered to join 70 men taking arms and ammunition to Dublin Castle and described how a volley of rifle shots rained down on the party from buildings the rebels occupied. "Around us bullets pinged and broken glass clattered onto the footpath.

"The horses bolted and vanished into the darkness and the troops did likewise."

Davis and his friend ducked for cover and stayed put until the firing dropped away and they could escape.

Mr Kildea found the diary of Private Davis, who described how the soldiers made the best of a bad job — "but we would prefer to be anywhere but this unenviable city".

Chapman and a mate teamed up with two Australian nurses sightseeing during their leave and were marched off their train and into action when they arrived in Dublin.

He found himself in the thick of the fighting to recapture buildings along the famous River Liffey. The nurses stayed safe in a hotel room but were "a little scared as a stray bullet occasionally whistled through their window".

Chapman wrote later: "Given rifle and ammunition and had to fight enemy in the streets. Nearly got hit several times. Only a few casualties on our side." He later returned to the Western Front, was wounded but survived.

Davis and a friend were ordered to join 70 men taking arms and ammunition to Dublin Castle and described how a volley of rifle shots rained down on the party from buildings the rebels occupied. "Around us bullets pinged and broken glass clattered onto the footpath.

"The horses bolted and vanished into the darkness and the troops did likewise."

Davis and his friend ducked for cover and stayed put until the firing dropped away and they could escape.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/diggers-bloody-role-in-irish-uprising/2007/08/14/1186857511716.html
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ironmarc



Geregistreerd op: 27-2-2005
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BerichtGeplaatst: 20 Aug 2007 12:43    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

erg interesant stuk Regulus, thanx!
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patten



Geregistreerd op: 3-10-2006
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BerichtGeplaatst: 20 Aug 2007 19:47    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

mooi gegeven beste regulus ik wist dat helemaal niet wat er ginds gebeurde en idd het moet voor de aussie's niet leuk geweest zijn
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laat ons de belgische gesneuvelde soldaten nooit vergeten wat er ook moge gebeuren...... diksmuide...merkem....nieuwpoort ..... de ijzer !!!
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