Joseph Mallin was two and a half when he said goodbye to his dad in 1916. Joseph’s mum, granny, brothers, uncle, they were all there. His granny told Joseph’s dad she was proud of him. It takes a lot for a mother not to be proud of her son. Like many farewells, it was a tearful event. All knew they would not see Joseph’s dad again. Holding your loved ones and knowing it is for the last time must have been heartwrenching. It was the 7th May 1916/
Joseph’s dad was not going off to war. Nor was he dying of wounds. Joseph’s dad was not a soldier. He had been in the Army. He had served for twelve years in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Joined up as a Boy Bandsman. After 12 years spent mostly in India. During which there was a spell in South Africa fighting the Boer. Joseph’s dad had left the army as a serjeant.
Joseph’s dad had been tried by a British Army Court Martial two days earlier, on the 5th May. There were three judges. Colonel E.W.S.K. Maconchy, Lieutenant Colonel A.M. Bent, and Major F. W. Woodward. Joseph’s dad was prisoner number Seventy-eight. He was charged with: 1) Did an act to wit did take part in armed rebellion and in waging of war against His Majesty the King, such an act being of such a nature as to be calculated to be Prejudicial to the Defence of the Realm and being done with the intention and for the purpose of assisting the enemy. 2) Did attempt to cause disaffection among the civilian population of His Majesty.
Found not guilty of the second charge. He was found guilty of the first charge and sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad sometime between 3.45 and 4.05 am on Monday 8th May 1916
Today we would call Joseph’s dad a terrorist, and a very important one at that. (1)
He was second in command of the Citizen Army, along with the Irish Republican Brotherhood, one of the predecessors of the IRA.
Prisoner 78 was one of 15 men executed as being leaders of the 1916 Rising in Dublin.
Up until the executions of the leaders, there seems to have been very little support for the rebellion in Ireland. -It was suppressed very quickly.
The executions changed all that. It turned the men into Martyrs. Martyrs become heroes in the popular psyche. Frozen in time they are regarded much in the same way as the Rebel Alliance is in the Star War Films. Underdogs fighting the technologically superior evil empire.
The ideas behind the rising got turned into stone and stopped evolving. you can’t have a conversation with, Marx because Marx is dead. death is the point the individual’s ideas stop, but the words and actions live on.
When the leadership of an organisation is taken out you have no idea who is going to take over. It is the middle that runs a war. The Top Directs. Without the middle, direction is lost. Without the Top the middle just promotes itself. Then the war just goes on.
In 1916 Britain won the 1916 Irish insurrection but ultimately lost the Republic, and the war continued for generations in the North.
References and notes
Joseph is Joseph Mallin, who is still alive and will be 103 years old tomorrow 13th September 2016
Joseph’s Dad was Michael Mallin
(1) In the Irish Republic, he is remembered as a “Freedom” Fighter. The difference between “Terrorist” and “Freedom” Fighter is down to are they shooting, or throwing bombs at you, or are they shooting or throwing bombs away from you.-If you are with them they are “Freedom” Fighters, if you are against them, they are terrorists.
(2) Charges and judges are from “The Secret Court Martial Records of the Easter Rising, by Brian Barton
(3) Information about Joseph and his dad is from various Web Sites