Why the rebels of the Easter Rising would not give their names
Frongoch Concentration Camp in north Wales was not without its sacrifices for the rebels of the Easter Rising in 1916. While it is true the men had considerably more freedom at Frongoch in the old distillery compared to Kilmainham Gaol, Knutsford, or Wandsworth Prisons in England where they suffered solitary confinement, one of the biggest personal price they paid was inflicted on themselves by themselves.
Since the Easter Rising, Frongoch had long been nicknamed the School of Revolution by historians and there is good reason for that.Men from all parts of Ireland were sent here and by the end of their stay they had all banded together against the enemy like no other time in history, even more so than during the Easter Rising. Many of the rebels who took part did not even know each other and there were those that came from England and Scotland, had only been in Dublin a few weeks or months before the real fighting began..
They did this for each other and also to protect those men on the outside. The British authorities were trying to justify just who among the rebels was born in England. While they were trying to discern the reason for the rebellion itself they surmised the English born lads were simply trying to escape conscription. Nearly all of the Kimmage garrison were born and reared in England but no one said a word about it.
Not giving their names meant the rebels would not receive care packages, nor could they receive letters, or the welcome food parcels from family, friends, and some people on the outside who were sympathetic to their cause. The tide had really turned with public appeal.
A British-appointed commission asked questions, listened for evidence and encouraged the Volunteers during and inquiry. Some of them thought there must be some hidden gold from Germany somewhere. They also gave the rebels every chance to say they were simply misled and had not intended to take place in the Easter Rising. After this, the men refused to give their names but not before five men were found guilty of desertion and handed over to authorities in London. Two of these men, the Nunan brothers spent fifty-six days on bread and water. Then they were forced into British uniforms which them promptly tore off!
Not all families knew what happened to their loved ones after the Easter Rising but for some .. the sacrifice was even more devastating.
A rebel known affectionately as Blackguard ‘Tom’ Daly showed great restraint when he learned his wife had died during his imprisonment leaving several young children orphans. Though encouraged to reveal his identity by Captain Mick Collins he refused to say his name and return to Dublin, fearing he would weaken the other men.
He had no way of knowing whether or not his children were being cared for.
The Frongoch rebels who had participated in what the authorities called the Sinn Fein Rebellion were finally released for Christmas 1916. They still refused to give their names. There was no going back now. They fight had only begun.
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