5th Battalion RDF during the Easter Rising

Official reports say they were brought to Dublin from The Curragh, arriving in Dublin at 3.45am on Tuesday 25h April, and appear to have gone straight into action around Dublin Castle

Tuesday 25th April

One of the troops rushed by train to Dublin overnight was 18-year-old Edward Casey, a "Cockney Irish" kid from a poor family of Irish exiles in the East End of London. He had joined the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and had already served at Ypres and Salonika. He arrived in Dublin at daybreak. "Marching in columns of fours, we were told by our officers 'This is not war: it's rebellion'. Our Company was detailed to cover the Four Courts. . . My post was lying down behind an iron urinal on the banks of the Liffey, and right opposite the Guinness Brewery. Streets were deserted, although on the way from the station, the crowds of men and women greeted us with raised fists and curses. I noticed a dead horse and a tram car pushed over on its side. . . I was standing behind my iron box when I noticed an old lady walking slowly along the street. When she was in hearing distance, I yelled 'Halt! Who goes there?' 'Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph!' came the reply. It was amusing but to me very sad. That old lady with her Irish accent reminded me so much of my mother. Leading her by the arm to the shelter of the urinal, I told her she may have to stay a while. Shots were being fired now and again from the big concrete building across the road." (Presumably the Mendicity Institute.)

For the assault on Dublin Castle and City Hall, Connolly had a total of 16 men and 9 women, including three of his brothers and one of his sisters (Mrs Barrett). On reaching the Castle, Connolly had demanded admittance and, when the policeman on duty went to slam the gate shut, shot him. As the sentry fired and fled, six Citizen Army men rushed the guardhouse and overpowered three of the soldiers there – tying them up with their own puttees. He did not know it, but there were only 2 officers and 25 men of the British Army in Dublin Castle at that moment. Leaving six men there Connolly then proceeded to City Hall, not realising that the Castle was completely undermanned and probably could have been taken by the rebels if the attack had been pressed further at that point.

Sean Connolly, himself was the first rebel fatality. He was wounded early in the afternoon of Easter Monday as he raised the tricolour over City Hall. By the time Kathleen Lynn (the rebel doctor) crawled across the rooftop under fire to administer aid to him, he was dead, with his head cradled in Helena Molony's lap. Sean Connolly's death left Kathleen, a lieutenant in the ICA, as senior officer in charge of the outpost. Despite their vantage points, the small force, now without their commandant, came under heavy fire from the Castle. Helena Molony and Molly O'Reilly went to the GPO to ask for reinforcements but there were none to be had. City Hall and the Evening Mail offices were assailed by heavy machine guns. Matt Connolly's memory of that night was awakening to find that, the building seemed to shudder and vibrate with explosions and machine gun fire. Glass crashed, doors and woodwork were being shattered, and somewhere in the distant part of the building a woman screamed. Helena Molony and her female comrades were the cause of some confusion to the troops. "The British officers thought these girls had been taken prisoner by the rebels." Eventually the troops realised that the women were combatants. Helena Molony and the other women were then led to a dirty barrack room on the Ship Street side of the castle and imprisoned. It appears that the British Army took the ground floor of City Hall around 9 pm on Monday night, and completed their taking of the City Hall on Tusday morning

In the Tuesday afternoon, the Daily Express building on Cork Hill, which served as an outpost to the rebel detachment in City Hall, was stormed by troops under very heavy fire by a detachment of the 5th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers under Second Lieutenant F. O'Neill. He died later on 13 Nov 1916 with the 10th Battalion. Troops from Dublin Castle launched a series of bayonet charges at 14.15 on Tuesdat 25th on the Express offices, with the troops quickly gaining entry to the ground floor offices. However further progress was halted by rebel fire from behind street barricades. A number of British assaults on the Express building failed and it took a fifth assault to take the building leaving 22 Irish defenders dead. A TCD student observing the siege said "When, therefore, we saw at the head of Dame Street men in successive waves rush across the street from the City Hall towards the Express offices, we thought they represented the enemy in process of expulsion from the Castle. As a matter of fact the waves of men were composed of the troops. From our position in front of the College we could see that a terrific fire was being directed against the Daily Express building: plaster and powdered brick were flying in showers from its facade. This fire was to cover the advance of our soldiers. But in spite of this we saw, more than once, one of the running figures pitch forward and fall. . . The fight seemed to last a considerable time - about an hour at its greatest intensity - before the firing began to wane."

A report states that during fighting "A poor fellow, who must have crept out of some cellar and who was evidently under the influence of drink, came into this inferno waving his hat, and proclaiming that he was a Dublin Fusilier. He was riddled." I cannot see whether this man appears on CWGC records or not.

19222 Corporal John William Humfrey HUMPHREYS 5th Battalion "A" Coy. died 25 April 1916. age 29. Buried Grangegorman Military Cemetery. Born at Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. Son of Marguerite Elizabeth Warfield (formerly Humphreys), of 13, Swanage Rd., Wandsworth, London, and the late Robert Humphreys.

Wednesday 26th April

The 5th Battalion were obviously involved in action on the 26th April, as they have a number of soldiers killed, but I cannot find a record of it.

Thursday 27th April

No records appear to exist of their movements on Thursday

Friday 28th April

The 5th mounted a picket on the Guiness Brewery. It is an indication of how jumpy they were, when one reads how CQMS Flood of the 5th Battalion executed men he found in the building, who were in fact Canadian soldiers. The Dublin Fusiliers were headquartered at St Catherine's Church and held a line along Thomas street as part of the cordon around various insurgent posts. A picket of Dublin Fusiliers under Captain McNamara was placed in the Robert Street grain store as part of the force surrounding the South Dublin Union. The grain store was accessible by an iron bridge across the canal. Mr McMullen of the brewery informed Captain McNamara and his sergeant, Quartermaster Robert Flood, that the nightwatchman on duty would have access to the store via the bridge. However, confusion occurred on the night of 29 April 1916 when Captain McNamara became ill and was replaced by Lieutenant Lucas of King Edward’s Horse. The night clerk, a Mr Rice, went to Robert Street with Lucas. Robert Flood, the nervous sergeant in charge of the picket was unable to recognise the officer and the watchman, held them prisoner and then had them shot. When Mr Rice failed to return to his lodgings at 101 James’s Street, his colleague and housemate, Mr Dockery became concerned. Mr Dockery then went with Lt Warswick to the Robert Street grain store and again Sergeant Flood had both men shot dead. The sergeant was eventually disarmed by a Captain Mariott and Mr Williams. He was later court-martialled for murder but found not guilty. Lieutenants Lucas and Warswick of King Edward’s Horse were buried in Dublin Castle and exhumed in the 1960s. Lieutenant Lucas was reburied at the Blackhorse Avenue military cemetery.

Flood murder newpaper

Sergeant Robert Flood (6588) served in the 5th Battalion during the Easter Rising. Born London circa 1884, he had joined RDF in 1899. During the Easter Rising he was tried for murder by court martial, and acquitted. He was later killed 9th May 1917 as CSM. R. Flood. Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. Husband of Frances Daisy Flood, of "Newville," Barham, Canterbury, Kent.. Born in London. It seems that after he was acquitted in 1916 he was moved from the RDF to the Royal Berkshire Regiment. From the Irish Times William John Rice, a night clerk in the Guinness brewery along with a Lieut. A. Lucas of the 2nd King Edward’s Horse Regiment, was shot dead at his place of work, by members of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers on Friday, April 28th. It appears the two men, Lucas and Rice, were making their nightly round of the brewery buildings when they were challenged by very nervous and jumpy Royal Dubliners. The soldiers later claimed they had caught Sinn Feiners infiltrating the brewery premises, and shot them. Another officer and a civilian brewery employee, Lieut. Worswick and Mr. Dockeray also a Guinness worker were shot dead around the same time. These deaths caused considerable concern as the victims were known not to have any sympathy with the rebel cause. Company Quartermaster Sergeant Robert Flood was subsequently court-martialled for the first two deaths. In evidence for the defence it was argued that Lucas and Rice had shown signs of Sinn Fein sympathies. The judge was quick to point out that no such evidence had been produced in the case of Lucas. The Managing Director of Guinness issued a statement saying, on behalf of the company, that neither Rice nor Dockeray was in any way connected with the Sinn Fein rebellion. In the event the accused man was acquitted. The result was received with applause in the court. The Weekly Irish Times reported having devoted much space to an issue which, like the shooting of Francis Sheehy Skeffington, clearly troubled many of its readers.


Algernon Lucas

The guard in the malthouse belonged to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Of course Mr. Lucas was unknown to the Company, Quartermaster-Sergeant or any of the guard.At any rate, whatever it was, the guard got into a state of jumpiness, and the consequence was that when Lieutenant Lucas went round with Mr. Rice, one of the brewery officials, the sentries on several occasions got the idea that he was a stranger who had no business there. The conversations he had with them were misinter- preted, and they came to a conclusion which was utterly false, and unfortunately it was shared by the accused. Lieutenant Lucas opened a window. The men knew that orders had been given that the windows were not to be opened. It looked very suspicious. The state of mind into which accused had got at that tune led him to arrest Lieutenant Lucas and Mr. Rice, who were subsequently shot. The officer, before being shot, was asked to "say his prayers," and having done so he said he was sorry, but "the boys led him into it." Soon afterwards another officer was coming down a staircase. He was challenged and searched, and rushed at the sergeant, knocking him down. The men of the guard fired and the second officer, Lieutenant Worswick, was killed, and also a civilian, who was with him, named Dockery.

Private Maurice McCarthy, R.D.F., examined by Major Kimber, stated that he was one of a picket under Quartermaster Flood in the malthouse of Guinness's Brewery on April 28. He was told an attack was expected from Robert Street. Witness was called by Quartermaster Flood and went up on the stairs. There was an officer there and a civilian...... Witness then gave evidence relating to the shooting of Lieutenant Worswick and the man Dockery. Private Joseph Murphy, of the 5th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers, said he was in the party, and went down to the malthouse at 12 o'clock on the night of April 28. Witness was on duty at a window, and a strange officer came to him and opened the window.

In 1908, Algernon Lucas, a graduate of Selwyn College, Cambridge University, arrived in Montreal from England in pursuit of a teaching career. In response to the need of Montreal’s English community for a suitable preparatory school, he was entrusted with the early education of seven young boys. The venture grew rapidly, and within two years, Lucas School had to move to a larger private house on Mackay Street. In 1912, Mr. Lucas turned to the business world and transferred the School to Mr. Colin Macaulay, a fellow graduate of Selwyn College, who re-named it Selwyn House, in honour of their alma mater.

CQMS Flood Service record

1st May 1916

These men could either have died of wounds received earlier, or they were involved in a fresh action this day. I suspect they died of wounds

And a note from W J Clarke, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Royal Dublin Fusiliers to Officer Commanding 3rd Connaught Rangers dated 3.5.1916
I have the honour to inform you that Sergeant Barror has been associated with me throughout the operations against the Sein Feiners. He brought me much valuable information from time to time, and on one occasion we were able to bag two snipers, who had been worrying us for some time. He is an excellent shot and I only wish I could be associated with him at the front.
I have the honour to be Sir. Your obedient servant W J Clarke, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Royal Barracks, Dublin

Description of a medal group sold in 1998 at DNW London. Description
An Easter Rising M.B.E. group of four awarded to Major R. H. St C. C. Robinson, 5th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers
The Order of the British Empire, M.B.E. (Military) 1st type; Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 3 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal (Lt., Rl. Dub. Fus.); British War and Victory Medals (Major) good very fine (4) £200-250
Major Robinson served in the Easter Rebellion with the 5th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, which took a prominent part in the battle of Cork Hill, around Dublin Castle and the Mail & Express offices. He subsequently sat as a Waiting Member of the General Court Martial of John (Eoin) MacNeill and others in May 1916. In recognition of his services in Ireland, Major Robinson was awarded the M.B.E. in January 1919.



Dublin Fusiliers during the Easter Rising 1916