Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Colonel Portal

In command of the troops that travelled to Dublin from the Curragh was Colonel B P Portal (later Brigadier General Sir Bertram Percy Portal). Colonel Portal was listed in the despatch from Sir John French. He also gets a mention in a Sherwood Forester diary.

He is one of the officers credited with the idea for the improvised armoured cars using lorries from Guinness with smoke boxes and metal plates from the railway works at Inchicore.

29th August 1885, Lt in the 17th Lancers from Royal Military College

19th February 1895, Captain in the 17th Lancers

18th March 1896, seconded for service on the Staff

4th April 1899, Supernumerary Captain to Captain

29th May 1900, Major in the 17th Lancers

1900-1902, Boer War

5th February 1904, Lt Col in the 17th Lancers. Has a DSO

2nd November 1906, Colonel in the 17th Lancers

30th October 1907, retired pay

13th December 1912, Deputy Lt in Southampton

1st May 1916, Major Salt, Staff Officer to BPP

24th January 1917, retired pay Reserve of Officers, temp Brigadier General

16th March 1932, Vice Lt Southampton

A Terrible Beauty is Born

A new docudrama titled "A Terrible Beauty is Born" is due out shortly.

Having watched the trailer I'm not too sure about this production. Sloppy saluting and uniforms, trying to link the events at Mount St Bridge to the murders at North King St, making it look as though Capt Dietrichsen's wife was close enough to see him shot...... Hopefully the final production will be better.

In 1966, Radio Eireann commissioned Brian Boydell to compose a piece of music for the 50th Anniversary events. Boydell called the piece "A Terrible Beauty is Born".

Both these productions link back to the poem Easter 1916 by William Butler Yeats.

Henry Hugh Peter Deasy

On Wednesday 26th April 1916, a Major Deasy contacted Guinness to see under what terms Guinness would allow the lorries requisitioned on the Monday to be converted to improvised armoured cars for use during the Easter Rising.

The only Major Deasy I can find is an Irishman by the name Henry Hugh Peter Deasy.

29th June 1866, born in Dublin.

20th April 1886, Lt in the 4th Royal Munster Fusiliers

10th November 1888, 2nd Lt in the 6th Lancers

29th January 1890, Lt in the 16th Lancers

17th February 1894, Captain in the 16th Lancers

1894, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

1896, exploration of Tibet

24th March 1897, resigns his Captaincy in the 16th Lancers

10th August 1897, Reserve of Officers

May 1900, note re his exploration work

August 1900, wrote article "Journeys in Central Asia"

1901, wrote "In Tibet and Chinese Turkistan" following 3 years of exploration work

1903, founded H H P Deasy and Company Ltd, importing cars

1905, completed a 1000 mile motor trial around Ireland

1905, shareholder of the London Power Omnibus Company Limited

1906, founded Deasy Motor Car Manufacturing Company Limited (in 1912 it was to become Siddeley-Deasy Motor Company Limited having been taken over by John Davenport Siddeley)

11th October 1906, resigns as Chairman of London Power Omnibus Company Limited

22nd February 1907, winding up of H H P Deasy and Company Limited

24th June 1910, H P P Deasy and Company Limited accounts/liquidation

14th March 1911, Deasy Motor Car Manufacturing Company Limited

5th May 1915, Temporary Major, 8th Reserve Regiment  of Cavalry

The 8th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry was formed in August 1914 and based in the Curragh. Affiliated to 16th and 17th Lancers

18th May 1915, Temporary Major 8th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry, Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General

25th July 1916, relinquishes rank of Temporary Major.

4th July 1919, ceases to be employed with the Labour Corps (his Medal Index Card shows Labour Corps and makes no mention of 16th Lancers or 8th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry ie he served in a theatre of war with the Labour Corps. He entered France in the last days of the war - 17th October 1918).

12th September 1919, placed on the Retired list as a result of ill health

A summary of his life can be found online in a Grace's Guide relating to his work with motor cars.

26th January 1947. Died.

So far, I've found no official documentation or any publication to show that Henry Deasy was the Major Deasy who called Guinness. The idea for the improvised armoured cars originated with Colonel Portal, one of the officers in charge of the troops coming from the Curragh (including 8th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry) to which Deasy was attached in a Quartermaster role.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

ex-soldier Malachy Halfpenny

Malachy Halpenny served with the Royal Field Artillery during the Great War, number 120000.

After his return to Belfast, he was to fall victim of the B Special/RIC Cromwell Gang reputed to be under the command of District Inspector Nixon. In June 1921, he was dragged from his bed and beaten. Halfpenny's feet were pierced by a bayonet to prevent any chance of escape. He was shot several times and his bullet riddled body was found in a field having been thrown on a barbed wired fence. 17 bullet wounds were counted.

According to a debate at Westminster, one brother had died during the Great War and 3 others had served.

James Halfpenny from Belfast was killed in June 1917 with the Royal Irish Fusiliers having been in the Connaught Rangers

A short while before his death, Malachy Halfpenny had appeared in the London/Edinburgh Gazettes
making progress in his job as a Postman

District Inspector John William Nixon was dismissed from the RUC in 1924. He went on to become a politician in Belfast Council and later an MP at Stormont.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

ex-soldier Joseph Walsh

Having survived the Great War, former soldier Joseph Walsh died in Belfast in April 1922.

The forces of Law and Order in Belfast killed Walsh in his own home, 18 Arnon Street, by crushing his skull with a sledgehammer that they had used to smash open the door of his house. His 7 year old son Michael was shot and died the next day. His 2year old daughter Brigid survived; 14 year old Frank Walsh received a shot to the thigh having been beaten by the Police.

Joseph Walsh's 3 month old nephew, Robert James Walsh, was shot in the arms of a woman standing outside the door of 22 Arnon Street.

Joseph Walsh was 22 in the 1911 census and 11 in the 1901 census. His mother is recorded in both census returns as born in America.

A Thomas O'Hagan, number 6686 Connaught Rangers, gave his and his mothers' address as 18 Arnon St, Belfast when he enlisted 6th January 1917.