Anzacs at the Easter Rising

“The Anzacs had been above on the roof of the College since an early hour. Owing to the strict order received from the Irish Command not to fire until attacked, many chances of ‘potting’ Rebels had been missed. But later in the morning this order had been withdrawn. Already before daylight a despatch-rider of the enemy had been brought down by the fire of the Anzacs. It was wonderful shooting. He was one of three who were riding past on bicycles. Four shots were fired. Three found their mark in the head of the unfortunate victim. Another of the riders was wounded and escaped on foot. The third abandoned his bicycle and also escaped. This shooting was done by the uncertain light of the electric lamps, and at a high angle downwards from a lofty building. The body was brought in.”

This is from a contemporary article published in Blackwoods Magazine by John Joly who was Professor of Geology at Trinity College in Dublin during the Easter Rising of 1916. I found this in a historical anthology about Dublin I’m reading before my trip: mention of Anzac snipers gave me a start. There’s nothing like the feeling of two naïve myths knocking together (the plucky Digger as victim, rather than agent, of Empire; the idea that Australians with Irish ancestry in 1916 would automatically be sympathetic to the Fenians) to wake you up in the morning.

A quick Google turned up Jeff Kildea’s fascinating paper in the Journal of the Australian War Memorial, “Called to arms: Australian soldiers in the Easter Rising 1916”


One response to “Anzacs at the Easter Rising

  1. According to the 1916 Rebellion Handbook the Anzacs sharpshooters who defended Trinity College comrpised of 5 New Zealanders and only one Australian.

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