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Reference Name Covering Dates Description Size File
WO71 358Pearse, William (prisoner 27); Dougherty, John (prisoner 26); McGarry, John (prisoner 28); Walsh J. J. (prisoner 29)2 May 1916 - 3 May 1916

File relates to the field general courtmartial of: William (Willie) Pearse [Irish Volunteers]; John Dougherty; John McGarry; J. J. Walsh. The courtmartial was held on the 3rd of May 1916 at [Richmond Barracks, Dublin] and was presided over by Colonel E. W. S. K. Maconchy (president), Lieutenant Colonel A. M. Bent and Major F. W. Woodward. Charge against all four was that 'he did an act to wit did take part in an armed rebellion and in the waging of war against His majesty the King such 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'. William Pearse pleaded guilty and Dougherty, McGarry and Walsh pleaded not guilty. All four defendants were found guilty and sentenced to 'Death'. William Pearse's sentence was confirmed, but Dougherty, McGarry and Walsh had their sentences commuted to penal servitude by General J. G. Maxwell; ten years for Dougherty and Walsh and eight years for McGarry. Note on charge sheet reads 'John McGarry is recommended to mercy on the grounds that he was misled by his leaders.' Charge Sheet and confirmation of sentence included signed by General J. G. Maxwell but no specific details of Pearse's execution [4 May 1916] in the file.

One witness was called for the prosecution, Lieutenant S. L. King, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who stated that he was taken prisoner on the 25th April 1916 outside Clery's on O'Connell Street, Dublin, and taken into the General Post Office where he was held for three days. He identified all four defendants as being present in the Post Office at that time '...I saw Pearse, McGarry and Walsh wearing equipment, belts and pouches. Dougherty had a revolver but no equipment. It was Dougherty who threatened to blow my brains out... '

All four defendants made statements: John Dougherty stated 'I did not say that I would blow Lieut King's brains out.' Pearse's stated '... I was throughout only a personal attaché to my brother P. H. Pearse. I had no direct command.' John McGarry stated '...I had no intention of assisting the enemy... I was employed as a messenger... ' J. J. Walsh stated '... During the past eighteen months I have had no official position either big or little in the Irish Volunteers... I gave it up at the time of the split between the Redmonites and the Irish Volunteers... I fired on nobody during the time in the Post office... '

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