Reported in the News Letter during this week in 1916: The Easter Rising


A selection of stories showing how the week of the Easter Rising was reported in the News Letter 100 years ago

Ulster and the War

[Monday, May 1]

Captain Philip Cruickshank, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who is again reported wounded, is a well known officer of the Tyrone Regiment, Ulster Volunteer Force.

He is the editor of the “Tyrone Constitution”, Omagh. Captain Cruickshank was wounded about two months ago, and had not long returned to duty when he was wounded again last Saturday night, but happily not seriously. He is a native of Aberdeen.

Rebellion Dying Out

Surrender in Dublin

[Monday, May 1]

The rebellion is dying out in inglorious fashion. On Saturday, the members of the “Provisional Government”, in the hope “of saving the lives of our followers, now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered”, agreed to unconditional surrender, and ordered the commanders of “all units of the Republican forces” to lay down their arms. Thus the back of the rising has been broken, and, according to reports from the Viceroy and Field-Marshal Lord French, rebels are coming in both in Dublin and the South and West.

Thrilling accounts of last week’s scenes in the capital appear in our columns this morning. For nearly a week Dublin was given over to carnage and looting. Many lives have been lost on both sides, and the damage to property must represent many thousands of pounds. Sackville Street has been laid in ruins, and among the buildings destroyed is the General Post Office, one of the architectural features of that thoroughfare. By night the city has been lit up by the glare of incendiary fires, and sniping has gone on by night and day.

Up to the present, 707 prisoners have been taken, these including Pearse and Connolly, leader of the rebels, and Countess Markievicz.

Women Fighting With The Rebels

[Monday, May 1]

“There are a conspicuous number of women fighting with the rebels, and some have been shot and some captured,” declared a gentleman who arrived in London from Dublin yesterday to a representative of the Press Association.

“I saw a number of women marching into Dublin on Sunday last. Some of them had naval revolvers strapped round them. They were wearing dark green uniforms, similar to that of the male insurgents, and slouch hats. They consist largely of young women, but there are a number of older ones among them. I believe they had had training with the men, for they do not lack a certain discipline and organisation.

“There have been cases of military officers being shot from behind by women.”

Kut Garrison Forced to Surrender

[Monday, May 1]

The War Office has announced that General Townshend, after a resistance protracted for 143 days, and conducted with a gallantry and fortitude that will be for ever memorable, has been compelled by the exhaustion of his supplies to surrender his garrison in the town of Kut [100 miles south of Baghdad], but before doing so he destroyed his guns and munitions.

Dublin Rebels All Prisoners

City Now Quite Safe

[Tuesday, May 2]

The latest official news confirms the previously reported collapse of the rebellion. Yesterday afternoon a communique was issued by Field-Marshal Lord French announcing that all Dublin commanders had surrendered, had given themselves up and that the city was stated to be quite safe. There were 1,900 prisoners in the capital on Sunday, of whom 489 have been sent to England.

In the country districts, continues Lord French’s statement, the rebels are surrendering to mobile columns. At Enniscorthy the Sinn Feiners have surrendered unconditionally, while it was hoped that in the city of Cork arms would be laid down yesterday.

Earlier unofficial telegrams had announced the capture of the last of the rebel positions in Dublin – including the Four Courts – and mentioned the arrival of an insurgent lieutenant with a view to the surrender of the forces in County Meath.

Further graphic details are given of last week’s fighting in Dublin, and a mournful picture is presented of the present aspect of Sackville Street – a splendid thoroughfare many of whose most prominent buildings have been reduced to ruins.

From his column, which dominates the whole of Sackville Street, Nelson looks down upon a heap of smouldering debris, upon reeking stones still red with the blood of soldiers, rebels and civilians alike.

In other parts of the city the damage has not been so severe, but within a mile radius from the centre there is scarcely a house which cannot show its bullet-hole, its splintered chimney, or its cracked slates as a memento of the rebels’ relentless guerilla warfare which has been waged since Tuesday.

‘Shame and Indignation’

[Tuesday, May 2]

With the Dublin rebellion (says another Press Association message) another page of Irish history has been written. It is a page the most lamentable of all in the chequered story of the Western Isle, and one which nine out of every ten of the Irish people whom I have met this week would readily, if it were only possible, pluck out at once, so deep is the sense of shame and indignation with which they view the acts of a small minority of traitorous irreconcilables.

A City of Desolation

[Wednesday, May 3]

It would be impossible to convey in mere words an adequate idea of the awful devastation which has been wrought in Dublin during the past ten or eleven days as a result of the Sinn Fein rising and the steps which were taken by the authorities to effectively cope with it. Portion of Sackville Street, from the Nelson Pillar to Carlisle Bridge, has been hopelessly destroyed, and other thoroughfares have suffered in an equal degree.

The damage done cannot possibly be repaired within the lifetime of the present generation. If the city had been visited by an earthquake the ruin could not have been more glaring and pitiful.

On all sides within the area dominated by Sackville Street the scenes of desolation are repeated.

Three Rebel Leaders Executed

[Thursday, May 4]

Two sensational items of news in connection with the rebellion have to be recorded this morning.

The first was contained in an official communique issued in Dublin yesterday, the effect that three signatories of the notice proclaiming the Irish Republic – Pearse, McDonagh and Clarke – were found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death. The men were shot yesterday morning. The Premier also announced this news to Parliament, and added that three other men had been sentenced to three years’ penal servitude.

The second announcement will occasion little surprise after the events of the past ten days. It is that Mr Birrell has resigned the Chief Secretaryship of Ireland.

The situation in Dublin and throughout the country is quieting down. It is stated that the list of dead in the hospitals of the capital totals 188, of whom 72 were soldiers, one was a policeman, and 111 were rebels or civilians.

Reflections on the Rebellion

News Letter Editorial

[Thursday, May 4]

Yesterday morning three of the rebel leaders who had signed the proclamation of the Irish Republic were shot, having been duly tried by field general court-martial and sentenced to death.

The men who have thus fitly paid the penalty of their crimes were P H Pearse, T MacDonagh, and T J Clarke.

Three others whose names are not given were sentenced to three years’ penal servitude. If this trio were among the signatories to the rebel proclamation, there will be a very general opinion, in Ireland at any rate, that they have been too leniently dealt with.

We presume that James Connolly, who shared with Pearse the leadership of the rising, being seriously wounded, has not yet been brought to trial in consequence of his physical condition.

We have no desire to seek a ruthless vengeance on the rank and file of the Sinn Fein rebels. Speaking of them in the mass, we regard them as the product, in a very large measure, of the slack, feeble government which has cursed our country ever since Mr Augustine Birrell became head of the Irish Administration.

It has been said that every country gets the government it deserves. That is not true of Ireland. What Ireland has deserved, what its needs have required, has been steady, strong, even-handed, resolute rule. Every one of those essentials have been denied the country from the day Mr Birrell first entered Dublin Castle to the day he left it, for good we are glad to say. For the Prime Minister in the House of Commons yesterday, announced his resignation.

Police Activity in Tyrone

[Thursday, May 4]

The police are still very active in those districts of Tyrone where Sinn Fein exists, and it is understood that some further arms and ammunition have been seized.

In connection with a proposed meeting of a small section of the “Irish Volunteers” at Fintona on Tuesday, a posse of about forty armed men of the Royal Irish Constabulary on motor cars and bicycles visited the town in charge of District-Inspector Conlin, Omagh.

The result was that the meeting was not held at the local hall, but quite a crowd of people gathered on the streets adjoining, and in consequence of some outspoken comment three men named James Campbell, Peter Donaghy, and John O’Neill, all of Lacca, were taken into custody under the Defence of the Realm Act.

Sir Roger Casement

[Thursday, May 4]

The “Daily Telegraph’s” Parliamentary correspondent understands that the Government have made arrangements whereby Sir Roger Casement, now under arrest in the Tower for participation in the Irish rebellion, will be charged with high treason at an early date in London.

More Rebel Leaders Sentenced

[Friday, May 5]

The following official communique was issued in Dublin yesterday:

“Trials by court-martial of rebels proceeded yesterday, and thirty-six men were tried. Confirmation has only taken place in three cases, namely, those of:

Thomas Hunter;

John McBride;

William Cosgrave.

“All three of these men were sentenced to death, but the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief commuted death sentence to penal servitude for life in the case of Hunter and Cosgrave.

“‘Major’ McBride, who was executed yesterday morning, was a man of about 50 years of age, and was an employee of the Dublin Corporation. During the Boer War he fought with the Irish contingent on the side of the Boers.”

An American Comment – ‘Ample Justification for Execution of Rebels’

[Saturday, May 6]

The “Evening Post” in New York says: The British Government had ample justification in law for putting to death the leaders of the Irish rebellion, caught red-handed. The Irish rebels pulled a double noose around their necks by not only taking up arms against the British Government, but by doing it at a time when the very existence of the Empire was hazarded. Rather than a rebellion, a crazy Irish rising, it looks like a conspiracy of the enemies of Great Britain.