Richmond WW1 Diary 17 March 1916

Image of poppy

St Patrick’s Day

While the day was little marked in Richmond, St Patrick’s Day 1916 in Dublin foreshadowed the Easter Rising.

Thousands of men who had enlisted in the Irish Volunteers, a militia force dedicated to the pursuit of Irish independence, had joined parades in Dublin and Cork city and elsewhere across Ireland.

The following day, The Irish Times criticised those able-bodied men “who refuse to help their country in the present war”.

At the start of 1916, conscription had been introduced across Great Britain but it had been decided not to do this in Ireland, where political tensions were already high.

However, the volunteers in the Cork parade were joined by boy scouts holding ropes to mark the space left empty by 400 local Irish Volunteers who had signed up to fight for Britain and were away in the trenches of Northern Europe.

In London, meanwhile, shamrocks were presented to soldiers of the London Irish Rifles. The group is small, since most of the force was on the Front.

Watch the video on the British Film Institute website here.

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