Who was Erskine Childers?
Robert Erskine Childers DSC ( 1870 – 24 1922) was the son of an English scholar and Anglo-Irish mother. He smuggled guns from Germany to Ireland to be used in the 1916 Rising in his yacht
Asgard, a wedding present from his father-in-law.
One member of his crew was MARY ELLEN SPRING RICE, only daughter of Thomas, second Baron Monteagle of Mount Brandon, Mount Trenchard, Foynes, Co Limerick. She was a close friend of the Childers family, a strong supporter of Home Rule and later of Sinn Féin. She died on 1 December 1924, aged 44, and was given a guard of honour at her funeral by the local IRA, the Gaelic League, and trade unionists.
What else was Erskine Childers famous for?
He wrote The Riddle of the Sands (1903) one of the 1st examples of the espionage novel . It “established a formula that included a mass of verifiable detail, which gave authenticity to the story”
It was one of the early invasion of britain novels “… a story with a purpose”
written from “a patriot’s natural sense of duty”, which predicted war with Germany and called for British preparedness
It had a political impact as it persuaded public opinionin Britain at the time to fund vital measures against the German naval threat,
Childers was secretary-general of the Irish delegation that negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty with the British government but opposed the final draft of the agreement. Childers broke with Michael Collins over the treaty. He backed the IRA nationalists who fought the Irish Free State.
How did he die?
He was executed by the authorities of the Irish Free State during the Irish Civil War
After Collins’s assassination, emergency laws promulgated the death sentence for anyone caught armed without authorization. Childers was arrested in early November with a small sidearm — a gift Michael Collins had given him, back when they were on the same side. He was convicted by the military court, sentenced to death on 20 November and executed on 24 November by firing squad in Dublin
The night before his execution, Childers summoned his 16-year-old son to prison and extracted a promise that the boy would find everyone who signed his death warrant … and shake their hands
His son became the 4th President of Ireland, Erskine Hamilton Childers.
Could NI learn and implement forgiveness ?