APRIL 1916 AND A ROYAL IRISH FUSILIER

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1 APRIL 1916 AND A ROYAL IRISH FUSILIER By Brian McConnell * The uprising of April 1916 in Dublin, Ireland is now ought of as pivotal to e history of e country. Even en it must have felt like it was having a tremendous impact on e people of Ireland as in e case of one young man from Newbliss, County Monaghan - a Royal Irish Fusilier. In e ird week of April, 1916 Joseph Clarke, found himself instead fighting against oer Irishmen in Dublin. He had enlisted six mons earlier at e age of 19 wi e Royal Irish Fusiliers of e British Army, intending to join e Ulster Division and fight Germans in France. After enlistment he had been posted wi e Ulster Composite Battalion and sent to Dublin. (1) Private Joseph Clarke Royal Irish Fusiliers

2 Page 2 Irish republicans intent on ending British rule in Ireland and establishing an independent Irish Republic led an armed insurrection during Easter Week of In Dublin ey seized key locations and proclaimed an Irish Republic. There were actions in oer parts of Ireland but ey were minor. British soldiers along wi Dublin police were called upon to put down e rebellion. Postcard of May 1916 showing afterma of Irish Rebellion Among e belongings of Joseph Clarke, found after his dea, by his grandson was e postcard above. It shows some of e destruction at occurred in Dublin during e fighting and Sackville Street barricaded wi motor cars. (2) According to a report in e Irish Times Newspaper published on April 29, 1916 entitled Military & Police Casualties Over Five Hundred, ere were 124 British officers killed and 388 soldiers wounded, and many more civilians. (3)

3 Page 3 Joseph Clarke was among ose wounded in e fighting. He was admitted to Mater Hospital, Dublin on April 27, The diagnosis was a shrapnel wound to e head. On April 29 he was operated on and shrapnel was removed. He was deemed Fit for Duty and discharged to Barracks on May 19. (4) Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin photo from September, 1916 The Mater Misericordiae Hospital was founded by e Sisters of Mercy in 1861 and opened on September 24, It is still a very important and active hospital located on Eccles Street in Dublin s nor inner city.

4 Page 4 Joseph Clarke was born in Newbliss, in County Monaghan, one of e nine norern counties in Ireland at are part of e old province called Ulster. He was e son of William Clarke, a ploughman and his wife Sarah, who had seven children and were members of e Presbyterian Church.(5) Newbliss, Co. Monaghan in early 1900s As a young man Joseph travelled wi his faer from eir home in Newbliss to Toronto, Canada where many had already moved in e hope of better fortunes. They obtained a small plot of land nor of e city. At e outbreak of World War I, however, bo returned to County Monaghan, Ireland so Joseph could enlist wi his younger broer William in e Ulster Division of e British Army to fight for King and Country. (6) Support for e union of Ulster and for at matter all of Ireland and Great Britain and loyalty to King and County had a long history among e Protestant community in County Monaghan. In Shepherding e Monaghan Flock: The Story of First Monaghan Presbyterian Church, nd 1997" by Dr. L.T. Brown it is noted on page 94 at...on February 2, 1886, e Presbytery of Monaghan...protest(ed) in e strongest manner any measure at has as its object e severance of e union as at present existing... (7)

5 Page 5 Private William Clarke, Joseph s broer, was killed in action against e Germans during e attack at Hamel, in France, on July 1, (8) Joseph was seriously injured wi gunshot wounds to his left leg, stomach, and loss of his right eye. (9) He was discharged at e rank of Corporal in November, 1918 and his Discharge Certificate noted he was no longer physically fit for war service. Discharge Certificate of Joseph Clarke

6 Page 6 After service wi e Ulster Division, Joseph returned to County Monaghan. He obtained employment at Givens Garage in Monaghan Town and trained to become a motor mechanic. He married in 1924 and wi his wife immigrated to Canada. They settled in Toronto where he worked for a garage as a auto mechanic. Joseph Clarke was President of 36 Ulster Division Old Comrades Association of Toronto in 1937 After e Second World War, Joseph had a business opportunity in Norern Ontario and moved ere to e Town of Englehart to take over a Dodge Automobile Dealership along wi garage. In Englehart he was active in e Rotary Club and became its President as well as becoming President of e Temiskaming T.B. Association. He was also a member of e Royal Canadian Legion and Master of e Masonic Lodge, having been formerly active in e Orange Lodge. Joseph also believed he had a civic responsibility to be involved in his community and its affairs. He was elected a member of e Council of e Town of Englehart, Deputy Mayor and en was elected Mayor in (10). On June 17, 1968 Joseph Clarke, e Royal Irish Fusilier from Newbliss, County Monaghan, Ireland who first experienced conflict during e Easter Rebellion of 1916, en witnessed a broer killed in WWI in France, and was severely wounded himself, had a fatal heart attack and was put to rest in e community cemetery at Englehart.

7 Page 7 Notes: * Article completed by Brian McConnell, grandson of Joseph Clarke, on October 31, To contact him please (1) For military records see Blacker s Boys by Nick Metcalfe, Oxfordshire: Writersworld, 2012 as amended. (2) Postcard found by Brian McConnell in belongings of Joseph Clarke at Englehart, Ontario, (3) See Irish Times Newspaper Military & Police Casualties over Five Hundred, April 29, Among e identified as killed were 12 Royal Irish Constabulary, 3 Dublin Police, 1 Royal Navy, 103 British soldiers including members of e Royal Irish Regiment, Royal Inniskilling Fusilers, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Royal Irish Rifles, Pembroke Yeomanry, Sherwood Forresters, and Canadian Infantry. There were also 5 Irish Loyal Volunteers. (4) Patient Record of Joseph Clarke, Mater Hospital, Dublin, April 27 - May 15, (5) See: National Archives of Ireland, Census of Ireland, 1901, 1911, Residents of a house 64 in Newbliss Town (Newbliss, Monaghan) (6) Declaration of Passenger to Canada ( Ocean Arrivals Form 30A) completed by Joseph Clarke on April 19, 1924 indicates he previously arrived in Canada in June 1914 and departed in October 1915 to return to Ireland to join Ulster Division for France. (7) Shepherding e Monaghan Flock - The Story of First Monaghan Presbyterian Church by Dr. L.T. Brown, printed by R & S Printers, The Diamond Monaghan, 1997 (8) Military Service Record for William Clarke indicates: CLARKE, Private William Born Killeevan, County Monahgan. Enlisted into e 9 (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, in January To France wi 36 (Ulster Division) in October Killed in action during e attack at Hamel 1 July Star. (9) Military Service Record for Joseph Clarke indicates: CLARKE, Corporal Joseph From Newbliss, County Monaghan. A farmer. Enlisted 6 December 1915 and joined e 10 (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Wounded while serving wi e Ulster Composite Battalion during e Irish Republican attacks in Dublin. Wounded by Shrapnel to e abdomen 5 December 1917 at Marcoing. Evacuated to hospital in England 24 December Discharged as no longer physically fit for war service due to wounds 15 November Silver War Badge, number B (10) See various articles on Joseph Clarke in Temiskaming Speaker Newspaper, published New Liskeard, Ontario, from

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