WE NEVER FORGET: The Irish Rebels of the Easter Rising, Murdered by the British on May 8 & 9, 1916
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
Éamonn Ceannt was one of the signatories of the Irish Proclamation of Independence. He was in command of the Irish Volunteers at the South Dublin Union. He was a fluent Irish speaker.
Michael Mallin was a silk weaver and served as secretary of the Silk Weavers' Union. He was a member of the Irish Citizen Army and was promoted to chief of staff by James Connolly with whom he fought at the General Post Office during the Rising. Mallin was sent with Countess Markievicz, his second in command, to St. Stephen's Green. They fled that location under fire and took their last stand at the College of Surgeons. He was survived by his wife and five children, the youngest of whom was born five months after his death.
Seán Heuston led a section of the First Battalion of Volunteers at the Mendicity Institute, located south of Liffey at Usher's Island. They held out there for two days before the surrender. Dublin's Heuston Railway station is now named in his honor. He was the seconded youngest of those executed in the Easter Rising.
Con Colbert was a captain in the Irish Volunteers. Pearse called him the "Gallant Captain Colbert," high praise indeed. Colbert was the commander in charge at the Marrowbone Lane distillery until the surrender on April 30th.
During the Rising the Kent family home in County Cork was raided by British Crown forces. At home at the time were Thomas and his three brothers, Richard, David, and William. Mrs. Kent, age 84, reportedly cried out: "We are soldiers of the Irish Republic and there is no surrender."
The family resisted the British invasion of their home and an officer of the Royal Irish Constabulary was killed in the fighting. David Kent was seriously wounded, but survived. Richard Kent was fatally wounded.
William and Thomas were put on trial for murder in the death of the officer. William was acquitted, and Thomas was found guilty and executed. He and Roger Casement are the only martyrs of the Easter Rising to be executed outside of Dublin. The railway station in Cork is now named Kent Station in his honor.
May  1916
I leave for the guidance of the other revolutionaries who may tread the path which I have trod this advice: never to treat with the enemy, never to surrender to his mercy but to fight to a finish. I see nothing gained but grave disaster caused by the surrender which has marked the end of the Irish Insurrection of 1916-so far at least as Dublin is concerned. The enemy has not cherished one generous thought for those who, with little hope, with poor equipment & weak in members withstood his forces for one glorious week. Ireland has shown that she is a nation. This generation can claim to have raised sons as brave as any that went before and in the years to come Ireland will honour those who risked all for her honour at Easter 1916. I bear no ill-will towards those against whom I fought. I have found the common soldiers and the higher officers humane and companionable, even the English who were actually in the fight against us. Thank God soldiering for Ireland has opened my heart and helped me to see pure humanity where I expect to find only scorn and reproach. I have met the man who escaped from me by a ruse under the red cross but I do not regret having withheld my fire. He gave me cakes. I wish to record the magnificent gallantry and fearless calm determination of the men who fought with me. All were simply splendid. Even I knew no fear or panic and shrunk from no risk even as I shrink not now from the death that faces me at day-break. I hope to see the face of God even for a moment in the morning. His will be done. All here are very kind.
My poor wife saw me yesterday and bore up; so the warder told me, even when she left my presence. Poor Aine, poor Ronan, God is their only shield now that I am removed and God is a better shield than I. I have seen Aine Nell Richard and Mick and bid them conditional goodbye. Even now they have hope.
From "The Blood-Lust of the English" by F. P. Jones
It was thought [after the executions of May 3rd, 4th and 5th] that the orgy of murder had now ceased, but the horror which the executions had aroused throughout the world was intensified when it became known, on Monday, May 8, that four more of the Republican leaders had been done to death by the military. The following is the official communication:
In every record of the future which deals with the deeds of brave and gallant men the name of Michael Mallen will stand high amongst the highest. "The story of his death," writes the editor of The Catholic Bulletin, is as fascinating as a romance and as grand as an epic. He is said to have prayed into the very rifles of the men who shot him, and his last words were: 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'" Shortly before his execution, the patriot wrote to his wife as follows:
But, oh, if only you and the little ones were coming too, we could all reach Heaven together. . . . If you can, I would like you to dedicate Una to the service of God, and also Joseph. . . . Do this if you can, and pray to Our Divine Lord that it may be so. See Alderman Tom Kelly. He is a good, God-fearing man, and will be able to help you, for my sake as well as for yours. . . . Mr. Partridge, too, was more than a brother to me. He held me close in his arms, so that I might have comfort and warmth.
God and His Blessed Mother again and again bless and protect you. 0 Saviour of men, if my dear ones could enter Heaven with me, how blessed and happy I would be; they would be away from the cares and trials of the world.
Una, my little one, be a nun. Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can. James and John, to you the care of your mother. Make yourselves good, strong men for her sake, and remember Ireland.
Good-bye, my wife, my darling. Remember me. God again bless and protect you and our children. I must now prepare. These last few hours must be spent with God alone.
Thus another of God's good men was butchered to satisfy the thirst of the British for the blood of the men who had dared to stand up for the rights of a small nation.
In his last message, written shortly before his death, J. J. Heuston wrote:
Whatever I have done, I have done as a soldier of Ireland in what I believe to be my country's best interests, and I have, thank God, no vain regrets. After all, it is better to be a corpse than a coward.
Cornelius Colbert, also, shortly before he died, wrote his last message on a scrap of paper, as follows:
An la fuaricas bas ar son Eireann agus ar son De bhiomar bailigthe. (When I died for Ireland and for God, we had mobilized.)
In connection with the death of Colbert, the British spread abroad a story to the effect that he had gone to his death joking with one of the soldiers who had to prepare him for execution. The priest who attended him up to the last moment wrote the following letter to The Evening Herald of Dublin, on June 1, in which he tells how Colbert died:
Dear Sir—In last evening's issue of your paper, towards the end of the second news column of the front page, under the heading "Last Moments of Volunteer Leader," it is stated that Mr. Cornelius Colbert "died joking the men who were preparing him for death." It is also asserted that, when one of the soldiers was fixing the white cloth on his breast, to indicate his heart, he told them "his heart was far away at the moment."
This version is quite inaccurate and fanciful, and I owe it to his memory to give the true one.
There was no joking, not even the semblance of it. Poor Colbert was far too beautiful and too reverent a character to joke with any one in such a solemn hour. I know very well where his heart was then. It was very near to God and to the friends he loved. What really happened was this. While my left arm linked the prisoner's right, and while I was whispering something in his ear, a soldier approached to fit a bit of paper on his breast. While this was being done he looked down, and addressing the soldier in a perfectly cool and natural way said: "Wouldn't it be better to pin it up higher—nearer the heart?" The soldier said something in reply, and then added: "Give me your hand now." The prisoner seemed confused and extended his left hand. "Not that," said the soldier, "but the right." The right was accordingly extended, and, having shaken it warmly, the kindly human-hearted soldier proceeded to gently bind the prisoner's hands behind his back, and afterwards blindfolded him.
Some minutes later, my arm still linked in his, and accompanied by another priest, we entered the dark corridor leading to the yard and, his lips moving in prayer, the brave lad went forth to die. -F. A.
On Tuesday, May 9, it was announced that Thomas Kent, of Coole, near Fermoy, had been sentenced to death and that the sentence had been carried out that morning. This boy was thus done to death for the shooting of a policeman who had attacked him and whose death was due to an accident.
Easter 1916, The People
"Seán Heuston, a youthful face of the Easter Rising"
- By John Gibney
"State funeral for executed 1916 rebel Thomas Kent"
-by Ronan McGreevy, Éanna Ó Caollaí
Last letter of Éamonn Ceannt
History of the Sinn Fein Movement and
the Irish Rebellion of 1916
-by Francis P. Jones
Chapter LXII: The Blood-Lust of the English
The executions of May 8-9, 1916
Irish Rebels of 1916, Éamonn Ceannt
Irish Rebels of 1916, Michael Mallin
Irish Rebels of 1916, Sean Heuston
Irish Rebels of 1916, Con Colbert
Irish Rebels of 1916, Thomas Kent
Irish Rebels, Names of Patriots Executed May 8, 1916
Letters of 1916