Living History, — February 16, 2011 22:42 — 0 Comments
Coal Barricade: GPO 1916
At daybreak we were brought to the interior of the GPO to prepare for a siege. We erected a barricade of coal on the ground floor. The coal was carried, by relays of men, in Post Office sacks from the yard outside. This barricade was in case of attack.
There was a vacuum telegraph pump from the floor through the ceiling above. The coal carriers had to pass it by as they hauled. This was sighted by the enenmy and it was struck by enemy bullets, fired from Earl Street, or the Station, and passing through the ground-floor windows.
I noted that they were coming from the same angle as the earlier shot at 1.00 am. One of our Volunteers on the room sighted the sniper and eliminated him. We were troubled no further.
The men on the roof were there all of Wednesday and from 5.00 am on Thursday till noon, while the coals were carried. No one complained.
No sooner was the barricade completed than the enemy’s shells began falling on the GPO. Soon the building caught fire.
We were ordered to remove the barricade of coal again to the yard. This took some time.
When it was complete we were ordered to take a short rest of a few hours. Our beds were of bricks and mortar in a corner ground-floor room facing Nelson’s Column.
Every man slept ‘the sleep of the just’.