Rankin Memoirs: 4

Early in 1915 I went to work in Liverpool as trade was very poor in Newry. I returned to Ireland before conscription came into force.

Things were very low in Newry as regards Volunteers and the Irish Republican Brotherhood. There seemed to be no meetings of any organisations or preparations for the future. Early in 1916 the week before the Rising, John Southwell, who was the Centre (the Republican leader charged with organising and coordinating between groups and individuals in the County Armagh area) and who lived in Newry, asked me to go with him on a Monday night to Dundalk. 

We went on our bicycles and met Patrick Hughes and Donal O’Halloran who (latter) seemed to be in charge of arrangement. We were told there was to be a Rising next week. John Southwell was to organise his men and get them to Dundalk on Easter Sunday to join up with the Dundalk and Louth men.

John Southwell said that he would do his best.

I was given orders to buy shotgun ammunition in Newry and deliver it to Dundalk. I was given the money in notes (either by Patrick Hughes or Donal, I forget which.) I accepted and returned to Newry that night or the next morning. I got some friends who were not members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood to go round the shops of Newry to secure several hundred rounds of shotgun ammunition. Their names were John Bolger and John Marron. 

Before Thursday I completed the 600 rounds myself and delivered them in person, travelling by train to Dundalk on the Saturday night.

… more later …

Now, I think you deserve some light relief!


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