A forthcoming book based on the memoir of British Army chaplain George Kendall who was present with the British reinforcements in 1916 and saw many of the events there first-hand, including James Connolly's last hours before his execution.
Atheist James Connolly turned to God hours before his death according to British Army chaplain
Amazing what you can find left lying around.The revelation is contained in a manuscript found in an old filing box of documents in England which chronicles the life of British Army chaplain George Kendall.
He was at Connolly’s side in the hours before the Citizen’s army leader was executed for his part in leading the 1916 rising against British rule in Ireland.
The proposed book, entitled ‘Daring All things – My Story’ gives a first-hand account of the capture of the rebel leaders.
Apparently there really are no atheists in foxholes:
Whether or not Connolly returned to the faith of anything is for me the least interesting part of the account, though I can understand why the priest would express a professional concern.“Speaking to me on the first visit, he said in answer to a question of mine about his attitude – ‘You must know the saying.’ ‘What saying?’ I asked. And he replied: ‘The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.’ This too was the saying I heard as I spoke to his men in the Dublin Castle hospital.
“Listening, I felt it was not my duty to condemn, or argue. Connolly was, for years, a professed agnostic, but at the hour of death, he returned to the faith of his fathers.
“That night a Catholic priest was admitted to the hospital and he administered Holy Communion to Connolly and gave him absolution.
Definitely a take on the 1916 Rising from a pro-Empire point of view:
With vivid first-hand details like this, could be a very useful source when it's published:He wrote: “Personally, I was fond of the Irish people and therefore overwhelmed by this tragedy caused by the misguidance of the leaders of the rebellion.
“But there was another cause. Many loyal and committed men told me it was their considered opinion that the outbreak would have been impossible but for the gross and unpardonable laxity, long continued, of the Irish government at that time.”
“I stood in the middle of blazing streets with snipers’ bullets whizzing around. I entered Liberty Hall when it was captured. I visited Dublin Castle and talked to our wounded and the Sinn Feiners. They were lying in the same wards and receiving the same treatment.”
The book also details how, after witnessing the capture of Countess Markievicz ‘in her brilliant green male uniform’, Kendall was given her fur rug and kept it for years ‘until it perished of moth’.