The 'Easter Rising' and the Western Front

The 'Easter Rising' was an armed uprising of Irish nationalists against the rule of Britain in Ireland. It began on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, and was centred in Dublin with its leaders stating that the chief objectives were the attainment of political freedom and the establishment of an Irish republic. The outcome resulted in about 440 British troops as casualties and an undetermined number of Irish with the destruction of about 200 buildings in Dublin. The German Army used the Easter Uprising as propaganda in an attempt to turn Irishmen in the British Army against their comrades and to incite disaffection among the Irish regiments on the Western Front.

The signpost in this photograph is an example of such propaganda. It reads “Irishmen! Heavy uproar in Ireland. English guns are firing at your wifes [sic] and children.” The photograph was submitted to the Great War Archive by Peter Carolan who writes:

"The photo is that it was given to my granddad by a Major Hand in the 1930's. My granddad was working for the Major (a retried British Army Officer) as a gardener in Mooncoin, co. Kilkenny. The Germans knew that the trench in front of them was occupied by a Irish Regiment, and put the sign up to tell them what was going on back home in Ireland. The Major told my Granddad that they fired a few rounds at the sign and did not believe or understand what the sign was about until weeks later when the news filtered through about the 1916 rising back home in Ireland. The Major took the photo, after the British had captured the German trench a month later."