Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Edward Hendrick, Irish Volunteer

Was the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 the key event in the achievement of independence for Ireland? It was not widely supported by the population at the time, but the rough wartime justice meted out by the British Government, especially the execution of the rebellion's leaders, created a surge of sympathy for those who fought and for their cause.

Edward Hendrick, a boot-maker like his father, was an unmarried 36-year-old when he participated in the rising, serving in C company, 1st Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers. Under the command of Edward (Ned) Daly the battalion took over the Four Courts on Easter Monday April 24th where Hendrick was assigned to defend the barricades on Church Street. They held out against the British forces until Saturday April 29th when they surrendered.

Daly, the commandant of the battalion, was executed by firing squad on May 4th. Hendrick was interned and sent to prison in England on May 8th, first at Stafford Gaol and then at Frongoch prison camp. He was released at the end of July and returned to Dublin, where he rejoined the Irish Volunteers. He didn't see any further action and thankfully was not involved in the horrors of the Irish civil war of 1922 / 23. Instead in July 1922 he married Margaret Davenport and they had four children over the next decade.

Margaret Davenport and Edward Hendrick in 1921

His health was poor though and the family struggled to make ends meet. He worked as a porter, carrying coal and supplies around a Dublin hospital. The military service pension was meagre, and when in 1944 he was too ill to continue working his young children had to find menial jobs to sustain the family. When he died in 1948, aged 60, the family couldn't afford a proper funeral and he was buried in an unmarked grave.

Edward Hendrick in 1947

Edward Hendrick is my grandfather, my mother's father. I heard the outline of this story from her. Like most schoolboys in 1970's Dublin I believed that Grandad "did his bit for Ireland", but given the small numbers who actually took part in the rising there was a lot of wishful thinking going on. However last year the military pensions board in Ireland put its records on-line and there I found my Granddad - letters in his own hand describing the rising, confirmation of his participation from officers who served with him, his medical records and more.

Granddad died 16 years before I was born but nearly 100 years after the rising he is not forgotten. Here are some of the places where I found information about him:

Edward Hendrick's
1916 Medal

Edward Hendrick's
Service Medal
Edward Hendrick, born 1880 (approx.), died May 20th 1948, Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam uasal.

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