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8,800 Irishmen join British Army after the Easter Rising
Detail of a recruitment poster used in 1915. It shows a German soldier dragging an innocent woman with Belgium burning in the background Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

8,800 Irishmen join British Army after the Easter Rising

London, 17 October 1916 - More than 8,800 Irishmen joined the British Army in the months after the Easter Rising, the Earl of Derby told the House of Lords in London today.

The biggest number of these recruits came from Ulster, with some 3,506 men enlisting. But there was also considerable recruitment from other provinces with 3,081 men joining from Leinster, 1,749 from Munster and 469 from Connacht.

The figures were announced as Lord Wimborne, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, made a speech in Dublin last week in which he said that some 40,000 men were needed for Irish Divisions before Christmas.

Need for new recruits
The urgency of the need for new recruits was emphasised at meetings around the country.

In Carlow, for example, the chairman of the Board of Guardians, Patrick Brennan, said: “It is disgraceful to see the number of young men in the country walking about who ought to be fighting in France.’

Another member of the Board of Guardians disagreed and said that the countryside had been stripped of all available men, but the problem was in the towns where there were ‘some fine fighting men selling ribbons or pints of porter.’

Conscription was introduced to Great Britain earlier this year and there are fears in many nationalist quarters in Ireland that, if recruitment figures do not improve, it will also come into effect in Ireland.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.