Paddy Buttner recalls how he joined the Irish Citizen Army Scouts and what it was like for a young boy to fight in the Easter Rising.

Paddy Buttner joined the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) Boy Scouts in June 1914. He recalls that one Sunday he and his friends went out to Croydon Park, Fairview, the home of Trade Union leader James Larkin. It was also the training grounds for the ICA. There they met Countess Markievicz who told them they could join the Boy Scouts section of the Citizen Army. Describing the differences between the Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers he says that in the Volunteers,

There were men in good positions, there were professors among them... But we had the ladies.  This was the best and most important thing. 

On Palm Sunday, a week before the Rising, the Citizen Army went on a route march in the city and paraded outside Liberty Hall. James Connolly called forward a young girl, Molly O'Reilly and handed her a green flag emblazoned with a gold harp which Molly hoisted on the roof of the building. The Citizen Army then entered Liberty Hall where they remained for the entire week where they were given lectures by Countess Markievicz and Dr Kathleen Lynn who advised them on what they should have in their first aid kits. George Norgove told them what they would need to bring for their ration packs, which was not very much.

We want three days rations... A tin of condensed milk, cocoa and sugar. Anyone could bring tea if they wanted. 

Shortly after twelve o’clock on Easter Monday a small party of the ICA occupied Davy’s public house at Portobello bridge. Sergeant Joseph Doyle was in charge of the party which included Paddy Buttner. The pub was occupied to stop British forces entering the city from the nearby Portobello Barracks. A party of soldiers emerged from the barracks led by an officer on a white horse. Sergeant Doyle ordered the men to remain calm and not open fire.

Take your time, let them come up as near as we can and make sure every shot counts. 

As they came to the bridge Doyle and his men opened fire. The officer and three soldiers were wounded. Realising they would come under heavy attack from the military, the Citizen Army evacuated Davy’s and made their way to Stephen’s Green, where Buttner remained until the surrender. 

While being held prisoner in Richmond Barracks Buttner recalls that every morning the prisoners heard the faint sound of gunfire but did not know what it meant. They did not have to wait long before they were told exactly what had happened. Describing how they heard of the executions of Patrick Pearse, Thomas Clarke and Thomas MacDonagh, Buttner states that the soldiers came in and very candidly, 

We were told 'There's three of your buggers gone today'

This continued day after day until finally on 12 May, after they had heard the usual shots, a soldier came in to their room and said,

Now that ends it... that's the last of them gone today... There's Connolly gone now. 

Later that evening the soldiers came back to the barrack room. This particular group were all under seventeen years old. Buttner was only sixteen years old. They were split into groups of twelve and every half hour the soldiers came and led a group out of the room. Buttner recalls as they were brought out the soldiers told them 'They were for the high jump'.  At first the boys were worried but not hearing any gunshots they realised they were not going to be executed. Instead they were all lined up, marched into the city centre and later released.

In 1918 he became a member of the Irish Citizen Army. He fought on the anti-Treaty side during the Irish Civil War. Paddy Buttner died in 1984, he was eighty-four years old.

Paddy Buttner was interviewed for the television series 'Ireland A Television History' in 1979.