New Zealanders at Trinity College Dublin Easter Week 1916

Your readers may be interested in research I am doing on the 5 New Zealand soldiers who assisted in the defence of Trinity College Dublin during Easter Week 1916.
The 5 New Zealanders are listed in the 1916 Rebellion Handbook published by the Irish Times soon after the Rising, but their involvement has never been widely acknowledged in subsequent publications. In most accounts of the Rising they are described as ‘Anzacs’ and are assumed to be Australians. The 1916 Rebellion Handbook lists only 1 Australian soldier who served in the Trinity College garrison.
The New Zealanders were Sergeant Frederick Nevin NZMC from Christchurch, Corporal Alexander Don NZFA from Dunedin, Corporal John Garland NZMC from Auckland, Lance Corporal Finlay McLeod NZE from Milton and Private Edward Waring NZR from Northland. All five men were in Dublin on Easter Monday when the shooting began and they were directed to Trinity College where the university staff and OTC cadets were defending the buildings against the rebels.
Don, McLeod and Waring had served on Gallipoli and were convalescing in Great Britain before rejoining their units on the Western Front. Nevin and Garland were medical orderlies from the New Zealand Hospital Ship Marama but their non-combatant status did not prevent them from picking up rifles with other Dominion troops to help defend the university. Garland had previously served in the New Zealand occupation of German Samoa in 1914. Letters by Garland, Don and McLeod were published in New Zealand newspapers soon after the Rising and these provide interesting eyewitness accounts of events.


The letters recount the initial shooting by the rebels was directed at unarmed British soldiers on the streets of Dublin. The slouch hats worn by the New Zealanders appeared to confuse the rebel marksmen and they managed to escape being hit. The letters describe the chaos on Dublin streets as the rebels rushed to occupy buildings, with civilians being hit in the crossfire. Garland claims he was shot at by Countess Markievicz as she sped past in a motorcar!  Don recounts how he saw the rebels barricading buildings and he observed James Connolly standing with arms folded on the steps of the GPO.
There were 14 Dominion soldiers in the Trinity College garrison by Monday evening. The other Dominion troops present were 6 South Africans and 2 Canadians. An Anzac sharpshooting squad was soon formed comprising the 5 New Zealanders and the 1 Australian present, Private Michael McHugh, 9th Battalion, AIF. All 5 New Zealanders must have been handy with a rifle as they were often called upon to counter rebel snipers. The university was reinforced on Tuesday by British troops and later that week it became the Headquarters of Brigadier General W.H.M. Lowe.
For 3 days the Anzac marksmen occupied the roofs of the university and exchanged shots with the rebels. They shot and killed Irish Volunteer Gerald Keogh as he cycling past the university early Tuesday morning with 2 other comrades. On Friday the Anzacs ventured from the university to clear nearby buildings, including the belfry of St Andrew’s Church and Westland Row Railway Station. Both Garland and McLeod claim that the Anzacs killed around 30 rebels, however this tally is suspect given the total rebel deaths for Easter Week is 64. It is probable in the smoke and haze the Anzacs misjudged how many rebels they accounted for.


Irish Commandant W.J. Brennan-Whitmore describes the compassion shown to him and other rebel prisoners by a cheerful ‘Australian sergeant’ from Trinity College. Frederick Nevin was the only Anzac sergeant at Trinity College so it must have been him who gave the prisoners a tin of biscuits and a jug of cold tea before they were marched off to imprisonment. Brennan-Whitmore also congratulated the Anzacs on the accuracy of their shooting.


Film footage of the Easter Rising on the Imperial War Museum website clearly shows Sergeant Nevin and Privates Waring and McHugh walking from the gates of Trinity College soon after the surrender carrying rifles and smoking cigarettes!


After the Rising the New Zealanders travelled back to England to rejoin their units. In August 1916 they were each sent a small silver cup commemorating their role in the defence of Trinity College. Edward Waring later served on the Western Front with the 6th Hauraki Company, Auckland Regiment and was invalided back to New Zealand in early 1918. He succumbed to influenza in November 1918 aged 26.


Frederick Nevin and John Garland rejoined the Hospital Ship Marama for a return sailing to New Zealand. Nevin was a machinist with the New Zealand Railways and he died in Christchurch in 1953 aged 58. John Garland was still living in Auckland in 1950.


Alexander Don served on the Western Front with the New Zealand Field Artillery and was ‘reduced to the ranks’ in 1917 for striking a superior officer!  He was selected for officer training in 1918 but the Armistice prevented this. He returned to New Zealand in 1919 and became a school master in Wellington. Don served in the Home Guard during the Second World War, dying in 1954 aged 57.


Finlay McLeod was gassed on the Western Front in 1917 and was invalided home to New Zealand.  He was still living in 1967 when he claimed his bronze commemorative Gallipoli Medallion and Gallipoli Veteran’s lapel badge from the New Zealand Government.


The New Zealanders Army Service files make no mention of their unofficial ‘Active Service’ in Dublin during the Easter Rising.   However, there is a letter on Waring’s file from his nephew on the 50th anniversary of the Rising in 1966 seeking confirmation from the Ministry of Defence that his uncle was in Ireland in 1916.  I  would be keen to hear from any of your readers who may have more information on these 5 New Zealanders.



Hugh Keane


New Zealand




British Forces, RIC, Auxilaries ,Black & Tans. Photo Files

2nd Lieutenant Green of the Staffordshire Regiment. Was at the Battle of Mount Street Bridge.

By Mike Vearnals:

A photo taken in Macroom in May 1921. Black & Tans.A photo taken in Macroom in May 1921. The reverse of the photo reads: 20:5:21 To my dearest Mother and all at home From your true and ever loving Son With fondest love and wishes yours for ever Harry ” A few of the Black and Tans”

By James Langton:

Black and Tans inspection
Black and Tans

By James Langton:

By James langton:

At the gates of the Castle

By James langton:

Two British Soldiers on duty. I think this is at the back of the Castle, maybe the Ship Street entrance. By the way lads, you know the famous pic of Dev captured 1916 with hands behind his back and a soldier either side of him? Well I’ll have the names of those two soldiers soon for ya, for those interested. For the record, I think naming people in, and discussing the photos is very important. Like headstones, behind each one is a story. James

By P O Neill:

British Army Cooks

By James langton:

An armoured car in Dublin, c1921
At the rear of the Castle. WOI
By James langton: British Troops mann the rooftops in Dublin. I sure this is the Four Courts folks

By James Langton:

A very rare one of Hamer Greenwood inspecting guns.

By James Langton:

Auxies with a prisoner at Richmond Barrack

By Terry Fagan:

1922. Member of the British Army waiting outside City Hall Dublin to see the remains of Michael Collins.

By James Langton:

black & Tans at work

By James langton:

photograph of General Lowe, who took Pearse’s surrender in 1916

By James Langton:

1920, Dublin. British Troops guarding the Hibernian Bank on the corner of O’Connell Street and Abby Street during the War of Independents

By James langton:

This is General Percival of the Essex Regiment. This is the man who burnt down the family home of Michael Collins. He is also the same General Percival who surrendered his army to the Japs in Singapore during WWII. In later years he sent a request to meet Ernie O’Malley and Tom Barry for lunch and coffee. O’Malley accepted but later turned it down when Barry informed him that the only way he wanted to ever see him would be down the barell of a gun. Good man Tom.
Lord French
Lord French and General McCreedy
The 20th Lancashire Foot leaves Dublin Castle 1922
British soldiers in Ireland
Captain A. Dickson. He commanded the firing squads at Kilmainham Jail
Rare one of Maxwell

By Mike Vearnals:

From Dublin to Hollywood Did you know that one of the British officers who took the surrender of Padraig Pearse went on to become a famous Hollywood actor, who numbered among his five wives the even more famous Hedy Lamarr? Maj John Lowe is present in one of the most famous and commonly reproduced photographs taken during the Rising – the moment of Pearse’s surrender as captured on Saturday April 29th. The picture shows Commander of Dublin Forces in Ireland, Brig Gen WHM Lowe, (Maj Lowe’s father) facing a clearly un-humbled Pearse, who is offering his surrender. On Pearse’s right is Elizabeth O’Farrell (a nurse with Cumann na mBan), who carried the subsequent surrender dispatches to rebel commandants. On the left of the photo, to Brig Gen Lowe’s right, is his aide-de-camp and son, Maj John Lowe. Pearse subsequently surrendered unconditionally, and Maj Lowe escorted him to Kilmainham Jail. John Lowe’s army service didn’t end in Ireland;

By Terry Fagan:

1920, Ireland. An RIC officer inspects members of the Auxiliary’s a special force of volunteer British ex-servicemen sent to Ireland to backup the RIC during the war of independents.

By Terry Fagan:

R. I. C. Armoured cars under inspection. Location and year unknown.

By James langton:

Two British officers surnamed Lawson and Adams with Brigadier General H. R. Cumming in Kenmare County Kerry shortly before their deaths at the hands of the IRA in 1921
Great shot her of an RIC Officer in the Pheonix Park
Aerial snap of a Tan checkpoint outside City Hall on Dame Street. Note one looking up and spotting the photographer.
A tan scuffle on the street

By Terry Fagan:

By James langton:

British soldiers on Butt Bridge

By James Langton:

Another search at City Hall. Note the lane where the tram is positioned. Those buildings are now gone and a square there now. This was the lane that Dick McKee and the boys were brought down and into a door at the very end where the plaque is today.
Tans outside Hynes pub on the corner of Railway Street and Gloucester Place after the shooting British spy Shankers Ryan by members of Collin’s squad for his betrayal of McKee and Clancy. I interviewed witnesses to the shooting.. Terry Fagan.

By James langton:

The Lancers 1916 in Dublin

By James langton:

Heading for a raid

The Auxiliary Division Royal Irish Constabulary

By Admin :

Recently we have had requests for more information on the RIC/Black and Tans /Auxillaries. So, to get a different perspective please see the article below.

By Author Ernest McCall

The Auxiliary Division

Royal Irish Constabulary –

The first anti-terrorist unit in the world

The Auxiliary Division Royal Irish Constabulary (ADRIC) came into being on 23/7/1920 (the date of the first recruit).  Their remit was to face a rough and dangerous task – fighting the IRA.  The Auxiliary Division was formed into 21 Companies based on British Army formations, however, the rank structure was that of the Royal Irish Constabulary and they wore RIC rank insignia.  The men of the ADRIC were classed as Temporary Cadets (equivalent to Sergeant) as the RIC had an officer cadet system.   Within the ADRIC was another Division called the Veterans & Drivers Division who specialised in driving and security duties and they were classed as Temporary Constables and not Temporary Cadets.  Inside an eighteen day period during July / August 1920, 15 Auxiliary Companies were formed and distributed around the troubled spots.  The RIC Special Reserve (the Black & Tans), were classed as Temporary Constables and are often confused with the ADRIC although they were two distinct units within the RIC.   The ADRIC were sent to the Marital Law Areas of Ireland concentrating on Cork, Limerick and Dublin.  Each Company had approximately 100 officers and men.  They were highly mobile and they had a selection of vehicles including two Rolls Royce armoured cars.  The Auxiliaries were overwhelmingly former officers of the British Army who were demobilised after the Great War.  Nevertheless, there were former officers from British Empire regiments i.e. Canadians, New Zealanders, Australians, South Africans and some Americans who had served in British regiments during the Great War.

Republican propaganda at the time claimed they were “the dregs and scum from English gaols and pubs”, which is nowhere the truth.  In fact, approximately 10% of the ADRIC held bravery awards from Victoria Cross to Mentioned in Dispatches.  During the existence of the ADRIC, some gained bravery awards for actions whilst in Ireland.  The Auxiliaries soon gained a reputation of being ferocious fighters and the IRA put a bounty of £50 on each Auxiliary head.  The ADRIC were involved in the “Bloody Sunday” shooting at Croke Park and a week later the IRA got its revenge at Kilmichael, County Cork by ambushing and killing 16 Cadets and one Veteran Driver, which resulted in the greatest loss of life for the RIC during the War of Independence.  The ADRIC learnt from the Kilmichael ambush and the IRA never had a similar success against the ADRIC for the remaining period of the war.   In Dublin as a result of the Croke Park shooting and Crown Forces activity the IRA did not organise an attack on the ADRIC until April 1921, some six months later.  In May 1921 during the Customs House attack, the last major IRA attack of the war, Auxiliaries from “F” & “Q” Companies along with some military captured approximately 100 IRA men with weapons and killed five of them during the exchange of gunfire.  The failed Customs House attack had a major influence on the IRA’s future strategy.  In the other Martial Law areas the Auxiliaries acted independently and achieved many successes as well as the occasional setback.  Within 50 weeks of the ADRIC being formed the IRA was signing the Truce.  Their effect on the IRA was such that the Republicans ensured that the Auxiliary Division were included in the Anglo-Irish Treaty.  They (the IRA) requested that no more Auxiliary Police were to be recruited except for maintaining drafts.  There is no doubt that the ADRIC had a major influence on the War of Independence and had it not been for the Truce, they along with the Army would have put down the rebellion, but 10 Downing Street settled for the Truce.  The Auxiliary Division was disbanded by January 1922.  Some commentators claim that the Auxiliaries were the first anti-terrorist unit in the world.

Copies of the book can be purchased by sending a sterling cheque made out to E McCall to the value of £27.85 (inclusive of postage within the UK, outside the UK the book & postage is £30.60, book & airmail is £35.60 and these prices are subject to change) to “Tudor’s Toughs”, PO Box 262, Newtownards BT23 9DP, County Down,

Northern Ireland, UK.

If you wish a presentation or order the book on Tudor’s Toughs please me contact re fees etc at




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