The Connaught Rangers mutineers will be commemorated a century after they dropped their weapons and refused to obey British commanders while stationed in India in June 1920.
As part of Sligo Co Council’s ‘Decade of Centenaries’ celebration, an inscribed monument will be erected next year in Wolfe Tone Square, Tubbercurry, to remember the three Sligo men who participated in the mutiny.
Meanwhile, the official commemoration will take place in the town on Saturday, November 9, where talks from historians will raise public awareness and understanding of the historical significance of the Connaught Rangers’ actions.
James Gorman, from Tubbercurry, as well as Martin Boy Conlon and Jack Scanlon from Sligo Town, were among a group of around 90 men stationed in India for the British army who dropped their weapons in protest over the introduction of martial law in their home country and the treatment of the Irish by the Black and Tans.
Soldiers stationed in Jalandhar and Solon refused to obey orders. They also flew the Irish Tricolour, sang rebel songs and pinned Sinn Féin rosettes to their British Army uniforms. Initially peaceful, the protesters attempted to recapture their rifles on July 1, but soldiers on guard opened fire killing two men and wounding another.
The mutineers were placed under armed guard and the men were convicted for their role.
Scheduled to speak at the launch event is amateur historian and founder of the Connaught Rangers Association Danny Tiernan.
A grandson of a Connaught Rangers soldier — although not one involved in the mutiny — Tiernan became fascinated by the actions of the men, conducting in-depth research into the event.
But the Rangers, who came from counties Mayo, Roscommon, Galway, Sligo and Leitrim were not treated as heroes in their home country, and there has been “very little remembrance” until this centenary event.
Mr Tiernan believes their actions were not appreciated at the time but that the significance of the mutiny can be better understood 100 years on.
“You had a group of men out in a foreign country who saw there was an atrocity happening back in their home country and took action,” he said.
One of the mutineers, Private James Daly, was executed by firing squad while the other Rangers returned to England to serve the remainder of their sentences. The mutineers were released to Ireland in 1923 where they had to fight for the right to a pension, outcast from both British and Irish societies, Mr Tiernan explains.
He will join Dr Eunan O’Halpin, Professor of Contemporary Irish History at Trinity College and Dr Mario Draper, Professor of Modern History at the University of Kent, in speaking at the official launch event. Hear them speak from 1pm at Tubbercurry’s library on Humbert Street.