docchippy, on 26 October 2010 - 09:57 PM, said:
This may have been mentioned by others elsewhere - but JF Lucy's "There's a Devil in the Drum" makes mention of meeting one of the NCOs involved in executions after the rising and the turmoil he was facing as an Irishman. He also refers to an officer returning to a unit - and knowledge travelling beforehand of this man's role in the 1916 events and suggests the fact that he never made it out of no man's land in his first attack may have been down to being shot by his own men.
Sorry to drop in randomly...
The passage in question is pp 356 - 359 of the 1993 hardback edition of There's a Devil in the Drum. The unnamed sergeant in question is recorded as an Englishman, albeit serving in an Irish Regiment. Lucy was Royal Irish Rifles and by inference, so was the sergeant. (Lucy mentions the harp on the man's cap badge). Lucy met him in the Royal irish Rifles Reserve Bn barracks in 1917.
This sergeant claimed to have been in charge of 'finishing them off' during the executions. MacBride is mentioned by name and the sergeant also claimed to have Plunkett's rosary which he tried to offer to Lucy. Lucy refused to take it.
To tie in tangentially with some of the later comments here, neither the sergeant or Lucy makes mention of exploding bullets being used on MacBride or anyone else. The sergeant did make the point that MacBride refused to be blindfolded which suggests a fairly detailed recounting of events. Exploding bullets might reasonably have been brought up. Out of interest, I seem to recall there was some controversy about Michael Collins being killed with an 'exploding bullet' due to the extensive nature of the damage to his head. This seems to be a common, and understandable, impression formed by those unfamiliar with the damage caused by 303 when encountering it for the first time.