21st April 1916

Arms bound for the Easter Rising intercepted

On the 21st April, the British navy intercepted a German steamer, the Aud, containing 20,000 rifles and 10 machine guns destined for an Irish armed uprising. The plan to smuggle the German weapons, was the brainchild of Sir Roger Casement.

Sir Roger Casement had previously worked for the British Foreign Office and distinguished himself as a human rights activist in Africa and South America. After leaving the Foreign Office he dedicated himself to Irish affairs. In late 1914 he travelled to Germany to recruit an 'Irish brigade', consisting of Irish prisoners-of-war, to fight the British in Ireland. He also wanted to negotiate the purchase of weapons from Germany. His plan to create an 'Irish brigade' failed, and he received a fraction of the arms he had hoped for.

Casement, on board a German submarine, accompanied the Aud back to Ireland. HMS Bluebell intercepted the German steamer and Casement was captured after landing in Co. Kerry on 21st April. He was sent to Dublin, then London and put on trial for treason. He was hanged in Pentonville prison in August 1916.

Republicanism, Military & Policing, Easter Rising
Portrait of Sir Roger Casement.
National Library of Ireland [KE 9]