Roger Casement

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Sir Roger David Casement (1864-1916)

A British diplomat by profession and a poet, Irish revolutionary and nationalist by inclination.

He joined the British consular service in 1892 where he gained an international reputation and was knighted in 1911 for his report highlighting the exploitation of plantation workers in the Belgian 'Congo Free State', and for similar work amongst the Putayamo Indians in Peru.

He resigned from colonial service in 1912 and joined the Irish Volunteers the following year. When war broke out in 1914, he attempted to secure German aid for Irish independence, sailing for Germany via the USA. The Germans were however sceptical, but nonetheless aware of the military advantage which an uprising in Ireland would give them, granted the Irish 20,000 guns, 10 machine guns and accompanying ammunition, a fraction of the amount of weaponry which Casement was after. Whilst in Germany, he tried to enlist Irish prisoners of war at the prison camp of Limburg Lahn in an Irish Brigade.

The weapons never reached Ireland, the ship in which they were travelling, the 'Aud Norge' was intercepted,

In 1916 Roger Casement was captured in Ireland, having been put ashore from a German submarine, the U-19. Too weak to travel (he was ill), he was subsequently arrested, summarily tried and hung at Pentonville Prison in London for treason, sabotage and espionage against the Crown on the 3rd of August 1916, after his appeal was overturned.