James Daly (mutineer)

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Private James Joseph Daly (Executed 2 November 1920, aged 22) was a member of a mutiny of the Connaught Rangers in India in 1920 in protest of the activities of the Black and Tans.

Career[edit]

Daly joined the Connaught Rangers and was posted to India. He and his colleagues, took up arms in protest of the activities of the Black and Tans, officially the Royal Irish Constabulary Special Reserve.[1] The mutineers proclaimed their hut to be known as "Liberty Hall" and then attacked the armory but were captured and taken to Lucknow Prison.[1]

Daly was shot for his role in the incident, and he was the last member of the British armed forces to be shot for mutiny.[2] In 1970, on the 50th anniversary of the mutiny his body was sent back to Ireland.[3]

Legacy[edit]

Daly is remembered in a traditional Irish song known as Lay Him Away on the Hillside:[4]

The grey dawn has crept o'er the stillness of morning,
The dew drops they glisten like icicles breath,
The notes of the bugle have sounded their warning,
A young Connaught Ranger lay sentenced to death,
No cold-blooded murder had stained his pure conscience,
He called as a witness his maker on high,
He'd simply been fighting for Ireland's loved freedom,
Arrested and tried he was sentenced to die

Chorus:
Lay him away on the hillside,
Along with the brave and the bold,
Inscribe his name on the scroll of fame,
In letters of purest gold,
My conscience will never convict me,
He said with his dying breath,
May God bless the cause of freedom,
For which I am sentenced to death.

He thought of the love of his feeble old mother,
He though of the colleen so dear to his heart,
The sobs of affection, he scarcely could smother,
Well knowing how soon from them both he must part,
He feared not to die though his heart was near broken,
Twas simply remembrance of those he loved well,
His rosary he pressed to his heart as a token,
The prayer cheered his soul in the felon's lone cell

To the dim barrack square, the doomed hero was hurried,
In the grey of the dawn ere the sun rose on high,
With head held erect, undaunted, unworried,
The gallant young soldier went proudly to die,
I blame not my comrades for doing their duty,
Aim straight for my heart, were the last words he said,
Exposing his breast to the point of the rifles,
The smoke cleared away, the young soldier lay dead

The first four lines of the chorus became very popular in "In Memoriam" notices in An Phoblacht/Republican News.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ronan McGreevy (2014-01-17). "Connaught Rangers mutiny: a far-away conflict brought home in new archive". Irishtimes.com. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  2. ^ "Connaught Rangers". National Army Museum. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  3. ^ Bartlett, Thomas (Spring 1998). "The Connaught Rangers Mutiny India, July 1920". History Ireland. 6 (1). Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Lay Him Away on the Hillside". Musixmatch. Retrieved 10 August 2018.

Further reading[edit]

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