Dubliner Edward Gerrard – Fought in Gallipoli and Gaza, wounded in the 1916 Rising

Name of soldier : Edward Gerrard

Name of descendent : Ailbhe Gerrard

Ailbhe Gerrard is the creator of Brookfield Farm, which produces honey and beeswax candles near beautiful Lough Derg, in Tipperary.

More here :
Brookfield Farm – Producer of Raw Irish Honey & Beeswax Gifts https://www.brookfield.farm/

Ailbhe comes from a large and talented family, including siblings Joy and Johnny Gerrard, who are acclaimed artists.

Her grandfather Edward Gerrard is a very interesting Irish military figure, rarely spoken about. He was wounded trying to defend Beggars Bush barracks during the Easter Rising of 1916. Home on leave from Egypt, Captain Gerrard found the barracks completely unprepared for a rebellious attack and tried to muster arms and men for its defence.

Captain Gerrard recuperating in Portobello Hospital, 1916

Gerrard later gave a vivid and highly revealing account to the Military Archives Archives Bureau (BMH). He describes the defence of Beggars Bush and the counter attack on rebel forces at South Lotts railway and at Northumberland Road.

But, in his short statement, Captain Gerrard also gives other insights and details on the revolutionary period in Ireland, offering a quite rare perspective on British military thinking. He had had many conversations with other military figures. (Link at bottom of page).

Edward describes the bravery and determination of the 1916 rebels, including the condemned Kevin Barry in custody, as well as the ambitious half plans of Prime Minister Lloyd George to re-establish control of the island.

At ease in Eqypt. Gerrard is smoking a pipe.

After the Rising, Gerrard was with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, and was active in 1917-18 in the Sinai campaign against the German Allies, the Turks. There were engagements in Gaza, Palestine and what is now modern day Syria.

Gerrard served with T.E.Lawrence – the famous Lawrence of Arabia – who was assisting the Arab Revolt against Ottoman rule in the region.

The Arab Revolt was led by Sharif Hussein, described as the King of Hejaz, as the area was known, and Gerrard rode into Deraa with the Sharif’s son. (Deraa is now in modern Syria and was the scene of intense fighting in the recent Syrian civil war.) Edward heard about the atrocities at nearby Tafas, so graphically described by Lawrence in his famous account, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Your own name : Ailbhe Gerrard

Your relative : Grandfather, Edward Gerrard

Period of activity: World War One, the 1916 Rising

Specific regiment: Royal Field Artillery

Areas served in: The Dardanelles, Gaza and Arabia, and Dublin

Did you have much contact with him?

No, he died in 1969. But there were many family stories and my father had lived with him in Kilmashogue, near Rathfarnham in County Dublin.

Gerrard, in action with his cannon, in Gaza

What are the most striking memories of him?

That he was shot in the arm in 1916. And that he had fought in the Arabian desert.

Also, that his own father – and my great grandfather – had been a publisher on St Stephen’s Green. He had published some early writings by James Joyce and by Francis Sheehy Skeffington.

Skeffington, a well known activist and pacifist, was subsequently shot in the 1916 Rising, by an unhinged British officer, Captain Bowen Colthurst. In his BMH statement, Edward Gerrard described seeing Bowen Colhurst, during the Rising, ranting angrily in Portobello barracks.

Where is Edward buried?

In Cruagh Cemetery, Rockbrook, County Dublin

Details here :

Capt Edward Gerrard (1892-1969) – Find A Grave Memorial https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/74904025/edward-gerrard

Do you have any mementos of Edward ?

Yes, my father has many items, including about 40 letters and photos from Edward’s time in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. And some diaries.

Edward’s uniform, pictured below, was donated to the Irish Military Archive.

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