Friday 26 May 2017

German bombs blew up Dubliner's house twice . . . and killed pet parrot

Stuart Purcell of Whytes Auctioneers with a piece of shrapnel from a German WWII bomb that landed in Terenure Photo: Arthur Carron
Stuart Purcell of Whytes Auctioneers with a piece of shrapnel from a German WWII bomb that landed in Terenure Photo: Arthur Carron

Alan O'Keeffe

It is the unfortunate tale of how German bombs demolished two houses in Dublin on different nights - and both turned out to be the homes the same man had lived in.

Edward Plant could be forgiven for feeling paranoid in January 1941 when German aircraft dropped their bombs on Dublin.

Britain was suffering regular bombing raids during the Second World War and a number of bombings occurred in Ireland after disorientated German pilots flew off course.

Mr Plant was living in a house in Rathdown Park, Terenure, when a German aircraft, believed to have flown off course on a bombing mission over England, dropped its bombs from the skies over Dublin 6 on the night of January 2.

Explosions

Two houses were demolished in Rathdown Park in the explosions and two other houses were badly damaged.

One of the demolished houses was the home of Mr Plant.

On the following night, January 3, another German aircraft dropped a bomb on Dublin.

The 1916 medal awarded to Joseph Plunkett Picture: Arthur Carron
The 1916 medal awarded to Joseph Plunkett Picture: Arthur Carron

This time, two houses at Donore Terrace, South Circular Road, were demolished.

The two areas of Dublin hit on successive nights were 4km apart.

But it turned out that one of the demolished houses in Donore Terrace was also the former home of Mr Plant.

The 'Irish Times' reported on January 4, 1941, that there was no loss of life in the bombings - with the exception of a dead parrot found in one of the damaged houses.

The story is told in an auction catalogue which features a piece of shrapnel found in Number 5, Rathdown Park, after the bombing.

"This piece of shrapnel is 10 inches long and looks like the blade of a machete.

"It's a monster piece of steel," said Stuart Purcell, of Whyte's auctioneers in Molesworth Street in Dublin.

"It doesn't bear thinking about if it hit you in the explosion.

"It would mean goodnight," he said.

The shrapnel, with a guide price of €300 to €500, is one of the items in Whyte's Eclectic Collector Auction taking place tomorrow, Saturday, January 21.

One of the most valuable items up for sale is the 1916 Rising medal awarded posthumously to Joseph Plunkett, one of the executed signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic.

In 1941, on the 25th anniversary of the Rising, his wife Grace refused to attend a ceremony to receive the medal in protest against the Government's policy of internment without trial of IRA members, many of whom were known to her.

When the medal was posted to her, she threw it in a bin - from where it was rescued by a friend.

Grace told the friend to keep it as she did not want it. The price estimate at the auction is €40,000 to €60,000.

Famine

Another poignant item for sale is a very big wrought iron 'masher' used to mash vegetables for cauldrons of soup. This was used in workhouses during the Famine in the 1840s.

It was found in a field in Fermanagh near the location of an old workhouse.

It has a guide price of €300 to €500.

A ministerial documents box, used by Sean Lemass when an Irish Free State minister in the 1930s, is being offered for sale with an estimate of €250 to €350.

The black leather box has Mr Lemass's name in gilt, along with the crowned royal arms of George V as ministers were still technically Ministers of the Crown during that period of Ireland's history.

Irish Independent

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