News 1916

Sunday 22 September 2019

Historic 1916 flag back from UK after 100 years

Historian Conor Dodd at Glasnevin Cemetery with the remnants of the Jacob’s 1916 flag. Photo: Frank McGrath
Historian Conor Dodd at Glasnevin Cemetery with the remnants of the Jacob’s 1916 flag. Photo: Frank McGrath

Gráinne Loughran

The largest known remnant of the tricolour flag hoisted at Jacob's Biscuit Factory during the 1916 Rising has been donated to Glasnevin Cemetery after 100 years in Jersey.

The flag had been located in Channel Islands since 1916, where it had been sent by John Le Provost, a member of the British infantry from the Jersey Pals Battalion who fought during the Rising.

It was returned to Ireland by Le Provost's great-grandson, David Blake, when he learned exactly what his family had been handed down.

"It is only correct and necessary that the Jacob's Tricolour comes back home," said Mr Blake at a ceremony in Glasnevin yesterday. "I feel as if I had it for a reason; as if the family had been caring for the flag so when the appropriate time came, it should go back. This year is the appropriate time."

John Green, chairman of Glasnevin Trust, said: "By having this flag presented to us we can tell this story more completely and hopefully encourage people to go away and learn a bit more about this complicated part of our history." He added that it brought the centenary celebrations at Glasnevin Cemetery to a worthy conclusion.

"The flag will go on permanent exhibit beside the original print of the 1916 Proclamation. For us it's a nice end to 1916, it's just so appropriate," he said.

"From the unveiling of the Statue of Sacrifice in 2014, and exactly one year and one day later the centenary of the funeral of O'Donovan Rossa, we've had a myriad of commemorations."

The event was also attended by Chief Minister of Jersey Government, Senator Ian Gorst.

"We are only small, but those decisions of Jersey men show that these islands are bound together and have been bound together through history," he said.

"We see today as a day of reconciliation, a day of reunion."

The Jacob's Tricolour was made upon the destruction of the GPO flag, which had either been shot or burned down after the GPO came under fire.

A replacement flag was fashioned by Thomas Meldon, George Ward and Derry Connell using bunting, and was then nailed to a flagpole above the factory. Meldon and Ward are now buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

The flag will be put on display in Glasnevin Museum and will be available for public viewing in early January.

Irish Independent

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