ZOSSEN.—Twenty miles south of Berlin, with which it is connected by a military railway running parallel to the ordinary line. It is generally used as a camp for non-European prisoners. 3rd Army Corps. At Zossen, two propaganda camps for Mohammedans were established. One known as Weinberg, was reserved for Mohammedans from Russia; the other at Wunsdorf was given up to Mohammedans from northern Africa and India. As far as I can see "Halbmondslager" and "Wunsdorf" are synonymous. The Irish started at Halbmondslager then moved to Weinberg.
French POWs at Zossen
Said to be British & French POWs at Zossen
There are about 15000 men behind the barbed-wire fence at Zossen. The largest number were French. But the French were only part of Zossen. There were Russians, shaggy peasants and Mongol Russians with flat faces and almond eyes. There were "Turcos" from the French African provinces. There are all the tribes and castes of British Indians — "I've got twenty different kinds of people in my Mohammedan camp," said the German lieutenant who was showing a visitor around — Gurkhas from the Himalayas, minus their famous knives — tall, black-bearded Sikhs, with the faces of princes. There are even a few lone Englishmen, though most of the British soldiers in this part of Germany were at Doberitz.
The prisoners were housed in new, clean, one-story barracks; well fed, so far as one could tell from their appearance and that of the kitchens and storerooms; they could write and be written to, and they were compelled to take exercise. The Roman Catholics had one chapel and the Greek Orthodox another, and there was an effort to permit Indian prisoners to observe their rules of caste.
Halbmondlager with its mosque
1915 Jun 7. The Germans report arrival of 50 Irish at Zossen from Limburg. Much to the Irishmen's disgust, they were housed initially at Halbmondlager. Halbmondlager was built as a special camp for Muslim prisoners of war and colonial soldiers. According to the policy predetermined by the Jihad strategy, the prisoners interned here were to be persuaded to defect through "guidance and education", "good treatment" and primarily through the endorsement of their respective religious practices. Under this policy, the first mosque on German soil, for the express purpose of exercising religious practices, was inaugurated on July 13th, 1915 at the “Halfmoon Camp” in Wünsdorf.
1915 Jun 7, German records indicate that 50 men arrived at Halbmonder lager on this date, and the other 5 a few days later.
1915 Jun 10 Germans report arrival of another 5 Irish at Zossen from Limburg , including one with broken leg (Sewell).
The Irish prisoners were not happy to be here. Rahilly writes that in a hut close to theirs were Gurkas and Hindus. And other huts had Arabs. There was a mosque in the camp for the muslims, who fasted during Ramadan. Rahilly certainly did not like this camp. "All over the camp the ugly sweaty smell of the east prevailed" and some of the other inmates danced themselves often into a frenzy. "The white protruding eyeballs of these semi-savages and their fantastic perambulations and knife gyrations hypnotised one into imagining that he witnessed some diabolical display of the nether regions"
Quinlisk wrote "When the men arrived at Wunsdorf they were without much ceremony pushed into a camp tenanted by all the coloured savages of the Allied armies"
1915 Jun 18. Casement accompanies Plunkett and Father Nicholson for Plunkett and Nicholson to say goodbye to the men. Nicholson was returning to New York, and Plunkett to Ireland. Plunkett, Boehm and Casement meet to discuss progress. Quinlisk says that Casement's position at this point was that "he was not wholly dissatisfied at the progress we had made, and in fact told us that the nucleus of the Brigade was all that he needed in order to convince the Imperial Government "
1915 Jun 24. Boehn writes in an internal memo "The men must be removed immediately from the Half Moon Camp where their presence is disturbing anyway"
1915 Jun 28. The American Consul reports that men have been transferred to Zossen from Limburg and gives the British Government the American List of that date. This list has 51 POWs in the Irish Brigade. The 3 senior NCOs , Keogh, Quinlisk and Dowling were missing (they were still recruiting at Limburg) plus Wilson and Sewell. Oddly the numbers 21 and 22 are missing from the list, and I suspect that they are Sewell and Wilson lost in transcription somewhere. Though there is mention of one man going to hospital with a broken leg, and from other information, this man was probably Sewell.
1915 Jul 3. Letter from Casement at the U.S. Consulate General, Munich, to Boehm, referring to letters from the three corporals remaining at Limburg to continue to recruit, and imploring Boehm to 'lay them before the officer in the General Staff charged with this matter'. He hopes that 'no further time will be lost in carrying out the promises made to the men who have already volunteered' in order to encourage further recruits. If no progress is made the result will be 'a triumph for the enemy'. The men at Zossen are not yet in uniform. Casement complains that Sewell and Kavanagh should not have been left at Limburg for a month after they had volunteered for the Brigade and now "one poor chap gets his leg broken by treachery as a consequence"
1915 Jul 15. 56 men of the Irish Brigade are reported by Casement to be in Zossen and "would soon be in barracks and uniform" .
1915 Jun 24. Boehm writes a memorandum stating the the Irish should be removed immediately from Halbmondlager "where their presence is disturbing anyway"
1915 Aug 5. Casements letters show Zerhusen joined the Brigade at this date. When he gets to the Irish Brigade they are at Halbmondlager, about 6 miles from Zossen. He learns of drunkeness and bad discipline among the men. The men were still in POW clothes and lounged in the barracks all day as they had nothing to do. The Brigade only later moves to Zossen Training Camp.
1915 Aug 8. Another letter to the German government states that they are still not in barracks.
1915 Aug 16 Casement in a letter addressed to a member of the Irish Brigade 'I was truly glad to hear on Saturday that the long delay was nearly over, and that you all would be in other quarters & in uniform very soon. I have been greatly upset at the delay. I approve of the temporary appointments in the Corps Captain Boehm reports to me for my approval. As soon as the men are out of their present quarters and in barracks I shall be advised; and I will then visit them and make what arrangements are in my power .. for them to be usefully employed on the work they volunteered for.' Also mentions financial matters, some newspapers he is sending, Father Nicholson whom he has not seen for some time, a man with a broken leg, etc.
1915 Aug 20. The Official German report states that the Commander of the Zossen Camp announced the arrival of 55 Irishmen, one with a broken leg. The party included 2 sgt-majors, 3 sergeants, 6 corporals and 44 privates. The report says that the Irishmen resented being herded together with oriental prisoners, and that much dissatisfaction and trouble ensued. This will be the recording of the transfer from Halbmondlager to Zossen Training Camp.
1915 Sep 2. letter from Casement at the U.S. Consulate General, Munich, to Boehm. He asks for news of the corps at Zossen with "Grenadier Zerhusen in charge"
1915 Sep 18 . letter from Casement, Munich, to Boehm, referring to his decision to visit Berlin 'solely in order to visit the men at Zossen'. He asks for a permit to be arranged for him to visit the barracks, 'so that I may not be kept needlessly waiting in Berlin'.
1915 Sep 24. The have been moved from Half Moon. A letter from the German liaison officer, Capt H Boehm, to the General Staff deals with complaints by Sgt Kehoe of the Irish Brigade. Boehm believes "The Irish are housed in a very good, very well furnished barrack ...food is good and plentiful...As a consequence of various transgressions it has been found necessary to tighten up on discipline...Sending them to work has been considered impractical because of the unreliability and lack of discipline of the men"
1915 Sep 24. Casement visited the Zossen camp and concluded that the men were "very well cared for .. but that they were unhappy and felt themselves useless ... they are without personal liberty at all" This appears to be the first time since Jun 15 that Casement has visited the men.
The uniforms arrived shortly before Monteith arrived. The men had no arms, but did do some short route marches, but there was still not enough to keep the men occupied, and drunkeness was common.
1915 Sep 25 A list is drawn up of where men would want to go in the USA in the event of the whole enterprise folding. They were asked to supply an Irish address and a USA address or city. In fact only 7 of them give an actual address in America.
1915 Oct 9. Zerhusen tells Casement that a Major from the War Office, General Schneider and his Adjutant visited the Brigade.
1915 Oct 12. Zerhusen reports to Casement that Dowling has been court martialed the day before. Mahoney had had to give evidence, and the court's decision was adjourned
1915 Oct 20. Colour Sergeant Keogh writes to Casement from Zossen about the trial of 4 of the prisoners "on the affair of the Algerians money"
1915 Oct 25, Colour-Sergeant Keogh sent a letter to Casement in which he says "This morning Quinlisk, Dowling, Collins and Keogh were in Berlin standing trial for the affair of the Algerians money. I was present and the trial was public. They were tried as Irish Prisoners of War, and not having a Consul to plead for them, they were sentenced to a fortnight's imprisonment. Dr Lehmann, the prosecutor said that if we made the customary appeal to the Kaiser, they would perhaps suffer a money fine instead of imprisonment" Casement had a bad tempered exchange of letters with the Germans as a result of them being tried as "prisoners of war" and refused to appeal. A little later he agreed to an appeal, but at that point the matter disappears from his correspondence.
1915 Oct 26, Monteith (who had reached Berlin on 23rd Oct) travels to Zossen with Sir Roger and Major von Baerle of the War Office. The men were paraded (number on parade 50) Casement spoke to them informing them that in future Monteith was to be regarded as their command officer (or until such time as a senior officer arrived from America). Monteith and Casement lunched at the German officers mess and returned to Berlin same evening. Monteith was impressed by the barracks "They were housed in airy well lit rooms, similar to those in which German troops were housed."
1915 Oct 27 Casement, Monteith and Major v Baerle from German War Ministry went to Zossen. However the Irish were still effectivly prisoners of war. Quinlisk wrote "The barracks was called the Birdcage by our men. It was 50 yards long by 25 wide, and enclosed all round by barbed wire, and guarded by 5 fully armed German soldiers. Life was much the same as in the ordinary POW camp, food being however better, also sleeping accommodation. The men had exercise every day being drilled by Keogh or myself"
1915 Nov 2. Monteith writes to Casement from Limburg suggesting that Sgt Keogh be sent to Limburg from Zossen to help with recruiting "Regarding Keogh, I am rather in doubt in this matter, I have learned that there are other attraction in Limburg for the Sergeant Major beside recruiting, but he might be able to help things along... up to the present we have little to show for our work, I have interviewed 70 men, about 10 of whom I intend to see again.. the first 25 were inclined to be a bit rusty and insolent ..the men I saw today were of a far better frame of mind ... I think we stand to get 8 or 10 of them. 55 men had been transferred in June (50 plus 5) and only one more was recruited at this stage - Wilson.
1915 Nov 27. Monteith finally got permission top to go to Zossen in uniform. He left Berlin 10.30 arrive Zossen 2.30 about two feet of snow on the ground. Every hotel closed, town in darkness, although we had engaged rooms by wire, in the hotel, no one was there to let us in. Finally the town watchman arrives who has instructions to let us into hotel by the back door. Rooms seem to be ready, "Blessed are they who expect nothing for verily they shall not be disappointed." Zerhussen attempts to swear, his very first effort, for he is in truth a godly man. He was an awful failure at the job, so I gave him a lesson, names he will remember.
An internal letter from the German foreign ministry agrees that command should be passed to Monteith. They expected that he would restore disciple in the camp in the near future. And that it would become unnecessary to transfer, as has been suggested, those of the Irish Brigade in Zossen who were "opposed to propaganda"
1915 Nov 28 Monteith goes to Zossen, obtains a pass from the General to see the men. All prisoners, no leave allowed, no arms, no overcoats. The men were in an ugly humour in consequence.
1915 Nov 29. Monteith calls on General at the Kommandatur to report formally for duty, he had a very kind reception, and was handed over the men. His rank as Lieutenant confirmed. Monteith's rooms were not ready in the barracks, so he returned to his Hotel.
1915 Nov 30. Monteith moved into officers quarters, and arranged for meals in the Forest House, a small Inn nearby. He had a parade of the men. Inspected clothing, boots,quarters. Ascertained wants, which include every thing imaginable. Boots, clothes, overcoats, blankets, football, melodian, sewing machine for tailor, glass for windows broken through horseplay, etc.
1915 Dec 1. The men were paraded and Casement explained that it is hardly likely that the invasion of the British Isles will ever take place. Casement puts for the first time to the men the thought of volunteering for service with the Turks to fight the British in Egypt. He asks them to think over the idea of striking a blow against England by going to the Eastern Theatre of War and joining with the Turkish Army for the invasion of Egypt and helping to free another small nationality from England. 30 apparently volunteered immediately and Casement thought the rest would soon sign up. On the other hand Monteith writes in his diary that nobody was very enthusiastic. Casement writes to Wedel asking for permission to go to Constantinople to see the situation for himself. He gets the permission, but never actually travels there.
1915 Dec 2. Training is started for the men. Overcoats, arms, etc are requested. Duties allotted, daily parades arranged. Passes granted. Rifles were issued 2 p.m.
1915 Dec 3. Casement at Zossen. Together Monteith and Casement interview the men on the question of going to Egypt, by now 38 of the 56 volunteer. They are disappointed at the response. The Germans reacted to this rebuff by deciding to again treat the Brigade as normal prisoners of war, which in turn caused 24 of the 38 to retract their offer to serve Germany in Egypt. There are various lists of those willing to serve in Egypt.
1915 Dec 4. Casement stays at the Hotel Golden Lion in Zossen, about two miles from the Lager. About 2,000 Russian prisoners are quartered here. Monteith inspected rooms and visited men in hospital.
1915 Dec 5. Sunday, no church parade. J. McGoey arrives from America. Football match, The Irish team beat the Germans 4 goals to 1.
1915 Dec 6. Usual parades. Casement paid a visit.
1915 Dec 7. Usual parades, men bucking up.
1915 Dec 8. Everything now moving smoothly. Signalling class started.
1915 Dec 9. Route march to Berlin, where Sir Roger Casement joined the men and as this was the first armed parade he had witnessed paid for lunch for all hands.
1915 Dec 10. Foot inspection, men in bad way, soft feet and ill fitting boots, no other boots can be obtained so have to adopt the German method of foot bandages, which the men say are exceedingly uncomfortable to them. Monteith notes in his dairy that Delamore was a qualified Chiropodist and cared for the men's feet when they had problems due to lack of proper boots. I can only think that as a bandsman Delamore received first aid training as part of a bandsmens' wartime role.
1915 Dec 11. Casement in Zossen on Pay day. This is usually a lively day with the Brigade, as a wonderful lot of beer can be purchased for a shilling, usual parades.
1915 Dec 12. Sunday morning, no church parade. Church parade was usually held only once in three weeks, owing to lack of accomodation. Roll call parade.
1915 Dec 13.Usual parades. Monteith straightened out a lot of small difficulties and worries for the men. German lesson in the afternoon for the men, a number of whom can speak quite well.
1915 Dec 14. Route march to Mittenwald, about 20 kilometers, splendid day, very cold. Arms inspection, great improvement in spirits and appearance of men. Boots a great inconvenience to men.
1915 Dec 15 . Sore feet the order of the day. Applied for new boots for all hands, get a promise that the matter will be attended to.
1915 Dec 16. Men's feet much better thanks to Delamore's skill. Route march.
1915 Dec 17. Usual parades, skirmishing work. German lesson by interpreter.
1915 Dec 18. Kit inspection, also barrack room inspection. Everything in good order except windows, which Monteith ordered to be repaired. Half holiday.
1915 Dec 19. Sunday. Church parade. No work.
1915 Dec 20. Usual parades, signalling, German lesson.
1915 Dec 21. Parades as usual. Miserable day, snow and rain.
1915 Dec 22. No outside work, weather too bad. Barrack roofleaking, have it repaired, windows now weather-proof. An order has been issued to withdraw the arms from the men. General discontent, men saying the Germans do not trust us. Monteith was afraid there will be serious trouble.
1915 Dec 23. Monteith obtained permission from the local Priest who does not speak English to have a Priest from Berlin (an English speaker) to hear men's confessions before Xmas. All hands attend the celebration of Mass in Zossen town. Arranged for special Xmas dinner for the men in one of the local restaurants. The sum of 3 marks per man is allowed by the G.O.C. Zossen (General Schneider) as a canteen rebate.
1915 Dec 24. Casement in Zossen. He writes to Wedel to say that Monteith is doing so well and that they have so few recruits that does not need a superior officer to be sent from USA. Xmas Eve. Usual morning parades. Preparations for tomorrow in hand. Everyone in good humour except for withdrawal of the arms. Monteith had to place a picquet on the gate owing to the action of some festive spirits, who want to discover the identity of the person who gave the order that the Irish were too dangerous to be allowed to carry rifles.
1915 Dec 25. Xmas Day and Monteith writes. A danger signal immediately I enter men's bungalow. Pte. Holohan was having an argument with a bottle of proof rum, and he loves me. Dinner at 4 p.m. music and singing the order of the evening. Quite a lot of girls there. It is wonderful the way the girls will chum with the Irishmen. German and English lessons in progress all over the house. Three fights, which I had no trouble in stopping. One man wants a German soldier's blood, because he thought the said German made some remark discreditative to the Irish! During one of the rows a German picquet came in to quell the disturbance, and were greatly relieved when I came on the scene, and said I would deal with it. There were only 4 of them amongst about 30 of mine. Got the men on the road home at 12.15 a.m. The N.C.Os. stayed another hour with me and interpreter Zerhussen, during which time we had a speech from Sergt. O'Toole in Irish, and a fierce discussion as to whether Maryboro, Wexford, or Limerick was the nearest approach to Heaven by the remainder. Various toasts were drunk, and we went home to find to our astonishment everyone in bed and asleep.
Mrs. Gaffney (wife of Mr. Gaffney, U.S.A. Consul General at Munich) together with some American friends had sent the men a very generous present. Each man received a green satin bag tied with Irish and German colours, containing tobacco, cigarettes, chocolate, patent pipe lighter, Bavarian confectionery and other things, together with a small envelope containing a new silver mark.
Rahilly wrote That night our Sergeant Major was on his best form, and though naturally rotund became more so to an alarming degree after midnight. He never missed an opportunity for speechmaking, so took advantage of tonight's audience to rally his men against the hated Saxon, and with drawn sword proclaimed ''Deutschland Uber Alles!"
1915 Dec 26."Boxing Day" and the morning after last night, a deputation waited upon me at 7 a.m. requesting a little medicine, as all hands were very sick. I went down to see. The deputation had not exaggerated, so I bought the medicine and had it served at their bedsides, some very rapid recoveries.
1915 Dec 27. Morning parades, inspection of barracks at 12 noon. All correct.
1915 Dec 28. No parades, weather wretched
1915 Dec 29. Full parade, all present, marching drill, no arms. Signalling class under Sergt. Bailey.
1915 Dec 30. do.
1915 Dec 31.Report sent in re men disposing of clothing, etc. to German Soldiers and civilians, who sometimes pay for same in bottles of spirits (Schnapps) which is bad for Irish heads and hands, all sales forbidden.
1916 Jan 1. The trouble brewing over the arms question has come. Although the day was observed by the German people as a holiday, the General was in his office and sent for me to explain the cause of the row between his lambs and mine. The incident is this. On New Year's morning the German canteen was kept open (without orders) until 1 a.m. of which my men took full advantage. The Germans sang songs and my men also sang, and good fellowship reigned supreme until some Geman in an unguarded moment spoke of my men as English. Then the dust began to fly, at this time there were only 7 of my men present and about 30 Germans. A German under officer came on the scene and drew his bayonet on my men who were fighting like demons. Four of our fellows were good boxers (an art which the German people know nothing of) and were making comparatively good progress. These men concentrated on the man with the bayonet, who was carried to his barracks minus his bayonet which my people had captured. Corpls. Delamore and Grannigan ran from our bungalow to the canteen and got the Irishman away. All would have been well had not the under officer made a report. The report led to all sort of complications and punishments. My men were at once deprived of their liberty, all passes cancelled, so that through the action of a half drunken under officer a lot of bad feeling was established and good men punished for bad.
1916 Jan 2. Four armed sentries are now stationed around the barracks enclosure. The sentries' rifles are loaded. Two of the men evaded the sentries and went to Zossen.
1916 Jan 3. Confinement still the order, men in very ugly temper.
1916 Jan 4. General sends for me and tells me of the past, present and probable sins of the outfit I have the honour to command. Good Lord! the records are awful. I promised all sorts of things and plead extenuating circumstances, mean irritations on side of some German officials. No use, the General has had some promises from me on the men's behalf before now, and is going to run things his own way.
1916 Jan 5. No change
1916 Jan 6. Monteith sent for Casement who informs Monteith that the detachment of volunteers for Egypt are to start training immediately, arms are promised, and the men are delighted. However the guns did not arrive for considerably more time.
1916 Jan 7. Usual parades without arms. Casement is ill, nervous and depressed.
1916 Jan 8. Usual parades.
1916 Jan 9 Sunday, Church parade. Punishment for row on New Year's morning now made known. Seven men actually concerned, ordered short term of imprisonment. All others confined to camp for 14 days to date from 1st inst. But passes allowed to men of good behaviour on Monteith's recommendation.
1916 Jan 10. Route march today. Effect of confinement easily seen.
1916 Jan 11. Usual parades, paid out at 11 a.m.
1916 Jan 12 . No arms have yet arrived. Usual parades. Casement very ill. I am afraid his mind is going, disappointment after disappointment has broken him, have tried to get him to see a mental specialist, wire for his doctor and go to Berlin to see some people, friends of his to whom I made known his condition. Go to General Staff who promise to hurry our departure for the front—also call at Foreign Office. Wire for Father Crotty to come to Zossen as I think Casement would like to see hin. This was done entirely on my own responsibility.
1916 Jan 14. Letter from Casement who informs me that he intends to see specialist this day. Return to Zossen and await Casement's. return to Hotel Golden Lion. He arrives about 8 p.m. looks rested. The specialist Dr. Oppenheim has ordered him to a sanitorium. This means that all devolves upon me. I am not up to my job.
1916 Jan 15. Usual parades in camp. No arms yet. Confinement finished yesterday, passes issued today. Men absent again.
1916 Jan 16.Usual parades, no orders yet from General Staff as to the Eastern move.
From last date things have gone so oddly Monteith says he could not attempt to keep a diary, and that he thinks things are at an end. Monteith has certainly reached the end of his tether at this point. Monteith had only been a Corporal in the British army, and I suspect had not the intelligence or training to command the Irish Brigade and at tht it entailed. As far as one can see both Casement and Monteith have been broken by the experience of trying to run the Irish Brigade
1916 Feb 5. Monteith to Nadolny "At present the whole of my men and all except 2 of my NCOs are in a compound with 4 sentries placed around the barracks - they are nothing more or less than Prisoners of War"
1916 Jan/Feb/Mar Keogh records that the men continue with machine gun training..
1916 Mar 16 Whilst at Zossen “their exploits embraced the death of one member of the Brigade at the hand of a companion.” I have not been reconcile this statement with the death of the only Irish Brigade member to die at Zossen Holihan, he died 19 Mar 1916 but there is certainly no indication of murder in what is written by any of the men afterwards.
1916 Mar 24. Monteith writes from Zossen to Casement to tell him that the machine guns have been just been issued, and that he is about to start the drill with them. However the guns arived too late, and within a month Casement and Monteith had left on the ill fated submarine trip to Ireland. The cable of 24 March says that the Irish are "to be got rid of on Apr 7" indicating that the Germans were still expecting to ship the lot of them with the arms (that went on the Aud) to Ireland on that date.
The men went out into the Zossen vineyards and undertook combat training. They were to be trained a machine gun groups, given the paucity of numbers. They were armed with 5 machine guns, 2 trench mortars, for drill purposes and rifle and bayonet for each man. They got up at 6.30am and began with PT. Target practice on the range was carried out under conditions as near as possible to trench conditions. Lectures on military subjects and sports to keep the men fit were all part of the days programme.
For their training the Irish were divided into 10 machine gun crews, each with 4 men and 1 NCO. They had 5 heavy Maxim guns and 2 trench mortars for drill purposes. While half the men were on MG practice, the other half were on grenade throwing or musketry practice. The men were also armed with rifles and bayonets. They had overseeing them 1 English speaking German officer, 2 German NCOs and 8 privates of the 203rd Regiment (on Zerhusen's figures). This caused a certain amount of friction as the Irish had been taught British Machine Gun methods, and now had to learn the German methods.
1916 Rahilly wrote about their training. Drilling with rifles, signaling and machine-gun practice were continued as formally until the second week of April, when we saw Sir Roger, Capt. Monteith and Sergeant Bailey for the last time.
1916 Apr Rahilly writes We had assembled on the parade-grand just outside our barrack. The last full parade of the Irish Brigade. There stood Casement, tall and distinguished- looking, his head slightly bowed - which he raised to smile once or twice, a smile of farewell. He spoke to Monteith but we could not catch what he said, for both he and Monteith stood a little distance away. I held two signaling flags in my hand. Sergeant Bailey asked for one, which I handed to him immediately. Casement and Monteith were slowly walking away when Bailey overtook then and handed Monteith the flag. Get ready to receive a message, ordered Bailey; coming again in my direction with notebook and pencil in my hand. Monteith was "calling up" with his flag and I signaled the answer, Bailey quite near, taking the message down. This was the first intimation we had that Monteith could signal a message. I expected a long message as we knew something unusual was about to take place, but we could only guess as to the possibility of landing the whole parade in Ireland. Monteith’s flag began to wave dot, dot, dash, dot while I spelled out the letters to Bailey, who entered them in his book. The message read: "From the Legions of the lost to the Cohorts of the damned - good-bye." "My God." ejaculated Bailey, "what does he mean, or have you read the message correctly?" I read the message as it was sent," I answered. "Then" said Bailey, "we are lost what do you think?" "Lost or damned" I replied, there will be no difference if some are left behind, because von Schneider will make things hot anyway," Monteith called Bailey, but Bailey stood looking at me, very undecided, I thought; his mouth opened to say something but could not. Without a word he ran to join Monteith and Casement. The three walked quickly away, talking in low tones. Before they went Monteith or Casement handed a letter to our sergeant major, I do not know which. This letter was read to us later in the barrack room.
1916 Apr 18 Zerhusen reports to Gaffney that the priest read Casements last letter to the men at at Mass the previous Sunday. And that the machine gun drill will continue only until the end of the month.
1916 Apr. With the failure of the Easter Rising and the capture of Casement in Ireland, the Germans ran out of any remaining enthusiasm for the Irish Brigade affair. Two weeks after Casement's capture, the Irish Brigade lost their machine guns and their German soldier/instructors who were returned to their own unit at Spandau, Berlin. The men were confined to barracks in uniform. About 20 of the brigade now refused to drill under German supervision, even without arms. While some men marched, others stood still and refused to obey German orders. Von Schneider arrived with two dozen Landstrum guards. The Germans halted a few paces from the Irish, and were ordered to load their rifles. Von Schneider stated via an interpreter that they would be shot is they did not obey German orders (the men refusing included Rahilly). Somehow Von Schneider backed off ordering his guards to fire and went to phone Berlin for instructions. He must have been told that the Irish could only be commanded by Irish under the Casement agreement, and returned to the parade ground to reluctantly call off his firing squad.
1916 May 12. Letters written to Britain at this time by Golden indicates that he and many of his collegues are working on farms by this time.
1916 Jun. The whole Brigade was on the eve of being shifted to a large prisoner of war camp, where we were to receive certain privileges and liberties not accorded to war prisoners. Our new chief, Mr. St John Gaffney, came to see us and sang a song. In fact we had a concert in a small way as a result of the visit of the American ex-consul for Munich. I saw him only once more, a short time before I left Germany. Later we had a visit from a German officer who introduced himself as Commandant Nicholai, commanding the large prisoner of war camp at Danzig- Troyl in West Prussia. He brought with him photos of the camp and our barrack inside the wires, and explained to us how we would be treated. We could find no fault with Commandant Nicholai, who was only carrying out the orders of his superiors, but as a matter of form we objected to living inside the camp wires. The authorities in Berlin were also petitioned, but our removal from von Schneider's command was already a foregone conclusion.
1916 Jun 17. A number of the men write to Gaffney to say that they wanted to go to Danzig, and that he should not pay any attention to the NCOs (who were agaoinst the move).
1916 Jun 18. They are still in Zossen
1916 Jun 26. The men were in Danzig on this date. The Irish Brigade were sent to a camp at Danzig Troyl. There was a bill from the German military for 1000 marks for "barrack damages" when they left Zossen. By now Keogh's assessment of their quarters was that they were "a venerable rat burrow", with the wooden supports and floors gnawed through by the rats, and that was the main reason for the "barrack damages". The German authorities seem to have finally agreed to reduce the bill to 50 marks only to to pay for bedding deficiencies.
Casement Irish Brigade