Roger Casement

1914 Jul 20. Casement arrives in New York. Shortly after his arrival contact was established between the German embassy in Washington and representatives of Clan na Gael through the German military attaché and future Chancellor Franz von Papen.

1914 Aug 9. Casement met Papen in New York and discussed the possibility of raising an Irish Brigade from the captured Irish soldiers. Given that the UK declared war against Germany on 4th August, and that the Western Front only opened 14th Aug, Casement was not wasting time!

1914 Aug 21. Casement wrote a memorandum to the German Kaiser, in which he dealt with the situation of the Irish soldiers in British army. According to Casement 35 000-40 000 of the 150 000 British soldiers taken prisoner in Belgium and France were Irish. After initial hesitation the German government agreed with Casement’s plan.

1914 Oct 31. Arrives in Berlin to try to secure a German declaration of support for an independent Ireland. He had arrived via Sweden, and had been escorted into Germany by Meyer . The funding appears to have come from money that was sent by the Irish-American, John Devoy, and arrived via the German Foreign Office.

1914 Nov 2. Meets Zimmerman and von Wedel in German Foreign Ministry

1914 Nov 3 to 17 no diary entries

1914 Nov 13. Limburg an der Lahn, not far away from Frankfurt am Main, was designated by the General Headquarters as a “Konzentrationslager” for the Irish POWs

1914 Nov 19. Casement was brought to the Army General Headquarters by Richard Meyer, the German Foreign Office official allocated to Casement after his arrival. There he managed to convince the military leadership of the plausibility of aims.

The chief of General Staff divided responsibility of handling Casement between three bodies.

1914 Dec 4. Casement visits Limburg when only the first few hundred Irish POWs are there. The main contingent of some 1500 arrived from Sennelager on 17th Dec. Casement forms the impression that the men would volunteer for his proposed Irish Brigade. Quinlisk records that it was a beautifully clear, cold day. And all the NCOs were marched to an empty hut, and after a wait, Casement entered with two German officers, one of whom was Marshall von Biberstein. He spoke to the men for about half an hour, after which Quinlisk and a Sergeant (McMurrough, who later changed his mind) stepped forward. Quinlisk volunteered to Casement that he would open a notebook recording the names of any Irish POWs willing to join the proposed Irish Brigade

1914 Dec 10. He stays at Limburg till 10 Dec, then returns to Berlin. Before he left, Quinlisk says that he went to see Caement in the Preussicher Hof Hotel and told him that the chances of forming an Irish Brigade were slim

1914 Dec 17. Quinlisk appears to have been the first to volunteer for the Irish Brigade. He writes to Casement asking for more condensed milk and bloaters.

1914 Dec 18, Casement meets von Wedel in Foreign Office, who agrees Casement's conditions for setting up Irish Brigade. Thy are received by German Chancellor in a 30 minute meeting. The Chancellor was pessimistic of Casement’s plan, but agreed with it in the end

1914 Dec 23 Casements sends to Zimmerman the text of the proposed agreement for the formation of the Irish Brigade. Casement received the acceptance leter from Zimmerman on 28 Dec 1914.

1915 Jan 5. Casement visits Limburg after the full contingent of prisoners had reached the camp. Casement is now doubtful as to whether the Brigade would be sucessful, he writes to Wedel from Limburg with his doubts . "I dare say a sham corps of sorts could be formed by tempting the men with promises of money: but an appeal to their "patriotism" is an appeal to something non-existant" ..."All thought of enrolling the men, I fear, must be abandoned - they are mercenaries pure and simple, and even if had the means to bribe them, I would not do so,," I will not return to Limburg to be insulted by a handful of recreant Irishmen.”

1915 Jan 13. Casement at Limburg. He again writes to Wedel, telling him that after a long talk with General Exner, Commanding Officer at Limburg, that it should be possible to get "some hundreds of the men to enrol". Casement is also putting a lot of store in the arrival of Father Nicholson to improve the situation. And also implores Wedel to get better food for the Irish at Limburg "if a little more meat could be put in their would be a wise act"

1915 Jan 15. Casement still at Limburg, waiting arrival of Father Nicholson.

1915 Jan 23. Casement leaves Limburg for Berlin, to meet Nicholson. After this Casement seems to leave recruitment to Nicholson and he himself rarely visited Limburg

1915 Mar 13. Casement in bed with flu in Berlin

1915 Mar 20. Casement writes to Von Wedel from Berlin saying that it is pointless in him returning to Limburg until the pro-English contingent have been removed, as had been agreed with General Exner in early January. He asks Von Wedel to arrange that "two sergeants at Limburg" be sent to him in Berlin as his health stops him travelling, Quinlisk and Keogh, and adds that "their full names can be got from Father Nicholson"

1915 Mar 21. Father Nicholson writes from Limburg to Casement "I have had to complain recently of the German guards striking prisoners". Nicholson is worried that these acts by the guards will provoke serious respones fom the Irish

1915 Mar 31. Quinlisk says that just before St Patrick's Day he was approached by Keogh to discuss ideas about the Irish Brigade. They wrote to Casement asking him to come to Limburg. And later on 31 March they wrote to Casement again, asking to be removed from the camp, as "relations with the men had grown very strained, to put it mildly"

1915 Apr 6. Casement writes to Wedel asking for the transfer of 66 pro-English prisonors away from Limburg. He says that the "three Corporals now in Berlin, whom I saw only today, should be kept here pending the removal of the "undesireables" Presumably these 3 are Keogh, Quinlisk and Dowling (Dowling wrote that he joined on March 27, and I believed that he was only the 3rd man to join)

1915 Apr 11. Casement writes to Wedel that he is pesimistic over the value to Ireland of raising an Irish Brigade. "I see no sufficient gain to the Irish cause from its creation to justify me either politically or morally in seeking to induce a number of my fellow countrymen to commit high treason and to cut themselves off from all possible return to their country"

1915 Apr 13. He submits to Wedel a memorandum setting out public statements that the German Govrnment should make in support of Ireland and her aspirations. The implication being that these public statements could enable the formation of the Irish Brigade.

1915 Apr 20. Casement meets Plunkett for the first time in Berlin. Plunkett arrived in Germany that day.

1915 April 21 Brings Quinlisk, Keogh and Dowling to meet Plunkett. Later has lunch with Plunkett and Mdme la Comtesse Blucher.

1915 Apr 22. Meets Plunkett who stays overnight.

1915 Apr 23. Meets Plunkett

1915 Apr 27. Sees Plunkett, Quinlisk and Dowling .

1915 Apr 29, Apr 30, May 2, May 3, May 4, May 6. Meets Plunkett in Berlin.

1915 May 7. Casement writes a memorandum. It is clear that recruiting has not yet started. To recruit say 200 or 300 men from among the 2200 Catholic Irish now at Limburg ...will not secure that sweeping effect on public opinion or permanent moral result hoped for.

1915 May 12. Plunkett writes to Casement "I believe that the chief reason of the small amount of influence that Father Nicholson has is due to the fact that they know he is here for a purpose"

1915 May 12. Casement arrives at Limburg and meets Plunkett, who has been recruiting there since May 9. Casement stays in Limburg for some days

1915 May 15 Casement in Limburg and makes his major recruiting speach

"You have been told, I daresay, that I am trying to form an Irish Brigade to fight for Germany; that I am a German agent; and that an attempt is being made to suborn you, or tempt you to do something dishonest and insincere for the sake of the German Government and not for the welfare of Ireland. Well, you may believe me, or disbelieve me (and nothing I could say would convince you as to my own motives) but I can convince you, and I owe to yourselves as well as to my self to convince you that the effort to form an Irish Brigade is based on Irish interests only, and is a sincere and honest one, so far as my actions with the German Government is concerned and so far as their action in the matter goes.
An Irish Brigade, if it be formed today, will rest on a clear and definite agreement wherein the German Government is pledged to aid the cause of Irish independence by force of arms, and above all, to aid Irish men to themselves fight for their own freedom. The agreement that is the basis on which an Irish Brigade is one now in my hands, and which I will read to you. It was signed on 28th of December last by the duly authorized representative [under Secretary for State] of the German Government and is an honest and sincere offer on the part of a great European Government to help Irishmen to fight their own battle for the freedom of their country. It is the first time in history that such an offer has been made and embodied in clear straightforward terms.

1915 May 19 Casement leaves Limburg and takes the train to Munich. He appears to have spent much of his time from late May to Sept 1915 staying at Ammersee. Charles Curry wrote

I succeeded in securing two comfortable rooms for my friend in the country inn at Riederau. Whereupon Sir Roger left Munich and joined us on the rural shores of the quiet lake. He was so happy and contented in his new environments - away from the noise and hustle of the city, that he remained in Riederau until late into the autumn. When we all returned to town at the close of the summer vacation Sir Roger still kept his rooms in the little country inn, that he might at least spend the weekend there. It was in fact not until after Christmas, when Sir Roger broke down completely in health, that he could be induced to give up his summer quarters on the lake.

1915 May 28. Casement was given the name of George McCormack as a possible commander if the Irish Brigade. He is described as a naval reserve man of Green ?, Co Derry. Nothing seems ever to come of this man

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 29 In Berlin. Writes to von Wedel "When and where will the 55 men in Zossen be sent to a barracks"

1915 Jul 15. Casement in Munich. He has been ill in bed for some days, and is staying in a small Gasthaus on the Ammersee near Munich.

1915 Jul 16 Casement writes to Corporal Keogh in Limburg telling him that he had "asked that you and the two fellows who have been left stranded here so long should be removed from Limburg."

1915 Aug 4. At Riederau an Ammersee, writes to Boehm

1915 Aug 8. Casement is again disillussioned with everything and writes to Wedel from Munich. "I cannot stay any longer in Germany - idle and useless - I shall ask therefore to leave the country at an early date and ask if you to get me a passport" . 4 days later the Germans write to Casement saying they think his going to America would be a wise move, and have arranged his passport.

1915 Aug 16 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 17. Writes from Amersee to Henry J Reilly, a US War Correspondent working in Germany, asking him to become the leader of the Irish Brigade. Reilly later declines the offer.

1915 Aug 24 The "celebrated" Lunch in Munich at which Gaffney was the host and Casement a guest. Gaffey was later dismissed by the US governemnt as Consul becuase of this.

1915 Sep 2. Letter from Casement at the U.S. Consulate General, Munich, to Boehm, He refers to the corps at Zossen and the possibility of another recruitment drive at Limburg. 'If we could make the 55 into a company it would not be so bad'. He is anxious to get away, perhaps to Turkey, and has heard nothing from America since the beginning of May. He will not return to Berlin unless he is needed as 'to be there alone in a big city in a big hotel is the most lonely, abominable life I have ever experienced'.

1915 Sep 17. Boehm recommends to Casement that Mahoney be reduced to the ranks

1915 Sep 18. Boehm tells Casement that he will be leaving the Irish Brigade, and that he will no longer be able to deal with Corporal O'Mahoney (seems to be a court martial)

1915 Sep 27 Casement at Zossen for the day.

1915 Sep 28 Casement in Berlin. He writes to Meyer asking Myer to come to Zossen with him the following week.

1915 Oct 24. Hahn writes to Casement that he is having problems with Cpl Mahoney and L/C Burke. Mahoney was AWOL for a day and got 3 days imprisonment and he also lost his stripes on the recommendation of Keogh and the sergeants. The authorities refused to sanction the loss of stripes, but Hahn was asking Casement to sanction this action. L/C Burke got 3 days in prison and last week went into hospital as he had a "peculiar attack of deranged mind"

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 Nov 6. Monteith says that Casement is not well, and that he does not think Casement is mentally fit. Last time Monteith saw him he was simply quivering like a leaf.

1915 Dec 1. By the autumn of 1915 the Germans had all but abandoned any plans they might have had for a military invasion of Ireland. The men were paraded and Casement explained that it is.hardly probable that the invasion of the British Isles will 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 nation which England omits to free. 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.

1915 Dec 3. Casement at Zossen. He stays at Goldener Lowe. Together Monteith and Casement interview the men on the question of going to Egypt, 38 of 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. Lists exists of those willing to serve in Egypt but one can see a lot of movement in and out of variouslists. Casement now stays at Zossen for about 6 weeks (leaving to visit Dresden twice)

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 6. Usual parades. Casement paid a visit to men in Zossen

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 11 Casement still in Zosssen staying at Hotel zum Golden Lowen.

1915 Dec 12 Casement staying at Hospiz an Brandenburger Tor in Berlin

1915 Dec 24 Casement in Zossen

1916 Jan 6 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.

1916 Jan 7 Usual parades without arms. Casement is ill, nervous and depressed.

1916 Jan 12 . No arms have yet arrived. Usual parades. Monteith writes 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 him.

1916 Jan 14. Monteith writes 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. Monteith spent most of the day with Casement making arrangements, take over papers, etc. Casement leaves for Munich sanitorium

From last date things have gone so oddly I could not at tempt to keep a diary, and as things are here (as far as I am concerned) seem at an end. I will try to summarize events to date. Sir Roger Casement went to Munich to a rest house under the care of Dr. Rudolf von Hoesslin and I took charge of Brigade affairs. Things went badly, the men wanted new clothing and boots which I repeatedly asked for.

1916 Jan 19 Monteith writes to McGarrity in USA saying that Casement was "unable to do his part of the work " and suggesting that they consider sending someone to take his place.

1916 Jan 26 Nadolny records a letter from Monteith telling him that Casement was suffering from a nervous breakdown and was in a sanitorium near MUnich.

1916 Feb 16 Casement goes to Berlin from Munich against his doctor's advice

1916 Feb 26. Casement returns to Munich from Berlin

1916 Mar 3. Monteith writes to Casement in Munich hospital begging Casement to return to Berlin. Reason not specified.. Casement replied asking Monteith to come to Munich

1916 Mar 4. Casement's letter to Meyer says he has had flu for a week and that the doctors are concerned that he may get pneumonia.

1916 Mar 7. Monteith arrives at Casement's hospital in Munich. They discussed the German offer of arms. Casement drew up two memorandums on how to land the arms and Monteith took these back to Berlin on 8th March. The documents he wrote suggested that Casement and two men from Zossen went to Ireland by submarine to organise the landing of the arms

1916 Mar 16. Casement in Berlin. Discusses his memorandums with them. The Germans are not prepared to send him and 2 men by submarine, but want to send all 55 men to Ireland to help in the Rising

1916 Mar 19 Casement saw McGoey off from the stairs of his hotel in Berlin at 7.30 am. A German police agent escorts McGoey to Warnemunde with no papers or passport and be put into Denmark. This was an attempt by Casement to get a message to the leaders of the Easter Rising in Ireland, to beg them to call off the Rising.

1916 Mar 23 Casement returns to Munich from Berlin

1916 Mar 28. Casement leaves Munich for the last time and meets Monteith in Berlin and tells Monteith that he had decided not to take the men to Ireland. He has meetings with both the Admiralty and the General Staff to try to get his plan accepted. Casements feels that the Germans tried to blackmail him, by saying unless he took all the men to Ireland with the 20,000 rifles, then the rifles would not go either. And further the Irish Americans would be told that it was Casement's fault that the guns were not going. Casement feels that whichever decision he make will have dire consequences, but opts for the safety of the Irish Brigade members, and refuses to take them to Ireland. He says either they accept his original plan for 3 men including him , in a submarine to go ahead and organise the landing of arms, or if the Germans will not send a submarine, he would go alone in a surface boat carrying the guns

1916 Apr 1. Monteith handed Casements note personally to Wedel at 12.30

1916 Apr 4 Monteith and Casement visit German General Staff "where finally they give in and accept the inevitable - joy that the men should not go " He agreed to take Monteith and Bailey (at Monteith's recommendation)

1916 Apr 6. Nadolny writes that Casement is "very agitated and unpredicable"

1916 Apr 10 Kavanagh recalls meeting Casement at the Hotel Saxonia in Berlin. Casement was nervous and gave him pay for the brigade before leaving for Ireland. He asked Kavanagh what men could be relied on for special missions

1916 Apr 11. Casement was informed by Nadolny that his agreement of 1914 was now null and void, and that the Irish Prisoners of War at Zossen, numbered at 53 are "deserters" or "prisoners of war" and may be treated in any way that seems fitting to the military authorities

1916 Apr 23 Zimmermann writes to Nadolny telling him that the Casement's agreement had been recognised by the General Staff and was therefore still valid

Casement was certainly expected. Before leaving Germany, Casement wrote to Gaffney

"I think that it is possible that we may never land or may even be brought back here again - a worse fate than landing. To return to Germany in these circumstances would be a dreadful fate - shame and stupefaction"

The rest of Casements live was, as they say, history. The voyage in the submarine, capture, trial and execution in Aug 1916.

Irish Brigade