Jeremiah O'Callaghan, 10844 Private Royal Irish Regiment

Jeremiah O'Callaghan medal card

Keogh on Jeremiah O'Callaghan

Keogh on Jeremiah O'Callaghan

Louise Lawrence writes Sgt Major Keogh was my great great uncle by marriage, Private J O'Callaghan was my great grandfather. They married two German sisters, Annie and Katherina Seuffert. Jeremiah married Katherina (1894 to 1976). Private Michael O'Callaghan was Jeremiah's brother. Jeremiah had 1 child, my grandfather Andreas (born Nurenburg, Germany on 13 Jan 1920 and died 9 Dec 2007 in Portmarnock, Ireland) and he was an engineer, who was 2 when Jeremiah died and was brought up in Germany by his German mother.

Jeremiah O'Callaghan's father was Jeremiah Callaghan (b1851 in Mallow, died 1920) and mother Bridget Tobin (nee O'Sullivan, b1866, d.1902), who married in 1890 in Mallow. It was Bridget's second marriage, she had been only 12 when she first married, and 24 when she married Jeremiah O'Callaghan)

1892 Nov 13. He was born in Mallow

1901 census has the family living at Bridewell Lane, Mallow. Michael & Jeremiah the two who joined the Irish Brigade, plus sisters Bridget and Betsy (Elizabeth) and a step brother, Edward, from their father's earlier marriage.

1911 census entry at 8 Bridewell Lane, Mallow, Cork. all Roman Catholic and born Co Cork. His mother had died by then.

Surname Forename Age Relation to head Occupation Marital Status
O' Callaghan Jeremiah 60 Head of Family Mason Widower
O' Callaghan Jeremiah 19 Son Apprentice Single
O' Callaghan Michael 16 Son Apprentice Single
O' Callaghan Elizabeth 13 Daughter - Single
O' Callaghan Bridget 12 Daughter - Single
O' Callaghan Edward 34 Son Labourer Single

Edward O'Callaghan was Jeremiah's half brother, his father had been married before, he had 4 children from his first marriage, Jeremiah's mother was also married before, she had 2 children from that marriage, 1 of them was the Mary O'Sullivan who reported Jeremiah's death.

jeremiah o'callaghan munstes

1913 Apr 14, Jeremiah O'Callaghan enlists in the Munsters - his enlistment papers above. He states he has a brother Micheal in the 2nd RMF and gives his father as Jeremiah O'Callaghan of Bridewell Lane, Mallow.

1913 Nov 29. He was discharged , serving only 7 months, reason given, services no longer required. (This was the same time as his brother Michael joined up, and their service numbers in the Munsters, 10035 and 10005, show they enlisted at roughly the same time). Jeremiah lists his trade as Page Boy (hotel), which is consistent with his trade that Casement later records of "waiter".

1913 Dec 17. Enlists in Royal Dublin Fusiliers. His service records exists for this enlistment.

1913 Dec 18. Army transfers him to Royal Irish Regiment. Given that he was discharged from the Munsters on 29 Nov 1913, he lost little time in re-enlisting.

1914 Apr 3. Posted to 2nd battalion Royal Irish Regiment.

1914 Aug 13. He arrived in France when the 2nd Battalion landed at Boulogne.

Jeremiah O'Callaghan

Jeremaih O'Callaghan on his wedding day

1914 Aug 27. Taken prisoner, and followed the rest of the Irish Brigade through Limburg, Zossen and Danzig. The 2nd Royal Irish were virtually destroyed as a battalion near Le Pilly during the Battle of La Bassée. Many were taken as POWs. He is listed by Casement as being a waiter before enlisting in the Royal Irish Regiment (as opposed to his younger brother Michael O'Callaghan in who was in the Munsters and also in the Irish Brigade). He was also noted as "useful in the boxing ring" by Keogh

He joined Casements Irish Brigade while at Limburg Camp, and moved with them to Zossen in July 1916 after the German's downgraded the Irish brigade following Casement's failed attempt to land arms in Ireland. After a year at Zossen they moved to Danzig Camp.

1916 Jan Volunteered for service in Egypt

1917 Jan 10. They had a hut inspection one day from an American official, who they mistook for someone from Dublin, and gave him information about themselves that they should not have give. Soon after this the NCOs appear to have drawn up a black list of grumblers and men branded as English. And some days later a fully armed section of German troops entered the barracks, and the Irish Brigade NCOs seemed aware of what was happening. Nine or ten names were read out, and the men ordered to have their kit ready to leave in 5 minutes. They were then marched out of the camp under guard and into as Rahilly says "slavery", at punishment camp called Quadsow. Hahn gives a list of the men sent there:-

1917 Jan 30. Hahn to Gaffney. Talks about "problem" men

1918 Aug 23. FO383/395 contains information regarding the trial of two Irish prisoners, Jeremiah Callaghan and Michael Ryan, at Danzig Troyl for serious wounding and resistance to authority. Basically the neutral observers were barred from either defending the men, or even observing the trial. The original sentence of 9 months for resistence and 2 weeks for disorderly conduct were appealed and by late August the sentence had been reduced to 3 months plus 2 weeks. The full file is here . It is not known how much of this they served, or indeed if they were under arrest while awaitung trial (this seemed to be about June 1918)

1918 Nov 15 circa. Kavanagh writes that he and Zerhusen went to Berlin, then on to to Munich where they met Keogh, Granaghan and Delamore. Kavanagh says after their meeting Keogh and Jeremiah O'Callaghan left for Stolp near Danziz where Keogh had been working

1918 Nov 25. We know that Jeremiah O'Callaghan and Michael Keogh were in the Freikorps. Keogh and Jeremiah O'Callaghan joined the German Army on 25 November 1918. They are believed to have joined the Freikorps for an income, and many of the Freikorps were mercenaries.

"Freikorps" was the name given to the paramilitary organizations that sprang up around Germany as soldiers returned in defeat from World War I. Jeremiah's service record in Germany post war uses his cover name of Karl Braun. He would appear to have been in that organisation from the end of the war, 25 Nov 1918 till he left 8 Sep 1919. Keogh writes that they were in the Bavarian Guard Munich, 14th Infantry Regiment, which is confirmed in the certificate below when they finally left the German army in Sept 1919

Service record jeremiah o'callaghan

Many German veterans felt disconnected from civilian life, and joined a Freikorps in search of stability within a military structure. Others, angry at their sudden, apparently inexplicable defeat, joined up in an effort to put down Communist uprisings or exact some form of revenge. They received considerable support from Minister of Defense Gustav Noske, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, who used them to crush the German Revolution and the Marxist Spartacist League, including the murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg on 15 January 1919. They were also used to defeat the Bavarian Soviet Republic in 1919. Freikorps also fought in the Baltic, Silesia, and Prussia after the end of World War I. There is some evidence that the 14th Infantry Regiment was in Lithunia in Spring 1919.

1919 Feb 11 Freikorps von Epp was formed in Ohrdruff. It was at first not allowed to recruit or train in Bavaria by the Bavarian government but after the intervention by Gustav Noske, a compromise was reached, recruitment was allowed in Bavaria, but training had to take place in Thuringia. It saw action against the Münchener Räterepublik in Munich Apr-May and in the Ruhr Apr 1920. Keogh certainly joined Epps Freikorps

1919 Feb 21 Patrick Sweeney, another of the Irish Brigade died, Keogh records that Sweeney died near Muncih, and one assumes that he was close to the place of Sweeney's death at that date. Sweeney was reported dead by a Private Daniel Murphy, as being stabbed by Private Carr of South Lancashire Regiment" at Tutzing which is about 25 miles SW of Munich. The liklihood is that both Carr and Murphy were also Irish Brigade members.

Kurt Eisner, the first prime minister of the Bavarian Republic, was assassinated on the same day, 21 February 1919 in Munich. I have no reason to suppose that the events were connected. Keogh was bitter towards Eisner, from whom he expected help, but got none. Eisner's death triggered the establishment of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic. Keogh hints that a member of the Irish Brigade may have been part of the group that shot Eisner, but does not give enough details to substantiate the facts. Many of the NCOs and officers of the List Regiment left their barracks in Turken Strasse as they were taken over by soldiers cooperatives

1919 April 27. Keogh writes that he fought his way into Munich after 3 days bitter fighting with his machine gun crew in Freikorps Epp. Keogh actually puts the date at Jan 20 in one of his much later newspaper articles, but it had to be the fighting that took place in the 3 days from 27 April. Epp had been given with command of the infantry stationed in Bavaria. Epp's adjutant was Ernst Rohm, and Keogh knew Rohm.

Jeremiah O'Callaghan wedding

1919 May 31. Jeremiah O'Callaghan married Katherina Seuffert in Nuremburg on . The photo is of the wedding of Jeremiah O'Callaghan and Katherina - Michael Keogh (also in Irish Brigade) and Katherina's sister Annie had also married. Jeremiah is the man centre of the picture directly behind the little girl with a bow, and Michael is the man stood next to the man in uniform and his wife Annie is sat in the chair next to him. That young German in uniform is Andreas Braun who married Gunda Sueffert,sister of Katherina and Annie. Michael Keogh and Jeremiah O'Callaghan are believed to have met the sisters on a train somewhere in Germany. The girls' mother had originally been Franzisca von Loerner from Wiesenheid some miles NW of Nuremburg. Michael's Keogh's writings put the wedding there, but Jeremiah's family believe it was at Nurmberg.

1919 Sep 9. Jeremiah leaves the German Army. Jeremiah seems to have worked as a waiter on leaving the army, as when his son Andreas is born in Nuremburg in January 1920, the birth certificate gives that as his profession. Andreas eventually left Germany to live in Ireland in 1938, but seems to have returned to serve in the German Army in WW2, then married in Dublin in 1945 to Letita Kathleen Nolan, and they had three children.

1919 Sep 25. Jeremiah returned to Ireland along with Michael Keogh, it is believed in the family that they returned in order to join Michael Collins movement. However his record shows that he rejoined the British Army as he has a new service number 7109404 in Royal Irish Regiment (compare Keogh's new number of 7109370) Jeremiah's wife stayed in Germany. Michael apparently married for love,whereas Jeremiah and Katherina married because Andreas was on the way, being born in Jan 1920 (Michael Keogh's first child was born April 1920 in Ireland)

1920 Jan 1. Posted to 1st Battalion Royal Irish. He continued to serve in the British Army until Dec 1920. The 1st Battalion was at Jellalabad Barracks, Tidworth at that time.

1920 Jan 29 The 1st battalion arrived at Ohligs, Allenstein, Silesia. They were quartered at Foot Artillery Barracks, Allenstein. They were at Allenstein for the rest of his time in the army, and did not move till 1921. I am unsure, given his service record says UK posting during this period, as to where he was stationed after the battalion left for Silesia

1920 Jul 19. Sentenced to 7 days detention for drunkeness and for striking an NCO. At Chilseldon Barracks, Swindon. It was a demob centre at the end of the war as well as a VD hospital. He seems never to have gone outside UK in this period, but 1st Battalion were in Silesia from Jan 1920 and 2nd Battaion were in India from Jan 1920.

1920 Dec 16. Leaves the Army "on expiration of his period of army service" and becomes an Army Reservist. His character during his servive with the colours is described as "fair" and "an honest, hardworking intelligent man"

1922 Jun/Jul. A series of letters from him to his brother Michael in June and July 1922 exists, in which he tells of the difficulty he is having in getting both a passport and transport to get back to his wife and child in Germany. He certainly had not abandoned them.

1922 August 18 Free State forces capture Mallow, the last major town in Republican hands.

20 August 1922. General Michael Collins visited Mallow, which was under the command of Tom Flood, and he died in an ambush a few days later on 22 August

1922 August 27. Jeremiah died in Mallow

Jeremiah was dressed in civilian clothes when he died, he is stated as ex soldier on his death certificate. The cause of death was a gun shot wound to the head, and was reported by his sister Mary O'Sullivan. She lived at 12 Spa Walk, the house is now a pub, but still owned by family.

He is believed to have been shot at 4.15am, and it is unlikely that a soldier would have been cleaning his gun at that hour.

In January 1923 40th Infantry Battalion were in Fermoy and 38th Infantry Battalion were in Kanturk. A detachment from one of these may have been in Mallow. It is very hard to know what the state of affairs was in August 1922. The Battalions were not organised at this time. Most records seem to commence around Sept/Oct 1922 as the army gets properly organised. General Emmet Dalton wrote in his report to GHQ on 11 Sept 1922 about his seabourne operation in Cork that of his three drafts, "C" draft with 150 men landed at Glandore occupied Skibereen, recruited 200 locals and from Skibereen did a drive to occupy Fermoy, Macroom and Bantry followed by a drive on Clonakilty, Bandon and Kinsale. He had 100 men stationed at Fermoy. With limited resources, you can see that they were in effect operating as a presence to the local community occupying former barracks so curfews were used to keep control. It is very likely that the personnel in August 1922 were the same a few months later. General Emmet Dalton had a good administrative mind so there was plenty of paperwork from anywhere he went. Presumably Jeremiah O'Callaghan is not on any list of republicans killed. Free State soldiers are barely remembered and civilians probably even less. I would guess there is always a chance that the Military Archives will have some reports fed back from August 1922 but I would think it is also very possible that there are none - probably a month too early?"

A newspaper report states he was accidently shot in the head by a solider of the Free State Army who was cleaning his rifle. The British Ministry of Defence paid his wife Katherina his wages as Royal Irish Regt reserve soldier up to the day he died, and also £50 compensation, for the 'accident' which caused his death, was paid by the British government. They report he was out after curfew, and was arrested and taken to the Mallow barracks,which is where he was later killed accidently. Sgt Major Keogh believed that Jeremiah had been singing rebel songs while drunk, and that he had decided to leave the Free State for the Republican cause.

jeremiah o'cllaghan's widow's letter MOD letter on death of Jeremiah O'Callaghan

The £50 "ex-gratia" payment was sent to his widow in Germany in Sept 1924.

That letter above is difficult to follow. Katherina refers to a marriage to Jeremiah on 22 April 1922, but her marriage in Germany was on 31 May 1919. It could not have been another marriage they had in Ireland as Katherina never came to Ireland until 1947. Katherina could not speak English,and the letter she sent was in German,and translated by someone in Ireland.

Katherina O'Callaghan died 1976 in Nurenberg, Germany.

A wall of silence hit Jeremiah’s son Andreas when he went to Mallow in 1938, the family would not see him. Andrea's granddaughter has been to Mallow and seen the O'Callaghan plot, but again nobody would speak to her. I have never been able to find the cause of this grudge  that descendants in Mallow bear against Jeremiah’s descendants

Recruits to Irish Brigade