7708 Private John G Greer 2nd Royal Irish Rifles

greer casement

greer casement

This is the correct man from the Irish Brigade roll book

1883 Jul 25. Date of birth at Bray from parish records. Born at Dock Terrace, Bray, Co. Wicklow, the son of Moses and Katherine Greer née Hyland. John Greer was a Railway Porter before he joined up. Keogh gives him as coming from Bray. Keogh also notes that Greer was a one time Dublin and Bray champion accordion player. Rahilly describes him as the Brigade musician. He volunteered to go to Egypt with the Irish Brigade if called upon to do so.

1901 census shows the whole Greer family living in Waterloo Terrace, Bray. His father is an engine driver. His elder brother was a fireman, so it is not surprising that John later had the job of railway porter

1902 Jun 18 . He served with the Merchant Navy on home trade until 9 Aug .1904.

1903 Feb 13. His mother died from chronic albuminuria at Waterloo Terrace, Bray

1904 Nov. enlisted in Royal Irish Rifles (Bailey with a service number 7483 enlisted April 1904, and Greer's number was 7708)

1911 census shows that John Greer by his absence was away in the army, his father Moses Greer was working as a servant in Wexford and the other children were living with their aunt Dora Hyland at 4 Dock Terrace, Bray. Moses Greer, John's father was working as a servant in Wexford. Something has obviously happened for his father to move from an engine driver to a servant.

1911 census gives Greer himself in Overseas Military Born circa 1884, a rifleman in E Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles and born Bray. At Alexandra Barracks, Maymyo, Burma.

1914 Aug 14 he landed in France

1914 Aug 26. Taken prisoner, and followed the rest of the Irish Brigade through Limburg, Zossen and Danzig

1915 Oct 25. In answer to a question, gave his Ireland address as 6 Dock Terrace, Bray, Dublin

1915 Dec 25. Rahilly records that Greer, "the Brigade musician" played at the concert ..so to wind up Volunteer Greer sang his favourite song, accompanying it with music from a melodeon, in which instrument he excelled. "She lives far away o'er the mountains, where the little birds sing on a tree; in a cottage all covered with ivy. My Eileen is waiting for me. "

1916 Jan Volunteered for service in Egypt

1916 May 9, the Assistant Financial Secretary wrote saying all emoluments from Army Funds for 6 men listed (including Greer) were to cease and no credit owing to them was to be paid. On MI5 files with this service number

1916 May 25, the Prisoners of War Help Committee identified 12 men including J Greer as having joined the Irish Brigade and wrote to the Care Committees of the relevant Regiments telling them not to send parcels for those men – it mentions that the Censors would also ensure no parcels were sent.

Greer's medals were forfeited for "misconduct". Casements trial docs quote an ex prisoner William Egan gave evidence that Bailey ( who landed with Casement at Banna Strand) joined the Irish Brigade with Greer and Scanlan.

John Greer had a brother Edward killed on the Somme. Private 5494 Edward Michael Greer , 1st/19th Bn.London Regiment, died age 22 29/09/1916. Son of Moses and Katherine Greer. Born at Bray, Ireland. Enlisted Gower St., W.C. London. KIA

1917 Aug 3. O'Toole to Gaffney. Writing from Stolp, he thanks Gaffney for the harmonica. Greer has been playing it for them, but now Greer has had an accident, when a drill he was working with slipped and tore the flesh between his 3rd and little finger, and they will now have to wait for it to heal.

1920 Feb 26. His 1914 Star was removed for misconduct

When Dowling died in 1932, one of the mourners at his funeral was John Greer. Among those who attended the Requiem Mass were: The deceased's widow and mother, Sergt.-Major Michael Patrick Keogh, Sergt.  Michael O'Toole, Sergt. Sean Casement; Mr. and Mrs. John Nicholson, Mr. John Greer, Irish Brigade Volunteers; and a number of the Connaught Rangers Mutineers. Close on a thousand people attended. His last wish was to be laid to rest with the men of 1916, with whom he had hoped to fight and strike a blow for the freedom of Ireland.

He survived the war, he never married. He would seem to have been the black sheep of the family, and the family do not have a photo of him. However O'Tooles debrief says that Greer married a German girl from Stolp

Active in old IRA 1920 - 1921

1925 Dec 20. His father died from V.D.H. at St Patrick’s House, Dublin

People around Bray remember him busking on the streets wearing a rose in his lapel and playing a melodeon. He was fond of the drink and drifted. When he died there was a rifle volley fired over his grave.

accordian player
Could be John Greer
Edward Greer

1932 Aug. Attended Joseph Dowling's funeral

1933 he was living at Summerhill, Dublin, when he was arrested on a train for playing his accordion and harassing the passengers.

1935 Aug 5. Attends Casement memorial service in Dublin

1956 he was in court where a charge of begging was dismissed.

18 Dec 1957 died unmarried and his final resting place is in Little Bray cemetery, Bray Co Wicklow. The only male recorded Greer death in Ireland is James C Greer in North Dublin in Oct/Dec 1957, that man was born in 1886, but is not our man and does not die on the date given on headstone

Tom Mooney and Maeve Mooney great grandchildren of Johns sister Mary who is buried with him.

Irish Brigade Recruits