3152 Private Frank Sewell in Irish Guards.

sewell ccasements irish brigade mic

Correct man from roll book. Keogh has him as Frank Sewell of Killarney and Casement notes that he was a carpenter before enlisting. However this appears to be another of Keogh's "irishing" of Irish Brigade volunteers. The Francis Sewell in the Irish Guards in 1911 census appears to be the right man, and ties up with his service numbr enlisting in 1908.

1881 Census His father is living at 13, Tillard St, Kirkdale, Lancs with mother and step-father


1886 Oct/Dec. Francis Alexander W Sewell, born Hartlepool

Franks father Elijah (my great grandfather)  was from Cambridgeshire and worked  as a railway navvy with the Great Eastern Railway based in March. He later  moved around the UK as railways were being built in the 1880s . Frank was his eldest son (as far as I know) although I never knew exactly where or when  he was born. Elijah was listed as living with his siblings and  step father (also a railway navvy) in Liverpool in 1881 (they worked on the building of railways in the docks) . I have a scribbled note on a family tree that Frank & his brother Fred were born in Durham area so that ties in with your notes. The  family moved to Ireland to work on the building of the railways around 1890 and the rest of his children (including my grandmother) were born here (I'm in Ireland). They settled in St Anns Hill, Blarney, Cork as Elijah and some of his sons worked on the narrow guage Cork & Muskerry Railway, which lasted until 1935. Some of the sons remained working on other Irish railways until their retirement.

1901 census in Ireland living at Cloghphilip, Matehy, Cork

1908 Enlisted in mid 1908 from his service number

1911 census sewell

1911 census The Irish Guards only served in the UK at this time, and the only "Sewell F" I can find is Private Francis Sewell, at Chelsea Barracks. This man is born at West Hartlepool, Durham. He is aged 23 indicating a birth about 1887. This is undoubtedly our man.

1914 Aug 13 arrived in France

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

One of the very early men to volunteer, and I think he may have been in the original 8 recruited before Plunkett arrived. When the Brigade transferred to Zossen, one man had a broken leg, this may have been Sewell. 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". In fact Quinlisk's account confirms him as "Private S" and says the leg was broken by a Russian during a tussle.

1915 Jul 4. The 3 NCOs arrived from Limburg at Zossen, and they had Sewell with his broken leg. A stretcher party of black POWs plus 10 armed guards awaited them at Zossen, to take Sewell to hospital

Quoted by American Consul to be at Zossen. Mentioned in POW interviews as in Irish Guards. This is certainly the man in the Irish Brigade.

1915 Oct 25. In answer to a question, gave his Ireland address as St Anns Hill, Blarney, Cork.

sewell irish guards

1916 Jan Volunteered for service in Egypt

1916 Feb 25. He has a letter on file in Nat Archives, sent to Lady Rosse trying to refute rumours about him - the letter was sent from Zossen, and confirms his number and regiment. The letter to Lady Rosse was postmarked Zossen (from War Office files in Nat Archives). Sewell tries to explain away the "rumours" that have reached Lady Rosse about him. He claims to be working on a farm with 8 other men at this time.

Lady Rosse set up an organisation at Birr Castle for sending parcels to prisoners; Sphagnum moss; renowned for its healing properties, came pouring in; shirts for the troops were stitched and Red Cross classes organised.

Zerhjusen says Sewell was his batman at Zossen.

Zerhusen says when at Danzig he was constantly working (Zerhusen only gives the constantly working accolade to 3 other men)

1919 Jan 29. A Captain Reynolds, on behalf of the Officer in charge Records, Irish Guards, provided a list of names of members of the regiment who had been taken prisoner up to the 25th December 1914. This was in connection with elegibility for Princess Mary's Christmas gift. The names and details of two men have been overtyped as if to remove them from the list however their details are still decipherable:
3?64 Gdsn M O'Toole Limburg
3152 Gdsn F Sewell Gefl?? Zossen
So it would appear that they were the only two from the Irish Guards to join Casement

I had been told by my mother (still alive and  in her 80s) that some of the boys had fought in the 1st world war but than one (Frank) had been enlisted by Casement and was totally disowned by his father and most of the family although he kept in contact with his mother. All I know after this is that he remained in Germany after the war and married a German widow who had children and as far as I'm aware never returned to Ireland. His niece in Ireland had served in the red cross during World War 2 and was able to track him down in Germany but I dont think it came to much. I think his grandchildren did come on visits to Ireland in later years but dont know too much more

Dead by 1960 on Casement's notes.

Recruits to Irish Brigade