School Resource Packs: Cork 1912-1918

Resource Pack 10: 1918 Conscription

3 Cork City & County Archives: Through War and Rebellion: Cork 1912-1918

elective boards like the Board of Guardians were already controlled by Sinn Fein or hard Nationalists. While the main job of the Boards was to administer workhouses, dispensary services, and home assistance to the poor, throughout this period they were increasingly vocal in expressing their political views through resolutions. By 1921, most Boards had pledged allegiance to Dail Eireann, refusing to recognise the Local Government Board, the British government-appointed authority. The Roman Catholic Church, Sinn Fein, the IPP and the trades unions joined forces to defeat conscription and Sinn Fein leader Eamon De Valera drafted a pledge for people to sign: ‘Denying the right of the British government to enforce compulsory service in this country we pledge ourselves solemnly to one another to resist conscription by the most effective means at our disposal’. In the face of this combined opposition the Government backed down and on 19 June 1918 the new Lord Lieutenant, Lord French, issued a proclamation asking for 50,000 volunteers over the following four months with the promise of land. Few took up the offer. Sources: HANSARD 1803–2005; poorlawunionsboardsofguardians/ The Document: This document is a resolution passed by the Cork Board of Guardians (who ran the workhouse) in response to the Church of Ireland Chaplain Canon A. J. Nicholson, who was also the Rector of St. Nicholas Church in Cork City centre. Canon Nicholson had suggested that the young men of Cork should be volunteering in greater numbers given the crisis caused by the German Offensive of 1918. Even though it is typed it is difficult to read.

Other records at Cork Archives relating to the Conscription crisis are noted below. These may be seen by visiting the Archives.

Instructions: 1. Read through the document. 2. Highlight the names of people, sentences, or words you do not understand. 3. Highlight any words you cannot read. 4. Fill in the recording sheet supplied and attach it to the document.

5. Optional: The Irish Guards and the South Irish Horse were slaughtered on the first days of the Michael Offensive. Rudyard Kipling (who wrote the Jungle Book) wrote a very famous poem in memory of his son who was killed. Read the poem (given below) and see if you can find out what happened to Jack. 6. Optional: Explore lists of Board of Guardians records on to trace the rise of Nationalist sentiment. Check quotes from the minutes for these years. Does opinion change over the course of the war? What became of Cork’s workhouses during the War of Independence and

following the end of the workhouse system in 1924? 7. Store the completed work as directed by your teacher.

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