“Old And Young Men Stood At The Street Corners And Saluted Us”

Captain Frank Thornton was in charge of the garrison in the Imperial Hotel during the Rising. The building came under sustained and heavy fire and the garrison were forced to retreat.

Arrested after the surrender Thornton and his men were taken firstly to the Custom House and then Richmond Barracks. He was court martialled with Seán MacDiarmada and taken to Kilmainham Gaol to await his sentence.

Seán MacDermott turned around to the three of us, shook hands and said, I’ll be shot, and it will be a bad day for Ireland if I’m not.

Seán MacDiarmada was executed in Kilmainham Gaol on 12 May 1916. Thornton was sent to prison in England.

Frank Thornton was Captain of ‘B’ Company, Irish Volunteers, Liverpool.


Frank Thornton was interviewed for 'I Was There' broadcast on Radio Éireann, 19 April, 1960. Photograph of Frank Thornton courtesy of Military Archives.

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