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“If I Was Ordered To Do It, I Would Have To Do It”

Bertie Offiler was a member of the Sherwood Foresters. He was one of thousands of recruits that arrived in Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) on 26 April to put down the Rising. His unit suffered heavy losses at Northumberland Road and Mount Street bridge.

He was later stationed in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Headquarters of the British Forces which was very close to both Richmond Barracks and Kilmainham Gaol. Soldiers from the Sherwood’s were chosen to guard those leaders who had been sentenced to death. The firing squads who carried out the executions were also made up from the Sherwood Foresters.

Offiler was chosen for the former and amongst those he guarded were Countess Markievicz and Joseph Plunkett whom he was in charge of at the time of his wedding to Grace Gifford in Kilmainham Gaol. Plunkett was executed a few hours after his wedding and this seemed to have a impact on Offiler.

It seemed a terrible thing to do.

Offiler did not take part in the executions. He did not volunteer to take part and did not want to take part but admits that if he was ordered to do it he would have had no choice but to follow orders.

Bertie Offiler was interviewed for the television series 'Ireland A Television History', 24 September 1979.


Abbey Theatre, An Garda Siochana, Association of Professional Genealogists Ireland, Band of An Garda Siochana, Buswells Hotel, Capuchin Friary, Century Ireland, Cobblestone, Conradh na Gaeilge, Dubray Books Grafton Street, Dublin Fire Brigade Pipe Band, Dublin Institute of Technology, Eason’s O’Connell Street, Gallery of Photography. Garda Historical Society, Generator Hostel, Glasnevin Trust, Grafton Barbers, Hodges Figgis Dawson Street, Irish Film Archive, Irish Veteran & Vintage Car Club. John Shevlin Millinery, Little Museum of Dublin, Louis Copeland & Sons, Manning's Bakery, Massey Funeral Directors, Maynooth University, Merrion Square Artists Association, National College of Art and Design, National Library of Ireland, National Museum at Collins Barracks, National Transport Museum of Ireland, NUI Galway, Poetry Ireland, Queen's University Belfast, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association, Royal Hibernian Academy, St Michan's Church of Ireland Parish, St Michan's Roman Catholic Parish, St Vincent de Paul, SIPTU, The Four Courts, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick, University of Ulster, Whyte’s Irish Art & Collectables, National Print Museum, Irish Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers, ICA, Feltmakers Ireland, Irish Woodturners Guild, Doran Barber Shop The Pram Doctor, The Merrion Square Artists Association, The Dice Bar, Third Space, The Family Resource Centre St. Michael’s Estate, Brown Bag Films, The Stoneybatter and Smithfield People’s History Project, The Revenue Museum,

RTÉ would like to gratefully acknowledge the support and participation of the individual speakers who were kind enough to share their research and private collections with the public as part of the RTÉ Reflecting the Rising project. A big thanks also to the many volunteers and actors who gave their time so generously to help make RTÉ Reflecting the Rising a memorable and successful day.

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