A trophy commemorating Major-General Blackader’s victory over Irish rebels in 1916 is to be auctioned in Dublin.
The trophy, a dinner gong, was built from a shell fired from the British ship ‘Helga’ which sailed from Dún Laoghaire (then Kingstown) on April 25th, 1916, up the river Liffey to shell the rebel-occupied Boland’s Mills, and, on the following day fired at the rebel-held GPO and surrounding areas.
The British commander Major-General Blackader (no that’s not a mistake!) who was in charge of the efforts to quell the rising is mentioned on the gong in an inscription that reads; G. P. O. MCMXVI – BLACKADERS BOYS – THE CALL TO ARMS – RICHMOND BKS
Richmond Barracks is where the leaders of the Rising were court-martialled and sentenced to death before being taken to Kilmainham Gaol to be executed. General Blackader oversaw the court-martials.
It is assumed that the souvenir was created by troops to commemorate the British ‘victory’ over the rebels. Just 6 short years later it was moved to England after the British departed.
It was purchased in a flea market in London in 1987 by a Japanese student who at the time had no connection to Ireland. Only later when she married an Irish man did he recognise the meaning of the engravings.
The gong will go under the hammer in Whyte’s Auctioneers History Sale with an estimate of between €800 and €1,200 on October 17th in Dublin.