Edward Christopher (Ned) Dorins had Lady Luck on his side at least twice in his short life.
Firstly, he survived his childhood while 4 of his siblings died as infants (and another aged 22 perished from TB in 1918).
Second time, he was extremely lucky to escape with his life after severe mistreatment by Dublin Castle Auxies during the night of 3 February 1921.
He’d been lifted in a raid on his house, driven around the city while being beaten and offered the choice of shooting or drowning. In the event, his callous captors flung him off the Liffey quays near Capel Street, then fired at him in the water. He floated from Grattan Bridge to Butt Bridge where he managed to haul himself out. Ned escaped, but spent time in hospital with pneumonia. That incident led to questions at the Westminster parliament as reported in the Freemans Journal and other Irish papers.
Less than 3 months later his luck ran out. Aged just 23, Ned (nicknamed “Tommy”) met his death by Auxy bullets in the attack on the Custom House – close to Butt Bridge again.
A good piece on his family background and life, plus a better photo is at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Dorins
We also have a new article, written by Ed’s grandnephew.
The military inquiry heard evidence of identification from his father Thomas (a Liffey river pilot) who found his body in KGV Military Hospital (now St. Bricin’s).
The medical report showed Ned was hit by two bullets, one through the back of his head, the second through his right thigh; and he had died at the scene.
A British soldier swore he found 6 rounds of ammunition in a jacket pocket on the body. The verdict was “Shot by Crown forces in the execution of their duty. Justifiable Homicide”.
Apparently Ed was part of the IRA covering party near the railway bridge, fairly close to Dan Head’s location and he was also shot down early in the battle. He was a member of the local E Coy, 2nd Battalion, Dublin Brigade.
It is said the body was moved by the British after the shooting was over and appears almost like a war trophy in one photo on Abbey Street Hall which includes a Royal Army Medical Corp man posing nearby. Some (including this writer) believe that picture does show Ed’s body; and in the 2nd photo, his remains are being placed in an ambulance.
Military ambulance in use (Auxy with rifle is Waddingham, see post ‘Know your enemies!’) – NLI photos
After Funeral Mass at St Laurence O’Toole’s church, Ned Dorins was buried in Deangrange Cemetery on Saturday, 28 May.
Family notices to commemorate Ned’s memory appeared in Dublin papers for many years afterwards (This one, in the Freemans Journal was on his first anniversary).
His old comrades paid tribute that year as well. These words appeared in the notice inserted by the Officers and Men, E Company, 2nd Battalion, No. 1 Dublin Brigade, IRA:
“Oh, Freeman of tomorrow, when slavery’s dark sorrow
Has fled from every furrow of Erin’s every vale
In memory, truest token, in burning love unspoken
Recall the brave hearts broken to garland Granuaile”.
In 1924 his father Thomas was given a once-off payment of £65 for the loss of his son at the Burning of the Custom House. On his own death in 1940, Mr. Dorins was interred alongside Ned.
Thomas Dorins, father of Ned (Via ancestry member GreyHugh)
In 2016 Deansgrange Cemetery erected a stone inscribed with a Roll of Honour – Killed in Action. Ned is listed among the Volunteers from the 1916-1923 period buried there.