1916: James Fox's Story

The headstone, in Knockmark Cemetery, which marks the final resting place of James Fox.      

The headstone, in Knockmark Cemetery, which marks the final resting place of James Fox.

 

 

 

James Fox was only 16 years old when he was killed in action at St. Stephen's Green on Tuesday the 25th of April 1916. He had been a member of Na Fianna Éireann before the Rising and, in accordance with his own expressed wish, went out with the Citizen Army under the command of Cmdt. Michael Mallin and his Lieutenant Constance Markievicz.

Less than twenty hours earlier, as detailed in the BMH statement of Frank Robbins, James had been brought to Liberty Hall by his father Pat Fox who was himself an old ICA man. He approached Robbins saying "Here is my lad; take him with you for the Irish Citizen Army. I am too old for the job". Robbins was only to happy too oblige given that the ICA were undermanned and thinking that James was at least nineteen years of age. It is believed that Pat Fox was originally opposed to the idea of his son taking the field but finally yielded to his continued entreaties.

Early on Easter Tuesday morning, during a vicious battle that raged for almost three hours, young James Fox was shot dead as he tried to climb over the railings on the North side of the park. The trenches that had been dug in Stephen's Green were coming under heavy fire from British machine-gun positions and Fox made a break for the railings. He was almost over the top when a machine-gun scything round in a wide sweep caught him several times. When James tried to crawl to safety a second swathe of bullets cut across him and he eventually stopped moving.

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Along with the remains of the other men who fell in the Green, Fox's body  was first brought to Mercer's Hospital before eventually being interred in the family burial plot in Knockmark Cemetery, Co. Meath. 

- Written by Colin Farrell