Two brothers fighting two very different wars

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by Ciaran Mc

Exactly a year to the day after the commencement of the Easter Rising, 24th April 1917, Sergeant-Major William (Bill) Leeman Ceannt was killed in action during the First World War, Battle of Arras. A year previously, Commandant Eamonn Ceannt, Bill’s younger brother, had occupied and instructed the 4th Battalion of the Irish Volunteers in the rebel garrison, South Dublin Union, in their fight against the same British army his brother committed too. The grievous news of the death of Bill on the Western Front reached the Ceannt family on 8th May 1917, the date of the first Anniversary of Eamonn’s execution by the British for his part in the Easter Rising. The fascinating story of the two Ceannt brothers, Eamonn the Easter Irish Revolutionary, and, Bill the Great War British soldier, illustrates the diverse allegiances amongst families and the political complexity of Ireland in the early part of the 20th Century.

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