ROBERT ERSKINE CHILDERS

1870 - 1922

Writing as: Erskine Childers


According to Wikipedia: "Robert Erskine Childers DSC (25 June 1870 – 24 November 1922), universally known as Erskine Childers, was an Irish writer, whose works included the influential novel The Riddle of the Sands, and a Fenian revolutionary who smuggled guns to Ireland in his sailing yacht Asgard. He was executed by the authorities of the nascent Irish Free State during the Irish Civil War. He was the son of British Orientalist scholar Robert Caesar Childers; the cousin of Hugh Childers and Robert Barton; and the father of the fourth President of Ireland, Erskine Hamilton Childers."

The article goes on to state: "Childers was put on trial by a military court on the charge of possessing a small Spanish-made "Destroyer" .32 calibre semi-automatic pistol on his person in violation of the Emergency Powers Resolution. The gun had been a gift from Michael Collins before Collins became head of the pro-treaty Provisional Government. Childers was convicted by the military court and sentenced to death on 20 November 1922.

While his appeal against the sentence was still pending, Childers was executed on 24 November 1922 by firing squad at the Beggars Bush Barracks in Dublin. Before his execution he shook hands with the firing squad. He also obtained a promise from his then 16-year-old son, the future President Erskine Hamilton Childers, to seek out and shake the hand of every man who had signed his death sentence. His final words, spoken at the firing squad, were: "Take a step or two forward, lads, it will be easier that way."



Series Books
 
Carruthers The Riddle of the Sands (1903)