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Saturday 10 December 2016

Annie (16) comforted dying and came under fire in City Hall battle

Rebel Stories

Annie Grange
Annie Grange

Annie Grange (nee Norgrove) was born in Dublin in 1900.

She grew up with six siblings in a two-bedroom terraced house on Strandville Avenue off the North Strand.

Her parents, Alfred and Maria Norgrove, both had English fathers and were raised as Anglicans. George was a gas fitter and was involved in trade unionism.

The 1913 Lock Out had a big effect on the family and led the couple to become members of the Irish Citizen Army, which Annie herself joined in 1916.

Grenades

Alfred was responsible for storing arms and ammunition in the build-up to Easter Week. He kept the materials, along with grenades, in secret hiding spots, storing some in his family home.

Meanwhile, Maria and her daughters Emily (18) and Annie learnt first aid from Dr Kathleen Lynn, the rebels' chief medical officer in the Rising.

On Easter Monday Annie's father reported to the GPO and her mother was deployed to Jacob's Biscuit Factory.

Annie and her sister Emily served at the City Hall Garrison, entering the building with the rebels and later tending to the wounded.

When the British troops laid siege to City Hall Annie and Emily were barricaded in, with Annie coming under fire at one point. She spent her time bringing water and food to the rebels on the roof of the building.

Dying

At this time her father was sent from the GPO to help reinforce City Hall. He begged Annie and Emily to go home but they refused to - Annie was helping a dying man and would not leave his side.

She was later present on the roof when Sean Connolly was shot dead by a sniper from the roof of the nearby Dublin Castle.

Following the surrender at City Hall Annie was brought to Ship Street barracks, near Dublin Castle, with 76 other women. After being held there for a week she was moved to Kilmainham Gaol. She was subsequently released.

Annie was later honoured with the 1916 Medal and she also received a military pension. Her name is recorded on a plaque outside City Hall and she and her sister will be honoured in a Commemoration Quilt to be unveiled next month at Richmond Barracks.

Annie passed away in hospital in 1977, at the age of 77. Her funeral had full military honours.

In 2011 a builder digging out a floor at the former Norgrove home on Strandville Avenue found a haul of grenades and artillery shells, which had lain undiscovered for a century after Alfred Norgrove stashed them there.

The grenades were found in a chest-deep hole in the floor. The Army Bomb Disposal Unit launched a major operation to remove the material.

Details submitted by Chris Grange (grandson)

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