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Ireland, Germany, [Deutschland] and WW1 page 3

General Schneider was the GOC of Zossen which was one of the largest training camps in Germany in 1915.

The German officer in charge of the Irish Brigade was Hauptmann [Captain] Hans Boehm.
He was fluent in English and was for 20 years before the war a brewery manager in Milwaukee, US.
The Irish were housed in newly built quarters of good standard with washing facilities and had the same rations as the German solders in the camp.They had there own distinctive Irish Brigade uniform and the NCO’s carried side arms and swords similar to there German counterparts. The Brigade was attached to the 203rd Brandenburg Regiment and there interpreter was Obergefreiter [Corporal] Franz Zerhusen who was married to an Irish women.
The men trained using Maxim machine-guns and trench mortars along with hand-grenades and rifle practice. Off the training field they had military tactics lectures as well as German language lessons. While not training they participated in playing football and boxing with the German solders. They had leave from the camp in line with what the Germans solders were allowed and there rates of pay was similar. 
Fr. Nicholson an Irish American priest who looked after the mens spiritual needs while in Limburg and for a time in Zossen returned to America. He was well versed in Irish history and her troubles with her nearest neighbor Britain. He helped in recruiting and was supportive of the volunteers of the Irish Brigade in there plight for what they were about to undertake in the cause of Irish freedom. He remained so up to his death in 1935 and remembered the men of the Brigade in his last will and testament. In a letter from the US from Fr. Nicholson to Michael Kehoe while in Zossen he says he was badly treated by members of a British navy patrol who boarded the neutral ship in route to America in the North Sea. After arriving back in America the hierarchy would not allow him to return to his home and shipped him out west to Wyoming for his interference in Irish affairs while in Germany.

 

Commandant Joseph Plunkett who arrived from Ireland to aid in recruiting while the men were still in Limburg camp was still in Germany when the volunteers were moved to Zossen. Plunkett left Germany the same time as Father Nicholson around mid July 1915. Plunkett was executed by the British in 1916 as one of the leaders of the Irish Rebellion.

Captain Robert Monteith arrived in Germany from Ireland via USA in November of 1915. Monteith had been director of training the 1st Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers before he was sent to Berlin by the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood [IRB] to represent them. He brought word to Casement from Clan na Gael in the USA and Ireland that with the aid of men and arms from Germany there would be a rising on Irish soil in the spring of 1916 in an attempt to gain Irish Independence. Casement being very happy with the news then conveyed the information to the men of the Irish Brigade who were equally happy that they were to take part in the liberation of there homeland.

Training for the Brigade intensified through the winter of 1915-1916 because of the forthcoming Irish rebellion. 10 German NCO’s were appointed to the Brigade and the men trained using commands in German and English in the likely hood that German officers would land in Ireland with them.
In March 1916 one of the volunteers Patrick O’Holohan from Waterford became ill from wounds he received in battle in 1914 and never fully recovered from. He died on 16th March and was buried on St. Patricks day March 17th with full military honours performed by his Irish and German comrades of the 203 Regiment which made a lasting impression on Roger Casement and the men.

Joseph Plunkett 02
Capt Hans W mL Boehm
Capt. Robert Monteith
Fr. Nicholson