Liam Poleon (b.1941)
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Liam Poleon (b.1941)


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Liam Poleon explains that his surname is of Huguenot origin. The De Pollions settled initially in Damestown in Co. Meath in 1679. He discusses his research into his family and his earlier ancestors. His grandfather, John Poleon from Dunboyne, was a groom who worked for stud farms in delivering horses to Europe during the Great War. In 1916, Liam’s father, Christopher Poleon, was a runner with the Dunboyne Brigade, but following the issuing of Eoin MacNeill’s Countermanding Order he did not become involved in the Rising. Liam remarks that a story goes that during the Truce, Christopher was sanctioned to rob a bank in Trim. Along the way he met fellow IRA man Jack Smith who prevented him going ahead with the plan as it would have jeopardised other activities. Christopher Poleon was arrested in Trim during the War of Independence. He later joined the Free State Army. Liam is one of fourteen children, and he says that his father would never give his family any information on his earlier activities. It was through others that he discovered what he now knows, he says. He recalls that while working in London digging trenches for the Water Board, he met Welshman, Charlie Jones, who had served in Meath with the Black and Tans and had known his father who went by the nickname ‘Kaiser’ Poleon. “We wanted him badly,” he remarked to Liam. Christopher Poleon apparently carried out orders without question. Liam knows that his father was active in Dublin but is unsure about whether or not he was a member of an Active Service Unit. His father did receive a military service pension though Liam has not yet seen his application. During the Civil War Christopher Poleon supported the Free State. In as much as Liam is aware, his father was a cook in Portobello Barracks and was probably not on active duty. He reads from his father’s discharge papers. Christopher Poleon was on active service from April 1920 onwards. Liam remembers some of his father’s local friends including Christy Barker, Luke Carroll, Jim Maguire, J. Oxx and the Morans. In later life he worked for a publican who was also a shopkeeper and small farmer. After his discharge from the Army he worked transporting cattle for families in Meath and was also employed by the Co. Council. Liam’s mother, Lily Russell, was born in Cabra, though her parents were from Co. Meath. Her father was killed in 1913 in a farming accident when she was five years old. Liam remarks that his mother was too busy looking after fourteen children and a household in hard times to talk much about her husband’s history. He discusses the discrimination he witnessed as a legacy of the bitter Civil War in later years. He has been told that Michael Collins respected Christopher Poleon. He considers the grave error made by General Maxwell in 1916 in executing the leaders of the Rising, and also in the manner in which these executions were carried out. He believes that his father and his comrades had right on their side in struggling for their own country. He feels that the Treaty was a step to independence for the whole island and thinks that if Collins had survived he might have achieved this. Christopher Poleon died in 1958, and Liam recalls the army firing party at the graveside.

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Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collections


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

31.79 MB

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Christopher Poleon (Interviewee’s father)

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