This coming week marks the centenary of the deaths of almost five hundred rebels, soldiers and civilians in the Easter Rising in Dublin - among them a captain in the Sherwood Foresters who is remembered, along with his father, grandparents and great-grandmother, in a cemetery on Bute.
Frederick Christian Dietrichsen is buried just a few steps from the former St Colmac’s Church at Croc-an-Raer, where a gravestone notes only that he was “killed in action at Dublin, 26th April 1916, aged 33 years”.
The Bute link to the Rising came to our attention thanks to former island resident Robert Chrystie, now living in Glasgow, who was reminded of Captain Dietrichsen’s death when he saw him in an old photograph featured in a TV documentary with Brendan O’Carroll, creator and star of Mrs Brown’s Boys.
The story of Captain Dietrichsen, who was of Dutch extraction and had moved to Nottingham before signing up with the Notts and Derbyshire Regiment, is told in full by the website www.storiesfrom1916.com, which says: “Before the war, Dietrichsen had married an Irish women, Beatrice Mitchell, of a wealthy wine merchants family from Dublin.
“They lived in Nottingham, where they had enjoyed a genteel life up until the outbreak of World War I.
“However, when the Germans started launching Zeppelin raids against British cities, Freddie had sent his wife and children back to her parents’ home in Dublin.
“As his company marched up the leafy Northumberland Road on their way into the city, he spotted his wife and children among the cheering crowds.
“Their re-union was loving but far too short. He only had time to exchange a few words with his family and to briefly kiss his wife before rejoining his men on their march.
“Half an hour later, Dietrichsen was in the first line of Sherwood Foresters to come under attack.
“As he tried to rally his inexperienced and panic-stricken men, he was struck down by a sniper’s bullet.
“He died on the streets of Dublin as the battle raged all around him, just a few miles away from where his wife and children excitedly waited to see Daddy again.
“In his pockets, were two notes given to him by his children and a last letter to his wife that he never got a chance to send.”
Dietrichsen died in the Battle of Mount Street Bridge, in which some two thousand half-trained soldiers from the Notts and Derbyshire Regiment had been marched into a barrage of well-defended rebel positions, and in which 220 men were killed or wounded after six hours of fighting.
Buried with Captain Dietrichsen next to St Colmac’s Church are his father, Algernon, who died in January 1883 aged 31; his grandfather, also Frederick, who died in September 1894 aged 75; Frederick’s wife, Helen Bell, who died in June 1912 at the age of 90; and Frederick senior’s mother, Sibely Goodsir Dietrichsen, who died aged 86 in March 1882.