Twice a Hero
The true story of heroism, hardship and horror in the blood and mud seen through the eyes of a teenage volunteer and his comrades in the forgotten conflicts of Salonika and Palestine, during the Great War, fighting for the freedom of small nations and in particular, Home Rule for Ireland. Then in the Irish War of Independence, which helped establish a nation More
'Twice a Hero' is the true story of George Adamson, a young Irish patriot and rebel, who started his quest for freedom by joining the Irish Volunteers in Moate, Athlone, in the Irish Midlands. When Home Rule for Ireland was promised at the war's end, he enlisted in the British Army and fought in two forgotten conflicts, the wars in Salonika and Palestine. After being decorated for bravery, he returned home to Ireland after four years of fighting to find that Home Rule was not forthcoming. He rejoined the National Volunteers, which later changed its name to the Irish Republican Army. Now a wanted man, he went on the run, living off the land during the two years of the Irish War of Independence.
Following the signing of a treaty with Britain, he joined the National Army with the rank of Commandant. During the Irish Civil War that followed he was promoted to Brigadier General in command of the Midland Division of the Irish Army. His life came to an end when he was murdered on a street in Athlone. He died from his wounds on his 25th birthday*. The title of the book reflects the fact that he was a decorated hero in the Great War and again in the Irish War of Independence, where he was promoted to Brigadier General in the Irish Army.
The book cover reflects the end of 700 years of conflict as the Irish National flag was raised over Athlone Castle, a national monument to, and a concrete symbol of, the centuries of tyrannical imperial rule.
D.C.M. London Gazette, 25 February 1920 (Egypt): ‘For conspicuous gallantry on the 20th September 1918 near Selfit. When the enemy made an attempt to capture his gun, this N.C.O. George Adamson continued to fire with the greatest coolness and disregard for danger, although he was being very heavily engaged with enemy shell and machine-gun fire. Throughout the day he behaved with extreme gallantry.’
After demobilisation George Adamson joined the Irish Volunteers and took a prominent part in the Irish struggle. He was Vice-Commandant of the Athlone Brigade I.R.A., and was one of the best and bravest officers in the flying column in their many engagements. He was one of the officers with Commandant Tormey at the ambush in Cornatulla in February, 1920, in which Commandant Tormey was shot dead. When trying to cover the retreat of his men, Brigadier-General Adamson was seriously wounded, and later when he had recovered from his wounds was again wounded in another attack on Crown Forces.
There is a mystery about how he came to be shot in Athlone on 25th April, 1922. Late at night on the 24th, Adamson returned to Custume Barracks to Moate, where he was on a visit to his parents. Sometime afterwards, for certain military reasons, he, with a party of officers, were sent out to take in a suspicious motor car standing on the street. They succeeded in getting the car, but on arrival at the Barracks they discovered that two of the officers were missing. The Brigadier-General, with courage characteristic of him, volunteered to go out in search of the two officers. Three others accompanied him. As they got to Irishtown the Brigadier-General saw a man in a door-way and challenged him. The man replied: “I know you, George, and you know me.” He asked about the car that was taken. Before the conversation proceeded further, several men appeared and ordered “hands up.” Being surrounded, they had no alternative but to comply with the order. Adamson’s comrades were disarmed, and immediately some shots rang out and the Brigadier-General fell, mortally wounded to the ground. The subsequent inquest concluded that Adamson was ‘murdered at Athlone on Tuesday, 25th April, by some person or persons unknown.’ Some believe that his death led into the Civil War, because the Staters used it very effectively for propaganda - Tan Hero Murdered, and such like.