This film is part of Free

This Most Gallant Gentleman

The remains of Irish nationalist Roger Casement are repatriated to Ireland almost half a century after his execution.

Documentary 1966 10 mins


Almost fifty years after his execution for treason, the remains of Sir Roger Casement - exhumed from a quicklime grave at Pentonville Prison - arrive in Ireland for burial with full military honours. Sponsored by Ireland's Department of External Affairs, this official record of the repatriation of an icon of Irish nationalism features music by the Chieftains. Casement's body lay in state at Arbour Hill for five days, before a procession through the wintery streets of Dublin to a state funeral at Glasnevin Cemetery on 1 March 1965. President Éamon de Valera, last surviving leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, was among those in attendance.

Lauded by humanitarians for his exposure of human rights abuses in the Congo and Peru, Casement later embraced the Irish nationalist cause with formidable zeal. He was arrested on 21 April 1916, hours after landing on the Kerry coast in a German submarine and just three days before the Easter Rising began in Dublin. Casement was whisked away to London to stand trial and was executed on 3 August, his fate sealed by the discovery and malicious distribution of the legendary 'Black Diaries', which contained accounts of homosexual activities.