Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, Lieutenant Guy Vickery Pinfield, 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars, was one of the first soldiers killed during the Easter Rising in Dublin.
His widowed mother’s only son, he attended Marlborough College and went on to Claire College, Cambridge. His father had come from a prosperous family who made their wealth from tea plantations in India. Lieutenant Pinfield excelled at athletics, and played for Rosslyn Park Rugby Football Club in southwest London.
Lieutenant Pinfield received his commission on the 14th of August, 1914. In April of 1916 he was stationed at the Curragh camp in County Kildare. On the 24th of that month he was ordered to Dublican Castle, as reinforcements were urgently required in Dublin where the Easter rebellion had broken out. Dublin Castle came under relentless fire from members of the Irish Citizen Army during which they kiiled an unarmed R.I.C. constable as he attempted to close the gates. Lieutenant Pinfield was ordered to lead an attack to secure the main gates and the guardroom, but was shot and fell to the ground, grievously wounded.
The renowned pacifist Francis Sheehy Skeffington went to his aid and tried unsuccessfully to stop the bleeding. Putting himself at risk amidst the gunfire from both sides, he went for help to a nearby chemist’s shop, but Lieutenant Pinfield died at the scene. Francis Sheehy Skeffington was executed on the 26th along with two journalists, without trial on the orders of an Irish-born British army officer, who had been sent back from the Western Front due to his reckless endangerment of his men and cruelty to prisoners. He also shot dead innocent civilians, including a teenage boy leaving a religious gathering. He was court-martialled, found guilty of murder but insane, and incarcerated in the Broadmoor Criminal Asylum.
Lieutenant Pinfield was buried within the grounds of Dublin Castle, buried in a winding sheet. At the end of the month, after the rising was over, families were invited to claim the bodies, those remaining were to be moved to the British Military Cemetery at Grangegorman. It has been suggested that his mother did not claim his body as she had been notified that her son was buried in consecrated ground a few feet from where he fell, and deemed the location to be fitting.
In 1962 the grave of Lieutenant Pinfield and five other solders, whose families had not claimed them, were discovered still within the grounds, neglected and forgotten, the burial site having become waste ground. In May of the following year the Commonwealth War Graves Commission arranged that they be buried in the cemetery at Grangegorman.
Lieutenant Pinfield is remembered on war memorials at Marlborough College, his rugby club at Rosslyn Park, his local church and the war memorial in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. His fellow officers arranged for a plaque to be placed in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin – the only plaque in the cathedral that is connected to the Easter Rising.
Guy, from Bishop’s Stortford, was 21 years old.