Politics, Prison and Emily’s Intervention

Photo courtesy of Prison Boards of Ireland

Photo courtesy of Prison Boards of Ireland

1918 proved to be another eventful year for Darrell Figgis. His political career was flourishing and he was touring the country giving lectures. But as it happened he was captured yet again by the authorities in May and arrested for “Entering into treasonable communication with the German enemy.”

The warrant for his arrest was as follows;

…The Chief Secretary for Ireland ordered that the said DARRELL FIGGIS should be interned in His Majesty’s Prison at Durham and should there be subject to all the regulations applying to persons therein interned and should remain there until further orders:..

This time he was held at Durham Gaol, in the worst conditions yet as it was working prison holding to make matters worse there was an outbreak of flu which was claiming lives of thousands, nobody was spared. Darrell Figgis was struck down with it, but recovered. Then back home in Dublin his wife Millie contracted it too. It was much more complicated as she had underlying heart problems. Her doctor Alice Barry wrote to the authorities;

“Mrs Darrell Figgis is suffering form influenza and is not making satisfactory progress, and that owning to an old cardiac lesion the disease may take a grave form.”

Emily, who was a qualified nurse looked after Millie through her illness. Realising that Millie may not pull through,she sent a telegram to the Chief Secretary for Ireland requesting that Darrell Figgis be granted parole from prison.

“I wish to draw your attention to the urgency of the matter placed before you in regard to Mrs Darrell Figgis.

Weddall Nurse”

Dr. Barry and Emily’s intervention did not carry any weight with the authorities, Darrell Figgis was not granted parole. Millie made a full recovery. He was eventually released in early 1919.


Liverpool Echo 18 May 1918. P 4
CO 904/201/141
Thanks to
Edward King, Achill
Prison Boards of Ireland