Albert Rutherford

(15/09/1898 - 14/03/1969)

Albert Rutherford, a painter by trade, played a significant role in the events of the 1916 Rising and the subsequent struggle for independence.

Born on September 15, 1898, he was the son of John Rutherford, a house painter, and Margaret Rutherford (née Sherwood), residing initially at 2 Malpas Place, Dublin, alongside his siblings Kate, Mary, Christopher, and Melinda. Later, the family relocated to 6 Camac Place (now demolished), off Crumlin Road, and eventually settled at 72 Crumlin Road.

Before joining the Irish Volunteers in 1915, Albert was associated with Fianna Éireann. Throughout the revolutionary period, from 1916 to 1925, he served actively in various capacities within the IRA, including as a volunteer, section leader, second and first lieutenant, and company captain.

1917 – 1919
From 1917 to 1919 Albert Rutherford participated in arms raids and acted as an armed guard protecting and defending meetings and buildings related to Irish Volunteer activity.

On 10th October 1917, Albert along with 14 other men was found to be partaking in “illegal drilling” in Whitehall, Rathfarnham. Based on previous disturbances at the court, during attempts to charge the men, the court entrances were guarded by police and no-one allowed in other than those directly involved. Albert is noted to be living in 1 Cullen’s cottages, New street at the time of this court appearance.

When asked if he had any questions to put to the witness the prisoners invariably replied that they did not recognise the right of that court to try them. They were soldiers of the Irish Republic, and recognised no court which was not set up by the Irish Republic. They claimed to be treated as political prisoners. Most of the accused young men came into the dock singing “Soldier’s Song”. It was necessary in a number of cases to remove their hats by force, and a general disinclination was shown to face the magistrate, one man having to be forcibly turned around. Each prisoner was sentenced to two month’s imprisonment without hard labour and ordered to find bail in 20 to be of good behaviour. They renewed the singing of the “Soldier’s Song” as the left the cells.

The prison records show that he served his time in Mountjoy jail and had a small scar on his left cheek when he was admitted. The prisoners were released having gone on hunger strike.

In 1920, Rutherford took part in attempted attack on RIC district Inspector Oswald Ross Swanzy in Dublin, two ambushes of British forces at Dame street, the burning of an income tax office on Nassau street, the seizure of Dublin Castle mail at Westland row railway station and exchanging fire with a force of auxiliaries on November 20th.

Bloody Sunday (1920)
Rutherford was inside 28 Pembroke street when the assassination of three British officers occurred. Hugh Ferguson Montgomery and Charles Milne Cholmeley Dowling were forcibly removed from their beds and fatally shot in the chest. Simultaneously, Leonard Price, residing at the same location, fell victim to gunfire as he and his wife exited their ground floor flat. Despite the gravity of the situation, Rutherford displayed the appropriate demeanor for such perilous circumstances. Described by one of his comrades as consistently “very good-humoured and undisturbed in the face of danger,” Rutherford was known to possess traits well-suited for such harrowing tasks. It was remarked that he ‘seemed to enjoy the terror’ and that he carried out his duties ‘no matter how irksome without a murmur’. Additionally, Rutherford claimed personal responsibility for the shooting of British Army officer Lieutenant Bennett at Mount street.

Between January and July 1921, Albert took part in attacks on British forces in Dublin at Aungier street, Richmond street, Harcourt street, Leeson street, Grafton street, St. Stephen’s green, Redmond’s hill and Dartmouth road as well as in the burning of military goods at Harcourt street railway station, and the seizure of Belfast Boycott goods at Pims, George’s Street, in February 1921. Rutherford also states that he was mobilised for planned attack on British forces in Dublin on 11 July 1921 which was called off due to the Truce. Just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War in June 1922, Rutherford took part in the occupation of the ballast office and the malt stores, Newmarket and took part in fighting against the National Army forces in Dublin until arrested on 2 August while attempting to blow up Shankhill Bridge. He was subsequently interned until December 1923.

Life after the revolutionary period
Albert continued to work as a painter and on March 4th, 1949, Albert received a settlement providing for £450 compensation for personal injuries in the Dublin Circuit Court. Albert , claimed against Patrick Macken, contractor, Stamer St., S.C.R. Mr. Rutherford fell.through a glass roof, fracturing his leg and thigh and injuring his chest while taking down a glasshouse.

Albert spent much of his later life organising memorials, guard of honours, meetings for surviving and deceased volunteers.

On January 5th 1938, he commanded the guard of honour for a former 3rd Battalion, Old Dublin Brigade comrade Leo Duffy, who died tragically at home in a shooting.

On July 12th 1950, Albert presiding over a meeting with the surviving members of Norton’s Malthouse Garrison (1922), an outpost of the Four Courts. the following resolution was passed.

” We the members of the above Garrison, who have played our part in the different companies and battalions of – the Dublin Brigade in bringing about the united front which exists to-day, protest in the strongest terms against the erection by the Government of a political party monument in the gardens of the Parliament House of Ireland; this monument to be paid for by the taxpayers of the Republic of Ireland to the tune of £35,000. We only mention the cost in passing because we would object to this monument if it cost nothing to the taxpayer.

” We believe that the erection of this monument is a, deliberate attempt to distort Irish history, and is an affront to the unified Republican movement. No one can have any objection to a political party building a monument to three of their members who, they may believe, gave good service; but such monument should not he built on State property and out of State funds. If a monument is to be erected in the garden of the Parliament’ House of the Republic of Ireland, then It should be a monument to all men who died for the Irish Republic.”

“It is with the sincere wish to maintain the present unity – so vital to the nation in the uncertain days that lie ahead – that we call upon all members of Dail and Senate, members of corporations and public bodies throughout the country, to take whatever steps _necessary to prevent the completion of this monument. We also call on Old I.R.A. organisations and all members of the Old I.R.A., members of Clann na Poblachta, Fianna Fail, Labour and all other organisations, to put pressure on the Government to prevent the completion of this monument, because, is completed, it must remain a monument to disunity and an insult to Republican Ireland.”

He was also attended fellow “C” Company colleague, Seamus Kavanagh’s funeral on Wednesday, June 23, 1954 and in April 30, 1956, Albert commanded a parade for the launch of a memorial of Michael Malone at 25 Northumberland street who was killed in action during the Mount St., Easter Week 1916.

On November 1964, the Taoiseach, Mr. Lemass, and the Lord Mayor, Cllr. John McCann, attended the annual memorial Mass for deceased members of C Company, Third Battalion, Dublin Brigade, I.R.A., in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Dublin Castle. Albert Rutherford was the captain of the company, and members of the committee.

Albert Rutherford passed away on March 14, 1969, at St. Kevin’s Hospital. His death notice reflects his continued association with C Company, 3rd Battalion, Old I.R.A., and his commitment to the cause. He was deeply mourned by his sisters, relatives, and friends, and his funeral took place at the Church of Our Lady of Dolours, Dolphin’s Barn, followed by interment at Mount Jerome cemetery.

Person Photo
Connection with area: Revolutionary and republican who lived on Camac Place and Crumlin Road