Oglach Tom Williams – Hung by Britain 2nd September 1942. R.I.P

Oglach Tom Williams

Rory Dubhdara and Liam Ohainnin

Before Williams was executed he inscribed some messages on the backs of some playing cards. On one he wrote “To ever who receives this to pray for me always & pray for the cause for which I am dying. God Save Ireland….”[1] Father Alexis who witnessed the execution spoke after to his friends in the prison chapel. “I met the bravest of the brave this morning”, he said, “Tom Williams walked to that scaffold without a tremor in his body. The only people who were shaking were us and the hangman. Father Alexis concluded by saying to the remaining prisoners, “I’ve one other thing to say to you. Don’t pray for Tom Williams, pray to him, for at this moment Tom is a saint in heaven.” [1]

His funeral held on 19th January 2000 was attended by thousands. Joe Cahill, Tom’s cell mate, and John Oliver, sentenced to death with Tom but later reprieved, as well as Madge McConville, who had been arrested with Tom, Greta McGlone, Billy McKee, Eddie Keenan and perhaps least known, Nell Morgan, Tom‘s girlfriend at the time of his death, were all present. Six senior Sinn Féin members including Gerry Adams were also present in St Paul’s Church on the Lower Falls Road for the mass. Unfortunately, Tom’s boyhood friend and the man who introduced him to the Republican Movement, Alfie Hannaway, was unable to attend the funeral due to ill health.<5> Tom’s funeral mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr Paddy O’Donnell, C.Ss.R., a Redemptorist Priest from Clonard monastery.