A member of the Socialist Party of Ireland, Thomas Pugh joined the Irish Volunteers a few weeks before the outbreak of the Easter Rising, selecting them ahead of the Irish Citizen Army at the behest of Richard Mulcahy. He was attached to B Company in the 2nd Battalion of the Dublin Brigade and was stationed in Jacob’s Biscuit factory for the majority of the Rising. He recalled discovering “crystallized fruit and tons of chocolate at the top of the house and we gorged ourselves. We were well off as regards that kind of food, but we would have given a lot for an ordinary piece of bread.” He was deported to Knutsford Prison, where he met his future wife, who visited whilst working as a teacher in Manchester. He was afterwards sent to Wandsworth Prison and Frongoch prison camp, where he was interned until Christmas 1916. He subsequently assisted in Éamon de Valera’s East Clare by-election campaign in 1917 and worked in the “Labour Board” of the IRA’s Intelligence Department during the War of Independence, aiding in attempts to influence and infiltrate trade unions.
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