Born in Islington, John Thomas “Blimey” O’Connor became a member of the IRB and Irish Volunteers whilst still in London. He joined the Kimmage Garrison in advance of the Easter Rising and helped to take the GPO on Easter Monday, 1916. He took up a position in Reis’s chambers at the corner of Sackville Street and Lower Abbey Street, where he assisted in setting up a wireless transmission set. He was interned in Stafford Jail and Frongoch prison camp until December 1916 and rejoined the Volunteers upon his release, taking part in an attack on the Dublin Metropolitan Police at Mountjoy Prison in 1917. O’Connor undertook organisational work in Sligo and Westmeath for the Irish Volunteers, and also participated in attacks during the War of Independence. He fought with the republican side during the Civil War, engaging against the National Army in Macroom, Co. Cork, as well as helping to manufacture and distribute explosives. He was arrested in 1923 and took part in a 23 day hunger strike before his release the following year.
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