" IF FROM THE PATH YOU CHANCE TO STRAY..."
" I met the bravest of the brave this morning..."
Tom Williams , 12 May 1924 –2 September 1942.
“Williams was one of six IRA volunteers sentenced to death by hanging in 1942. A group of eight, including two women, had mounted a diversionary operation to take away attention from three republican parades held in Belfast to celebrate the 1916 Easter Rising. All such parades had been banned under the Stormont regime since the partition of Ireland and the introduction of the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act of 1922. A police patrol managed to capture the group but not before an exchange of shots which resulted in the death of RUC constable Patrick Murphy. Although only 18 years old, Tom Williams was in charge of the unit and in a controversial statement to the police he assumed full responsibility for the shooting. Following a remarkable international reprieve campaign, the colonial Governor of Northern Ireland commuted five of the six death sentences to terms of penal servitude. But the British had decided that Tom Williams should hang....”
'Time goes by as years roll onwards
But in my memory fresh I'll keep
Of a night in Belfast Prison
Unshamefully I saw men weep
For the time was fast approaching
A lad lay sentenced for to die
And on the second of September
He goes to meet his god on high
Now he's walking to the scaffold
Head erect he shows no fear
For on his proud and gallant shoulders
Ireland's cross he holds so dear
Now the cruel blow has fallen
For Ireland he has fought and died
And we the countrymen who bore him
Will love and honour him with pride
Brave Tom Williams we salute you
And we never will forget
Those who planned your cruel murder
We vow to make them all regret
So come all you Irish rebels
If from the path you chance to stray
Bear in memory of the morn, when Irelands cross was proudly borne
By a lad who lay within these prison walls.'
For Tom , and all the other brave men and women .