#OTD in 1870 – Erskine Childers, novelist, member of the Royal Navy, and later an Irish nationalist, is born in London.

Erskine Childers was the author of ‘Riddle of the Sands’, an arms smuggler via The Asgard, father of the fourth president of Ireland, Erskine Hamilton Childers, and would be executed by the Free State government for carrying an unlawful weapon. Childers supported the Anti-Treaty forces in the vicious Irish civil war which bedeviled the country. Ironically, the weapon in question was allegedly a gift from one time friend and colleague Michael Collins. In his book ‘The Riddle of Erskine Childers’, Andrew Boyle states that Childers’ final words to his executioners, before he was to be shot were “Take a step or two forward, lads. It will be easier that way.”

Late in 2011 production company Black Rock Pictures included the arrest and trial of Childers in its six-part television series Bású na gCarad, to be broadcast on TG4 in September 2012. Childers is played by Dominic Frisby.

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