1911a

Roger Casement’s Sexuality.

Sir Roger Casement was a leader in the Irish Rebellion of 1916. Roger Casement was born in Ireland in 1864, to a Protestant family, though he later converted to Catholic. He was brought up mainly in Northern Ireland. At the age of 20 he went to Africa, where he worked with various commercial interests in the Congo and then in what later became Nigeria. He found employment in the British Consular Service and in 1900 returned to the Congo. He began to investigate allegations of brutality in the region; his work was thorough and conscientious, and he was personally responsible for the decision of the Foreign Office to undertake a serious investigation of what was happening in the Congo. At the beginning of the century Casement was a longtime diplomat and human rights activist. His travels were proving to him that the British Empire (and other colonial European powers) were profiting from exploitation, cruelty and murder. Casement’s increasingly “radical” political views led him away from the British consular service in 1913 and toward centuries of brewing Irish revolutionary movements. 

In 1916, he volunteered to seek German support and guns for a rebellion planned in Ireland to drive the British out once and for all. But he was arrested, imprisoned in the tower of London and executed. The other leaders were executed by firing squad three months prior, and Casement made the sixteenth and final leader to be executed. He was hung on August 3rd, 1916 at the age of fifty-two.

Roger Casement’s legacy has somewhat been shuffled under the rug more than a century later. Even for his actions in publicizing the enslavement of plantation workers in the Congo and the workers on rubber plantations in Peru, still he a little unbeknownst. During his trial in England in 1916, a set of diaries detailing his rather explicit behavior–with other men–was revealed to the court. They were written in the years 1903, 1910 and 1911. It revealed that he was gay, that he was remarkably promiscuous, and that he usually paid for his encounters. They revealed that these encounters involved a wide variety of different men: black men, men of different age, men of another social class. 

Most of these entries are just a few words long, perhaps a sentence or two. He always records what he’d seen and tends to be rather technical, and is particularly keen to note the size:

“Dusky depredator huge, saw 7 in. in all.” –December 6, 1903

“Before leaving the beautiful muchacho shewed it, a big stiff one, and another muchacho grasped it like a truncheon. Black and thick and stiff as poker.” –October 28, 1910

“Stiff asleep ones…Saw big ones on Indians at dinner and before.”–November 1, 1910

“One boy with erection, fingering it longingly and pulling it stiff, could see all from verandah.” –November 2, 1910

“Steward showed enormous exposure after dinner—stiff down left thigh. Then he went below and came up at St. Thereza where ‘Eliza’ launch was and leant on gunwale with huge erection about 8. Guerrido watching. I wanted awfully.” –November 24, 1910

“Saw Indian cook boy on ‘Inca’ enormous, lying down and pulled often. Huge and thick, lad 17.” –November 27, 1910

“Enormous limbs and it stiff on right side feeling it and holding it down in his pocket.” –December 2, 1910

 “Enormous and liked greatly.” –January 30, 1911

“Splendid in Park 3 times and also outside several and to Buckingham Palace at 11.45.” –February 7, 1911

“Enormous 19 about 7" and 4 thick.” –March 5, 1911 

“…Huge! In Bath. Splendid. Millar into me. At Newcastle with M. Into Millar! and then he came too.” May 14, 1911

“Huge Irish…Huge thick as wrist.” –August 6 

“I to meet enormous at 9. Will suck and take too. He was not there! I waited till 9.30.” –August 7

In Manaos. 1. Raymundo Aprendiz Marintetro. 2. Sailor. Negro. 3. Agostinho de Souza…3 lovers had and two others wanted.”–October 1, 1911

As can be seen from the examples above, most of these entries are from the 1910 and 1911 diaries; there are very few in the 1903 diary. And in 1910, most are from the time before and after his actual journey to the Putumayo; during the journey  he seems to have limited himself to watching rather than doing.

As he was heading to Congo, the notes included the following as Casement’s ship made various stops on the way to the Congo: references to Agostinho, 17½, (“Agostinho kissed many times”, on 13 March), to X (“not shaved, about 21 or 22”), to Pepe (“17, bought cigarettes”). The very first entry of the diary for 1910, 13 January, Thursday, opened: “Gabriel Ramos - X Deep to hilt” and ended “in very deep thrusts”. The next entry simply said: “Veldemiro - $20”. On 2 March he was in São Paulo: “Breathed & quick enormous push. Loved mightily. To Hilt Deep X.” By 12 March he was in Buenos Aires: “Splendid erections. Ramon…10” at least.“ The above entries are merely a very small sample, but we can see he was having a good time. 

These diaries were soon being referred to in the press as the Black Diaries and are known today as such. Sixteen days before Casement’s execution, the Cabinet was presented by the legal adviser to the Home Office: "Casement’s diaries and his ledger entries, covering many pages of closely typed matter, show that he has for years been addicted to the grossest sodomitical practices. Of late years he seems to have completed the full cycle of sexual degeneracy and from a pervert has become an invert–a woman or pathic who derives his satisfaction from attracting men and inducing them to use him.” The second memorandum ended: “So far as I can judge, it would be far wiser from every point of view to allow the law to take its course and, by judicious means, to use these diaries to prevent Casement attaining martyrdom.” Condemnation for his actions arrived from the public and more importantly the jury, as the diaries were a large part of the juries guilty conviction as the diaries were brought to the court room in a successful attempt to produce negative sentiment. To the British, Conservative Catholic Ireland had no use for a gay patriot, they reasoned.

Anyhow, the diaries were one of the pinical reasons or execution by hanging instead of by firing squad. Some of Roger Casement’s most ardent supporters have believed for the past generations that the diaries were forgeries and written by the British, not Casement. In 2002, a hand writing analysis was done comparing Casement’s own hand and the diaries–they were found unsurprisingly to be a match as well as the spelling of certain words exact to Casement in the diary. After they hanged him, they had a doctor examine him, who said that he had “found unmistakable evidence of the practices to which it was alleged the prisoner in question had been addicted”. 

More and more scholars today are realizing that Casement’s homosexuality taught him greater compassion for the oppressed and opened his eyes to the large hypocrisy of the British Empire’s world-wide exploits. Because of the diaries, Casement’s name went from hero to disgrace. Casement was forced to live his life twice, once as a “genteel” functionary of the British establishment, and another as homosexual and closet Irish revolutionary. “The ‘white Indians’ of Ireland, are heavier on my heart than all the Indians of the rest of the earth.” Casement wrote in 1913. 

Casement is a man who successfully proved that the local people were enslaved, constantly flogged tortured, were even murdered, and that in many cases British companies and capital were involved. In the years since his death, his memory has made Ireland, particularly the decades since of political leadership, notice their own prejudices. 

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Colt 1911

A Government Model that was hand polished then nickel plated, and finally having it’s minor accent parts gold plated. Not a factory offered limited edition variant, but instead of being chambered in the classic .45 ACP, the one in the photos is a .38 Super. The caliber is mostly seen in competition guns because of its popularity among the IPSC and similar crowds. .38 Super is also used in countries where military calibers like the .45 ACP are not allowed for civilian use. (GRH)

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Searching for privacy (at the beach):

  1. Victorian Bathing Machines (probably 1910’s-1920’s)
  2. A young woman emerges from her bathing machine in dressed for the beach with bathing hat and all-in-one fitted outfit that comes well down the leg, 1911
  3. A young woman catches some sun outside her changing tent on Gorleston beach, July 1914
  4. Bathers undress using the ‘skreenette’ on a public beach, ca. 1929 - Getty Images
  5. Women on beach behind blanket, man holding blanket out of frame, no date - Vintage snapshot found at Ebay