An Eyewitness Account

Charles Dickinson, 1st Battalion Irish Association of Volunteer Training Corps

This letter was kindly sent into us by Andrew Bowers. The letter was found after his mother’s 2nd cousin Evelyn ‘Babs’ Matthews was moved into a nursing home back in the 1980’s. Babs, who was born in 1900, had lived at her house on Leinster Road in Rathmines, Co. Dublin, all her life. When Andrew’s mother was cleaning out the house she came across the letter along with a mess tin, postcards and other artefacts.

The letter reveals that Charles was an officer of the Irish Association of Volunteer Training Corps (IAVTC). This Corps was comprised of a number of different volunteer units including the Veterans Corps, the Motor Cyclists Corps and the Irish Rugby Union Corps. Frank Browning, the Irish Rugby Football Union President was a member of the Irish Rugby Union Corps. He was one of the first to be killed in action during Easter week after being ambushed near Beggars Bush Barracks.


From Andrew discovered Charles was born on July 16th, 1869, at Larkfield, Ballybrack, Co. Dublin. He was married to Margaret Olive Rawson on April 30th, 1901. Margaret was the daughter of Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Edward Albert Rawson M.D. Charles died on June 21st, 1926, aged 56 and buried at Redford Cemetery, Co. Wicklow. Margaret died on August 30th, 1943, in Milton House, Monifieth, Angus, Scotland and is buried in Redford Cemetery. They had two children Elizabeth Olive (Betty) and Edward Norman Charles.

Nobody knows how a letter by Charles Dickinson ended up in the house; a distant relative, a family friend, or possibly a lodger perhaps? The other artefacts are believed to be from Babs’ brother who was a dentist in the British Army during the Second World War. This is the first time this letter has been seen by the public. If members of Charles’s family see this letter please drop us a line as we can put you in touch with Andrew.