Source: The National Archives of Ireland
GUIDE TO THE BUREAU OF MILITARY HISTORY
About the Bureau of Military History, 1913-1921.
The Bureau of Military History Collection, 1913-1921 (BMH) is a collection of 1,773 witness statements; 334 sets of contemporary documents; 42 sets of photographs and 13 voice recordings that were collected by the State between 1947 and 1957, in order to gather primary source material for the revolutionary period in Ireland from 1913 to 1921. The Bureau’s official brief was ‘to assemble and co-ordinate material to form the basis for the compilation of the history of the movement for Independence from the formation of the Irish Volunteers on 25th November 1913, to the 11th July 1921’ (report of the Director, 1957).
Along with the other major collection at Military Archives covering the revolutionary period from 1913, the Military Service Pensions Collection, the Bureau is among the most important primary sources of information on this period available anywhere in the world.
The Bureau was locked away in the Department of An Taoiseach for some forty-five years after the last statement was collected. In 2001, it was decided to transfer the Bureau to Military Archives and prepare it for release into the public domain. A team of archivists and support staff, under the direction of Commandant Victor Laing (former Officer in Charge of Military Archives) successfully prepared the collection for its launch in March 2003. Given that a duplicate set of the statements had originally been prepared by the Bureau, this set was transferred to the National Archives, to allow for greater public access.