July-August 2024 25
Conclusive proof of forgery, finally
By Paul Hyde
with dissent from Jeffrey Dudgeon
mong the diaries attributed to
Roger Casement there is a cash
ledger for 1911 which is also part
diary. This has been scrutinised by
several authors, most closely by
Jerey Dudgeon, the Belfast researcher who is
today the leading forgery denier.
In 2002 Dudgeon published the first edition
of his book bearing the title ‘Roger Casement:
The Black Diaries – with a study of his
background, sexuality and Irish political life’.
This substantial volume purported to add rich
detail and colour to the already widely
established view that the diaries were
authentic. Dudgeon was able to present much
information about the north of Ireland in
relation to Casement and also to provide
something missing from other studies – what
it was like to be an active homosexual in the
North (and elsewhere) a hundred years ago.
Dudgeon’s history recipe freely mixes fact
with speculation and ‘in-the-know’ innuendo
to promote his desired conclusions of
authenticity which are guided more by an
obvious bias than by impartial analysis. His
book although stylistically challenging and
idiosyncratic has gathered both attention and
Dudgeon has never doubted the diaries are
genuine and he no doubt believes he has
demonstrated their authenticity to the highest
degree possible. As the years passed his
reputation grew as a veteran crusader who
knew ‘the inside story’ and he became an
influential expert consulted by authors,
academics, journalists, guest speaking at
conferences and appearing on the media. Such
was the success of his story that by the
centenary year of 2016, he produced a second
edition to meet steady demand. Then, only two
years later in early 2019, he produced a third
edition. There was however one small
dierence in this third edition. A certain
sentence on page 285/6 had disappeared. The
27-word sentence, apparently insignificant,
had been in print for 17 years but was deleted
in 2019.
To discover the motive for this unexplained
deletion is also to discover its significance for
the entire controversy about the diaries. The
devil is in the detail, we are told, so let us look
at the detail to find the devil.
The detail concerns an alleged affair
between Casement and a young Belfast bank
clerk called Millar; Casement did indeed know
Millar and his mother through shared friends
and acquaintances in Antrim but they had little
in common politically.
Readers of ‘Anatomy of a Lie’ will recall that
the widely believed story fabricated by MI5
agent Major Frank Hall and promoted by
Dudgeon is logically demonstrated to be
manufactured evidence.
The purported aair features in the 1910
diary and in the 1911 ledger with events
located in Belfast and environs. The story also
involves a motorcycle owned by Millar in 1911
which vehicle was identified by Hall in 1915
along with the full name of its owner, Joseph
Millar Gordon. Hall passed this information to
the cabinet meeting on 2 August 1916 to
overcome lingering doubts about the
expediency of an execution next morning.
Hall’s tactic succeeded.
The Devil and
Mr Roger Casement
Roger Csement beingescorted to the gllows t Pentonville Prison,
London, hving been found guilty of treson