Recruitment Drive

NIGRA is on a recruitment drive for you!

The law in Northern Ireland on gay relationships was changed through the actions of NIGRA and Jeff Dudgeon’s legal case which went through the legal system in the United Kingdom and then to the Europen Courts of Human Rights. NIGRA and Jeff did not do this on their own, it was through the efforts of many fundraiser throughout the UK and Ireland that this was managed. The case was won, but the fight still needs to go on to achieve full equality. If you have time and want to help then contact us through our website ( – we have room for everyone!

So this is a recruitment plea asking you to give  us some time and help us develop the various projects which we have in mind:

  • An ‘Online’ LGBT Archive so that we can record our history, both the past and the current as it unfolds.  Recruitment - LGBT ArchiveWe need to interview the players in out history before they leave us, we also need to develop photographic evidence of artifacts before we arrange for them to be deposited in the Ulster Museum with whom we have now agreed a facility for depositing items like placards, photographs, home videos of historical moments, paintings etc.  Documentation can be deposited with the PRONI (Public Records Office Northern Ireland), and we have already done this for items from Jeff’s case and also from PA’s archives
  • Monitoring of Stormont and Westminster, particularly now we are through the Brexit vote.  We need to ensure that we know what is said and what is planned, and where necessary activate the community as required when we need to pressure our politicians.

These are only two of our projects, there are others, and off course we would welcome suggestions from you.

Please contact us and volunteer.



Pushing the Boundaries; Decriminalising Homosexuality 1974-1982: The Role of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association by Jeffrey Dudgeon & Richard Kennedy

Novel Ideas – Roger Casement

Jeffrey Dudgeon with his lovely tieJeffrey Edward Anthony “Jeff” Dudgeon MBE is a Northern Irish politician, historian (his books on Roger Casement are extremely well researched and very readable)  and gay political activist. He currently sits as a Ulster Unionist Party councillor for the Balmoral area of Belfast City Council.  He is best known for bringing a case to the European Court of Human Rights which successfully challenged Northern Ireland’s laws criminalising consensual sexual acts between men in private. He is currently one of three openly gay politicians elected to the City Council along with Mary Ellen Campbell of Sinn Féin and Julie-Anne Corr of the Progressive Unionist Party


The following extract from an interview in The Irish Times, gives an insight into Jeffrey, who he is and what he has become…

“I’ve always been a reformer. A rebel and a radical, yes, but I wasn’t a revolutionary,” Dudgeon says, looking back on his 1981 victory in the European Court of Human Rights, which decriminalised homosexuality in Northern Ireland.

What was life like, as a young gay man, before the Strasbourg win? Dudgeon sums it up in one word: isolation.

“I knew all about homosexuality, and by my midteens I had ascertained that fact about myself. But I just didn’t know how to meet other people, and I was petrified at the thought of it. You just couldn’t say the words to anyone.”…

the-diaries Dev-at-the-re-Burial-of-Roger-Casement-in-Glasnevin.-I-believe-it-was-a-bitter-cold-day-and-Dev-who-was-very-sick-at-the-time-went-against-his-doctors-advice.-300x240 3_1_Sir_Roger_Casement

Unknown Roger Casement letter 6208307701_1f5a8d9937_b Roger Casement Diaries

In the video below Ciarán Ó Brolcháin discusses with author Jeffrey Dudgeon and Dr. Margaret O’Callaghan the book – “Roger Casement: The Black Diaries” which explores the life of Roger Casement – a study of his social background, political life and his contribution to Irish political life.






Including ‘A Last Page’ and associated correspondence

Edited by Jeffrey Dudgeon

Belfast Press

Published July 2016



Roger Casement Diaries

Link to Amazon Paperback Edition £13.88

Link to Kindle Edition £7.31

This is the definitive version of Roger Casement’s German Diary covering the years 1914 to 1916 when, after the war started, he went to Berlin seeking support for Irish independence. The book has 370 pages in over 150,000 words with 45 illustrations.


This is a companion volume to the 2nd edition of Roger Casement: The Black Diaries – with a Study of his Background, Sexuality, and Irish Political Life which was published in February 2016:

[Paperback,; Kindle]

The German Diary consists of another, and the last surviving, Casement diary, and deals with that most interesting, dramatic and penultimate period of his life in Germany and Berlin prior to his departure to Ireland for the Easter Rising.

It was not a private diary in any sense as Casement left instructions for its future publication. Much of what he wrote was designed to provide a record justifying his time in Germany. He was of an age to have his eye on history while knowing the accusations of treason he had, and would, face, Casement was desperate to have his actions understood. A secondary prompt in the last months was to indicate just how disgraceful and intransigent he felt the behaviour of the Germans had become and how the decision to start the rebellion in Ireland was something he did not agree with for tactical reasons, being an event he hoped to prevent or at least postpone. The final section describes his frantic attempts both to get sufficient arms shipped to the separatist Irish Volunteers and to travel by submarine to Kerry with a view to getting the Easter Rising called off.

The diary and many linked letters give a vivid impression of a man under stress in an alien environment who still manages to observe, describe and appreciate what he sees around him. He writes as an outsider of a nation at war with England and France. His growing frustrations however come to the point where his own mental health is destabilised.

There is a cast of the usual characters that Casement mixed with, political, often aristocratic, although also frequently military men. There were to be none of the street people or lovers that his earlier, more sexual, diaries detailed. In Germany, probably for security reasons and lacking the language, he chose not to go out at night or to cruise for sex. He was also getting on. His Norwegian companion and betrayer, Adler Christensen, looms large, tricking and twisting his way round Germany and America, while draining much of Casement’s time and common sense.

The text is laid out in as close a way as possible as the actual manuscripts to provide an impression of the original. The appendices include correspondence and newspaper articles from the time, while bringing the reader up to date with recent articles in relation to Casement in Germany, the Easter Rising and the role of British and German Intelligence, as well as the ongoing Black Diaries authenticity debate which is, if anything, accelerating. That controversy tells of a still contested issue in modern-day Ireland, despite the immense strides made towards gay equality and emancipation, most recently in the Republic.

The diary was in two notebooks in the National Library of Ireland and essentially covers the eight months from July 1914 to February 1915. Itbegins being written on 7 November 1914 and takes Casement retrospectively from England, to the US and to Germany and then includes a tour of war-torn Belgium. It effectively concludes on 11 February 1915 with him in a sanatorium. At the end, however, there is a brief account dated 28 March 1916 of events later in 1915. Separately, ‘A Last Page’ picks up the narrative on 17 March 1916 running it to Casement’s final days in Berlin.

Casement, a man who wrote too much, drafted many hundreds of other letters and memos when in Germany of which a number of the more significant, particularly those related to the arrangements for his departure to Ireland, are reprinted along with the full, unabridged diary where another writer Angus Mitchell has edited out nearly a quarter of the original text in his book sub-titled The Berlin Diary. Those cuts are at times from the most sensitive of areas, including the behaviour of the German Army in Belgium and Casement’s increasing disillusionment with the Kaiser’s Imperial Government and Prussian militarism. Being complete in its narrative, makes it vastly more readable and comprehensible.


Secrets Of The Black Diaries...Picture Shows:  Image order No HK6737 Irish Patriot and British Consular Official Sir Roger Casement (1864 - 1916) is escorted to the gallows of Pentonville Prison, London.  TX: BBC FOUR Friday, March 15 2002   Getty Images/Hulton Archives Roger Casement, former British Consul to the Congo, was hanged for treason for his role in Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising. His conviction rested on a set of diaries that suggested he had pursued a highly promiscuous homosexual life. Under the social mores of the day, such a revelation deprived him of all hope of clemency. But were the diaries faked? BBC Four investigates the 85-year-old mystery. WARNING: This Getty Image copyright image may be used only to publicise 'Secrets Of The Black Diaries'. Any other use whatsoever without specific prior approval from 'Getty Images'  may result in legal action.

Unknown Roger Casement letter ireland-1966-roger-casement-set-fine-used-20090-p 6208307701_1f5a8d9937_b

Y-fronts celebrate 80th birthday

Undated handout photo issued by Jockey International of a model wearing Y-fronts

Undated handout photo issued by Jockey International of a model wearing Y-fronts


The Y-front is set to celebrate its 80-year history which has seen it go from a hurriedly-removed window display in a Chicago department store to underwear staple for men the world over.

Arthur Kneibler’s Jockey briefs first went on sale on January 19, 1935 at the Marshall Field & Co department store, placed on show in the window during one of the worst blizzards of the winter.

The store’s managers promptly demanded the display be removed, thinking it ridiculous to flaunt such a skimpy design in the middle of winter – but not before customers had snapped up 600 pairs.

Some 30,000 pairs were sold in the next three months alone.

Mr Kneibler, the vice president of marketing at a company called Coopers, was inspired by a picture of a man in a sleek, supportive swimsuit, going on to encourage his design team to create a new kind of underwear called “the brief”.

The only successor to the long john had been the boxer short, a cotton version of trunks worn by boxers.

They did not sell well with customers due to their lack of support, but the “jock strap”, mostly worn by the jockeys or messengers who rode penny farthings, did.

Mr Kneibler named his new creation the Jockey brief, and Coopers is now known as Jockey International.

They went on sale in Britain in 1938, at Simpsons in Piccadilly, where they sold at a rate of 3,000 a week.

In 1948 every male athlete in the British Olympic team was given a free pair of Y-fronts.

To date, it has been banned for being too skimpy, survived the recession to outsell its more glamorous cousin the boxer short and has become a Christmas staple across the world for men of all ages.

According to Debenhams, sales of Y-fronts increased by 35% in 2009 and outsold boxer shorts in March of that year for the first time since the early 1990s – the last time Britain was in recession.

Three years earlier, a pair of 37-year-old Y-fronts were sold in the UK on eBay for £127.

A second pair sold for £90 to a buyer in Hong Kong.

Jockey marketing manager Ruth Stevens said: ” Although competition from the boxer is fierce, time and time again the Y-front has been used in ultra-masculine ads and films, such as From Russia With Love when they appeared on the ultimate man’s man James Bond in 1963, all the way up to 2012 where Zac Efron spent much of his time in them in the film The Paperboy.

“This positioning of the Y-front as masculine yet practical ensures its popularity remains high.

“Underwear trends seem to be coming full circle as we head back towards the classics. Y-fronts are cool.”

Summer Friends – Vintage Male Photography

For those who didn’t spot this article, or who have missed the wonderful video slide shows produced by Wayne Brighton.


It seems that everyone loves vintage photography, including us!  This is the latest video by Wayne Brighton who has put together some pretty incredible videos of vintage guys on his YouTube channel and we love every single one of them.  We aren’t sure where he gets the images as they seem to be actual photos, but the videos are very well done and we hope that he continues to make them!

Gay marriage law comes into effect in Scotland

Douglas Pretsell, from Edinburgh, and Peter Gloster, from Melbourne, formalised their marriage in SydneyDouglas Pretsell and Peter Gloster formalised their marriage in Sydney

Scotland’s new law on same-sex marriages has come into effect.

Existing civil partnerships can now be converted to a marriage and other same-sex couples can give notice of their intention to wed.

The new legislation was used for the first time shortly after midnight when one couple upgraded their civil partnership at the British consulate in Sydney.

The first gay weddings in Scotland will take place on Hogmanay.

Because Australia is 11 hours ahead, Douglas Pretsell, from Edinburgh, and Peter Gloster, from Melbourne, completed the paperwork to formalise their marriage hours before registrars open for business in Scotland.

The couple have been together for seven years and had their civil partnership in August 2010 at Fenton Tower in North Berwick, East Lothian.

‘It’s official’

Mr Pretsell told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “It was kind of coincidental. we weren’t originally intending to be the first at all.

“We sent an email to the consulate asking how long after the weddings came in that we would be able to change our certificate.

“We got an email back from them, asking if we would be able to come in at 11am on the 16th and saying we would probably be one of the first in the world.”

Leanne and Marie Banks signing the documentsLeanne and Marie Banks were one of the first gay couples in Scotland to become married

The couple earlier said: “We always considered our civil partnership to be our marriage, but in the eyes of the law and society it wasn’t held in the same regard.

“Prior to today, same-sex couples were deliberately treated as though our relationships were inferior and not worthy of the same recognition or respect.

“Well, from today it’s official, we are married and we have the certificate to prove it.”

‘Day of celebration’

One of the first gay couples to become married in Scotland were Leanne and Marie Banks.

They were at Dundee Registrars’ office at 08:45 to sign the documents.

A number of other Scots couples, already in civil partnerships, are also planning to make the conversion.

Others wishing to become married must give the normal 15-day notice period, meaning the first weddings can take place on 31 December.

Tom French, from the Equality Network, which ran the campaign for equal marriage in Scotland, said: “Today is both a day of celebration and a hugely important step forward for LGBTI rights in Scotland, both in terms of equality in the law and the way in which same-sex relationships are viewed in society.

“In recent years Scotland has become a leading light on LGBTI equality, with one of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world, helping to create the fair and equal society we all want to see.”

Holding handsThe first gay weddings in Scotland will take place on 31 December

Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “Many of the couples celebrating today and in the weeks and months ahead have been together for decades and in a civil partnership since they were introduced in 2005.

“While there is still lots to do before the lived day-to-day experience of many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is truly equal in Scotland, this is a day of celebration and we know these ceremonies will be a wonderful early Christmas present for many couples, their friends and families.’

The law on same-sex marriages has already changed in England and Wales.

The change in Scotland comes as a survey revealed a huge rise in support for same-sex marriage over the past 12 years.

More than two-thirds of people (68%) agreed that gay couples should have the right to marry, according to the figures from the Social Attitudes Survey, which tracks public opinions on a range of subjects.

The figure compares with just two-fifths of the public (41%) in 2002.

The 2014 survey suggested fewer than a fifth (17%) of Scots were against same-sex marriage, compared to 29% in 2002.

Younger people were more likely to believe gay couples should be allowed to wed than older Scots, with 83% of 18 to 24-year-olds in favour compared to 44% of those aged 65 and above.

MSPs approved the Marriage and Civil Partnership Act at Holyrood earlier this year.

The Scottish government said the move was the right thing to do, but Scotland’s two main churches – the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland – are opposed.

The legislation will see religious and belief bodies opting in to perform same-sex marriages, and ministers have stressed that no part of the religious community would be forced to hold such ceremonies in churches

Gay W. Virginia high school soccer player comes out by dancing with homecoming king

Michael Martin, left, with Jem at Jem’s homecoming dance. – Andrew Martin photo

Michael Martin, an all-state goalie, slow danced with the guy who gave him the courage to be himself. Inspired by Robbie Rogers, Martin now hopes to inspire others.

It was something I thought I’d never do — dance a slow dance with the homecoming king at his high school.

I am an 18-year-old senior all-state high school soccer goalie for Musselman High School in West Virginia. I also have been on the school’s football, tennis and swim teams. And I am openly gay. Growing up in rural West Virginia, it’s not the easiest place to be a gay teenager and it took me a long time to come out to myself and others.

Yet there we were, Jem and I, on an October night this fall, slow dancing with each other. We attend schools in different counties and met through friends and I was thrilled that he asked me to his dance so we could be together. He was wearing his gray vest and pink bow tie while I had on my black shirt with a gold tie. We danced to “Love Story” by Taylor Swift, which was a perfect song for my first dance with a guy.

We both started the dance with our female friends who were our “dates.” The final song came on and Jem and I danced for a brief time. It was my first school event where I was with another guy, even though we came to the dance separately. I held his hand when we went to get refreshments and when we took breaks from dancing. It was a weird feeling for me, since I had just barely started coming out. I was nervous yet excited. After the dance we went to his house. That is where I asked him to be my boyfriend. I posed the question by writing it on the dry erase board on his wall. He quickly said yes.

My homecoming dance at Musselman — two weeks after the dance at Jem’s school — was the big moment I revealed being gay to my school. Jem was the date of girl at Musselman and her outside guest for the dance, while I went “alone.” The girl knew Jem and I were together. I was on the homecoming court, which was a big honor and something I never thought would happen. Only some people knew about me before the homecoming, so it was a shocker for some seeing me dance with another guy.

Jem and I danced all night to the most popular pop songs. But it was the slow dance that I most remember that night at the school cafeteria — “Remember When” by Alan Jackson. It was the best night ever. Jem and I got asked a lot if we were together and we said yes. “That is so cute!” some girls said. It made us felt accepted.

Word quickly spread and the following week I sensed that some guys were looking at me differently. My friends even told me people were talking about me in a negative way in different classes. “He is a faggot now,” I was told some people said. My friends courageously stood up for me and I am so proud to call them my friends.

MikeMartin2Michael Martin won All-State honors this year. (Photo by Andrew Martin).

Dancing with another guy in front of my fellow students would have seemed like the last thing I would ever do when I started high school. When I was a freshman I knew I was not like other guys on the Musselman High varsity soccer team. They were always talking about their girlfriends and I always felt that I could never say anything about my sexuality. I was just a freshman, and I was scared of being mocked by my teammates when I was just trying to fit in. The team threw around the words “gay” and “faggot” a lot. I felt I would never be safe if I did come out.

Musselman High School is located in Inwood, W. Va. The school is named for the Musselman applesauce company and we are called the Applemen. Inwood is only about two hours from Washington, DC, and Baltimore but culturally is far from city life. Inwood is a pretty conservative town. The students, however, are very diverse in their culture and beliefs; the range runs from rednecks to foreign exchange students. I live in isolated mountain area, so I didn’t have any kids to hang around with when I was younger. I was alone but even at a young age I knew I didn’t like girls and found boys attractive instead. I could never tell anyone since my family is really conservative and religious.

MikePortrait(Photo by Jeremiah Carver)

I was silent about my sexuality until my junior year when I told my best friend, Ben, who was a senior at the time and on the soccer team. I waited until after the soccer season so I wouldn’t have to worry about him telling any of my teammates.

The cold winter air and the campfire at Ben’s house that night made it the perfect environment in which to tell him my news. I was scared to death, but summoned up the courage and was direct: “I hope this doesn’t change our friendship but I am gay.” His response was simple but it meant the world to me: “There is nothing that can change our friendship.” Thankfully, Ben accepted me (he said he had suspected) and promised to not tell anyone until I was ready.

My junior year was a strange time for me. I played football and soccer in the fall (in West Virginia they are in the same season). I punted for the football team, but never felt comfortable. I was always scared about my sexuality on the team, surrounded by a bunch of country boys and jocks who would definitely make fun of me if they knew I was gay. I felt useless, which is why I dropped the sport in the senior year and focused solely on soccer.

Things were better in my favorite sport. My coach for my traveling soccer team laid down the law that there was not going to be any racism or discrimination based on sexuality, which made me feel safe. I still did not have the guts to tell anyone I was gay. My travel coach never knew that I was gay nor did I tell him but he was determined to create a safe environment on the team. We were a very diverse team that played well together and were a state finalist three years in a row.

The experience of coming out was very rough for me to do but it really took off this fall. When I started to talk with Jem I was comfortable with myself and wasn’t ashamed like I was in years past. For me to be happy, though, I needed to come out. I didn’t want to hide how I really was any more. I didn’t want to live every day with a secret hanging over my head. I told my team before my own parents. My family was not accepting at first but is starting to come around and support me. I just had to keep telling them that I can’t change who I am and that I am the same teenager that I was before.

I came out to my soccer team one step at a time. Since I was dating Jem, I decided to become truthful with everyone. I never held a team meeting. Instead, I told some players and then they told others and these people asked me for confirmation. They couldn’t believe that I was gay, because they said “I always acted so straight.”

Teammates were curious and I got a lot of questions. I also got teased by my teammates closest to me making jokes or saying sexual things, but I know they were just kidding. Actually, their joking told me they were OK with things. I also knew that even if someone did say something negative that a lot of my teammates would have my back. Recently I was named captain for the Musselman swim team. They all know about my sexuality and gratefully are accepting.

Despite my fears, I feel very safe at my school when comes to LGBT issues; we even have a Gay Straight Alliance Club. I have made a lot new friends and my previous friends who are girls love me more and we have become better friends. I still get told that girls have crushes on me, before someone then breaks the news to them that I am gay.

As I am graduating next spring, I have been talking to several college coaches about playing soccer at their schools. That will be a whole new level, a whole new school, group of friends, and new teammates. But I won’t be afraid of being myself since I am proud to play as an athlete who happens to be gay.

Mike MartinsaveMichael Martin was inspired to come out by Robbie Rogers (Photo by Andrew Martin).

I try to prove myself in sports not just for myself but for other gay athletes. I want to show everyone that I am just as good as anyone else in my sport. Being a two-time goalkeeper of the year for my conference, making the All-State team and being two-time M.V.P for Musselman and defender of the year makes me proud.

I remember a playoff game with the varsity when I was only a freshman. We were playing our rivals and lost 1-0 on a goal with 10 minutes left. The goal was on a perfect shot in the upper corner, but it was so depressing for me. I felt like I let the team down but I kept my head up. It motivated me to become a better player the next three years.

One athletic highlight for me and one that showed I could play on a high level came when I had a tryout for the West Virginia’s Olympic development soccer team. I was very nervous during the tryout and I felt like did well. My training paid off and I made the team. It was a great exposure to quality soccer for me and it feels good to say that I was a part of that team.

My soccer hero and the man who inspired me to come out is Robbie Rogers of the Los Angeles Galaxy. I loved how he announced he was gay and did not quit playing soccer. He gave me hope and confidence to be true to myself. Once he came out I started to contemplate doing the same myself and being proud of who I am. He recently published a book, “Coming Out to Play,” which my friend Ben got me for my birthday. I can tell you that after reading the book, Robbie should be every soccer player’s idol, gay or straight. I am so proud that he recently won a MLS Cup with the Galaxy.

I have learned that being gay does not mean you are a lesser of a human being. If I can come out in a small town in West Virginia and be accepted, and dance with the homecoming king, it shows things are changing. I hope my performances and story help inspire other gay teens to show their true colors and not be afraid to play the sport they love.

Michael Martin, 18, is a senior at Musselman High School in Inwood, West Virginia, and is goalie for his school’s soccer team; he was named All-State this season. His hobbies include photography and the outdoors. His career dreams include owning historic hotels or producing sustainable foods. He can be reached via email at or on Twitter @martinofcompany. You can also check out his photography on Instagram (@wvnatureboy).

Story editor: Jim Buzinski

Here’s What The World’s Queer Community Has Already Accomplished (Or Hasn’t Yet) This Century

Posted: Updated:

For queer people, in many ways, there has never been a time in history like the present. Although oppression and inequality are still rampant, there have also in recent years been a number of firsts, breakthroughs and other positive developments that once seemed like they would never come.

2014 was an especially good year for queer equality in the U.S. Over 60 percent of Americans now live in states that permit same-sex marriage, and advocates in ever-increasing numbers are speaking out for the cause.

We don’t mean to suggest that there haven’t been setbacks, or that things aren’t still wildly unjust in almost every part of the world. But at the same time, we think it’s worth observing, and celebrating, the real progress that the 21st century has brought to many.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most important milestones in queer rights from the past 14 years. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2015 and beyond.



Note: For ease of navigation, we recommend viewing on a non-mobile device.


Link to Timeline

Daniel J Danielsen – a pioneering humanitarian who helped Roger Casement expose the horror of Belgian rule in the Congo

An Irishman’s Diary on a Faroese hero

The Faroese government has issued a stamp with pictures of both Daniel J Danielsen and Roger CasementThe Faroese government has issued a stamp with pictures of both Daniel J Danielsen and Roger Casement

Mon, Dec 15, 2014, 01:01 – The Irish Times

In the campaign to expose the appalling enslavement and exploitation of Congo natives by King Leopold II of Belgium, the names of two great humanitarians, Roger Casement (the 150th anniversary of whose birth occurred this year) and ED Morel, deservedly stand out. Now, thanks to the researches of Óli Jacobsen, a third name may be added – that of a humble Faroese missionary called Daniel J Danielsen.

Óli Jacobsen’s book on his fellow Faroese national has just been published and, to mark the occasion, the Faroese government has issued a stamp with pictures of both Danielsen and Casement. Adam Hochschild, the author of King Leopold’s Ghost, has described the book as doing “a fascinating job of restoring a previously forgotten man to his rightful place in the 20th century’s first great humanitarian crusade”.

Danielsen is remembered today, if at all, in the Faroes as one of the very early evangelists of the Plymouth Brethren movement there. He was also the first Faroese to serve as a missionary outside the islands, when he worked for the Congo Balolo Mission from 1901 to 1903.


Óli Jacobsen had been writing short biographies of significant Faroese personalities when he decided to investigate Danielsen’s story. He had no expectation of finding anything of consequence to any history beyond that of the Faroes, so it came as a surprise to him to discover Danielsen’s significant contribution to Roger Casement’s investigation into conditions in the Belgian Congo on behalf of the British government.

ED Morel had been running a sustained writing campaign in Britain about the way natives of the Congo Free State were being treated, his information coming from British, American and Scandinavian missionaries, among others. Eventually the issue was taken up in parliament and the result of the debate was that Casement, the British consul in the Congo region, was sent to investigate the allegations.

In order to carry out an adequate investigation, Casement needed to be able to travel freely in the area but, hardly surprisingly, the Belgian authorities were not altogether willing to cooperate. He had to find an independent means of transport, especially to be able to travel up the Congo river to visit some of the more remote villages.

He had already established contact with Protestant English-speaking missionaries and eventually succeeded in hiring a steamer, the SS Henry Reed, from the American Baptist Missionary Union. The steamer was not in great working order and he was fortunate to meet and persuade Danielsen, who was an engineer, to accompany him on his journey.

He afterwards recorded his indebtedness to Danielsen, in a letter to the British foreign secretary, the Marquess of Lansdowne. “Mr Danielsen’s services were of the very greatest value: indeed without his help, I could not have proceeded very far on my journey. The Henry Reed is one of the oldest vessels still navigating the Upper Congo, having been launched in 1885. I think it was chiefly due to Mr Danielsen’s skill and hard work that she was kept running so long with me on board. As it was, we sprang a leak coming down the river on 13th September and apart from other consideration, I do not think it would have been possible to have the vessel continue running much longer.”

As well as acknowledging Danielsen’s invaluable help, Casement was writing to Lord Lansdowne to explain that he had refused to accept any remuneration whatsoever and to ask his superior to authorise him to make a modest donation to the Congo Balolo Mission, for which Danielsen worked.

Brutal flogging, the cutting off of hands and the taking of women hostage for the good behaviour of their menfolk were some of the barbaric practices perpetrated upon exploited Congo natives that Casement heard about, witnessed the results of and wrote about in his report, which caused a sensation when it was published and proved to be a turning point in the campaign to put an end to such atrocities.

Danielsen took some shocking photographs while accompanying Casement. Óli Jacobsen argues that these were of great importance in the public campaign that followed in Britain, because it was the first time an account of an atrocity could be illustrated so clearly to the public. Danielsen afterwards used the photos in lantern-slide shows at public lectures he gave as he campaigned to end the barbarities being inflicted on innocent natives in the Belgian colony of the Congo Free State.

Daniel J Danielsen and the Congo: Missionary Campaigns and Atrocity Photographsis available from