Erskine Childers naval sword – €7200 (£6550) at Mullen’s.

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In 1903 Childers wrote The Riddle of the Sands, a spy story involving an imaginary German raid on England. Eleven years later in July 1914 he himself sailed a cargo of 900 Mauser rifles and 29,000 rounds of ammunition from Germany to Howth, Co Dublin, aboard his yacht, Asgard, to arm the Irish Volunteers.

Despite his Irish nationalism, when the First World War broke out he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, serving in the Gallipoli campaign, earning a DSC. In July 1917 he was assigned to the secretariat of Lloyd George’s Home Rule Convention in Dublin Castle and later transferred into the newly created RAF where he served until early 1919. Childers had previously been an artillery man in the Boer War, making him unusual in having served in all three branches of the armed forces.

Post-war he supported the IRA against the establishment of the Irish Free State and was executed by firing squad in 1922.

Childers’ sword was bought by an English collector at a Mullen’s auction in the late 1980s-early 1990s, and then purchased by the current owner. This time it took €7200 (£6550), selling via

The sale took place on July 11.