Casement was born 1864 near Dublin, Ireland. As a young man he worked and travelled in Africa. In 1892 he became an employee of the Consular service, being appointed HM Consul at Lourenco Marques, Mozambique, and St Paul de Loanda in Portuguese West Africa (now Mozambique) in 1895.
In 1899 he was on special service during the South African War and was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal. In July 1903 he began an investigation into forced labour in the Belgian Congo's rubber industry, which was published in February 1904.
In 1908 he was appointed Consul-General to Rio de Janeiro, and investigated reports of atrocities against Amerindians in the Putumayo River region of Peru. He was knighted in 1911. He resigned from the Consular Service in 1913.
In 1913 Casement became treasurer of the Irish Volunteers, an Irish nationalist organisation. He assisted in gun-running for them in 1914. After the outbreak of the First World War he travelled to Germany to try to secure a German declaration of support for an Independent Ireland. He also tried, with little success, to raise an Irish rebel Brigade from among Irish prisoners of war in Limburg camp. He returned to Ireland in April 1916 landing from a German submarine on the eve of the nationalist Easter Rising. He was arrested after the failure of the Rising and imprisoned in the Tower of London.
He was charged with "High Treason", found guilty, and sentenced to death. He was hanged in Pentonville Jail in August 1916. His remains were transferred to Ireland in 1965.
Photocopy extracts from Casement's diaries 1903-4 and 1910 and cash ledger, 1911, prepared for case Rex v Casement, 1916. Including details of his visits to the Congo and Peru and of his sexual activities. The diary entries are not continuous and there are gaps between entries in some places.
There has existed for many years a widely held belief that the diaries were forged.
The Metropolitan Police acquired the original diaries from Casement's former lodgings. They were passed to the Home Office in 1925. They were then transferred to the Public Record Office in 1959 and made publicly available in 1994. There are additional diaries available at the National Library of Ireland.
These copies were presented to Churchill Archives Centre by Times Newspapers Ltd in July 1982.