Born in London but raised in Co Wicklow, Childers was educated at Haileybury and Cambridge in the UK. After a job as Clerk of the House of Commons he fought in the Boer War with for the British Empire with the City Imperial Volunteers. Known for his 1903 spy book Riddle of the Sands, Childers became a Home Ruler in 1908 and his boat the Asgard is famous for landing arms at Howth in 1914 with his wife Molly on deck. He later acted as Minister for Publicity to Dail Eireann.
Childers was executed by the Free State Government after trial, and while habeas corpus motion was pending, in Beggar’s Bush Barracks, November 24, 1922.
On the eve of the execution he wrote: “I have a belief in the beneficent shaping of our destiny, and I believe God means this for the best, for us, Ireland and humanity. I die full of intense love for Ireland.” His father, Erskine Hamilton Childers, became the fourth President of Ireland.