He was the brother of Emmet Dalton and wrote With the Dublin Brigade about his experiences as a member
Charles Dalton, aged eight, of Columba's Road, Drumcondra. in 1911 census
Present at the shooting of Dowling
The seventeen-year-old Charles Dalton was equally concerned. ‘Outwardly we were calm and collected, even jesting with each other. But inwardly I felt that the others were as I was – palpitating with anxiety. ’ He described waiting to enter the house as ‘the longest five minutes of my life. Or were they the shortest ? I cannot tell, but they were tense and dreadful. It would be easy to say that Dalton wrote this partly for effect in his memoirs, as by this point he was a veteran of several other killings. Alternatively it could be taken that this was no ordinary shooting, that at least the teenager was not yet fully inured to what was about to be done. Indeed Matty MacDonald remembered that ‘Charlie Dalton couldn’t sleep that night of Bloody Sunday. He thought he could hear the gurgling of the officers’ blood and he kept awake all night until we told him a tap was running somewhere. There was still that much of the child in him that could be fooled ; wanting to hear the lie because it was ever so much better than putting up with the truth. Dalton had done most to find the information to condemn the men in the house in Pembroke Street. He had courted the maid there, got an IRA man employed as the porter ; he watched until he knew that the two men he wanted slept in rooms on the third floor. The rest of the British officers in the house were lives that may or may not be taken on the day. Dalton met Paddy Flannigan at five minutes to nine as they had arranged the night before. There were brief introductions to the men Flannagan had brought along. And then as Dalton explained to Ernie O’Malley
Charles Dalton, W.S.434, member of F.Co.2nd Batt. Dublin Brigade, Intelligence Squad- I last met Maudie on the Saturday evening, 20th November 1920, at our rendezvous and she told me that all her ( boarders ) were at home, with the exception of two who were changing their residence that night to Upper Mount St. I duly reported to the Brigade Headquarters and told Dick McKee of the change of address of two of them and he had already briefed all the squads for action on the following morning. However, he made a patch unit to attend to the officers in Upper Mount St. This was Ame's and Bennett.
I was with Flannagan and 2 fellows and we went up the left hand stairs to the third flight. I knew the one where Dowling and Montgomery were for the girl had told me. The other doorway was adjacent and there was a landing …The two lads were in bed in pyjamas and Paddy Flannigan said for us and they got up rather startled and I thought this was the [time?] and I wanted the papers. They were against the wall when Paddy fired. The fellows fell and they made a gurgling sound. Said I to Paddy Flannigan ‘ I want to search the bloody room.’ ‘Get to hell out of this ’ said Paddy. The other fellows brought their men to the hallway. They had the men in pyjamas and they had their hands up. I was stopped by the 3rd Bn officers. ‘Who are you they asked?’ ‘I’m an intelligence officer’, I said and here were not more than 6 or 7 in the house. The[y] were lined up. They were held up on the staircase to the cellers. I saw one hit the floor and [fall] down the stairs. Paddy Flannigan said goodbye and went up by Earlsfort Terrace
Charles Dalton wrote in his memoir that when it was over ‘ I started to run. I could no longer control my overpowering need to run, to fly, to leave far behind me those threatening streets. ’ Later he ‘thought over our morning’s work, and offered up a prayer for the fallen ’.
He caught the ferry boat that the IRA had put on to get them over the Lify and away. He was, he said, in time for 12 o'clock mass.
Charlie Dalton never drank till the truce
The Squad's youngest killer was Emmet Dalton's brother, Charlie, the eight-year-old of the 1911 census, whom Collins recruited at the age of 16: and to turn any boy into a cold-blooded murderer is depravity beyond any excuse. I do not know how many people Charlie Dalton killed while the Squad pioneered new and interesting ways of bringing honour to the name of Ireland.
He had just turned 17 when he participated in the Bloody Sunday massacre, shooting dead in Baggot Street