IRA Volunteer with Victoria Cross

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Bad CO, Jan 4, 2016.

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  1. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

    Whilst browsing some articles related to the 1916 Easter Uprising, I came across the following article which I think is typically Irish. I particularly like the fact that "he was an active member of the IRA when he journeyed to London in November 1920 to join an honour guard of Victoria Cross holders at the interment of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey."

    My own grandfather went the other way serving as a 'volunteer' in the early 20s but then being forced out of the south having ended up on the wrong side of the civil war. He subsequently served in the British Army during WW2!

    Source: Story of British army hero turned IRA man shows divided loyalties -
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  2. I cannot remember the book title but I read a memoir of one of the IRA men who fought the British and in it was a photograph of the IRA volunteers who were provided to the British High Command as a bodyguard 'against those mad Fenian b#stards' during the first world war.
  3. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    An astonishing story. And one that I was wholly unaware of.

    I would hope that this year An t'Airm will do something to mark his passing.
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  4. Those two letters VC mean a lot, I suppose. If memory serves, one of the British Kings after Queen Victoria said if a man had earned that decoration, he could walk to the gallows wearing it if he cared to. I know obiter dicta from royalty isn't exactly the law of the land, but I'm thinking that's partly why the man mentioned in the article "Got away with it," so to speak. And so he should have. That sort of courage transcends sectarian issues.
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  5. I'm aghast. In fact I'm several ghasts.

    Today in British History

    Another article from the Irish Times

    An Irishman’s Diary on Martin Doyle, the Victoria Cross winner who joined the IRA

    From Wikipedia

    The original Royal Warrant involved an expulsion clause that allowed for a recipient's name to be erased from the official register in certain wholly discreditable circumstances and his pension cancelled.[70] King George V felt very strongly that the decoration should never be forfeited and in a letter from his Private Secretary, Lord Stamfordham, on 26 July 1920, his views are forcefully expressed:

    The King feels so strongly that, no matter the crime committed by anyone on whom the VC has been conferred, the decoration should not be forfeited. Even were a VC to be sentenced to be hanged for murder, he should be allowed to wear his VC on the scaffold.[31]

    The power to cancel and restore awards is still included in the Victoria Cross warrant but none has been forfeited since 1908.[31]

    Victoria Cross - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
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  6. DaManBugs

    DaManBugs LE Book Reviewer

    The medal your man there got for fighting in the Irish War of Independence would be the "Black-and-Tan" medal, the same as my Granda got - with a "Cormac" clasp too, I'll bet!

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  7. Was he wearing it when he was hanged, or did we have to kill him along with the rest of your family?
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  8. Your grandad's name was Cormac? :)

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  9. Cutaway

    Cutaway LE Reviewer

    He's never been good with languages.
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