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Irish War of Independence centenary

I would be interested in hearing from people with more knowledge of the subject about the use, or lack of use, of aircraft by the British during the conflict. I seem to recall Tom Barry referring to an aircraft being used against his column in the latter stages of the campaign but it's not something you hear much about.

It strikes me that it was a huge tactical advantage that the British had but which does not appear to have been used much. Famously in later years Churchill felt he could police Iraq on the cheap relying largely on aircraft, I wonder why they weren't used more widely in such areas as West Cork where they would surely have annulled the IRA's tactical advantage of the rough and remote terrain.
 
I would be interested in hearing from people with more knowledge of the subject about the use, or lack of use, of aircraft by the British during the conflict. I seem to recall Tom Barry referring to an aircraft being used against his column in the latter stages of the campaign but it's not something you hear much about.

It strikes me that it was a huge tactical advantage that the British had but which does not appear to have been used much. Famously in later years Churchill felt he could police Iraq on the cheap relying largely on aircraft, I wonder why they weren't used more widely in such areas as West Cork where they would surely have annulled the IRA's tactical advantage of the rough and remote terrain.
Churchill thought about it, but you lot were a bit too white. If you were of a darker hue it might have happened. The Chief of the Air Staff, Hugh Trenchard was opposed to proposals to use aircraft to attack IRA ambush parties and street disturbances because the unavoidable deaths of innocent people would have immediate consequences: 'A great popular outcry will be created against the unfortunate pilots who are involved in the action, from which it will be impossible to shield them. Further a feeling of annoyance and exasperation at the reckless use of such a powerful arm, which once loosed in the air cannot be delicately controlled, will infallibly arise and engender great biterness.'

The aircraft that Barry mentions were probably used for reconnassaince. It is very unlikely they would be used for ground attack - see Trenchards cooments above.

My source was from this book on page 274.

91L3iL+hFAL.jpg
 
19 November 1920

Lieutenant Patrick Clancy, A Coy, 7th Bn, Tipperary No 3 Bde, was captured along with two companions while on a visit to his parents home near Drangan, Co. Tipperary. Clancy was carrying a rifle when surprised by a patrol of the 1st Bn, Lincolnshire Regiment. While he was being searched Clancy, according to Lieutenant Edward Litchfield, reached for a revolver in his pocket and was shot dead.

Patrick’s brother Martin will be killed in March 1921.

Four IRA men, Maurice Donegan - O/C 5th Battalion, Cork No. 3 Brigade; Capt Ralph Keyes, Bantry Company, Sean Cotter, Adjutant 5th Battalion and Cornelius O'Sullivan were captured near Bantry, Co. Cork. They were saved from summary execution by the RIC by Colonel Hudson of the King's Liverpool Regiment.

The American Commission on Conditions in Ireland held its first public hearing in Washington. Despite invitations to attend no one from the British side appeared before the commission.

IRA Chief of Staff Richard Mulcahy's papers were discovered in a raid. Included in the papers were the names of many IRA officers around the country.
 
I would be interested in hearing from people with more knowledge of the subject about the use, or lack of use, of aircraft by the British during the conflict. I seem to recall Tom Barry referring to an aircraft being used against his column in the latter stages of the campaign but it's not something you hear much about.

It strikes me that it was a huge tactical advantage that the British had but which does not appear to have been used much. Famously in later years Churchill felt he could police Iraq on the cheap relying largely on aircraft, I wonder why they weren't used more widely in such areas as West Cork where they would surely have annulled the IRA's tactical advantage of the rough and remote terrain.

A very interesting topic to raise, I have found an article that is well worth a read and provides a lot of information regarding the RAF's activities in the War of Independence:


Spoiler alert- we are jumping ahead a little bit!

The East Limerick Flying Column claimed to have downed an RAF aircraft in Kilfinane (dubious claim) but the story is related in the above article in detail, a very interesting story too with threats of aerial bombing, a captured observer and q bit of chivalry thrown in to boot:



The IRA view of the incident, p82 onwards:

 
19 November 1920

Lieutenant Patrick Clancy, A Coy, 7th Bn, Tipperary No 3 Bde, was captured along with two companions while on a visit to his parents home near Drangan, Co. Tipperary. Clancy was carrying a rifle when surprised by a patrol of the 1st Bn, Lincolnshire Regiment. While he was being searched Clancy, according to Lieutenant Edward Litchfield, reached for a revolver in his pocket and was shot dead.

Patrick’s brother Martin will be killed in March 1921.

Four IRA men, Maurice Donegan - O/C 5th Battalion, Cork No. 3 Brigade; Capt Ralph Keyes, Bantry Company, Sean Cotter, Adjutant 5th Battalion and Cornelius O'Sullivan were captured near Bantry, Co. Cork. They were saved from summary execution by the RIC by Colonel Hudson of the King's Liverpool Regiment.

The American Commission on Conditions in Ireland held its first public hearing in Washington. Despite invitations to attend no one from the British side appeared before the commission.


IRA Chief of Staff Richard Mulcahy's papers were discovered in a raid. Included in the papers were the names of many IRA officers around the country.

is it possible the British Embassy avoided a PR entrapment from this commission

or
is it the case they ignored the intrusion on a British matter by a foreign country!
 
20 November 1920

Two Limerick men, Patrick Blake and James O'Neill, had been arrested for the killing of Constable Walter Oakley in Limerick in July. Court Martialled in Dublin, both men were acquitted and, accompanied by members of their families, travelled by train to Limerick Junction. Despite the name it’s in Co. Tipperary and a long way from Limerick. They two groups arrived there about 7.30 pm and split up, the Blakes taking a motor car and the O’Neills, a charabanc to continue to Limerick.

About half way to the city, the Blake’s car with Patrick, his brother Michael, father John and the driver on board was stopped by a group of masked men at a place called Grange Crossroads. The men fired into the car killing Michael Blake and wounding the driver.

The charabanc carrying the O'Neill family was stopped nearby, again by armed and masked men. James was taken from the vehicle, brought to Grange Crossroads and was shot dead.

The RIC were blamed for the deaths of Blake and O’Neill as one of the men was a POC, which brings us inevitably to Thomas Huckerby whom we met in Shanagolden back in September when he was involved in the killings of three unarmed men. It seems that Huckerby was too nasty even for the Black and Tans and he resigned in December. Fate wasn’t long catching up with him, and he died of Jaundice in London in February 1921.
Captain Joseph Thompson, I/O of the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment, was captured by the IRA at Carrigrohane between Ballincollig and Cork City while travelling alone on a motorbike. He was shot dead in a turnip field. Thompson was from Belfast where he is interred in the city cemetery.

John McSwiggan from Magherafelt, Co. Derry was accidentally shot by a soldier during a search. It appears to have been a genuine accident.

Edited to add that three IRA leaders in Sligo - Seamus Devins, Eugene Gilbride and Andrew Conway were captured when the car they were in, driven by Linda Kearns was stopped by a patrol of RIC and military. They were carrying arms captured at the Moneygold ambush on October 25th.

Kearns was a member of Cumann na mBan and a Nurse who had fought in the 1916 Rising. Interestingly Gilbride said she was a Brigade Staff Officer and the in command of the group in the car.
 
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is it possible the British Embassy avoided a PR entrapment from this commission

or
is it the case they ignored the intrusion on a British matter by a foreign country!
Despite the fancy title the Commission was a private group, not a US government affair. The British, quite rightly, ignored it. They could do nothing else.

The downside of course was they handed the initiative in the propaganda war to the opposition.
 
(OT) It reminds me of an incident I witnessed in Derry one Friday night in the 1980s.

A girl was assaulted by a bloke who had run off and by chance the cops arrived on the scene almost immediately. The peelers asked her for a description after being told he had only just left the scene, "sort of tall, in blue jeans, white trainers, he was wearing a light blue jacket", off the boul' lawmen dash in pursuit of the miscreant but could find no one among the crowds hanging around outside the pubs who matched the admittedly weak description, and being in no mood to stick around in those circumstances in those days they gave up.

They returned to the young lady and explained they just weren't able to find the man in question as there were so many the description could have fitted among the crowds. "That's a pity" she replied, "I thought you'd find him easy seeing as he's black an' all". The cops decided to bite their tongue about how she might have mentioned this relevant detail earlier given that the complexions of people in Derry at that time were about 99.99% pasty white.
 
(OT) It reminds me of an incident I witnessed in Derry one Friday night in the 1980s.

A girl was assaulted by a bloke who had run off and by chance the cops arrived on the scene almost immediately. The peelers asked her for a description after being told he had only just left the scene, "sort of tall, in blue jeans, white trainers, he was wearing a light blue jacket", off the boul' lawmen dash in pursuit of the miscreant but could find no one among the crowds hanging around outside the pubs who matched the admittedly weak description, and being in no mood to stick around in those circumstances in those days they gave up.

They returned to the young lady and explained they just weren't able to find the man in question as there were so many the description could have fitted among the crowds. "That's a pity" she replied, "I thought you'd find him easy seeing as he's black an' all". The cops decided to bite their tongue about how she might have mentioned this relevant detail earlier given that the complexions of people in Derry at that time were about 99.99% pasty white.
Is that an Irish joke, or a Derry joke Mike!
 
It's a true story that I was personally involved in (the point I left out was that she knew the guy and she perhaps assumed in her confused and upset state that the cops would know who he was too and they just wanted to know what he was wearing that evening, needless to say he was arrested later at his home), but it's off topic so no need to take it further.
 
21 November 1920

A busy day for everyone today. The day became famous as Bloody Sunday, and was perhaps the most significant day of the whole War of Independence.

According to the legend, the day began with the eradication of The Cairo Gang, a group of British Intelligence Officers. The Cairo Gang probably never existed as there’s no evidence that the name was used before the 1950s. Twelve men whom had been identified as Intelligence Officers were killed, out of a list of 20 targeted. In fact possibly as few as 6 were actual Intelligence men. In addition an RIC Sergeant and two Auxiliaries were killed. Upwards of 165 IRA personnel were involved to some extent or another in the attacks on the intelligence men.

28 Pembroke Street

The opening shots of the day were fired at here at 9 am. All the attacks took place about 9 am. The house was the property of a Mrs Gray and had been converted into several flats, all of which appear to have been rented to military officers. Around 20 IRA men raided the house, killing two men and fatally wounding one. Two other officers were shot but survived. This raid seems to have been bedlam as many of the men were with their wives.

Killed

Major Charles Dowling, 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards.

Captain Leonard Price MC, Middlesex Regiment

Fatally Wounded

Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Montgomery DSO, Royal Marines. Cousin of the future Field Marshal. Montgomery died of his injuries on 10 December.

Wounded and survived.

Captain Brian Keenlyside MC, Lancashire Fusiliers. Not an Int Officer, he was by one account in bed with Mrs Keenlyside who saved his life by shielding him with her own body. Another account said she attacked Mick O'Hanlon who was about to shoot her husband. Whichever account is correct, Mick Flanagan, leader of the attacking group pulled her out of the way and shot Keenlyside but only hit him in the arm.

Lieutenant Randolph Murray, Royal Scots. Shot as he walked down the stairs. Murray was an Intelligence Officer but was not on the list of men to be killed.

Lieutenant Colonel Wilfred Woodcock DSO, Lancashire Fusiliers. Getting dressed for Church Parade he left his flat to warn the other men in the house that armed men were coming in the back door and was shot along with Montgomery. Mrs Woodcock left an account of the attack on 28 Pembroke Street.

Col Woodcock

The luckiest officer in Ireland that morning was Lt Robert Jeune who had been involved in a search at Kingsbridge Station until the small hours. Too tired to make his way home he slept in a railway carriage, returning home to find the house resembling an abbatoir. His story is a chapter in an interesting book, British Voices from the Irish War of Independence.

117 Morehampton Road

Intelligence Officer, Lieutenant Donald MacLean, Rifle Brigade, his landlord Thomas Smith and MacLean’s brother in law John Caldow were all shot here. Smith’s ten year old son answered the door to the killers. MacLean asked to not be shot in front of his wife and the three men were taken upstairs for execution. Some sources say Smith was an informer but I doubt it. Renting a room to an Intelligence Officer wouldn’t be much of a cover.

Caldow, who was just visiting his sister, survived being shot. He had served in the Royal Scots Fusiliers in the war and was considering joining the RIC.

119 Lower Baggot Street

Three addresses at Lower Baggot Street received visits from hit squads that morning. Captain Geoffrey Baggallay, South Wales Borderers was killed at No 119. Baggallay, who had lost a leg in 1917, was a Courts Martial Officer with nothing much to do with intelligence. Vol Thomas Whelan was charged with Baggallay’s murder, found guilty and executed in Mountjoy on March 14. A famous participant in this raid was future Taoiseach Sean Lemass who once replied to a queation about Bloody Sunday with the remark that “firing squads don’t have reunions”.

92 Lower Baggot Street

Captain William Newberry of 4th Bn. The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment), was also a Courts Martial Officer. He was 45 years old and was shot dead while trying to escape out his bedroom window. A lady who was in his bedroom at the time was apparently not his wife. She was heavily pregnant and gave birth to a still-born child a few days later. She died shortly after giving birth. A targeted member of the Auxiliaries was not at home at this address.

The residents of No 84 Lower Baggot Street were also not at home to death squads that morning.

38 Upper Mount St

Lieutenant Peter Ames, Grenadier Guards. Ames was an American who joined the army to serve in the war and later joined MI5.

Captain George Bennett, R.A.S.C. Bennett appears to actually have been an Intelligence Officer. His mother was Dutch and Bennett was employed for a time in intelligence in Holland during the war. Certainly the IRA believed that he and Ames were the leaders of the group they sought to eradicate. The two men had only moved house the day before from 28 Pembroke Street and an extra squad had to be found to deal with them. Patrick Moran would be executed for the killings here although he was in fact engaged at another location.

22 Lower Mount Street

Lieutenant Henry Angliss DCM, aka Patrick Mahon. Angliss might also be an assumed name as he was possibly born Henry McLoughlin. Whatever his name he joined the Scottish Rifles in 1910 and served in France and Russia, being commissioned in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1917.

The job in this house was interrupted by the arrival on the street outside of a patrol of Auxiliaries. The hit squad were forced into a retreat, shooting Angliss as they departed. Another man named John Connolly, a Wexfordman and a Lieutenant in the Leinster Regiment, survived despite being in the room with Angliss. Another man targeted that morning, Lieutenant Charles Peel, also survived by barricading himself into his room. The retreating IRA men fired some shots through the door but missed Peel.

The only IRA man captured during the raids was Frank Teeling who was wounded and arrested outside the house by the Auxiliary patrol. He was sentenced to death but escaped from Kilmainham 0n the night of the 21 February 1921.

Two Auxiliaries from this patrol had been sent back to Beggar’s Bush Barracks for reinforcements. Intercepted by IRA sentries at Mount Street Bridge, the two were taken into the garden of 16 Northumberland Road and shot dead. They were;

Cadet Frank Garniss, 34. From Hull, Yorkshire. Garniss joined the West Yorkshire Regiment in 1903 and was commissioned in 1917. He joined the Auxiliaries a month previously.

Cadet Cecil Morris, age 24, from Croydon, Surrey. Like Garniss, Morris had a month’s service in the Auxiliaries. Morris had served with the Middlesex Regiment and Machine Gun Corps during the War.

The two were the first Auxiliaries KIA in the War.

The Gresham Hotel

Patrick McCormack, a Veterinary Surgeon from Co. Mayo who had served in the RAVC in Egypt during the war was shot dead in his bed in Room 24. McCormack had nothing at all to do with the Secret Service and was trying to start a career in horse racing. Killing him was a failure of intelligence on the part of the IRA.

Leonard Wilde, probably worked in intelligence work as a Consular Official in Spain. In a varied career Wilde had been a Benedictine Novice and had served in the Sherwood Foresters in France. He apparently mistook the raiders for fellow British agents when he met them in a hallway and identified himself by name and as an Intelligence Agent just before being shot dead.

28 Earlsfort Terrace

The target here was a Lieutenant Colonel Fitzpatrick. The maid who answered the door said that there was a Captain Fitzgerald in the house so the IRA hit squad shot him in his bed.

fitzgerald.jpg

Captain Fitzgerald was in fact an RIC Barrack Defence Sergeant named John Fitzgerald, a doctor’s son from Cappawhite, Co.Tipperary. He enlisted in the Royal Irish Regiment in 1915, was wounded on the Somme and later joined the RFC. He was shot down and taken prisoner in 1917 and also served in Russia, with the RAF. In June 1920 he joined the RIC in Co. Clare and had survived an IRA attempt on his life by feigning death when he was shot. He was recovering from his injuries in Dublin when his luck ran out. This killing seems to have been another faux pas by the IRA.

More reading here, includes links to pages on the victims as well as men who evaded the hitmen or escaped.


 
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21 November 1920 - Part 2

Croke Park


The Tipperary team photographed before the match

A combined force of military and RIC mounted what was supposed to be a search operation on the crowd, of about 5,000 people, attending a football match between Dublin and Tipperary in Croke Park. The plan was to surround the ground man all exits and search every man leaving the ground. Instead, at 3.25 pm about 10 minutes into the match, some Black and Tans entered the ground at the Canal End and opened fire into the crowd. The firing went on for 90 seconds with over 200 rounds fired. Fourteen people were killed outright or were fatally injured. The dead were;


Michael Hogan (24, pictured above), Captain of the Tipperary team and the only player to die. Hogan was a member of the IRA back in Tipperary.

Jane Boyle (26), Dublin. The only woman to die on the day. She was in attendance with her fiancé to whom she was to be married the following week.

James Burke (44), Dublin

Michael Feery (40), Dublin.

James Matthews (38), Dublin

Patrick O’Dowd (57), Dublin

Jerome O’Leary (10), Dublin

Tom Ryan (27), Wexford

John Scott (14), Dublin

James Teehan (26), Tipperary

Joe Traynor (21), Dublin

Daniel Carroll (31), Tipperary (died 23 November)

Tom Hogan (19), Limerick (died 26 November)

William Robinson (11), Dublin (died 23 November)

In addition to the dead, about 80 people were injured during the disaster. Among them was Jim Egan, another Tipperary player. Egan, also a member of the IRA, would be killed during the Civil War.

Tipperary will be playing Cork tomorrow in the Munster Football Final. In honour of the occasion the Tipperary team will be playing in 1920 replica jerseys.
 
21 November 1920 - Part 3

Dublin Castle

mckee (2).png

Dick McKee (27), OC Dublin Brigade, Peadar Clancy (32), a Vice-Commandant in the Dublin brigade had been taken prisoner in the early hours of 21 November at 36 Gloucester St, the home of an IRA man named Fitzpatrick. The three men were taken to Dublin Castle and held in the Guard Room as the cells were full of men rounded up after the morning assassinations. McKee and Clancy had been deeply involved in the planning of the Bloody Sunday assassinations, which hadn't yet happened when they were captured. Their capture must have put the operation in jepoardy.

Among the other prisoners was a man named Conor Clune. Clune wasn’t an IRA man, he was on a business trip to Dublin from Clare, but he was rounded up during a search of Vaughan’s Hotel. When the prisoners were transferred on the evening of the 21st, McKee, Clancy and Clune were kept back in the guard room. Clune was possibly kept by mistake as he bore a resemblance to Fitzpatrick.

The three men were shot dead in the Guard Room at Dublin Castle “while attempting to escape”. McKee and Clancy had been informed on to the police by a James or John ‘Shankers’ Ryan. Ryan was either a serving or former RMP Lance Corporal from Gloucester Place. He'll be shot dead in Hynes Pub in Gloucester Place on 5 February 1921.
 

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sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
With the Kind assistant of irlsgt. I have been searching the nominal roles of he I RA at 1921/ 22
I am gobsmacked to discover that the IRA consisted of 92, 984 Officers and men . Blimey I always thought it was about 5,ooo. However the Dublin brigade was over 5,ooo it self .
My grandda was issued a service medal but im struggling to find him on the Rolls so Im having to search ALL of Dublin to try and find him .
Any other of us English vets have IRA ancestors.? Just to balance it all my other Granddad was at the Somme .
 

sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
MA/MSPC/RO/8 Dublin Brigade (pensions ) 7th. Battalion.

I paraphrase a letter from the minister of Defence, " the old IRA"

in connection with the interview from the delegation from the brigade __ Several Irregularities, men with good service records were not granted pension whilst those with a lesser service record did receive a pension.

In our case it was the fault of the verifying officer whose appointment was not autherised by the officers of this battalion. His first act was to secure a pension for himself and his brother then opposed pensions for other officers some of higher rank and many with much better service records than his .

Crezus Jist , what a git. now a secondary diversion n will have to be undertaken at some point to see if these rascals got their just desserts. You have to be focused when conducting family history searches but some great stories can be found to distract you .
 

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