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Irish War of Independence centenary

28 November 1920
Events elsewhere

Constable Timothy Quinn from Roscrea, Co. Tipperary died. Quinn was shot the day before in Castlemartyr, Co. Cork. He was 34 years old with 14 year's service in the RIC.

Yesterday I wrote that Constable Quinn and Sergeant Curley were involved in negotiating the entry of IRA men to Castlemartyr Barracks. This may not be true. In The Dead of the Irish Revolution, it's reported that two unnamed policemen were involved in the negotiations. The IRA men were being questioned afterwards by Sergeant Curley and Constable Quinn when the shootings took place. One of the IRA men was Joseph Aherne, who shot Quinn, and left a witness statement in which he named the two policemen as Kelly and Hassett. So apologies to Sergeant Curley, shot in the arm in the shoot out, and to Constable Quinn for traducing their memories.

Aherne's statement describing the Castlemartyr affray on page 31 or so


Six houses in Wexford were robbed by three men. Two RIC men – Constables Patrick Myers and James O’Hara – and a British soldier were arrested, tried and convicted of robbery. The two RIC men were dismissed.
 
27/28 November 1920
Liverpool


In Liverpool, local IRA men carried out arson attacks on 18 warehouses along the docks. A 19 year old civilian named William Ward noticed two men in the doorway of a warehouse in Parliament Street. When he returned with two policemen, the men fled, one of them firing a revolver and hitting Ward in the chest. The two men were arrested and tried for murder but acquitted in February 1921.

Elsewhere in Liverpool two policemen had a lucky escape. They grabbed a Volunteer named Tommy Moran as he was breaking into a warehouse. As they were doing so another Volunteer named Michael O’Leary shot one policeman in the arm and then ordered them to stand against a wall. As his comrades escaped, O’Leary attempted to kill both officers but his gun jammed.


Fear of attacks in London saw barricades erected in Downing Street after the Liverpool attacks.​

A very limited campaign of violence continued from this date to the Truce. Mostly it was arson attacks although there were one or two attacks on members of the RIC home on leave. In all five people died in the campaign.
 
28 November 1920

In Co. Cork the Kilmichael Ambush took place. After Bloody Sunday, Kilmichael may be the war’s second best known event. The IRA were led by Tom Barry, who seemed to be out to make himself famous. The event is still somewhat controversial, with historians sniping at each other in the letter pages of newspapers, allegations being made made that the Auxiliaries surrendered and then resumed firing, that writers made up interviews with participants and that the IRA killed their prisoners after the battle.

The IRA Flying Column was mobilised on the day if Bloody Sunday and spent the week preparing for the ambush. Barry’s flying column numbered between 36 and 40 men armed with an assortment of weapons; Lee Enfield rifles, Ross rifles, revolvers, shotguns and some grenades. They had about 35 rounds of ammunition per man. Most of the IRA Volunteers wore civilian clothes, but some, like Barry himself, wore an Irish Volunteer tunic.

C Company Auxiliary Division RIC had been based at Macroom Castle since early September. As Auxiliaries went, they don’t seem to have been all that bad and had only killed the one man in that length of time. Their patrol commanders had fallen into the fatal flaw of using the set routes and times for their patrols.



Map of the Kilmichael Ambush​

Barry had chosen an ambush site on the Macroom to Dunmanway road about 1.5 miles south of the village of Kilmichael, anticipating three lorries in the convoy. In fact two turned up and the site that was chosen was on a bend in the road so that the first lorry would be out of site of the following vehicles when the attack began. The ambushers moved into position before dawn on Sunday 28th November. It was a long cold wait until the Auxiliaries turned up at 4.30 in the evening. Barry deployed his men as shown in the map above.

Barry was standing by the side of the road. Some accounts said that he was wearing British army uniform, Barry himself said a Volunteer tunic. In the dusk the two were probably indistinguishable anyway. He presumably flagged down the lorry and ten initiated the ambush by throwing a grenade into the cab, killing the driver. The riflemen in the command post and in 1 Section opened fire at point blank range and all nine Auxiliaries in the first lorry were killed within minutes.


Photograph of part of the ambush site taken in the 1920s
The area where 2 Section was located at the rocky outcrop beside the road. The Auxiliaries second lorry stopped here and this is where the IRA’s three fatalities occurred. 3 Section was located near the camera’s position.

At 2 Section’s position the firing was again at close range. One IRA man was probably killed and at least one wounded here during the initial firefight. It is usually claimed that Mick McCarthy was killed after the "false surrender" Jack Hennessy who received a scalp wound but survived left a witness statement in which he recalled McCarthy being killed early on. After the occupants of the first lorry were dealt with, Barry had moved up from the Command Post with the three riflemen he had there to engage the second lorry. Here he later claimed to have witnessed the false surrender. The story was that an Auxiliary on the road threw down his rifle and called out that he was surrendering. Some men broke cover to take the surrender whereupon the Auxiliary either took back up his rifle or drew his revolver and resumed firing. Three men were hit in this burst of firing- John Lordan, Jim Sullivan and Pat Deasy. Sullivan's and Deasy’s wounds proved fatal. According to Barry he gave the order to continue firing until all the Auxiliaries were dead. The wounded, according to Hennessy’s witness statement, were finished off with bayonets and rifle butts.

A the end of the ambush 16 Auxiliaries were dead, along with three IRA men. One Auxiliary, Cadet HF Forde, was wounded, left for dead but survived. It is frequently said that Forde was left with permanent brain damage but this appears to be untrue. He appears to have married and had a couple of children. Forde lived until 1941 and died in Rhodesia.

Cadet Cecil Guthrie had escaped and was captured by an IRA unit while travelling on foot cross country back to Macroom. Guthrie was executed two days later and his body buried in a bog. In 1926 locals had him exhumed and he is interred in Inchegeela Churchyard not far from Kilmichael. Guthrie joined the RIC on 19th August 1920, Auxiliary no. 294. He had been a Lieutenant in the RAF, and was a native of Fyfe. He was the only one of the Kilmichael Auxiliaries to have been married and his wife was living in Macroom at the time of his death.

The Auxiliaries KIA were;

District Inspector Francis Crake MC, 27. joined the RIC 14th August 1920, Auxiliary No. 205. Ex Captain, Hampshire Regiment, and a native of Northumberland. Home address: 22 Westgate Road, Newcastle on Tyne. Buried at Elswick, Newcastle on Tyne.

T/Cadet William Barnes DFC, 26. joined the RIC 18th August 1920, Auxiliary No. 269. Ex Lieut. RAF, and a native of Surrey. Home address: 47 Glebe Road, Sutton, Surrey. Buried at Bexhill Churchyard, Sutton

T/Cadet Cyril Bayley, 22. joined the RIC 18th August 1920, Auxiliary No. 328. Ex Lieut. RAF, and a native of Lancashire. Home address: 24, Reynard Road, Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Manchester.

T/Cadet Leonard Bradshaw, 22. joined the RIC 18th August 1920, Auxiliary No. 297. Ex Lieut. Royal Field Artillery, and a native of Lancashire. Home address: 24 , Larkhill Terrace, Blackburn.

T/Cadet James Gleave DFC, 21. joined the RIC 18th August 1920, Auxiliary No. 266. Ex Lieut. RAF, and a native of Worcester. Home address: Crundale near Canterbury.

T/Cadet Philip Graham, 31. joined the RIC 18th August 1920, Auxiliary No. 274. Ex Captain, Northumberland Fusiliers. Home address: 14 Wooton Road, Abingdon, Berkshire. Buried at Abingdon.

T/Cadet William Hooper-Jones, 24. Auxiliary No. 413. Ex Lieut. Northumberland Fusiliers, and a native of Hampshire. Buried at Holcombe near Bury.

T/Cadet Frederick Hugo OBE MC, 40. joined the RIC on 16 November 1920, Auxiliary No. 820. Ex Major Royal Engineers & Indian Army, and a native of London. Home address: Grove House, Southgate. Buried at Southgate.

T/Cadet Albert Jones, 33. joined the RIC on 18th August 1920, Auxiliary No. 268. Ex 2nd Lieut Shropshire Regiment, and a native of Northamptonshire. Home address: 56 Swindon Road, Wroughton, Wiltshire.

T/Cadet Ernest Lucas, 31. joined the RIC on 18th August 1920, Auxiliary No. 292. Ex 2nd Lieut Royal Sussex Regiment, and a native of Sussex. Home address: 42 Fox Street, Shaldon, Tidworth

T/Cadet William Andre Pallister, 25. joined the RIC 22 October 1920, Auxiliary No. 822. Ex Captain, West Yorkshire Regiment, and a native of Yorkshire. Home address: 71 Primrose Avenue, Sheffield. Buried at Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.

T/Cadet Henry Oliver Pearson, 21. joined the RIC 31st May 1920 as a Defence of Barracks Sergeant, Auxiliary No. 835. Ex Lieut. Yorkshire Regiment, and a native of Co Armagh.

T/Cadet Frank Taylor, 22. joined the RIC 18th August 1920, Auxiliary No. 331; Ex Lieut. RAF, and was a native of Kent. Home address: 21 Seaview Road, Gillingham, Kent.

T/Cadet Christopher Herbert Wainwright, 36. joined the RIC 18th August 1920, Auxiliary No. 330. Ex Capt Royal Dublin Fusiliers and Royal Irish Rifles. He had 10 years army service, and was a native of Lancashire. Home address: 13 Brunswick Road, Gravesend.

T/Cadet Benjamin Webster, 30. joined the RIC 16th November 1920, Auxiliary No. 832. Ex Lieut. Black Watch, and was a native of Lanark. Home address: 300 Langside Road, Crosshill, Glasgow.

Constable Arthur Poole, 21. joined the RIC 24th September 1920, ex Motor Fitter RAF, and was a native of London. Home address: Muriel Street, Kings Cross, London. Buried on 06.12.1920 at Kensal Rise Cemetery, London. He and four brothers came through the war unscathed. You’ll notice from his rank that Poole wasn’t an Auxiliary but a Black and Tan.

IRA Casualties

Commandant Michael McCarthy Vice OC 3rd Bn, Cork No 3 Bde. McCarthy was from Dunmanway, aged 25. He had been released from Wormwood Scrubs earlier in the year while on hunger strike.

Lieutenant James O’Sullivan, 23, a farmer from Kilmichael and a member of Kilmeen Coy, Cork No 3 Bde

Volunteer Patrick Deasy, aged 16, from Bandon. 1st Bn, Cork No 3 Bde.

All three are buried in Castletownkinneigh Cemetery, Co. Cork.

C Company ADRIC

Kilmichael Ambush

RTE article;

Kilmichael Ambush: This means war (rte.ie)

Tom Barry speaks:

RTÉ Archives | War and Conflict | Kilmichael Ambush Recalled (rte.ie)

A programme about the members of the Flying Column concerned:

RTÉ Archives | War and Conflict | The Kilmichael Ambush (rte.ie)

Alas, as we know only the victors can give their side of the story in this particular episode (Unless Cadet Forde left a record?).
 
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27/28 November 1920
Liverpool


In Liverpool, local IRA men carried out arson attacks on 18 warehouses along the docks. A 19 year old civilian named William Ward noticed two men in the doorway of a warehouse in Parliament Street. When he returned with two policemen, the men fled, one of them firing a revolver and hitting Ward in the chest. The two men were arrested and tried for murder but acquitted in February 1921.

Elsewhere in Liverpool two policemen had a lucky escape. They grabbed a Volunteer named Tommy Moran as he was breaking into a warehouse. As they were doing so another Volunteer named Michael O’Leary shot one policeman in the arm and then ordered them to stand against a wall. As his comrades escaped, O’Leary attempted to kill both officers but his gun jammed.


Fear of attacks in London saw barricades erected in Downing Street after the Liverpool attacks.​

A very limited campaign of violence continued from this date to the Truce. Mostly it was arson attacks although there were one or two attacks on members of the RIC home on leave. In all five people died in the campaign.
Fiction. From a great series IMO. But it must have been in the consciousness of the time.
 
Alas, as we know only the victors can give their side of the story in this particular episode (Unless Cadet Forde left a record?).
If he did it's not quoted anywhere that I could find.

Incidentally the ambush in the film, The Wind That Shakes The Barley is based on the Kilmichael Ambush.
 
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What if he had survived though, his plans to invade the north uniting the entire island. Would the British Empire have taken it on the chin or would they have retaken Ireland ?
Apparently when the Four Courts stand off with the anti-treaty forces happened in Dublin in 1922, Collins was told by the British Government to get a grip or they would reoccupy the 26 counties. Hence the loan of the Artillery. Collins had to ask if there were any ex British Army gunners amongst his men. There were clashes on the border between the Free State Army and the British Army in which the FSA came off worse. Do you really think that the FSA would have been able to take and hold the North against the opposition of a million heavily armed truculent Protestants?

Still, we are getting ahead of ourselves here. I hope Gary's excellent thread covers the civil war. I admire his attempts to present the facts in a neutral manner as well.
 
More reading on Kilmichael

Guerilla Days in Ireland by Tom Barry

The IRA and Its Enemies by Peter Hart

Tom Barry, IRA Freedom Fighter by Meda Ryan

There seems to be no objective books on Kilmichael. Barry wanted to make Tom Barry look good, Hart seemed to want to make the IRA look as bad as possible while Ryan thinks membership of the IRA is just a small step under actual sainthood. It's been many years since I read Barry's account, about 20 since reading Hart and I avoid Meda Ryan at all costs.

Witness Statements in the Bureau of Military History of men who took part in the ambush. A reminder that the statements were taken almost 40 years after the event and may be subject to false memories or people adding in details they heard from others.

Jack Hennessy’s Witness Statement

https://www.militaryarchives.ie/col...ory-1913-1921/reels/bmh/BMH.WS1234.pdf#page=5

Tim Keohane’s Witness Statement

https://www.militaryarchives.ie/col...ory-1913-1921/reels/bmh/BMH.WS1295.pdf#page=6

James Murphy’s Witness Statement

https://www.militaryarchives.ie/col...ory-1913-1921/reels/bmh/BMH.WS1684.pdf#page=6

Edward Young’s Witness Statement

https://www.militaryarchives.ie/col...ry-1913-1921/reels/bmh/BMH.WS1402.pdf#page=14

Cornelius Kelleher’s Witness Statement (Not a participant but describes events directly after the ambush from around page 10)

I think it's good to read all three books.

Tom Barry's book is actually a good description of guerrilla warfare, even if he does big up his own role (well he would, wouldn't he?) and some of his tales don't ring true, or at least are a bit embellished.

Hart's book is excellent, except oddly enough when it comes to Kilmichael, when it descends into overt partisanship and is frankly nonsense at times, it's odd that such a good book should be most recalled for its weakest chapter.

Meda Ryan is fun, like a night in a pub singing all the old rebel songs for the crack, sometimes it's just good for a laugh to read old, unreconstructed, unrevised Irish history, while realising that a lot of it is bollocks but still entertaining.

Read all three and form your own judgement.
 
Fiction. From a great series IMO. But it must have been in the consciousness of the time.
That brings back memories, I had forgotten all about that scene, but when it was shown in the mid 1970s it was quite shocking. An IRA attack on Crown forces that was portrayed sympathetically, I am surprised it got passed the Beeb's editors.
 
I am surprised it got passed the Beeb's editors.
I think you answered your own question there. It has been the Anti British Broadcasting Corporation for a while. So it is no suprise that an IRA attack on Crown forces was shown sympathetically. There is a couple of threads on Arrse devoted to BBC bias.
 
I think you answered your own question there. It has been the Anti British Broadcasting Corporation for a while. So it is no suprise that an IRA attack on Crown forces was shown sympathetically. There is a couple of threads on Arrse devoted to BBC bias.
Not in the 70s it wasn't, certainly not when it came to the Troubles. Paul McCartney's "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" was banned from Radio One, The Police's "Invisible Sun" video was banned from ToTP for showing a scene of a kid throwing a stone at an Army Land Rover, I also recall listening to The World At One the day Bobby Sands died and Robin Day specifically referring to "Mr Sands' suicide".

The Beeb was a different place back then. (Caution: thread drift)
 
29 November 1920

Constable Maurice Quirke, died aged 34. Quirke was from Firires, Co. Kerry with 13 years’ service in the RIC. He had been stationed in Cappoquin for five years. George Lennon and Mick Mansfield of the West Waterford Bde had been intending to kill the local DI. They shot Quirke because they thought he had seen them and knew who they were. Constable Quirke left a widow, Ann, and three children. He is interred in Kilnanare Old Burial Ground, Kerry.

In Cork, father and son, James and Frederick Blemens were abducted on this date, questioned and shot as spies by the IRA on 2nd December. Cork was in a spy frenzy at this stage of the war and the Blemens were from Dublin and Protestant. Their bodies are believed to be buried in Carroll's Bog south of Cork city.

Denis O’Sullivan was drinking in a pub not far from the Kilmichael ambush site. A couple of Auxiliaries on a reprisal mission took him out and shot him.

Martin Walsh, a 62 year old inmate of Ennis Asylum failed to halt when challenged and was shot dead by Private James Arthur of the Royal Scots.

James Conlan a 27 year old ex-soldier and member of the IRA died from gangrene in a Dublin hospital. He had been shot by an Auxiliary patrol on 23rd November.
 
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Apparently when the Four Courts stand off with the anti-treaty forces happened in Dublin in 1922, Collins was told by the British Government to get a grip or they would reoccupy the 26 counties. Hence the loan of the Artillery. Collins had to ask if there were any ex British Army gunners amongst his men. There were clashes on the border between the Free State Army and the British Army in which the FSA came off worse. Do you really think that the FSA would have been able to take and hold the North against the opposition of a million heavily armed truculent Protestants?

Still, we are getting ahead of ourselves here. I hope Gary's excellent thread covers the civil war. I admire his attempts to present the facts in a neutral manner as well.
Point of order @Gary Cooper inputs into the thread, @bohs_man created it. By and large it has been informative and good craic. It helps if you have walked around Dublin and rural Ireland
 
Where has all that EU money from the last 47 years gone. I thought that was to improve the infrastructure?
It has...but on major roads etc. Much of that area is B roads...bit like rural England in many cases.

Well it was the last time I was down there about 10 odd years ago.
 

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