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Irish War of Independence centenary

Way off topic, but has anyone read "Say Nothing" by Patrick Radden Keefe? It's a superb read, bit of a shock at the end too, almost like a fictional detective novel, but all too real unfortunately.
It is worth reading, but parts of it are totally incorrect, and some of it is plagerized, though possibly accidentally. I provided Keefe with a lot of information with permission to use it as he saw fit, but he ignored a central piece of the jigsaw for which I provided rock solid evidence, and then he went on to quote me directly with a complete paragraph I had spoken in a documentary ten years previously, which I had not referred to, and which he did not provide a citation.

On the plus side he did make a general acknowledgement for the help, but also made other direct quotes, again without citation. I believe it happened because Keefe is more of a journalist than an academic and was not being malicious, but his dismissal of vital evidence is inexplicable.

He is, nevertheless, pretty much on the money with his account of what happened to Jean McConville and on who actually participated...... Though I would argue that only up to a point, and again., he got a lot of that from someone else, not me I hasten to add. However, while his final shocking twist has some (wafer thin) credibility, its speculative because it is based on a third-hand interpretation of something someone said. A worthwhile read nonetheless especially for those who really want to know how and why a lot of other stuff happened during a key part of the Troubles.
 
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It is worth reading, but parts of it are totally incorrect, and some of it is plagerized, though possibly accidentally.
Yeah, a large amount of it seems to be repeated from Ed Moloney's Voices From the Grave but as that was largely based on the Boston transcripts that is to be expected.

The totally incorrect bits, at the risk of dragging the thread totally off topic, can you fill us in?
 
A template for a certain Mr Adams in later years perhaps?
Wishful thinking.

You know very well that "Adams has stated repeatedly that he has never been a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army ". You have his word on it.
 
Yeah, a large amount of it seems to be repeated from Ed Moloney's Voices From the Grave but as that was largely based on the Boston transcripts that is to be expected.

The totally incorrect bits, at the risk of dragging the thread totally off topic, can you fill us in?
First let me say that neither I nor anyone else that I am aware of has any evidence that Jean McC ever provided information to the security forces in any form. Nor do I expect to find any. However, I am astonished that there are so many people who deny the existence of a small hand held radio being a available to the security forces at the time.

Keefe chose to rely on the testimony of a former SB man who categorically denied the very existence of such a device being in use at the time of the abduction - a claim that doesn't stand up long enough to knock it down. The poor woman was abducted on 7 December 1972, and I was personally issued with a 'Stornophone' - a simple two channel, 'press to talk' device, in May 1971 while based in the Lower Falls. But I didn't need to rely on memory, I provided Keefe with photographic evidence of soldiers using the 'Storno' inside Divis flats at least a year before the abduction. For clarity, the storno fitted the top pocket of a. Combat jacket. Over a dozen photographs and one video have since been discovered of soldiers using the Storno in Belfast. Between mid 1970-72 and part of the de Silva. Report into the events of 30 Jan 72 contain official military references to the use of the Stornophone that day - 11 months prior to the abduction. Yet a senior member of Ruc SB claims that neither these nor any similar device were in use by the Security Forces either at or prior to the abduction - I have a bit of news for him, I have evidence that the Ruc had them too.

It was argued that the military would never use a device for the alleged purpose on security grounds, a valid, but irrelevant argument because, by the summer of 1972, the Stornophone had been withdrawn from use in the Lower Falls (and other hard area TAORs) and replaced by the Pye Pocket phone which used completely different frequencies. If one considered that the McConville flat at Judes Walk was in the direct line of sight to both Albert Street Mill on one side and Hastings St Ruc Station on the other, then the argument becomes plausible. The next objection was that the Security Forces had little to gain. That is debatable, but what is indisputable, and I would argue that anyone on this site who served in the Divis complex during the early seventies will know, that chatting up the locals in order to gain 'low level' information was a unit SOP - particularly among the 5000 residents of the Divis complex.

Furthermore, the tactic of producing P-Card indexes based on such information was an element of the doctrine developed by Frank Kitson. At a COIN conference in the USA in 1962 he said 'because the insurgent lives among the passive population it is necessary, to defeat him, to gather information from low_level sources that can be developed with other material from special forces, to provide actionable intelligence.... the quality is not important, speed is essential.... the accuracy can be sorted out afterwards'.

Source material from the National Archives from 1972, reveal that the Mod admitted that 'Intelligence in Belfast was non existent at the time, Intreps had been exaggerated for "political and PR reasons".

Too much evidence to simply disregard. By all means rebutt but not merely because a deluded cop said so and a researcher did' t do his stuff.
 
I take it that they had been on Christmas and New Years leave?

That would have been pretty much a disaster leaving Dev in charge. I wonder why Cathal Brugha backed it. Was Dev trying to stitch Collins up from the beginning?
Wonder if it was to do with Collins still being in the IRB?

Brugha was Minister of Defence
 
First let me say that neither I nor anyone else that I am aware of has any evidence that Jean McC ever provided information to the security forces in any form. Nor do I expect to find any. However, I am astonished that there are so many people who deny the existence of a small hand held radio being a available to the security forces at the time.

Keefe chose to rely on the testimony of a former SB man who categorically denied the very existence of such a device being in use at the time of the abduction - a claim that doesn't stand up long enough to knock it down. The poor woman was abducted on 7 December 1972, and I was personally issued with a 'Stornophone' - a simple two channel, 'press to talk' device, in May 1971 while based in the Lower Falls. But I didn't need to rely on memory, I provided Keefe with photographic evidence of soldiers using the 'Storno' inside Divis flats at least a year before the abduction. For clarity, the storno fitted the top pocket of a. Combat jacket. Over a dozen photographs and one video have since been discovered of soldiers using the Storno in Belfast. Between mid 1970-72 and part of the de Silva. Report into the events of 30 Jan 72 contain official military references to the use of the Stornophone that day - 11 months prior to the abduction. Yet a senior member of Ruc SB claims that neither these nor any similar device were in use by the Security Forces either at or prior to the abduction - I have a bit of news for him, I have evidence that the Ruc had them too.

It was argued that the military would never use a device for the alleged purpose on security grounds, a valid, but irrelevant argument because, by the summer of 1972, the Stornophone had been withdrawn from use in the Lower Falls (and other hard area TAORs) and replaced by the Pye Pocket phone which used completely different frequencies. If one considered that the McConville flat at Judes Walk was in the direct line of sight to both Albert Street Mill on one side and Hastings St Ruc Station on the other, then the argument becomes plausible. The next objection was that the Security Forces had little to gain. That is debatable, but what is indisputable, and I would argue that anyone on this site who served in the Divis complex during the early seventies will know, that chatting up the locals in order to gain 'low level' information was a unit SOP - particularly among the 5000 residents of the Divis complex.

Furthermore, the tactic of producing P-Card indexes based on such information was an element of the doctrine developed by Frank Kitson. At a COIN conference in the USA in 1962 he said 'because the insurgent lives among the passive population it is necessary, to defeat him, to gather information from low_level sources that can be developed with other material from special forces, to provide actionable intelligence.... the quality is not important, speed is essential.... the accuracy can be sorted out afterwards'.

Source material from the National Archives from 1972, reveal that the Mod admitted that 'Intelligence in Belfast was non existent at the time, Intreps had been exaggerated for "political and PR reasons".

Too much evidence to simply disregard. By all means rebutt but not merely because a deluded cop said so and a researcher did' t do his stuff.
Fascinating as always Kinch, thank you, I think we might be at severe risk of thread drift so we should perhaps leave it or move to a different thread but it's good to hear your informed perspective.
 
19 January 1921

Denis Hegarty, a 30 year old agricultural labourer, was found dead in the lane leading to his employers farm at Timoleague, Co. Cork at about 3 am. Hegarty had last been seen alive when he left his stepbrother’s house at 9 pm the previous evening.

The IRA blamed the military in the shape of the Essex Regiment and also pointed the finger of suspicion at Hegarty’s employer, John Good. Good was the wrong religion and he and his son William will be shot as spies in March.

The Dublin Brigade attacked an Auxiliary lorry on Parliament St, wounding two men. Cadet Henry Barrett from Nuneaton and Cadet Stanley Strasman from London.


The Auxiliaries in Galway went on a sustained rampage of reprisals. Following the killing of Thomas Collins on the 19th, they burned 8 houses in the area and will kill three more men on 22nd.
 
Collins didn't do the dirty jobs himself though, he was good at getting others to do it; he got directly involved in it once and it didn't go well for him.
Military commanders do not and should not get directly involved. To throw another thread drift in the pot, I'll cite the example of Lt Col H Jones at Goose Green. A battalion commander has no business charging a machine gun. Likewise Collins had no business going out shooting DMP Detectives. He had better things to be doing.
That would have been pretty much a disaster leaving Dev in charge. I wonder why Cathal Brugha backed it. Was Dev trying to stitch Collins up from the beginning?
I've forgotten most of the politics. I remember being bored brainless by an unending module of the Treaty negotiations in school. I read Coogan's biography of de Valera 20 years ago although Coogan isn't an objective historian IMO. My impression was that Dev and Collins did not get along. I know less about Brugha and Stack, except the latter came close to being executed late in the Civil War. They were probably Dev's boys and would have backed whatever scheme he came up with.
 
Military commanders do not and should not get directly involved. To throw another thread drift in the pot, I'll cite the example of Lt Col H Jones at Goose Green. A battalion commander has no business charging a machine gun. Likewise Collins had no business going out shooting DMP Detectives. He had better things to be doing.
I know and I agree, although I might not have been clear about that. Goose Green had come to my mind whilst I was writing the first post. Collins' job was organising the dirty work and the right people to do it.

Likewise Collins had no business going out shooting DMP Detectives.
Or standing up to shoot at an ambush position with a SMLE.

ISTR that his relative lack of 'hands on' experience was used against him by someone (may have been Stack) during the acrimonious debates in the Dáil Éireann in December & January 1921/22 about the terms of the Treaty that Collins and others had signed.
 
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ISTR that his relative lack of 'hands on' experience was used against him by someone (may have been Stack) during the acrimonious debates in the Dáil Éireann in December & January 1921/22 about the terms of the Treaty that Collins and others had signed.
Yet the majority of TDs and voters backed the Treaty and Collins
 
Yet the majority of TDs and voters backed the Treaty and Collins
64 for, 57 against; a close-run thing.
I don't think they'd have got anything more from the British or that they'd have been able to reject the treaty and operate an alternative administration.
 
Or standing up to shoot at an ambush position with a SMLE.
In the video I posted on an earlier post of an interview with Emmet Dalton in the seventies, he specifically criticeses Collins for that stating that he had told Collins to drive on through the ambush, but Collins insisted on fighting it out and was hit. He says it was due to Collins lack of military experience.
 
20 January 1921

The Glenwood Ambush was carried out by the East Clare Brigade Flying Column led by Michael Brennan. The ambush resulted in the deaths of six policemen. There were 37 men in the ambush party, broken into three sections, and about half were armed with rifles and the rest with shotguns. There were no casualties on the IRA side and they captured eight rifles, six revolvers and a quantity of ammunition. Reprisals by the RIC followed the ambush with a large number of houses burnt that night around the nearby village of Kilkishen.

The Casualties were;

District Inspector William Clarke, age 28 from Lurgan, Co. Armagh. Clarke had been appointed a DI in October 1920, having served in the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles before being commissioned in the Royal Irish Rifles. Clarke was killed outright and is buried in the Presbyterian Graveyard in Lurgan.

Sgt Michael Molloy, age 38 from Mayo. Married with two children, Molloy had served 14 years in the RIC. He had received the Constabulary Medal for Gallantry for his part in the defence of Broadford RIC Barracks on 2nd June 1920.

Constable John Doogue, age 34 from Co. Laois. He had 12 years service.

Constable Michael Moran, age 24 from Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Moran joined the RIC in April 1919.

Constable Frank Morris, age 27, from Lancashire. Morris served for 10 years in the Royal Navy before joining the RIC in October 1920.

Constable William Smith, age 24 and from London, Smith was married with one child. He had joined the RIC in August 1920 after being demobilized from the Army.

Two other members of the patrol were wounded - Sergeant Egan and Constable Selve, and two others escaped uninjured.


o'sullivan.jpg
District Inspector Tobias O'Sullivan (above) was shot dead as he walked along Church Street in Listowel, Co. Kerry from the Police Barracks to his home. Two members of the 6th Battalion, Kerry No. 1 Brigade, Daniel O’Grady and Cornelius Brosnan, carried out the killing.

O’Sullivan was one of five brothers in the RIC. He had served since November 1899 and had been decorated for leading the defence of Kilmallock RIC Barracks on 28th May 1920. He had been promoted from Sergeant to DI and been sent to Listowel in the wake of the RIC Mutiny there. Having survived two previous attempts to kill him, O’Sullivan had a two-man bodyguard, whom he had just dismissed when his killers struck. His wife and one of his three children witnessed the attack.

Eight men were subsequently arrested and four of were found guilty of murder. The information that led to the arrests came from a Miss Burke, who fled the country, and James Kane, who didn’t, and paid the price in June 1921.

In Portlaoise, Thomas Lawless, an unemployed ex-serviceman, refused to open his door to a Constable Wilton who was drunk and seeking a bed for the night. Wilton fired a shot through the door, killing Lawless. Wilton got ten years for manslaughter but was released in March 1922 under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Edited to add photo of DI O'Sullivan from Remembering the RIC & DMP on Twitter.
 
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21 January 1921

Two RIC men were ambushed as they cycled, dressed in civilian clothes, to Waterfall Railway Station, Co. Cork. Sergeant Henry Bloxham was shot dead and Head Constable Larkin escaped although wounded. Bloxham was 41 years old, married with one child. Originally from Mayo, he joined the RIC in 1898.

An attempted IRA ambush on an RIC lorry at Drumcrondra Bridge, Dublin ended in disaster when the ambush party was surrounded by an Auxiliary patrol. The eight man unit was led by Lieutenant Frank Flood and consisted of Volunteers Thomas Bryan, Bernard Ryan, Patrick Doyle, Mick Magee, Seán Burke, a man named Dunne and Dermot O'Sullivan. The RIC were apparently warned by an informer that the ambush was taking place although the ambush party moved positions a couple of times and were probably spotted. While trying to escape the Auxiliaries Magee was shot and mortally wounded, five other IRA men were captured, with two, Seán Burke and Dunne escaping. The five survivors were court-martialled for Treason and four of them were executed in Mountjoy Jail on 14th March. Dermot O'Sullivan escaped the gallows because he was 17. He got a life sentence but was released in August 1921.

The alleged informer, Robert Pike, was executed near the ambush site in June 1921.

Thomas Bryan’s story features in the Boy George episode of Who Do You Think You Are.


At the first Dáil Cabinet meeting since his return from the US, de Valera proposed large scale open warfare type military activities. He withdrew the proposal due to opposition from other members of the government.
 
25 December 1920

It was pretty quiet on Christmas Day 1920;

Two creameries in the Athea area of Co. Limerick were destroyed by the RIC.

RIC Constable Edward King was arrested for committing burglary in Co. Clare and dismissed from the RIC on February 6th 1921.

Rifleman Benjamin Swain of the KRRC died after being accidentally shot by Rifleman Shipway in Ballykinlar, Co. Down.

In Queenstown, Co. Cork, Leading Signaller Alfred Glazebrook choked to death while eating his dinner. Glazebrook was from Newcastle-On-Tyne and had joined the Navy aged 15 in 1913. Two of his brothers died in the war.
Queenstown is Cobh now isn't it?
 

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