Irish War of Independence centenary

The Anti-Sinn Féin Society sounds a little too Sherlock Holmes to be honest. Personally I'd file it with the YMCA and Freemasons Spy Rings. The Coffeys were presumably shot by Auxiliaries or the RIC in retaliation for the Bradfield killings and the Anti-Sinn Féin Society was just a dark joke.
Here are two reviews of a book I had not previously heard of but which could be relevant, it's a revisionist history of Peter Hart's revisionist history and deals with the assassination of "informers" in Cork and the putative Anti-Sinn Fein Society.

https://www.historyireland.com/20th...-the-intelligence-war-in-cork-city-1920-1921/

(Blemens, see above, is mentioned in this review as the spy ringleader)


 
Paddy Moran, who was also charged with involvement in Bloody Sunday, was also supposed to escape but refused to join the break-out as he did not want to let down the witnesses that had given evidence for him. Moran had an alibi and thought he would get off. A triumph of hope over expectation as he was subsequently executed.
If he was guilty as sin I am suprised that he took the chance of relying on a fake alibi no matter how good with the hangman's noose looming. I would have taken the money and run, as I am sure most other people would have done.
Paddy Moran and Joseph Rochford were charged with the murder of Lieutenant Ames at 38 Upper Mount St on Bloody Sunday. Rochford was acquitted but Moran was found guilty and sentenced to death. Moran had a number of alibi witnesses but three British soldiers identified him. It probably didn’t help that Moran’s real alibi was that he had led the group who killed two men in the Gresham Hotel on Bloody Sunday so he couldn’t have been at Upper Mount St.
Outrage, fitted up by dodgy ID evidence from three squaddies for a crime he didn't committ because he was committing a capital crime elsewhere. You would think he would have put the record straight when the prison govenor asked him for 'any last words.'
 
Here are two reviews of a book I had not previously heard of but which could be relevant, it's a revisionist history of Peter Hart's revisionist history and deals with the assassination of "informers" in Cork and the putative Anti-Sinn Fein Society.

https://www.historyireland.com/20th...-the-intelligence-war-in-cork-city-1920-1921/

(Blemens, see above, is mentioned in this review as the spy ringleader)


I liked the summary in the historyIreland.com review; "Extracting a coherent single account is worth attempting, but we are still left with an X-Files-like absence of concrete evidence and a lot of loose ends."

Which could apply to most things in this thread or history, nothing's black & white,it's all many shades of grey.
 
16 February 1921

Continuing the bad month for the IRA in Cork, a patrol of the Essex Regiment surprised some IRA men trenching a road near Crushnalanive (or Crois-na-Leanbh) Cross near Kilbrittain. Four IRA men were killed;

Jeremiah O'Neill, Knockpogue

Timothy Connolly, Farranngark

Jack McGrath, Rathclarin

Con McCarthy , Ballinadee
 
17 February 1921

John Sisk, a railway signalman, died after being wounded at Upton, two days previously.

Mary Lindsay and her driver, James Clarke, were abducted from her house by men from the 6th Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade The men who took part in the abduction were Jackie O'Leary, Frank Busteed, Paddy Collins, Humphrey Kelleher and Mossy Hinchion.

RIC Constable James Roberts was dismissed from the RIC for committing larceny.
 
18 February 1921

Thomas Hodgett, Postmaster in Trim, Co. Meath was taken from his home and shot by person unknown. Navan History goes into the case in some detail.

Navan Historical Society - Thomas Hodgett, Postmaster

Michael Walsh, 45 year old Boer War veteran was shot in Cork by the IRA. Unusually the IRA didn’t bother saying he was in the Anti-Sinn Féin Society and Walsh probably was a low-level police informant.

The British Army conducted another major search in Dublin, this time around the Mountjoy Square area. Like the earlier extended search, this one was also unsuccessful.
 
19 February 1921

Two elderly Protestant farmers were shot near Skibbereen, Co. Cork. Both had given evidence against Florence McCarthy, a local SF Councillor who had attempted to levy money from them for IRA arms. There was an element of ethnic cleansing about the killings as the local IRA Quartermaster, Patrick O’Sullivan ordered their farms confiscated. The Sweetnam’s farm animals were stolen by the IRA in May.

Matthew Sweetnam, aged 65, was taken from his home about 8 pm. Shortly thereafter he staggered back in badly wounded. A man followed Sweetnam into the house and shot him in the head.

William Connell, aged 60, was shot dead by five or six armed men who burst into his home about 9 pm.

Michael McElligott, O/C Listowel Battalion of Kerry No. 1 Brigade was shot and fatally wounded by a military patrol at Derrymore, west of Tralee when returning from a brigade meeting. He died the following day.

The East Clare Brigade of the IRA arrest three Englishmen in civilian clothing walking in the countryside near Feakle. The three – Privates D.J. Williams; W.S Walker and H. Morgan of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry – were court-martialled and executed as spies.

The commander of the Auxiliaries, General Percy Crozier, resigned.
 
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18 February 1921

Thomas Hodgett, Postmaster in Trim, Co. Meath was taken from his home and shot by person unknown. Navan History goes into the case in some detail.

Navan Historical Society - Thomas Hodgett, Postmaster

Michael Walsh, 45 year old Boer War veteran was shot in Cork by the IRA. Unusually the IRA didn’t bother saying he was in the Anti-Sinn Féin Society and Walsh probably was a low-level police informant.

The British Army conducted another major search in Dublin, this time around the Mountjoy Square area. Like the earlier extended search, this one was also unsuccessful.
That's a fascinating link about the postmaster's murder, it seems fairly obvious who must have shot him given the circumstances, until you read on.
 
20 February 1921

The month of February continued to be one of IRA disasters in Cork. This time men of the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment stumbled upon the Flying Column of the 4th Bn, 1st Cork Brigade in a farmhouse at Clonmult, near Midleton. The IRA were asking for trouble, having remained in that one place for several weeks, had no sentries posted and the senior men were off recceing an ambush site at Dunkettle Railway Station. The military first came across two men who were fetching water from a stream. The two drew pistols and were killed running back to the farmhouse. Five men tried to break out of the farmhouse during the firefight. Three were killed, one wounded and Captain Jack O'Connell escaped. He tried unsuccessfully to organise an attack on the British forces by local Volunteers.

After a two hour firefight, which saw five IRA men killed, some Auxiliary reinforcements turned up with tins of petrol to burn the house. The subsequent events are open to interpretation. The IRA men claim they surrendered and were lined up to be shot by the Auxies. Those that survived only did so due to the intervention of an army officer. The Auxiliaries said that seven men left the farmhouse to surrender while the men left inside continued firing. Those surrendering were caught in the crossfire.

Anyway 12 IRA men died on the day with eight being captured. Two of the survivors were subsequently (legally) executed on 28th April. The luckiest IRA man in Cork was Patrick Higgins who survived execution by an Auxiliary when the policeman’s weapon misfired. Higgins was then sentenced to death by a court martial but was saved by the Truce.

The dead IRA men were;

Michael Desmond, age 22, from Midleton. One of the two men killed while getting water near the farmhouse.

John Joyce, age 22, from Midleton. The second man killed while fetching water.

Michael Hallahan, age 22, from Midleton. Mortally wounded during the breakout attempt.

Richard Hegarty , age 22, from Garryvoe. Killed as he took cover behind the fence in front of the house during the breakout attempt.

James Aherne, age 24, from Cobh. Got about 200 yards from the house during the breakout attempt. He was shot and killed climbing a fence.

The rest were either shot during or after surrendering.

Jeremiah Ahern, from Midleton.

William Aherne, age 26, from Midleton.

Donal Dennehy , age 22, from Midleton.

David Desmond, age 24, from Midleton. Brother of Michael above.

James Glavin, age 17, from Cobh.

Joseph Morrissey, age 21, from Athlone, I assume the one in Co. Westmeath.

Christopher O’Sullivan, age 27 from Midleton. O’Sullivan was an ex-soldier who had been wounded during the Great War.

Of the eight survivors, all were court-martialled and sentenced to death. Paddy O'Sullivan and Maurice Moore, both from Cobh, were executed on 28th April 1921. Patrick Higgins was saved by the Truce as he wasn’t court-martialled until June when he had recovered from his wounds. The death sentences of the others were commuted. They were Jeremiah (or Diarmuid) O'Leary, the man wounded in the breakout, Robert Walsh, Edmund Terry, John Harty and William Garde.

Elsewhere in the country.

In Co. Roscommon, Patrick Lyons, 40 year old farm labourer was shot as a spy. Lyons was an ex-Connaught Ranger who had fought in WW1.

James Geoghegan, an IRA man, aged 26, from Moycullen, Co. Galway, was shot dead in his home by Auxiliaries.

James Toner, a 55 year old farmer died after being shot in the legs by IRA men during what appears to have been an arms raid.

A Police patrol opened fire on a group of men in a field at Blackwater Mills, Co Clare. They killed two brothers who were out for a walk, Cecil O’Donovan, 18, and his brother Aidan, 14.

William Mohally, a 27 year old ex-soldier, joined the growing list of men executed in Cork for spying.
 
20 February 1921

The month of February continued to be one of IRA disasters in Cork. This time men of the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment stumbled upon the Flying Column of the 4th Bn, 1st Cork Brigade in a farmhouse at Clonmult, near Midleton. The IRA were asking for trouble, having remained in that one place for several weeks, had no sentries posted and the senior men were off recceing an ambush site at Dunkettle Railway Station. The military first came across two men who were fetching water from a stream. The two drew pistols and were killed running back to the farmhouse. Five men tried to break out of the farmhouse during the firefight. Three were killed, one wounded and Captain Jack O'Connell escaped. He tried unsuccessfully to organise an attack on the British forces by local Volunteers.

After a two hour firefight, which saw five IRA men killed, some Auxiliary reinforcements turned up with tins of petrol to burn the house. The subsequent events are open to interpretation. The IRA men claim they surrendered and were lined up to be shot by the Auxies. Those that survived only did so due to the intervention of an army officer. The Auxiliaries said that seven men left the farmhouse to surrender while the men left inside continued firing. Those surrendering were caught in the crossfire.

Anyway 12 IRA men died on the day with eight being captured. Two of the survivors were subsequently (legally) executed on 28th April. The luckiest IRA man in Cork was Patrick Higgins who survived execution by an Auxiliary when the policeman’s weapon misfired. Higgins was then sentenced to death by a court martial but was saved by the Truce.

The dead IRA men were;

Michael Desmond, age 22, from Midleton. One of the two men killed while getting water near the farmhouse.

John Joyce, age 22, from Midleton. The second man killed while fetching water.

Michael Hallahan, age 22, from Midleton. Mortally wounded during the breakout attempt.

Richard Hegarty , age 22, from Garryvoe. Killed as he took cover behind the fence in front of the house during the breakout attempt.

James Aherne, age 24, from Cobh. Got about 200 yards from the house during the breakout attempt. He was shot and killed climbing a fence.

The rest were either shot during or after surrendering.

Jeremiah Ahern, from Midleton.

William Aherne, age 26, from Midleton.

Donal Dennehy , age 22, from Midleton.

David Desmond, age 24, from Midleton. Brother of Michael above.

James Glavin, age 17, from Cobh.

Joseph Morrissey, age 21, from Athlone, I assume the one in Co. Westmeath.

Christopher O’Sullivan, age 27 from Midleton. O’Sullivan was an ex-soldier who had been wounded during the Great War.

Of the eight survivors, all were court-martialled and sentenced to death. Paddy O'Sullivan and Maurice Moore, both from Cobh, were executed on 28th April 1921. Patrick Higgins was saved by the Truce as he wasn’t court-martialled until June when he had recovered from his wounds. The death sentences of the others were commuted. They were Jeremiah (or Diarmuid) O'Leary, the man wounded in the breakout, Robert Walsh, Edmund Terry, John Harty and William Garde.

Elsewhere in the country.

In Co. Roscommon, Patrick Lyons, 40 year old farm labourer was shot as a spy. Lyons was an ex-Connaught Ranger who had fought in WW1.

James Geoghegan, an IRA man, aged 26, from Moycullen, Co. Galway, was shot dead in his home by Auxiliaries.

James Toner, a 55 year old farmer died after being shot in the legs by IRA men during what appears to have been an arms raid.

A Police patrol opened fire on a group of men in a field at Blackwater Mills, Co Clare. They killed two brothers who were out for a walk, Cecil O’Donovan, 18, and his brother Aidan, 14.

William Mohally, a 27 year old ex-soldier, joined the growing list of men executed in Cork for spying.
I wonder if there was a bit of a grudge match with the Auxilliares as a result of the allegations of Barry executing their men at Kilmichael?
 
20 February 1921

The month of February continued to be one of IRA disasters in Cork. This time men of the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment stumbled upon the Flying Column of the 4th Bn, 1st Cork Brigade in a farmhouse at Clonmult, near Midleton. The IRA were asking for trouble, having remained in that one place for several weeks, had no sentries posted and the senior men were off recceing an ambush site at Dunkettle Railway Station. The military first came across two men who were fetching water from a stream. The two drew pistols and were killed running back to the farmhouse. Five men tried to break out of the farmhouse during the firefight. Three were killed, one wounded and Captain Jack O'Connell escaped. He tried unsuccessfully to organise an attack on the British forces by local Volunteers.

After a two hour firefight, which saw five IRA men killed, some Auxiliary reinforcements turned up with tins of petrol to burn the house. The subsequent events are open to interpretation. The IRA men claim they surrendered and were lined up to be shot by the Auxies. Those that survived only did so due to the intervention of an army officer. The Auxiliaries said that seven men left the farmhouse to surrender while the men left inside continued firing. Those surrendering were caught in the crossfire.

Anyway 12 IRA men died on the day with eight being captured. Two of the survivors were subsequently (legally) executed on 28th April. The luckiest IRA man in Cork was Patrick Higgins who survived execution by an Auxiliary when the policeman’s weapon misfired. Higgins was then sentenced to death by a court martial but was saved by the Truce.

The dead IRA men were;

Michael Desmond, age 22, from Midleton. One of the two men killed while getting water near the farmhouse.

John Joyce, age 22, from Midleton. The second man killed while fetching water.

Michael Hallahan, age 22, from Midleton. Mortally wounded during the breakout attempt.

Richard Hegarty , age 22, from Garryvoe. Killed as he took cover behind the fence in front of the house during the breakout attempt.

James Aherne, age 24, from Cobh. Got about 200 yards from the house during the breakout attempt. He was shot and killed climbing a fence.

The rest were either shot during or after surrendering.

Jeremiah Ahern, from Midleton.

William Aherne, age 26, from Midleton.

Donal Dennehy , age 22, from Midleton.

David Desmond, age 24, from Midleton. Brother of Michael above.

James Glavin, age 17, from Cobh.

Joseph Morrissey, age 21, from Athlone, I assume the one in Co. Westmeath.

Christopher O’Sullivan, age 27 from Midleton. O’Sullivan was an ex-soldier who had been wounded during the Great War.

Of the eight survivors, all were court-martialled and sentenced to death. Paddy O'Sullivan and Maurice Moore, both from Cobh, were executed on 28th April 1921. Patrick Higgins was saved by the Truce as he wasn’t court-martialled until June when he had recovered from his wounds. The death sentences of the others were commuted. They were Jeremiah (or Diarmuid) O'Leary, the man wounded in the breakout, Robert Walsh, Edmund Terry, John Harty and William Garde.

Elsewhere in the country.

In Co. Roscommon, Patrick Lyons, 40 year old farm labourer was shot as a spy. Lyons was an ex-Connaught Ranger who had fought in WW1.

James Geoghegan, an IRA man, aged 26, from Moycullen, Co. Galway, was shot dead in his home by Auxiliaries.

James Toner, a 55 year old farmer died after being shot in the legs by IRA men during what appears to have been an arms raid.

A Police patrol opened fire on a group of men in a field at Blackwater Mills, Co Clare. They killed two brothers who were out for a walk, Cecil O’Donovan, 18, and his brother Aidan, 14.

William Mohally, a 27 year old ex-soldier, joined the growing list of men executed in Cork for spying.
It seems there was another ambush in Passage West, Cork that also went badly for the IRA. The RIC patrol seem to have spotted the ambush and opened fire. A volunteer, Michael John O'Mahony, was shot in the leg and died a week later from an infection.

 
21 February 1921

Three men who deserted the 1st Bn, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Strand Barracks, Limerick on 13th February were shot as spies at Poolagoond, Co. Clare. Their bodies were found the following day. They were;

5373002 Private David Williams. Age 33, from Gloucestershire. He had served in the Gloucestershire Regiment in WW1, been discharged and re-enlisted in December 1919.

5374675 Private William Walker. Age 23, Walker re-enlisted in August 1919.

5374617 Private Harry Morgan. Morgan was an assumed name, his real name was Thomas Mullett. Morgan re-enlisted in May 1919, having been discharged after the war. He was 32 years old and from Colchester.

Three "Deserteres" shot as spies

The Kilkenny IRA tried to disarm a military ration party on Friary Street in the city. The rations were transported from the military barracks to the prison every day.

Thomas Hennessy, age 30 from Threecastles, Co. Kilkenny, was shot dead.

Thomas Dollard a 37 year old Corporation worker, was fatally wounded and died later in the day. Dollard wasn’t part of the ambush.

Mick Demody one of the IRA ambushers was fatally wounded and died on 4th March.

Samuel Finnegan, a B Special was shot and killed by his own side during reprisals in Rosslea, Co. Fermanagh. The reprisals were for the shooting of George Lester, a local Unionist. George apparently survived. The Specials set fire to some nationalist houses and business premises. Some IRA men must have fought back because while pursuing a group of them, the Specials fired on a man who appeared suddenly from a laneway. That man was Finnegan.
 
21 February 1921

Three men who deserted the 1st Bn, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Strand Barracks, Limerick on 13th February were shot as spies at Poolagoond, Co. Clare. Their bodies were found the following day. They were;

5373002 Private David Williams. Age 33, from Gloucestershire. He had served in the Gloucestershire Regiment in WW1, been discharged and re-enlisted in December 1919.

5374675 Private William Walker. Age 23, Walker re-enlisted in August 1919.

5374617 Private Harry Morgan. Morgan was an assumed name, his real name was Thomas Mullett. Morgan re-enlisted in May 1919, having been discharged after the war. He was 32 years old and from Colchester.

Three "Deserteres" shot as spies
Reading the account of those three "deserters", one is forced to the conclusion that after WWI Private Baldwin was promoted to Intelligence Officer of the 1st Bn, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry based in Strand Barracks, Limerick.
 
22 February 1921

A joint military and police party was ambushed near Mountcharles, Co. Donegal. In a 30 minute firefight one soldier was wounded and Constable Thomas Satchwell was killed. Satchwell was 25 years old, from Castlerea, Co. Roscommon and had joined the RIC in 1915.

During the follow-up retaliations in Donegal Town, an Auxiliary accidentally shot dead RIC Sergeant John Hughes. Hughes was also from Roscommon, age 33, with nine years service in the RIC.

In Mountcharles itself six houses were burned. A young woman named Mary Harley was shot dead as she ran from a burning house.

The Satchwell home in Roscommon will be burned down by the IRA in July 1921.

An IRA section at Ballylongford attacked two men near Ballylongford RIC Barracks, killing Constable George Howlett, an ex-serviceman from Middlesborough, with two months RIC service. The also wounded a Naval Rating named Clarence Wills. Denis Quille one of the attacking party, went to give Wills the coup de grace but decided the sailor was as good as dead so left him. Wills survived.

Constable Joseph Hughes died of wounds in Dr. Steeven’s Hospital, Dublin. He had been wounded in an attack in Maynooth, Co. Kildare, the day before.

Constable William Fennessy died after being accidentally shot by a comrade near Duncannon, Co. Wexford. A five man patrol dismounted at Connagh Crossroads while the Sergeant in charge was having a conversation with his wife. Constable Edward Wallis decided to try out his new revolver by shooting at a crow and killed Fennessy in the process. Fennessy had joined the RIC in 1913, served in the Irish Guards in the Great War and had been wounded. Originally from Lismore, Co. Waterford, he was 28 years old.

John Sheehan, age 26 from Kanturk, Co. Cork was shot by the IRA for the usual reason.
 
23 February 1921

Barry’s Columns ambushed two Black and Tans in Bandon Co. Cork. The two men took cover in a house where one was killed and the other wounded. Constable Frederick Perrier was shot dead and a Constable Kearns wounded.

Perrier was 34, ex-Royal Navy and from Hampshire. He joined the RIC on 24 September 1920.

Separately in Bandon, another section captured two soldiers of 1st Bn, Essex Regiment. Given their regiment there was only going to be one outcome and the two men were killed. They were;

5999140 Lance Corporal Herbert Stubbs. Served in France from 1915 to 1918 and re-enlisted in 1919. He was from Woolwich.

5999062 Private James Knight. Age 25, from Dagenham, Essex. Knight served in the war and re-enlisted in France in March 1919.

Essex Soldiers executed - tit for tat killings

In Dublin The Squad killed three RIC men in the city centre. The three were in the RIC Reserve and had been stationed in Dublin Castle doing intelligence work.

Constable Martin Greer, age 27, from Boyle, Co. Roscommon. Greer joined the RIC in April 1914.

Constable Daniel Hoey from Lancashire. Age 32, he joined the RIC in January 1912.

Constable Edward McDonagh from Tuam, Co. Galway. Age 24, Mcdonagh had joined the RIC in March 1918. He was shot several times and fell through a shop window. He died later in the day in King George V Military Hospital.

The five IRA men captured at Drumcondra in January were court-martialled in Dublin. Frank Flood, Patrick Doyle , Thomas Bryan and Bernard Ryan were sentenced to death. Dermot O'Sullivan, age 17, had his sentence commuted to penal service for life because of his age.
 
25 February 1921

The IRA ambushed an Auxiliary patrol at Coolavokig, Co. Cork. From memory there was an ambush in the same area the previous year in which an officer of the Manchester Regiment was killed. This one could have turned into another disaster for the IRA as the Auxiliaries were aware that they were about to be ambushed- the ambushers had been in position every day for six days. The Auxiliaries, who were of the same company that was ambushed at Kilmichael, were still conducting patrols at set times on set routes, albeit in greater force. Read all about it here;

Coolavohig Ambush

grant.jpg
Killed in action; Major James Seafield Grant. Wounded at Loos with the KOSB in 1915, Grant served with the MGC and earned an MC for himself. He was killed almost immediately.

Fatally wounded;

Constable Arthur Cane, age 36 from London. Joined the RIC in July 1920. He had survived being wounded at Gallipoli and in France. Died February 26th.

Cadet Clive Soady, age 28 and from Hampshire. A former RN officer, Soady joined the Auxiliaries in October 1920. Wounded in the face, he died on March 1st.

At Aldergrove aerodrome, Lieutenant Hepworth Hill failed to answer the challenge of a sentry and he is buried in Belfast City Cemetery.

Henry Murray, an ex-serviceman from Carrickmacross, was shot dead in Dundalk, Co. Louth. The IRA said he was a spy, some local people said he wasn’t and that he was shot because he was an ex-soldier.

Alfred Cotter was shot as a spy in Ballineen, Co. Cork. Cotter was a Protestant who had refused an IRA order to boycott the police.

George Fletcher, a 17 year old employee in the canteen of Union Street Barrcks in Cork, died in the Mercy Hospital. He had been accidentally shot by Constable Prendergast on February 22nd.
 

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