By January 1920, the old order of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) was beginning to crumble. General Macready GOC-in-Charge, British Army in Ireland said “as regards the RIC, we are sitting on a volcano” and continued “if they were turned into an ordinary unarmed police force, they would fulfil their functions in time of peace a good deal better than at present” That didn’t happen and instead an officially sanctioned RIC murder campaign was carried out by the crumbling and undisciplined force which they pursued with relish.
A Paramilitary Police Force
The RIC were an armed paramilitary force rather than a regular civilian police force that policed Ireland under British rule since 1836. From their beginning, the mass of the Irish people were hostile to this new natively recruited police force and they disparagingly referred to them as Peelers. Darby Ryan the Bansha poet poked fun at them with his song:
“The Peeler and the Goat”
“The Bansha peelers went one night
On duty and patrolling O
They met a goat upon the road
And took him for being a stroller O
With bayonets fixed they sallied forth
And caught him by the wizzen O
And then they swore a mighty oath
We’ll send you off to prison O”
The Empires Jackboots
They were historically deeply resented but were largely unopposed by most of the population. They were seen as the eyes and ears as well as the jackboots and enforcers of the British Empire. To add insult to injury they were an Irish force keeping down their own people on behalf of a foreign oppressor. The 10,000 RIC force were a sectarianally segregated force comprising of 75% Catholic rank and file member. They weren’t trusted to hold the position of Sergeant’s or above. The majority of the officers were Protestants.
A Murder Machine
The RIC played a central role in the wholesale evictions carried out during the 1845/52 genocide. They were also instrumental in protecting the mass export of food on the behest of the British from a country whose poor people were starving to death in their millions. They had remorselessly attended as heavy handed armed enforcers at countless evictions throughout their existence and had helped to quell the Fenian uprising of 1867 for which they were given their ‘Royal’ title.
Eyes and Ears of the British Empire
Described as the eyes and ears of the British Empire the R.I.C. played a vital and a very conspicuous role in the accumulation and analysis of political intelligence. They were the British Empires primary weapon in the suppression of Irish agrarian unrest and nationalist agitation throughout the nineteenth century.
They were the British administrations first and primary defence against rebellion in Ireland. They kept a keen watch over the political sympathies and activities of people in their districts, and reported anything suspicious to their British superiors.
Intelligence-gathering was one of the RIC’s most important functions and was therefore one of the main reasons for the Irish Republican Army’s ruthless determination in their war against the R.I.C. Between 1919 and 1922 they were to become the primary focus of an intensive, effective and extremely violent campaign by the IRA.
Britain’s Irish Traitors
The RIC at that time numbered some 10,000 men and there were over 1,300 RIC barracks across the country. Being native Irish men the RIC were vulnerable and they were subjected to ostracisation as were their families. Attacks and assassinations were eminent and their first casualties were at Solohead Beg, Co Tipperary on January 21st 1919. As the campaign against them grew in intensity many members began to leave the force. Some of those who stayed were remarkably brave patriotic Irish men who risked their lives by becoming spies for the IRA. Since no new recruits were forthcoming from Ireland the British Government decided to replenish and reinforce them from Britain.
Police on the Rampage
On August 27th 1920, the Weekly Summary, the Royal Irish Constabulary’s, (RIC) internal free sheet warned with satisfaction that the newly arriving Black and Tans would make Ireland ‘an appropriate hell for those whose trade is agitation and whose method is murder’. At this stage of the War of Independence, the RIC were already a heavily militarised force. They were reinforced by new recruits descriptively known as ‘Black & Tans’ because of their uniform and by a distinct new paramilitary elite corps, the Auxiliary Division, composed of ex British Army officers.
This reinforcement of the RIC would lead to an escalated orgy of reprisals and unprovoked attacks against republicans and the general community quickly demonstrated that this was no idle threat. But was this just an escalation and a continuation of an officially sanctioned murder campaign already well underway by the RIC?
The Sack of Tuam
Reprisals and selective murders had become a tactic of the RIC long before the arrival of the Black & Tans and the Auxiliaries in what they liked to term as counter insurgency actions. After Constable Luke Finnegan’s shooting in Thurles on January 20th 1920, his RIC comrades rioted, firing in the streets and smashing the windows of prominent local republicans. RIC men damage property belonging to local Sinn Féiner’s and some public property. The offices of the Tipperary Star were also attacked. This was the first instance of police reprisals in the War of Independence. This was purely an RIC enterprise and no Black and Tans were involved.
RIC Murder and Mayhem
In March 20th 1920 Tomás MacCurtain, the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork, was murdered at his home in front of his family days after the murder of three RIC officers in the city. Mac Curtain, a subsequent inquest found, had been murdered by the police (RIC). The RIC continued to relentlessly carry out their own murder campaign separate from the Tans and the Auxiliaries. The murders of Limerick Mayor Saoirse Clancy and former Limerick Mayor Michael O’Callaghan both carried out on the same night a year after MacCurtain’s murder has been identified as an RIC operation. These Limerick murders took place at one o’clock in the morning of 7th March 1921. The RIC didn’t like Mayor’s.
On the night of July 21st 1920 the RIC in Tuam, in Co. Galway went on a rampage of terror and destruction causing damage to property estimated to be upwards of £100,000. What became known as the sack of Tuam was a reprisal for the killing of two policemen on the previous afternoon.
With the arrival of reinforcements, reprisal activity would now become a tactical constant as RIC, Black and Tans, and Auxiliaries, acting separately and in combined forces increasing embarked on attacks on individuals, communities and property in retaliation for IRA attacks.
Reports of Reprisals
Galway September the 8th,
Balbriggan September 20th,
Trim September 27th,
Mallow September 29th,
Granard November 4th, and
Cork December 11th and 12th
Writing to Walter Long (or John Anderson) on April 23rd 2020 General Macready GOC-in-C, British Army in Ireland says “as regards the RIC, we are sitting on a volcano” and continued “if they were turned into an ordinary unarmed police force, they would fulfil their functions in time of peace a good deal better than at present”
In their article ‘Smoking gun? RIC reprisals, summer 1920’, John Borgonovo and Gabriel Doherty claim to have provided ‘indisputable evidence’ that ‘Dublin Castle had authorised an assassination campaign against its republican opponents’. This ‘indisputable evidence’ consists of passages from what they describe as a ‘newly discovered’ document, a secret letter from a senior police officer to a senior civil servant.
Brigadier-General Cyril Prescott-Decie was the RIC’s Divisional Commissioner for Clare, Limerick, and northern Tipperary. In his letter, dated June 1st 1920, reporting to Dublin Castle about conditions within his division, towards the end of the letter, Prescott-Decie says the following:
‘I have been told the new policy and plan and I am satisfied, though I doubt its ultimate success in the main particular – the stamping out of terrorism by secret murder. I am still of opinion that instant retaliation is the only course for this, and until it is stamped for good and all, the same situation is likely to recur.’
Borgonovo and Doherty say there is only one way to interpret this passage: ‘the stamping out of terrorism by secret murder’ must refer to a ‘new policy and plan’ of extrajudicial killings.
They say, ‘The letter reveals a disturbing policy of assassination sanctioned by the highest level of the British government in Ireland.’ This policy was in place by the spring of 1920 – ‘months earlier than commonly believed’ – implying that ‘regular, Irish-born members of the RIC’ were involved. ‘Indeed, the proactive rather than reactive nature of the policy and its explicit “top-down” sanction by top officials in the “Irish Government” – bring into question whether the word – nay, the very concept of – “reprisal” needs to be fundamentally revised.’
David Fitzpatrick in a letter to History Ireland correctly pointed out that this document was not a new discovery. Fitzpatrick himself had discussed Prescott-Decie’s letter in his book Politics and Irish life 1913–1921, published in 1977. In fact Michael Collins had intercepted and read this letter and it has been widely discussed elsewhere from time to time ever since.
Fitzpatrick argued that Borgonovo and Doherty were misreading the letter’s crucial passage: the ‘secret murder’ in question was being committed by the ‘terrorists’ of the I.R.A.; and it was this ‘terrorism by secret murder’ that the ‘new policy and plan’ was intended to stamp out. Methinks that Fitzpatrick ‘doth protest too much’.
Borgonovo and Doherty defended their interpretation, ‘which is based on the plain meaning of the crucial sentences’. It’s amazing the amount of time and attention this letter receives from academics with such an amazingly narrow perspective in the light of so much more concrete evidence.
The RIC Murder Campaign
While Prescott-Decie’s letter was dated June 1st the level of reprisals and murders according to our revisionist historians did not reach their bloody peak until the autumn. Since historic events are not looked at through the lenses of a microscope they should have broadened their field of vision if they wanted to be factually correct. I provide a table of RIC atrocities throughout this period at the end of this article.
Reprisals and murders were operating at a steady and deadly pace from the beginning of 1920, long before the arrival of Prescott-Decie’s letter. This would suggest that Prescott-Decie was merely referring to the accepted state of affairs whether they received official sanction or not. The large number of reprisals carried out by the RIC with towns and villages being looted and burned as well as numerous murders without any sanctioning of the perpetrators shows official approval in practice.
As General Macready observed, “Decie was wild and violent in both expression and conduct: his favourite recreations included pig-sticking, and his aggression made him a prime target for assassination, ineptly attempted by a Limerick flying column on 27 November 1920… Clearly, he was no wimp; yet neither was he demonstrably an advocate of liquidating his opponents through secret murder squads.”
West Galway Singled Out
Our current crop of revisionist historians asks “where are the bodies”? They claim that extrajudicial killings by the police ‘did not become a prominent feature’ of the War of Independence until the autumn of 1920. They basically want to exonerate the RIC and place all the blame on The Black & Tans and the Auxiliaries.
In April 1920, General Sir Neville Macready described this RIC police forces as “rotten” and hoped that Major General Tudor, the new Police Adviser, would improve the situation. Tudor had other plans as we will see.
Our revisionist historians singled out West Galway to try and make this point stick. They conveniently ignoring the rest of the country where in some areas the RIC were running riot with extrajudicial murders and the destruction of property as the hallmark of their activities.
The West’s Asleep
Prescott-Decie’s letter is dated 1 June 1920. Our revisionist historians tell us that if Dublin Castle authorised an assassination programme in the spring, it seems odd to them that more than five months would elapse before the first of these assassinations was carried out in Galway. They tell us that there were no extrajudicial killings in west Galway in June 1920.
There were also none in July, though they concede that the police did riot in Tuam. There were still none in August, even after an ambush claimed the life of a constable again followed by police reprisals in Oranmore.
What is really odd is how our revisionists manage to ignore the RIC’s extrajudicial murders going on in the rest of the country unless of course they are promoting an agenda rather than presenting history as it happened.
Blame the Black & Tans
They tell us that no republican activists were killed in west Galway until the night of 8 September 1920. By now they can shift away the blame from the RIC to the Black & Tans. Sean Mulvoy was killed in a fight with a Black and Tan at Galway railway station. In the reprisals that followed, Seamus Quirke was summarily executed by a police firing squad.
But no republicans were actually assassinated in west Galway until October 1920. Apparently innocent civilians didn’t count.
Galway City councillor Michael Walsh was abducted and murdered on the night of 19 October. More than a month passed before the security forces claimed their next victim, Fr Michael Griffin, who was abducted and murdered on the night of 14 November.
Much Adoo About Nothing
This controversy was started by Borgonovo and Doherty who claimed that a policy of extrajudicial killings must have been sanctioned from the top down – by ‘top officials in the Irish government’. If that is true, then: who were these top officials? Whose hidden hand was at work they asked? They wouldn’t have asked unless they had a ready but unconvincing answer.
Prescott-Decie’s letter is their trump card. It was addressed to the assistant under-secretary for Ireland who according to them was Sir John Taylor but he had already left office. He took a month’s leave in mid-April 1920 and retired in mid-May. Taylor was replaced by Alfred ‘Andy’ Cope described by Charles Townshend as the moving spirit of the ‘peace party’ in Dublin Castle. Prescott-Decie letter is just an incidental distraction – as are its rebuttals – away from the reality of the RIC’s judicial murders and reprisals that were happening on the ground.
The Real Evidence
This very visible level of the RIC’s murderous activity could not have continued throughout 1920 and beyond without high level official sanction or a very blind eye from the authorities which is effectively a form of official sanction. The actions of those under General Tudors command provide a bloody string of proof but it goes even higher.
- Recorded in the diary of Sir Maurice Hankey, the Cabinet Secretary, 23 May, 1920 Sir Henry Wilson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff wanted to collect the names of Sinn Féiner’s by districts, proclaim them on church doors all over the country, and whenever a policeman was murdered, pick five by lot and shoot them!
- Sir Henry Wilson on July 1920, recorded that the Prime Minister thought just the sort of arrangement he had recommended was operating under Tudor’s authority. Lloyd George believed that “Tudor, or someone, was murdering two Sinn Féiner’s to every loyalist the Sinn Féin murdered”. Cameron Hazlehurst in his 1972 Observerarticle also found that Macready had told Mark Sturgis: “[Lloyd George] is against burning, but not gunning, and told me so himself.”
- The fact that Smith of Listowel fame (see below) was not reprimand by officialdom for his inflammatory speeches in Listowel and Killarney suggests that Prescott-Decie’s letter was simply stating the obvious.
- Did Lloyd George not at the very least give an official nod and a wink to the RIC to carry out judicial murders? He wrote in the Daily Chronicleabout the RIC’s Thurles reprisals of January 20th saying: “Nobody can fail to deplore such occurrences but equally obviously no one can wonder at them. Indeed it is obvious that if these murderous clubs pursue their course much longer, we may see counter clubs springing up and the lives of prominent Sinn Féiners becoming as unsafe as prominent officials.”
- Following an inquest on May 7th into the killing of three men in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare on April 14th the Coroner issued warrants for the arrest of the below named RIC men. The warrants were served on RIC DI Mooney.
Despite the Coroner’s findings and his warrants being binding under the law of the land, the named RIC men were never arrested or charged.
The inquest states that they died from bullet wounds inflicted by “Sergeant Hampson, Constables Thomas O’Connor and Thomas Keenan, Lance-Corporal Kenneth McLeod, Privates William Kilgon (Kilgour), James McEwan, Peter McLoughlin, Robert Bunting and Richard Adams.
“We find from the evidence that each of the above-named members of the patrol was guilty of wilful murder, without any provocation …” Regardless of the Coroner’s arrest warrants, the named men were never arrested or charged. That surely implies official collusion at a high enough level to prevent the rule of law from performing its duty. This was typical under Tudors command.
- On May 14th, 15th and 16th every member of Dáil Éireann (not in prison) received a note on official Dáil notepaper through the post, saying “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Therefore a life for a life.” On May 18th Arthur Griffith held a press conference in Dublin where he displays those death notes. The Dáil note paper that they were printed on was, he said, removed during a raid on the 11th of November 1919 by British forces from Dáil HQ in Harcourt St. Griffith accused the British government in Ireland in being involved in the assassinations of elected representatives.
- James Saunders was shot dead in Limerick on May 28th. He was killed by the police according to the verdict at his inquest. This was the 8th verdict of murder by RIC police since the beginning of the year. Could these murders have taken place without sanction or official approval? Nobody asked any such inconvenient questions.
- The first meeting of the British Cabinet with its new Irish officials took place on May 31st. This meeting Coogan claims, considered ways of making Irishmen “feel the effects of the campaigns of murder and arson along economic channels” and this transformed into the policy of burning creameries, bacon factories and mills in reprisals.
- On June 19th as many days after Prescott-Decie’s June 1st 1920 letter his newly appointed Munster counterpart, Divisional Commissioner Smyth made his controversial speech to the Listowel police. Present with Smyth at this meeting were Major General Henry Tudor Chief of Police, Poer O’Shee, Kerry County Inspector RIC; Captain Chadwick of the British army; RM Leatham and Assistant County Inspector Dobbyn.
Was Smyth in the presence of Tudor – his exalted superior – merely reiterating the existing rules of engagement, or was he sanctioning new rules of engagement? Surely his speech to the Listowel RIC ranks must have had the support of the high level officials that accompanied him? He reportedly said:
“Police and military will patrol the country roads at least five nights a week. They are not to confine themselves to the main roads but make across the country, lie in ambush, take cover behind fences near roads, and when civilians are seen approaching shout: ‘Hands up!’ Should the order be not obeyed, shoot, and shoot with effect.
If the persons approaching carry their hands in their pockets or are in any way suspicious looking, shoot them down. You may make mistakes occasionally and innocent persons may be shot, but that cannot be helped and you are bound to get the right persons sometimes.
The more you shoot the better I will like you; and I assure you that no policeman will get into trouble for shooting any man and I will guarantee that your names will not be given at the inquest.”
Constable Jeremiah Mee put his pistol on the table and told Smyth that his speech was an incitement to murder. When ordered to arrest Mee, the other constables refused. This became known as the ‘Listowel Mutiny’. Fourteen RIC men tendered their resignation. According to Macardle, O’Shee also took part in the ‘mutiny’.
In stark contrast to the reaction of the RIC men present, the silent acquiescence of Major General Tudor, Captain Chadwick of the British army; RM Leatham and Assistant County Inspector Dobbyn speaks volumes regarding what the official policy was.
After a similar speech by Smyth in Killarney a little later, five more RIC men resigned. Throughout the entire affair Tudor remained conspicuously silent.
- General Macready issues a Special General Order on August 17th warning that the severest disciplinary measures would be taken against any sign of looting or retaliation. General Tudor was supposed to issue a parallel order but did not do so. Instead on the November 9th he issued a memorandum asking for information and offering guidance. Is that not a clear case of Tudor condoning or even encouraging looting and burning?
- Sir Maurice Hankey’s minutes of a discussion on October 5th 1920 between Lloyd George and the liberal Peer Lord Grey of Fallodon, says that the Prime Minister “strongly defended the murder reprisals”. According to the account of who was present at the interview, Lloyd George…showed that these had from time immemorial been resorted to in difficult times in Ireland. He gave numerous instances where they had been effective in checking crimes. He quoted two eminent nationalists who had told him in confidence that the Irish quite understood such reprisals, and that they ought not to be stopped.
- Many towns and villages were burned and looted by Tudor’s men. Two damning incidents involving Tudor occurred on February 9th Auxiliaries went on the rampage in Trim, causing estimated damage of £325, while in Dublin near Drumcondra an Auxiliary Commander named King shot two young prisoners dead.
General Crozier investigated the Trim incident and dismissed 21 Auxiliaries and held 5 over to be tried for their part in the raid. Two escaped and robbed a publican. Later 5 of the Trim Auxiliaries were convicted and 19 reinstated. Crozier investigated the Drumcondra killings but claimed the evidence was rigged.
- In November 1920 Tudor removed Croziers power to dismiss Auxiliaries. Crozier resigned in disgust on 25 February 1921. London’s press was full of accounts of Tudor’s treatment of him and “Black and Tans” atrocities. In April 1921, 3 of the Drumcondra Auxiliaries were tried but the case was dismissed due to lack of evidence. Tudor and extra judicial killings went hand in hand. Tudor had been appointed by Lloyd George who supported his every move.
- On July 1st Chief of the Imperial Staff, Field Marshall Henry Wilson, wrote in his diary that the Prime Minister Lloyd George was of the belief that “Tudor has organised a counter-murder society”.
On the 7th July, he wrote in his diary that Lloyd George “seemed to be satisfied counter-murder Association was the best answer to the S.F.’s murders”.
- The Irish Bulletin published reports of the RIC ‘mutinies’ in Listowel and Killarney. This led to questions in the British House of Commons but nobody asked the right ones.
- On August 2nd the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act (ROIA) placed before British Parliament – was guillotined through and received royal assent on the August 9th. It legalised internment and empowered military courts to try capital cases and a number of other offences.
It replaced those troublesome coroners’ courts with Military Courts of Inquiry for deaths caused by Crown Forces. According to Leeson “British counter-insurgency truly began in earnest on 9 August, when the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act was passed”.
- On 9 November 1920, Lloyd George declared, “We have murder by the throat!” Then on Sunday morning November 21st, Collins sent out the Squad and shot twelve British intelligence officers dead, members of the “Cairo Gang” brought in from the Middle East to nail Collins. Four more were wounded.
That afternoon, Auxiliaries and RIC men indiscriminately fired on a crowd watching a Gaelic football match at Croke Park between Dublin and Tipperary, killing twelve civilians including a woman, a child and a Tipperary player. Sixty people were wounded. That “Bloody Sunday” ended with three men held by Auxiliaries being beaten to death in the guard room of Dublin Castle “attempting to escape”.
- On 10 December a detachment of Auxiliaries and Black and Tans committed one of the most notorious of all reprisals, the sacking and burning of Cork City. A large part of the shopping area, the City Hall, the Corn Exchange, the Carnegie Free Library, and most of Patrick Street were destroyed by pouring petrol into the buildings and igniting them. The police severed the hoses of the Cork fire brigade when they tried to extinguish the fires.
Lloyd George’s Cabinet agreed to a military inquiry the outcome of which was to be published, but a later Cabinet meeting had second thoughts announcing: The effect of publishing the report would be disastrous to the government’s whole policy in Ireland.
- Britain’s officially sanctioned commitment to terror in Ireland continued unabated. As the year closed, the carrying IRA suspects and civilians as hostages in military lorries became operational. Fighting continued with ferocity for another six months, but the burning of Cork and other atrocities had shocked British people. The Cabinet finally started working on proposals for a new political formula and through intermediaries both war weary sides agreed to a truce.
Tudors Official Murder Campaign
In what can only be described as Tudor’s officially sanctioned murder campaign, the RIC and later the Black & Tan’s and the Auxiliaries operated with impunity under his command. Without his overt support they could not have got away with their murderous reign of terror and wholesale destruction of property and common theft.
In the cases where General Crozier intervened his efforts were openly subverted by Tudor until he resigned in disgust.
If historians are interested in the truth of the ‘official sanction of murder’ they should forget about Prescott-Decie’s letter. Instead they should examine the long line of overwhelmingly factual evidence and officialdoms numerous condoning words of support from Lloyd George all the way down to Smyth and always with Tudor hovering in the background. That is just some of the unmistakable chain of evidence that is readily available in plain sight for all who care to see it.
Below is a Blow by Blow table of RIC atrocities at a time when it is claimed that nothing happened
Thurles again wrecked by British troops on March 7th .
|Mar-12||Many houses in Cork City wrecked in reprisal for killing of Constable Scully the previous day.|
|Mar-30||James McCarthy, Thurles, Co. Tipperary is shot dead by RIC after they had sent him a death threat on Dáil notepaper in an effort to incriminate Sinn Féin .|
|Mar-30||Thomas [O’]Dwyer of The Ragg (Bouladuff), near Thurles, Co. Tipperary is shot dead in his bed. It is reported that, as Dwyer lay wounded, one of the gunmen is heard saying “Give him another”.
The jurors at his inquest found that “Thomas Dwyer was wilfully murdered by unknown members of the R.I.C.”. Presumably, this killing was in retaliation for the killing of Constable Heanue – see March 4th above. Also see 7th July 1921.
|Apr-09||Two RIC men (Constables William Finn and Daniel McCarthy) shot dead in an ambush at Lackamore Woods between Rearcross and Newport, Co Tipperary. Part of the reprisals for these killings were attacks on eight creameries in the surrounding areas. (A total of 48 creameries were attacked by Crown Forces, with varying level of destruction, during the War of Independence.)|
|Apr-14||IRA prisoners released. Originally, it was intended only to parole unconvicted prisoners but, due to a mix-up, all 90 hunger-striking prisoners were released of whom 31 were convicted prisoners. There was huge consternation within the RIC after the release of the prisoners. As Townshend notes “The error delivered a dramatic republican victory and a correspondingly staggering blow to the forces of order (sic)”.
Later in the evening, a joint RIC and military (Highland Light Infantry) party, led by RIC Sgt Hampson, shoot at crowd celebrating release of prisoners in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare killing three (John O’Loughlin, Thomas O’Leary and Patrick Hennessy) and wounding nine. O’Loughln was a member of the Irish Volunteers but O’Leary and Hennessy were not. See May 7th.
There are also riots in Derry when the released prisoners arrive back in the city.
|Apr-26||Kilcommon, Co. Tipperary partially wrecked by police.|
|May-01||Limerick city shot up by police.|
|May-07||The inquest into the three men killed in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare on the 14th April states that they died from bullet wounds inflicted by “Sergeant Hampson, Constables Thomas O’Connor and Thomas Keenan, Lance-Corporal Kenneth McLeod, Privates William Kilgon (Kilgour), James McEwan, Peter McLoughlin, Robert Bunting and Richard Adams. We find from the evidence that each of the above-named members of the patrol was guilty of wilful murder, without any provocation …” The Coroner issued warrants for the arrest of these men and they were served on RIC DI Mooney. Even though the Coroner’s findings were binding under the law of the land, the named men were never arrested or charged.|
|May-13||Houses in Thurles fired and bombed by police|
|May-15||Houses in Bantry, Co. Cork wrecked by police|
|May-18||Limerick City shot up by police|
|May-19||Kilcommon, Co. Tipperary shot up by police.|
|May-28||James Saunders shot dead in Limerick. The verdict at his inquest was that he was killed by the police. This was the 8th verdict of murder by police since the beginning of the year.|
|Jun-03||Lt Colonel Gerard Ferguson Smyth takes up his post RIC Divisional Commander for Munster – he had been recommended by General Tudor who he had served with in the 9th Scottish Division. See June 19th.|
|Jun-06||RIC Sgt Timothy Holland is shot in Cullyhanna, Co Armagh and later dies of his wounds. Constable Raisdale (or Rossdale) seriously wounded. Another Constable (called Rafftery) is seriously beaten.
A civilian, Peter McGreesh from Aughnaduff, is also killed. The RIC claimed at the inquests that McGreesh was one of the assailants but the doctor said that McGreesh was shot in the back – this contradicted the RIC testimony.
|Jun-24||British Cabinet sets up Committee on the Irish Situation to assist the Viceroy and Chief Secretary with Walter Long as Chairman and a membership of Churchill, Birkenhead, Balfour and Fisher.|
|Jun-24||Retaliations by RIC in Bantry for recent killings of two RIC men (Abbott says one – see Jun 21st above as does Regan).
Con Crowley an invalided man is shot dead and a number of houses burnt. Crowley was shot after firing on a raiding party who entered his bedroom looking for his brother.
|Jun-28||British forces loot and burn in Fermoy for a second time in retaliation for capture of General Lucas.|
|Jul-04||Richard Lumley, from Rear Cross, Co. Tipperary was shot dead at Ballingeary by RIC who were sniping randomly from the back of their truck as they drove through the countryside.|
|Jul-19||John O’Brien, a member of the Republican Police, is shot dead on patrol in Cork.|
|Jul-20||RIC, along with Dragoon Guards stationed in Claremorris, Co. Mayo carry out a major reprisal in Tuam, Co. Galway after the two RIC were killed the previous day – they loot public houses, shoot wildly, burn a number of premises including the Town Hall and cause much destruction to other property. They also burn Michael Moran’s family home.
An English reporter compared Tuam to Belgian and French towns destroyed by the Germans during the First World War. The reporter Lesson noted that no ‘Black and Tans’ were involved in these reprisals.
|July-21||Colonel Smyth, who was assassinated by the IRA in Cork on the 17th July, has his funeral in Banbridge, Co. Down. The large turnout included Major General Tudor. That night in Banbridge a young Catholic was assaulted and a Catholic owned newsagent in Bridge St was burnt down by a loyalist mob.|
|Jul-23||Five houses in the Caltra area of Co. Galway are burnt by Crown Forces and the local Sinn Féin hall is also burnt down.|
|Jul-24||G. W. Biggs from Bantry, Co. Cork a Protestant businessman writes to the Irish Times saying that “the greatest goodwill exists” between Catholics and Protestants in the area.
Three days later his business premises in burnt down – Gallagher says by the RIC.
|Jul-25||Crowley’s in Ballylanders, Co. Limerick is blown up by Black and Tans. Two local creameries, at Knocklong and Garryspillane, are also attacked.|
|Jul-27||Tom Hales and Pat Harte West Cork No. 3 Brigade O/C and Quartermaster respectively are captured by British Intelligence as they enter Frank Hurley’s house in Laragh, outside Bandon. They are very badly tortured by a group led by Major Percival, I/O of the Essex Regiment and assisted by Capt Kelley, Brigade I/O and Lt Keogh (Hampshire or Hants Regiment) in Bandon Military Barracks and Victoria Barracks, Cork. Both men have to be hospitalised afterwards. Pat Harte ends up in an asylum and dies a few years later.|
|Jul||Crown Forces reprisals in Thurles, Upperchurch, Limerick and Nenagh|
|Aug-06||Two co-operative creameries burnt.|
|Aug-14||Patrick Lynch from Hospital, Co. Limerick dies after being taken from his house by British soldiers. O’Donoghue gives his name as James Lynch and indicates that they may have thought they had Liam Lynch. He also gives the date as the 4th Aug.|
|Aug-15||During riots in Limerick, two Black and Tans are attacked and beaten in Edward St., Limerick resulting in the death of one Constable Cyril Nathan.
O’Callaghan says that Nathan was almost certainly shot by inebriated fellow Black and Tans as they engaged in reprisals. They damaged up to 100 houses and gave beatings to random civilians.
An ex-soldier, Edward Paget, died after getting a savage beating by policemen in People’s Park. Constable Nathan was from London with just over two months of service in the RIC.
|Aug-16||RIC reprisals in Templemore, Co Tipperary after the killing of District Inspector William Wilson in George St., Templemore. It is said that he was killed by Jim Stapleton, the same IRA man who killed DI Hunt in Thurles over a year earlier. (See June 23rd 1919.) As part of a general rampage by the RIC in the aftermath of the killing, the Templemore Town Hall and three local creameries are burnt.|
|Aug-17||Macready issues a Special General Order warning that the severest disciplinary measures would be taken against any sign of looting or retaliation.
Tudor was supposed to issue a parallel order but did not do so until the 9th November and then it was not an order but a memorandum for information and guidance.
|Aug-19||A RIC foot patrol opens fire on a vehicle approaching with no lights on near Boston on the Clare-Galway border. However, the approaching vehicle is carrying RIC men and the shots kill one RIC man called James (or Jason) Duffy.|
|Aug-22||The Creamery at Knocklong, Co Limerick is burnt down by RIC men. It is owned by Sir Thomas Cleeves, a Unionist.|
|Aug-26||John Hynes from Shanagolden, Co. Limerick dies. Toomey says that Hynes was 60 years old and shot by Constable Thomas Huckerby a notorious Black and Tan during a reprisal.|
|Aug-27||Sean Buckley from Middleton, Co. Cork is taken prisoner by the Cameron Highlanders along with his brother Batt. While being taken to Cork both were shot, Sean fatally.|
This table only covers the period when we are told that nothing happened.