A newly published book of historically based fiction explores the circumstances surrounding the execution of the only member of British forces executed for murder during the War of Independence. Author D.J. Kelly was interviewed by ExecutedToday.com, and presents an interesting perspective on the tyranny of British forces operating within Ireland in those years.

My question to you all then is this: What family stories might you have related to encounters with the Black and Tans or Auxies?

Here's a story from our archives, BTW, from fellow member Kieron Punch, about the British government's complicity in fomenting violence against Irish citizenry during the War of Independence.

Tags: Black and Tans, Executions, Irish Freedom Struggle, Wicklow

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My mom talked about one evening she forgot to close the gate on the ducks the family kept. A Tan looking from a distance saw a figure (her) running back into the house in the moonlight. Several Tans entered the house and hassled the family, before the commanding officer figured that what they saw was harmless.

My dad worked as a shopboy in Lyon's general store in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo. A British soldier was attacked in town one day, and, fearing retribution, Pop and another shopboy stayed in the attic of Lyon's overnight until the incident blew over. (An aside: I only heard that story because I visited Ballyhaunis with my dad; I don't think he would have told me the story otherwise,)

Thanks to Gerry for highlighting my book and welcoming me to the group. 

And hi to you Jim.  My maternal grandmother was a Mrs Katie Lyons and she ran a shop and a farm in Ballyhaunis (Aghamore).  It was probably not the same shop you mention (nearly everyone in Ballyhaunis seems to be called Lyons!).  However, she used to tell me stories about how the 'Tans' would come in and rob her regularly.  She would have most of her 8 children clinging to her skirts and she kept a pitchfork behind the counter for defence.  A 3rd cousin of mine on my paternal (Antrim) side believes she is related to the Black & Tan who is the subject of 'Running with Crows' and who was executed for murder in 1921.  My granny would be spinning in her grave if she thought we had a 'Tan' in the family!

I'll be in Ballyhaunis in August for the Lyons gathering (well, our Lyons lot are gathering there at least). 

DJ, what a small (Irish) world, finding completion in our pages. Let's see who else turns up from Ballyhaunis! We are delighted to have you aboard! Ger

I think my dad was from the Aghamore village outside Ballyhaunis.If you have never been to Ballyhaunis, you'll be in for a surprise. I think they are trying to keep the town well populated so they made it a national refugee center. It has one of the largest mosques in Ireland, and I remember from my visit of 12 years ago, that there were women wearing dashikis walking down the street. I thought it more likely that if my father could come back to his home town, he'd recognize the town more than he would recognize the people. A dozen years ago, there was a Curley's Pub right near the B&B we stayed at and also a pharmacy run by two Curley brothers, none were relations.

DJ, have a great time at the Lyons' gathering. It's a pleasure to know you - if only electronically.

Well Jim, I suppose at least it's put a bit of life into the ould place! I wonder what my granny would have made of it all?  Thanks for posting, Jim. 

what is a dashikis??

I haven't heard the term before Cait, though no doubt Jim will explain. I'm guessing it's one of the all enveloping garments worn by Muslim ladies.  Sounds like the 'dish dash' of Egypt or the bernoose (not sure of spelling) in North Africa.  In Pakistan, when I lived there, the ultra devout women would wear the burkha (a long black coat with matching veil) in public.  The heavy veil which covers the head, face and shoulders was called a chudder (sometimes spelled chadha or chaddar).

I'll have to check out this book.  I was just listening to a story on NPR about the British government reaching a settlement with Kenyans who were tortured during the rebellion there.  The settlement included money and an apology.  The journalist doing the piece added that similar allegations have been made in other former British territories, including Ireland.  It made me wonder, how far should reparations like this go?  Certainly, an apology is required, and it seems that someone should try to compensate these victims.  Should that someone be a single mom paying taxes in London, who was born decades after the atrocities?  On the other hand, maybe that IS justice, as it's the legacy handed down to her by her ancestors?  Of course there are huge implications for the US in our treatment of Native Americans and slaves.  No answers from me, only questions...what do you think?  (Hope this isn't too off-topic!)

OH!  I see now that there was already an article about this topic by Joe.  I'll post my comment over there.

Good points raised there Kelly.  I personally feel an apology is the best answer.  It seems wrong for today's beleaguered tax payers to pay for the misdoings of a government (and its stooges) who are long dead and gone, as are most of the victims.  A sincere apology and an acknowledgement that wrong was done but will not be repeated would be morally the right thing for a modern government to do.  Hello Japan?

There are many wrongs which cannot be righted retrospectively.  Most of us believe nowadays that capital punishment is wrong, especially as too often we execute the wrong person.  It may not be right though to judge the actions of our forebears against modern standards. Maybe it was what the public expected and demanded ... back then. 

Good perspective DJ!  I'm eager to read your book.


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