Evidence Abounds: British Leaders OK'd Mayhem

Cork Examiner
On December 11, 1920, an IRA ambush near Cork City caused more casualties among the Auxiliaries, less than two weeks after the IRA killed 17 of 18 Auxiliaries caught in an ambush in Kilmichael. That evening, Auxiliaries and Black and Tans poured into town, looting, wrecking, boozing and burning a large part of the city center. The British-appointed Chief Secretary of Ireland, Sir Hamar Greenwood, proclaimed in the House of Commons that Cork had been burnt by its own citizens.


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Tags: Freedom, Irish, Struggle

Comment by DJ Kelly on June 11, 2013 at 12:48am

Some great research here by Kieron. 

That quote from Smyth about no policeman getting into trouble for shooting any man is slightly suspect, mind you.  The words are those of Constable Jeremiah Mee, the Banbridge-born spokesman for those RIC men who mutinied at Co Kerry's Listowel barracks on 19 June 1920. Mee attributed these words to Smyth when speaking to the press on 10 July 1920 and he was quoted widely in the Irish press.  I would not seek to defend Smyth though, who was later assassinated, probably for those words, and Lloyd George was not exactly vigorous in denying charges of government sanctioned killings. 

Nor would I defend Hamar Greenwood, the Canada-born last Chief Secretary for Ireland, who funded, personally from his own pocket, the defence of Captain William Lorraine King, the head of 'F Company', the self designated 'murder gang' (auxiliaries operating out of Dublin Castle) when King appeared for his second murder trial.  King was acquitted at both trials, some of the prosecution witnesses having been suborned or abducted.  What Greenwood paid out - £500 - would be worth £17,600 or 20,700 euros in today's values. 

Following exposure and condemnation by the world's press, British public opinion turned against the British administration in Ireland and, as Kieron shows, King George V stepped in, demanding Lloyd George's government rein in their uncontrolled 'Tans'.  There was pressure also from the American and Australian governments.  I do have some sympathy for Sir Francis Wilson however, head of the military forces.  This County Longford born soldier loved Ireland but despised the politicians and was revolted by their policies in Ireland.  Ironically, it was 2 English-born assailants who shot the unarmed Wilson outside his home and ran away, only to be apprehended by passing civilians.  

Comment by Gerry Regan on June 11, 2013 at 11:26am

Kieron is one of the most careful, astute researchers I know (and a strong writer, too boot.) The Old IRA is among his special focuses.

Comment by DJ Kelly on June 12, 2013 at 12:08am

Clearly.  It's a great piece and it reflects thorough research. 

Comment by Seán Walsh on June 28, 2013 at 1:57am

Comment by Seán Walsh on June 28, 2013 at 2:07am

Good Morning 

Above image is a selection of players who were on the pitch in Croke Park on Bloddy Sunday 1920: And returned on 21/11/1965. Commeration of Bloody Sunday 21st Nov 1920..Rememberence event for the 14 civilians including players Michael Hogan and Thomas Ryan. Go to irishphotoarchive.ie for more images of this sad day. We also have many great Irish images already on line, with about 3.5m more to add! 

Comment by Gerry Regan on June 28, 2013 at 9:54am

Sean, thanks for presenting this fascinating image, and others going forward. I recommend posting these as a photo, using this link, and then posting the pictures in threads such as these. This way we can feature the image, and better share and promote it, and IPA. http://thenewwildgeese.com/photo/photo/newWithUploader


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