Prosperous is founded by Sir Robert Brooke in 1780 as a village for processing cotton produced in the Americas. When a rebellion spearheaded by the United Irishmen breaks out against British rule in Ireland, rebel forces led by John Esmonde make plans to capture Prosperous. Esmonde has 200 rebels under his command, while Prosperous is garrisoned by elements of the Royal Cork City Militia under the command of Captain Richard Swayne and reinforced by detachments of a Welsh mounted fencible regiment, the Ancient British Regiment of Fencible Cavalry Dragoons (also known as the Ancient Britons), numbering 150 men in all.
On May 24, 1798, Esmonde leads his forces to attack Prosperous. Their entry is preceded by the infiltration of a small rebel vanguard, who with the possible help of female sympathisers residing in Prosperous, scale the walls of the town’s barracks, kill the sentries and open the town gates. The barracks are quickly surrounded and attacked by the rebels who repulse an attempt by the garrison to break out. “Swayne himself was surprised in bed, shot and piked to death and his body burned in a tar barrel.” The remainder of the garrison are trapped in the upper floors of the barracks which is set on fire by the rebels, causing them to jump in desperation onto the ground below, where they are summarily executed with pikes. While the rebels suffer no known casualties, approximately 40 members of the garrison are killed in the battle.
A major at the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899, Hickie serves on the staff of Lieutenant-Colonel P. W. J. Le Gallais, commanding officer of the mounted infantry. On November 6, 1900, he is involved in an attempt to capture General Christiaan De Wet at the Battle of Bothaville, when a force led by Le Gallais and Lieutenant-Colonel Wally Ross storm De Wet’s camp. De Wet escapes, while a rearguard of 100 men engage the British force. In a fierce fight Le Gallais is killed and Wally Ross is badly wounded. Hickie decides to charge the Boer position and leads his small force forward just as reinforcements under Major-General C. E. Knox arrive. The Boers immediately surrender and some are found with explosive bullets. He wants to execute them immediately but Knox insists that they be tried. Exasperated with the whole affair, Hickie gives a highly critical interview after the action which is later published in The TimesHistory of the War in South Africa (7 vols, 1900–09), edited by Leo Amery.
Hickie is professional, politically adept, and popular with his men, and under his leadership the 16th is renowned for its aggressive fighting spirit. He commands the division during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and, while proud of his men’s success in capturing Guillemont and Ginchy (September 1916), is appalled by their losses. When the division is ordered to capture Messines (now Mesen) in June 1917, he gives Major Willie Redmond permission to advance as far as the first objective and, following Redmond’s death, reproaches himself bitterly. After this attack the division is transferred to the fifth army and provides assault troops for future attacks. During the Third Battle of Ypres, and especially during the attack on Langemarck in August 1917, the division suffers horrendous casualties, losing 221 officers and 4,064 men. Among the casualties is Fr. Willie Doyle, who Hickie unsuccessfully recommends for a Victoria Cross. The division’s losses at Langemarck are highlighted by Irish MPs in the House of Commons, and Hickie’s handling of the attack is criticised. By this time, nationalist disillusionment with the war means that few Irish replacements are available, and Hickie is forced to accept increasing numbers of non-Irish conscripts into the division. Worn down by years of command, his health finally breaks and, in February 1918, he is sent home on sick leave, being replaced by Major-General Sir Richard Amyatt Hull.
In 1918, Hickie is created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) and is also awarded the French Croix de Guerre. During the Irish War of Independence (1919–21), he is critical of the methods used by Crown forces, denouncing in particular the indiscipline of the Black and Tans. In 1921 he retires from the army and becomes a prominent figure in the Royal British Legion in Ireland, tirelessly campaigning on behalf of ex-servicemen. In the 1920s he is involved with the Irish battlefield memorial committee, which erects memorial crosses at Wytschaete, Guillemont, and Salonika, commemorating the 10th and 16th divisions. He later serves as a senator of the Irish Free State (1925–36). Retiring from public life in 1936 to his residence at Terryglass, County Tipperary, he devotes his last years to gardening and reading.
Hickie dies on November 3, 1950, in Dublin, and is buried at Terryglass. He marries a daughter of the novelist Rev. J. O. Hannay, who predeceases him. There is a small collection of his papers in the National Library of Ireland (NLI).
(From: “Hickie, Sir William Bernard” by David Murphy, Dictionary of Irish Biography, http://www.dib.ie, October 2009)
A car transporting police officers is leading the two-vehicle convoy. It is shot at as it travels out of the village, causing the Crossley Tender behind to stop close to the local hotel. RIC Constables Christopher O’Regan and William Power, Sergeant John Regan and Black and Tans Constable Hubert Oakes all die in the ambush. British forces are able to take refuge in the hotel, where they call for reinforcements.
Following the ambush, the Flying Column takes to the nearby Partry Mountains and are subsequently engaged by British troops from the Border Regiment. IRA Adjutant (South Mayo Brigade) Michael O’Brien sustains fatal injuries when he is shot while trying to assist the injured Brigade leader, Commandant Maguire. Another IRA Volunteer, Pádraig Feeney, is also killed that afternoon.
On May 3, 1921, in reprisal for the ambush, Crown forces burn several commercial establishments and homes in the area. Extensive searches and reprisals follow in the area over the next week.
Monuments commemorating Michael O’Brien and Pádraig Feeney have since been erected in County Mayo.
(Pictured: The South Mayo Flying Column of the Irish Republican Army, taken at Moore Hall in Muckloon, County Mayo, during the summer of 1921)
It is on the night of April 23, 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium that Hall discovers a number of men are missing. On the ridge above he can hear the moans of the wounded men. Under cover of darkness, he goes to the top of the ridge on two separate occasions and returns each time with a wounded man.
By nine o’clock on the morning of April 24 there are still men missing. In full daylight and under sustained and intense enemy fire, Hall, Cpl. Payne and Pvt. Rogerson crawl out toward the wounded. Payne and Rogerson are both wounded but return to the shelter of the front line. When a wounded man who is lying some 15 yards from the trench calls for help, Company Sergeant-Major Hall endeavors to reach him in the face of very heavy enfilade fire by the enemy. He then makes a second most gallant attempt and is in the act of lifting up the wounded man to bring him in when he falls, mortally wounded in the head. The soldier he is attempting to help is also shot and killed.
In 1925, Pine Street in Winnipeg is renamed Valour Road because three of Canada’s Victoria Cross recipients resided on the same 700 block of that street: Frederick Hall, Leo Clarke and Robert Shankland. It is believed to be the only street in the British Commonwealth to have three Victoria Cross recipients to live on it, let alone the same block. A bronze plaque is mounted on a street lamp at the corner of Portage Avenue and Valour Road to tell the tale of these three men.
Lynch is born on November 9, 1893, in Barnagurraha, Anglesboro, County Limerick, the fifth child among six sons and a daughter of Jeremiah Lynch, farmer, and Mary Lynch (neé Kelly). The family is politically active. His father’s brother, John, had taken part in the Fenian Rising of 1867 and his mother had been joint secretary of the Ballylanders branch of the Ladies’ Land League.
Lynch attends Anglesboro national school (1898–1909). In 1910 he moves to Mitchelstown, County Cork, to take up a three-year apprenticeship in the hardware store of P. O’Neill on Baldwin Street. He remains there until the autumn of 1915. While in Mitchelstown he is a member of the Gaelic League and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He also joins the Irish Volunteers. In 1914, when that organisation splits, he does not immediately join the militant rump. He then moves to Fermoy, County Cork, where he works in the store of Messrs J. Barry & Sons Ltd. His move coincides with a period of inactivity as neither Volunteer faction is very active nor is he known. Consequently, he does not take part in the 1916 Easter Rising, but it is a turning point for him. On May 2, 1916, he watches as the Kent family are led through Fermoy, having been captured by British soldiers. Richard Kent dies from a wound sustained that day and Thomas Kent is executed a week later. Lynch becomes a committed Volunteer at this point.
Once committed, Lynch’s enthusiasm and aptitude ensures that he quickly attains positions of responsibility. From early 1917 he is first lieutenant in the small Fermoy company. In September 1917, the Irish Volunteers in east Cork are reorganised. Nine local companies are formed into the Fermoy battalion and he is elected adjutant. In April 1918, at the height of the conscription crisis, he briefly quits his job to concentrate on organising the Volunteers. In May he is lucky to escape arrest during the sweep that accompanies the “German plot.” When the immediate danger ends he returns to Barry & Sons.
In January 1919, at the beginning of the Irish War of Independence, the Volunteer organisation in Cork undergoes a major restructuring. Three brigades are established, and Lynch becomes brigade commandant of Cork No. 2. In April he visits Irish Republican Army GHQ in Dublin to discuss plans and to seek arms. It is a frustrating experience as the GHQ has few guns and are cautious about action. Throughout the summer of 1919 he presses GHQ to authorise attacks on British targets as a method of acquiring arms and to prevent boredom and stagnation setting in among his men. Finally, GHQ sanctions attacks if the primary aim is the capture of arms. In response, on September 7, 1919, twenty-five men from the Fermoy company, led by Lynch, ambush fourteen British soldiers on their way to service in the Wesleyan church in Fermoy. Fifteen rifles are captured, one soldier killed, and three wounded. Lynch is shot in the shoulder, probably by one of his own men. As a result, he has to leave his job and hides out in Waterford for a time. A series of arrests follow, among those is Lynch’s close friend, Michael Fitzgerald, who dies on hunger strike in Cork County Gaol in 1920.
Lynch spends the early months of 1920 at GHQ in Dublin. During this time, he is offered the position of deputy chief of staff, but turns it down, preferring to return to Cork. Although not an articulate speaker, he impresses those he meets. His organisational talents, attention to detail, ability to inspire, and intolerance for those who waste meetings endlessly discussing side issues, are noted. He has a low tolerance for politicians and at all times considers the military wing of the movement to be of primary importance. He is engaged to Bridie Keyes, but marriage is postponed pending a final settlement of hostilities.
On June 26, 1920, Lynch, Seán Moylan, and two colleagues capture Major-GeneralCuthbert Lucas while he is fishing on the Munster Blackwater. He gives a false name when he is arrested on August 12, 1920, at City Hall, Cork, with Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, and ten others. All but MacSwiney are released four days later. He then sets about organising a flying column within the brigade. Ernie O’Malley arrives from headquarters to train the men. This column achieves a major coup on September 28, 1920, when they briefly capture the British Army barracks at Mallow, leaving with a large booty of rifles, ammunition, and two machine guns. The British respond to this increase in activity and the war settles into a pattern of ambush and counter-ambush. The Mallow battalion suffers severe losses in February 1921 and Lynch himself narrowly escapes when four are killed during an encounter at Nadd in March 1921.
In early 1921 Lynch seeks to encourage greater cooperation between the various brigades in the south. Senior brigade officers meet on three occasions to discuss cooperation and a plan to import arms from Italy. The importation project fails, but the First Southern Division is formed on April 26, 1921, bringing eight brigades from Cork, Kerry, Waterford, and west Limerick together. He is elected divisional commandant, making him the most powerful officer outside GHQ. His influence is further increased by his appointment as Southern Divisional Centre and Supreme Council member of the clandestine Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in March 1921.
Lynch is wary when the truce is called in July 1921. He works hard to maintain order in his division and to achieve a state of readiness in case the negotiations fail. For him the Anglo-Irish Treaty is a failure. When the Supreme Council of the IRB meets on December 10, 1921, he is the only voice against the agreement. He is among the officers who insist that an army convention should be called to discuss the treaty, effectively asserting that the army no longer accepts a position subordinate to the Dáil. The army, he believes, is the army of the Republic, and no civilian body can order it to abandon the Republic. The provisional government tries to ban this convention, but it goes ahead on March 26, 1922, and elects an army executive. Lynch is elected Chief of Staff. Between March and June, he works hard to prevent a civil war. He believes unity can be maintained, even under the Treaty, if a republican constitution can be enacted. He also cooperates with Michael Collins in promoting Irish Republican Army (IRA) activity in Ulster. In his adherence to the idea of a republic, the practicalities of politics have little impact on his consciousness and he is dismissive of the popular support for the Treaty. He is horrified at the thought of civil war but fails to see that his position is leading almost inexorably in that direction. Distrusted as too moderate by Liam Mellows and Rory O’Connor, he is locked out of the Four Courts for a time.
When the Four Courts are attacked, Lynch immediately leaves his headquarters at the Clarence Hotel to travel south. He is briefly detained, before reaching Kingsbridge Station, and has a meeting with Eoin O’Duffy. He is disgusted when Free State figures later claim that he was released, having promised not to take arms against the government. The most plausible explanation of the incident appears to be that O’Duffy interpreted Lynch’s comments, merely indicating disappointment that a war had started, as constituting a statement of intent not to involve himself.
Lynch’s initial actions seem designed to avoid full-scale conflict. He does not order an attack on Dublin, nor does he attempt to seize Limerick. He chooses a containment strategy, seeking to hold a line from Limerick to Waterford for the republican forces. This fails, as the government sends troops in from the rear by sea. The republicans have no urban base when Lynch abandons Fermoy on August 11, 1922. He continues to meet individuals who seek a way to end the war, but intransigence has set in and he insists that armed struggle will only end with a republic or absolute defeat. As early as August many republicans believe the war is lost and urge a reassessment of tactics, but Lynch rejects all such calls. Operating from secret headquarters in Santry, he orders the shooting of pro-Treaty politicians in retaliation for the execution of republican prisoners.
Under war conditions it is impossible for the army executive to meet regularly, and this leaves Lynch in almost complete control. As the pro-surrender lobby grows within the republican forces, he delays a meeting of the executive, claiming with some justification that it is too dangerous. He leaves Santry and attends a meeting of the Southern Division Council in the last days of February 1923. Sixteen of the eighteen officers there tell him that the military position is hopeless. This forces the calling of an executive meeting on March 6, 1923. No agreement is reached. He strongly favours fighting on, but a motion from Tom Barry, calling for an immediate end to hostilities, is barely rejected. Another meeting is arranged for April 10. On that morning a group, including Lynch and Frank Aiken, suddenly find themselves in danger of capture in a farmhouse on the slopes of the Knockmealdown Mountains in County Tipperary. They flee and are pursued. During the chase Lynch is shot in the abdomen. It seems clear that he is shot by the pursuing Free State soldiers, although Irish historian Meda Ryan has considered the theory that he may have been shot by one of his own in order to remove the major stumbling block to surrender. His colleagues are forced to abandon him, and he is captured. Initially the Free State troops believe they have caught Éamon de Valera. He is taken first to a public house in Newcastle, County Tipperary, and then to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Clonmel, but dies from his wound at 8:45 p.m. that evening. His last request is to be buried beside Michael Fitzgerald in Kilcrumper Cemetery, Fermoy, County Cork. On hearing of Lynch’s death, Ernie O’Malley writes, “You who were a living force are now a battle cry.” O’Malley is wrong, however, as the peace faction within republicanism is strengthened by his death and Aiken orders the suspension of activities on April 27.
In 1935, a massive memorial, consisting of a 60-foot-tall round tower, guarded by four bronze Irish Wolfhounds, is erected at Goatenbridge, County Tipperary, near the site of his capture. It is unveiled on April 7, 1935. Separate annual commemorations are held at Goatenbridge and Kilcrumper. Three biographies have been written and the Liam Lynch memorial pipe band is based in his native Anglesboro. The Lynch family possess a substantial collection of private correspondence.
A Luftwaffe bomb kills thirteen people in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on the night of April 7, 1941. Ultimately, the city is devastated by air raids. Seven hundred people are killed and 400 seriously injured in what becomes known as the Belfast Blitz. The Blitz consists of four German air raids on strategic targets in Belfast, in April and May 1941 during World War II.
There had been a number of small bombings, probably by planes that missed their targets over the River Clyde in Glasgow or the cities of North West England. On March 24, 1941, John MacDermott, Minister for Public Security, writes to the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, John Andrews, expressing his concerns that Belfast is so poorly protected. “Up to now we have escaped attack. So had Clydeside until recently. Clydeside got its blitz during the period of the last moon. There [is] ground for thinking that the … enemy could not easily reach Belfast in force except during a period of moonlight. The period of the next moon from say the 7th to the 16th of April may well bring our turn.” MacDermott is proved right.
The first deliberate raid takes place on the night of April 7. It targets the docks. Neighbouring residential areas are also hit. Six Heinkel He 111 bombers, from Kampfgruppe 26, flying at 7,000 feet, drop incendiaries, high explosive and parachute mines. By British mainland blitz standards, casualties are light. Thirteen die, including a soldier killed when an anti-aircraft gun at the Balmoral show-grounds misfires. The most significant loss is a 4.5-acre factory floor for manufacturing the fuselages of Short Stirling bombers. The Royal Air Force (RAF) announces that Squadron Leader J.W.C. Simpson shot down one of the Heinkels over Downpatrick. The Luftwaffe crews return to their base in Northern France and report that Belfast’s defences are “inferior in quality, scanty and insufficient.” This raid overall causes relatively little damage, but a lot is revealed about Belfast’s inadequate defences.
On Easter Tuesday, April 15, 1941, spectators watching a football match at Windsor Park notice a lone LuftwaffeJunkers Ju 88 aircraft circling overhead. That evening over 150 bombers leave their bases in northern France and the Netherlands and head for Belfast. There are Heinkel He 111s, Junkers Ju 88s and Dornier Do 17s. At 10:40 p.m. the air-raid sirens sound. Accounts differ as to when flares are dropped to light up the city. The first attack is against the city’s waterworks, which had been attacked in the previous raid. High explosives are dropped. Initially it is thought that the Germans had mistaken this reservoir for the harbour and shipyards, where many ships, including HMS Ark Royal are being repaired. However, that attack is not an error. Three vessels nearing completion at Harland & Wolff are hit as is its power station. Wave after wave of bombers drop their incendiaries, high explosives and landmines. When incendiaries are dropped, the city burns as water pressure is too low for effective firefighting. There is no opposition. In the mistaken belief that they might damage RAF fighters, the anti-aircraft batteries cease firing. But the RAF does not respond. The bombs continued to fall until 5:00 a.m.
Outside of London, with some 900 dead, this is the greatest loss of life in a night raid during the Blitz. A stray bomber attacks Derry, killing fifteeen. Another attacks Bangor, County Down, killing five. By 4:00 a.m. the entire city seems to be in flames. At 4:15 a.m., John MacDermott, the Minister of Public Security, manages to contact Minister of AgricultureBasil Brooke seeking permission to seek help from the Irish government. Brooke notes in his diary, “I gave him authority as it is obviously a question of expediency.” Since 1:45 a.m. all telephones have been cut. Fortunately, the railway telegraphy link between Belfast and Dublin is still operational. The telegram is sent at 4:35 a.m. asking the Irish Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera, for assistance.
By 6:00 a.m., within two hours of the request for assistance, 71 firemen with 13 fire tenders from Dundalk, Drogheda, Dublin, and Dún Laoghaire are on their way to cross the Irish border to assist their Belfast colleagues. In each station volunteers are requested, as it is beyond their normal duties. In every instance, all step forward. They remain in Belfast for three days, until they are sent back by the Northern Ireland government. By then 250 firemen from Clydeside have arrived.
There is a second massive air raid on Belfast on Sunday, May 4-5, 1941, three weeks after the Easter Tuesday raid. Around 1:00 a.m., Luftwaffe bombers fly over the city, concentrating their attack on the Harbour Estate and Queen’s Island. Nearby residential areas in east Belfast are also hit when “203 metric tonnes of high explosive bombs, 80 land mines attached to parachutes, and 800 firebomb canisters containing 96,000 incendiary bombs” are dropped. Over 150 people die in what becomes known as the “Fire Blitz.” Casualties are lower than at Easter, partly because the sirens sound at 11:45 p.m. while the Luftwaffe attack more cautiously from a greater height. St. George’s Church in High Street is damaged by fire. Again, the Irish emergency services cross the border, this time without waiting for an invitation.
(Pictured: Rescue workers search through the rubble of Eglington Street in Belfast, Northern Ireland, after a German Luftwaffe air raid, May 7, 1941)
After a hurried shakedown cruise along the Atlantic Coast in the spring of 1942, USS Juneau assumes blockade patrol in early May off Martinique and the Guadeloupe archipelago to prevent the escape of Vichy French naval units. She returns to New York to complete alterations and operates in the North Atlantic and Caribbean from June 1 to August 12 on patrol and escort duties. The cruiser departs for the Pacific Theater on August 22.
On 8 November, USS Juneau departs Nouméa, New Caledonia, as a unit of Task Force 67 under the command of Rear AdmiralRichmond K. Turner to escort reinforcements to Guadalcanal. The force arrives there on the morning of November 12, and USS Juneau takes up her station in the protective screen around the transports and cargo vessels. Unloading proceeds unmolested until 14:05, when 30 Japanese planes attack the alerted United States group. The anti-aircraft fire is effective, and the USS Juneau alone accounts for six enemy torpedo bombers shot down. The few remaining Japanese planes are, in turn, attacked by American fighters with only one bomber escaping. Later in the day, an American attack group of cruisers and destroyers clears Guadalcanal on reports that a large enemy surface force is headed for the island. At 01:48 on November 13, Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan‘s relatively small landing support group engages the enemy. The Japanese force consists of two battleships, one light cruiser, and nine destroyers.
Because of bad weather and confused communications, the battle occurs in near-pitch darkness and at almost point-blank range, as the ships of the two sides become intermingled. During the melee, the USS Juneau is struck on the port side by a torpedo launched by Japanese destroyer Amatsukaze, causing a severe list, and necessitating withdrawal. Before noon on November 13, USS Juneau, along with two other cruisers damaged in the battle, USS Helena (CL-50) and USS San Francisco (CA-38), head toward Espiritu Santo for repairs. USS Juneau is steaming on one screw, keeping station 800 yards off the starboard quarter of the likewise severely damaged USS San Francisco. She is down 12 feet by the bow, but able to maintain 13 knots.
A few minutes after 11:00, two torpedoes are launched from Japanese submarine I-26. These are intended for USS San Francisco, but both pass ahead of her. One strikes USS Juneau in the same place that had been hit during the battle. There is a great explosion and USS Juneau breaks in two and disappears in just 20 seconds. Fearing more attacks from I-26, and wrongly assuming from the massive explosion that there are no survivors, USS Helena and USS San Francisco depart without attempting to rescue any survivors. In fact, more than 100 sailors survive the sinking of USS Juneau. They are left to fend for themselves in the open ocean for eight days before rescue aircraft belatedly arrive. While awaiting rescue, all but ten die from the elements and shark attacks. Among those lost are the five Sullivan brothers. Two of the brothers apparently survive the sinking, only to die in the water. Two presumably go down with the ship. Some reports indicate the fifth brother also survives the sinking but disappears during the first night when he leaves a raft and gets into the water. On November 20, 1942, USS Ballard (DD-267) recovers two of the ten survivors. Five more in a raft are rescued by a PBY Seaplane five miles away. Three others, including a badly wounded officer, make it to San Cristobal (now Makira) Island, about 55 miles away from the sinking. One of the survivors recovered by USS Ballard says he had been with one of the Sullivan brothers for several days after the sinking.
As a direct result of the Sullivans’ deaths (and the deaths of four of the Borgstrom brothers within a few months of each other two years later), the United States Department of War adopts the Sole Survivor Policy, a set of regulations, partially stipulated by law, that are designed to protect members of a family from the draft during peacetime, or from hazardous duty or other circumstances, if they have already lost family members to military service.
To honor the five Sullivan brothers, who all died in the sinking, and the USS Juneau, the United States Navy later commissions two ships named USS The Sullivans and two ships named USS Juneau. On March 17, 2018, the wreck of USS Juneau is located by Paul Allen‘s research crew on board RV Petrel at a depth of about 13,800 feet off the coast of the Solomon Islands in several large pieces.
“I have the honour to inform you that the Government of the Irish Republic, having as its first duty towards its people the establishment and maintenance of peace and order here, demand the withdrawal of all British armed forces stationed in Ireland. The occupation of our territory by troops of another nation and the persistent subvention here of activities directly against the expressed national will and in the interests of a foreign power, prevent the expansion and development of our institution in consonance with our social needs and purposes, and must cease.”
“The Government of the Irish Republic believe that a period of four days is sufficient notice for your Government to signify its intentions in the matter of the military evacuation and for the issue of your Declaration of Abdication in respect of our country. Our Government reserves the right of appropriate action without further notice if upon the expiration of this period of grace, these conditions remain unfulfilled.”
~ General Headquarters, Dublin, January 12th, 1939, to His Excellency the Rt. Hon. Viscount Halifax, C.G.B.
This proclamation also calls upon Irishmen both at home and “in Exile” to give their utmost support to compel the withdrawal of the British from the island of Ireland so that a free Irish Republic can be established. As the campaign begins in Britain the same proclamation appears posted around Irish communities in British cities. The proclamation references the December 17, 1938 statement by the group naming itself the “Executive Council of Dáil Éireann, Government of the Republic” and reads:
“On the twenty-third day of April in the year 1916 in the City of Dublin, seven men, who were representative in spirit and outlook and purpose of the Irish Nation that had never yielded to nor accepted the British conquest, set their humble and almost unknown names to the foregoing document that has passed into history, making the names of the seven signatories immortal. These signatures were sealed with the blood of the immortal seven, and of many others who followed them into one of the most gallant fights in the history of the world; and the Irish Nation rose from shame to honour, from humiliation to pride, from slavery to freedom….”
“Unfortunately, because men were foolish enough to treat with an armed enemy within their gates, the English won the peace. Weakness and treachery caused a resumption of the war and the old English tactics of ‘divide and conquer’ were exploited to the fullest extent. Partition was introduced, the country divided into two parts with two separate Parliaments subject to and controlled by the British Government. The armed forces of England still occupy six of our counties in the North and reserve the right ‘in time of war or strained relations’ to reoccupy the ports which they have just evacuated in the southern part of Ireland. Ireland is still tied, as she has been for centuries past, to take part in England’s wars. In the Six Counties, a large number of Republican soldiers are held prisoners by England. Further weakness on the part of some of our people, broken faith and make-believe, have postponed the enthronement of the living Republic, but the proclamation of Easter Week and the declaration of independence stand and must stand for ever. No man, no matter how far he has fallen away from his national faith, has dared to repudiate them. They constitute the rallying centre for the unbought manhood of Ireland in the fight that must be made to make them effective and to redeem the nation’s self-respect that was abandoned by a section of our people in 1923.”
“The time has come to make that fight. There is no need to redeclare the Republic of Ireland, now or in the future. There is no need to reaffirm the declaration of Irish independence. But the hour has come for the supreme effort to make both effective. So in the name of the unconquered dead and the faithful living, we pledge ourselves to that task. We call upon England to withdraw her armed forces, her civilian officials and institutions, and representatives of all kinds from every part of Ireland as an essential preliminary to arrangements for peace and friendship between the two countries; and we call upon the people of all Ireland, at home and in exile, to assist us in the effort we, are about to make, in God’s name, to compel that evacuation and to enthrone the Republic of Ireland.”
Significantly, there is an IRA bomb incident in or around a major British city almost every other day in the first nine months of 1939. During the campaign there are 300 explosions, 10 deaths and 96 injuries.
(From: “IRA Army Council Declare War on England and the Sabotage Campaign (S-Plan) Begins a Day Later,” Stair na hÉireann, https://stairnaheireann.net | Pictured: The aftermath of an IRA bike bomb in Coventry on August 25, 1939)
Moylan joins the American Continental Army in 1775 and upon the recommendation of John Dickinson, is appointed Muster-Master General on August 11, 1775. His brother John acts as United States Clothier General during the war. His experience in the shipping industry affords the United States a well qualified ship outfitter, who helps fit out the first ships of the Continental Navy. On March 5, 1776, he becomes secretary to General George Washington with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He is appointed Quartermaster General in the American Continental Army on June 5, 1776, succeeding Thomas Mifflin. He resigns from this office on September 28, 1776. However, he continues to serve as a volunteer of General Washington’s staff through December 1776.
In January 1776, Moylan writes a letter using the term “United States of America,” the earliest known use of that phrase.
In the campaign of 1779 Moylan and the 4th Dragoons are stationed at Pound Ridge, New York, and see action when the British raid Norwalk, Connecticut, on July 11, 1779. He and the 4th Dragoons take part in the Battle of Springfield in New Jersey, on June 23, 1780, and General Anthony Wayne‘s expedition at Bull’s Ferry, New Jersey, on July 20, 1780. He commands his Dragoons at the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781, after which he is to take the cavalry to the Southern Campaign. However, his failing health causes him to leave the field and return to Philadelphia, where he constantly appeals to the Continental Congress to man, equip and maintain the Continental Dragoon Regiments.
Moylan is married to Mary Ricketts Van Horne on September 12, 1778, and has two daughters, Elizabeth Catherine, and Maria. His two sons die as children. He dies in Philadelphia on April 11, 1811, and is buried there in the churchyard at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church.
The barracks, long since demolished, consists of a sergeant and five constables, located at the corner of Well Lane and Main Street at what is now O’Donovan’s truck yard.
The village is completely isolated, having been secured at eastern and western ends, and from Belvelly on the northern end of the Great Island of Cork Harbour, with all telephone communication cut by the IRA men to ensure no RIC reinforcements can come to the rescue of the Carrigtwohill barracks.
The battle commences at approximately 11:00 p.m. that night, and continues through the early hours, finally coming to its conclusion when the barracks eventual fall following an explosion that blasts a hole through the barrack’s wall on the eastern gable adjoining a small stable, owned by local businessman named O’Grady, through which the assailants enter. The RIC officers are captured and handcuffed.
The IRA volunteers and the RIC officers do not suffer any casualties during the attack, which is the first successful assault on RIC barracks in Ireland during the Irish War of Independence, signaling the commencement of the all-out war on the RIC, in rural Ireland. However, a number of these IRA men later take part in the Clonmult ambush, during which several do not survive.
The barracks is never repaired, or rebuild, but is allowed to fall to ruin, eventually being completely demolished.