Black and Tans chapter 15. Stealing




  1. Tall Northern Irish sergeant. Ian  North. Yorks.—————————————-


2. Short Londoner soldier – blond sergeant aged 40. George Short. Anti Irish anti everyone—————————


3. Davies. Benedict’s. Benjamin  David. Scotland. Not sectarian. Rangers fan—————————


4. Watkins. John Watkins. Wales—————————————


5. Tavi Moise. Octavian Moses. Southampton. Anti Catholic——————


6. swimming pool guy from school. Alexander   Brokenshire. Liverpool. ————————————


7. Major Neil.  Edward MacNeil. Geordie. Half Irish Catholic but raised Prod. ————————————–


8. Col Olley. Oliver Sergeant.  Berks.—————————————————


9. Mike Cunningham.   Mark Cunningham. Newcastle.————————————–


10. Relu Marichenano.  Richard  March. Lancs. Catholic- Shot dead. ————————————


11. Richard chemistry pilot. Older officer. Richard Dixon. Suffolk.——————————


12.  Louis Limtay. Born 1890. protagonist.—————————————————-


13. Williams Bulkeley. William Bulkeley.


14.    Blairmore teacher. Blair Teacher                  anti Catholic. Scots.——————————



  1. N Lupton. Mayo. Nick Lumley. spy————————–


2.  Anthony FitzPatrick. Midlands. Tony FitzGerald.


3. Rick Forshaw. Wee North. Prod. Rick Forshaw. 


4. Shaheen’s husband. Dubliner.  Sean Groom.  transferred—————


5. O’Kelly. invalided out ———————————-


6. Murphy. retired.————————————————


7. Bill Moore. sergeant (W C C)


8. Seamus Bolger (Spanish teacher) shot dead——————————-


9. Donal   MacDonald  (Alec Scott) wounded———————————



  1. Jim London. (JIM LSJ) ex soldier wants to be hangman. socialist. ———–


2. Vinny Conlan (Vinny Cochrane) actor. brainy. inquisitive. ———-


3. Gerry  Nagle (G Nagle) insurance company salesman. conman.


4. William Hendricks. (Wesley Hendricks) builder. cousin killed in Easter Rising. ——–


5. Peter Lynne (Pearse Lynne) teacher——– Arrested.


6. Jonathan Wynn (Jonathon Roberts) painter and decorator. granny died in famine. hates blacks. ———————


7. Pascal Harrington (Causkey)  labourer. arrested after riot.


8. Alex East (Alex Asgari) labourer. Pal murdered by UPA.  Arrested ————


9. Damian Walsh (D W) farmer.  arrested ————————–


10. Roger Tooth (Roger Tooth) travelling salesman robber


11. Robert Johnson  (J Roberts univ) chemist. Shot dead in grenade attack. 


12. Laurence Dale. (aMpleforth ex soldier teacher) ex soldier. shot dead in grenade attack.


13. Sean Tussock (Zhangir T) coal importer’s son


14.  Niall Tussock (Nurzhan) coal importer’s son


15. Henry Tussock (uncle Hal) coal importer


16. Gabriel Tussock (coal importer)


17. Charles Williams (Will Charles) solicitor’s clerk. Irish lang enthusiast——- arrested


18. Benedict Thompson (B Thompson) solicitor’s clerk. GAA——-


19. Kenneth Adams. ( A K ) farmer. religious reactionary——-


20. Michael English (Magnus) labourer. tags along. feeble. becomes informer


21. Seamus Simons (Simon I F ) barman————————-


22. Henry Brannock ( Henry W B) labourer.




Stealing Dr Laws car – bank robbery – vandalise Travelers’ caravan – criminal chained up and died of exposure. – patrol before dawn.



London said to Hendricks, ”We need a motorcar. I have a new idea for an attack on the RIC. Next time the Black and Tans patrol along the road we will drive along and shot the bastards down – then be out of there. They have no motorcar so they cannot chase us.”

”Right so we buy one.” said Hendricks

”We do not have the funds for that. Why waste money on that? We need our salaries. Steal one.” said London

”Commandeer don’t you mean?” Hendricks corrected him.

”All right commandeer.” said London ”The only fellow around here has a car is Dr Laws. So you and Simons go and steal the car after the old fella.” said London

”All right we steal the car.” said Hendricks.

”Then drive it to Sullivan’s farm – you know east of Lismanistry.” said London

”Ah that Sullivan’s.” said Hendricks


”Hide it in the barn. You can drive now?” asked London

”Wasn’t I a chauffeur for a year? Till the bastards sacked me for being in the IRA.” said Hendricks

”Ah good. I am sending Simons because he can drive too. Used to work in the Ford factory. So get the car bring to Sullivan’s. Got it?” said London.

”Understood Jim” said Hendricks ”When we have that car we shall wipe out the Black and Tans and that is not a word of a lie.”

”That’s right. We will soon have the English on the run. I can tell they are losing. They are used to using that nigger on their side. Have you heard they have one of their men who is a quadroon? Englishwomen are whores – being fucked by niggers” said London. ”One more big push and we will kick the English out.”

“You are right. People hate the English for bringing that blackamoor here; As black as soot!”  said Hendricks “That black doesn look all black though”

“I think that he is a quadroon or Something. The English are an immoral and filthy race. Their women are breeding with niggers and Jewboys. The are mongrels and half breeds;” said London. sulphrously.




Teacher was saying to anyone who would listen ”That Carson has the right idea. He said he shall tolerate no Sinn Fein methods in Ulster. I do not care for the South of Ireland much but if the Fenians get control here they will decimate the Protestants here. Next the Roman Catholic fiends will attack loyal Ulster. ”

No one in particular was listening. The others were increasingly weary of Teacher mouthing off his anti Catholic rants. In his time off solitude was often his companion. Perhaps being a lighthouse keeper would suit him down to the ground since he would not have to be near any Catholics.

”I am a member of the Lord’s Day Observance Society” said Teacher ”A strict Sabbatarian and I am not ashamed to say it. The Lord’s Day is not for work except for emergencies and police work is allowed. These Taigs here play their Gaelic games on the Sabbath and that is an abomination in the sight of the Lord. The pope is the anti christ! I have read in the Book of Revelation. The Pope of Rome is the whore of Babylon. Some are tempted by Jezebel. My minister at home explained it to me. We are an instrument of divine will to smite these ungodly papists. They are following counterfeit Christianity worshipping the pope as a demigod. ”

”Give over will you?” asked Brokenshire. The strain of listening to Teacher’s poisonous ramblings was too much for Brokenshire.

”Maybe you do not care for the King and Protestantism but I do!” said Teacher ”My cousin moved to Ulster and is married to an Ulsterwoman. I care about defending loyal Ulster from these Fenians. That is why we are here – to protect the decent Protestant people.”

Brokenshire looked away in disgust. It was futile to try and persuade Teacher to desist. He tutted Teacher. How could such a man be allowed to don police uniform?

”The problem starts with the Pope. The Vaticans is a nest of vipers. I would blow it up. Those popish bishops are the generals of the IRA.” said Teacher.

“Well if you do not like Catholics you can go whistle. Are comrades are Catholics. We are here to help the Catholics as much as the Protestants. Maybe you should go to Belfast and join the Ulster Protestant Association” said Brokenshire scornfully.

“You can become a popish priest for all I care!” said Teacher as though that were a vile insult.

The other police ignored him and turned away in disgust. David could stand it no longer.

”Teacher” said David abruptly, ”Give over will you? You are a disgrace to Scotland. Some Scotsmen are Catholic and they are just as Scots as us.”

”They are no Scottish” said Teacher in irritation ”They are the Irish race.”

”There are Irish Catholics moved to Glasgow. There are also Catholics in the Western Isles been there for centuries” said David firmly.

”I do not like the Rat Catchers. Them RCs are all bastards” said Teacher.

”We know that Teacher. A lot of Scots heroes were Catholics like William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and all the kings of Scots before Mary Queen of Scots” said David.

”That is no true. Papists? Never.” said Teacher with utter conviction.

”They were. Read a book will you?” said David. ”Our Irish pals here in the RIC are Catholics.”

”I do not trust them fuckers. They are probably helping their own people against us.” said Teacher.

”They are not” said David ”They shoot the IRA same as we do. They get killed by the enemy. So put a sock in it.”

“This is a Taig area and that is why it is a hotbed of IRA activity/. They was pro German in the war because the Germans are all fucking papists.” said Teacher.

“tHAT is nonense Teacher.” said David “And if you are so religious why you swearing all the time?”

Teacher was stumped. It had not dawned on him that these men were not receptive territory for his anti Catholic invective.

Louis was eager to start a new conversation. Apropos of nothing Louis remarked to Sergeant ”Isn’t Hiberno English charming? Ye and all that –  Elizabethan. ‘Have you’ they say instead of do you have.”

”Sounds like Yorkshire to me” said North cheerily ”thee, thou and ye” he laughed in self deprecation.

”They speak like that in Hull?” asked Louis

”OOl” North pronounced his home town – correcting Louis.

Louis then said, ”I once knew a man form the West Country – he used to speak like this.” Louis put on a Somerset burr ”I likes cider – makes I fart. When I farts I knows I is healthy. Don’t like cheese though. Bungs I up”. He had the others in stitches.

Bulkeley came out of his room. ”Men – I am going to visit Fr Meagher. I shall have Sergeant, Lumley, Limtay and Moses accompany me.”

They marched off to the priests’ house as stratus cloud covered them. Bulkeley felt that Lumley could be trusted with this duty in broad daylight. Bulkeley had read about a sectarian Attack in Derry in the newspaper. Some loyalists had been stopping men going into the city centre : the Diamond. They asked men if they were Catholics or Protestants. Catholics were turned back with the threat of a beating. Any who claimed to be a Protestant had to open his shirt and show he was not wearing a crucifix. One man who falsely claimed to be a Protestant had been murdered by the UPA. Bulkeley was anxious because feeling would be running high when news of yet another loyalist Attack in the North reached Cork.

Bulkeley knocked on the door. He happened to know that Fr Downy would be out.

Fr Meagher invited him in. He asked the cantankerous housekeeper to provide tea but she refused point blank. This was out of fear of being seen to be a collaborator as much as personal conviction. The other four stood guard and walked around the outside of the house. They wanted to prevent the IRA creeping up on them. They also moved to avoid being a stationary target for anyone taking pot shots.

”Fr Meagher how nice to see you again.” said Bulkeley with heartfelt warmth

”Well Head Constable it is pleasant to see you again. I am afraid that I must protest against the conduct of your men” said Fr Meagher with a hard stare.

”Go on” he looked bemused.

”Head Constable Bulkeley” Meagher began indignantly, ” some of your men have been severely abusing suspects. You do not beat a prisoner. You are police – you have a job to do. If fired upon you must return fire to defend yourselves. But this is not about meeting force with force. You have arrested men – had them handcuffed, naked and blindfold. Then they have been severely beaten. This is brutal behaviour. I believe a man called Short is reponsible for this” he said his dignity straining.

”Fr Meagher”, Bulkeley began striving to contain himself, ” We have arrested many IRA men. I will admit that some of them have been roughly handled. I shall not name names. But yes we could go easier on them. This is a matter of life and death. This murder gang the IRA they are not much of a threat to us. The blackguards have not the courage to take us on. We chase the fiends out of Ahabeg once in a while. They are a mortal peril to your parishoners. How many houses have they robbed? How many of the civil population have they subjected to the most bestial attacks? The IRA are beasts and ruffians. We can only deal with these brutes with rough methods.”

”Sir, according to the laws of a just war you must use just means.” said Meagher calming down a little.

”Father – I thank you for your comments. I realise that you have a duty to express the views of your congregation.” said Bulkeley ” The IRA are a sect of thieves and cornerboys. We cannot fight these brigands with Salvation Army methods!”

”There is a lot of ill feeling towards you. I won’t pretend for one minute that many of my people are loyalists. In fact as you know more than a few incline towards the IRA. But when you beat a prisoner black and blue it inflames opinion. People hate you. They want you out.” said Fr Meagher

”We are here to uphold law and order and protect the people from the IRA.” said Bulkeley

”Many people see it the other way around – say the IRA is here to defend the town from ye.” said Meagher

”Father we have not robbed anyone. We have only killed our enemies in combat.” said Bulkeleye

”There have been some dead bodies found and the IRA said it was ye who killed them.” said Meagher

”It was not. They rob and we do not.” said Bulkeley

”I do not know what to believe.” said Meagher

”Father will you speak out against the IRA?” said Bulkeley.

”I do every Sunday. Some people hiss when I anathematise the IRA. It is particularly Young men who do so they want to be tough lads. At mass my homilies always include a denunciation of the IRA. The Bishop of Cork has condemned them ex cathedra. Unfortunately it has little effect. SOme casuists among the IRA commit these outrages and then think the blessed sacraments can have some effect. They cannot. If they are in the IRA they are excommunicated ipso facto. ” said Meagher.

”Well is there anything we can do to improve relations with the townsfolk/?” said Bulkeley

”yES there is. There is one of your men – Teacher they say his name is. He has been heard in the streets expressing. anti Catholic attitudes. Insulting our religion causes a lot of hatred against the police. There is some other fella who has been making anti Irish comments” said Meagher

”I will look into it” said Bulkeley.

”Sir, I am giving you the polite version of it. Fr Downy is rousing the people against you. He thinks he is the foremost republican and Michael Collins is in the ha’penny place” said Meagher is a most serious tone.





It was early evening when Hendricks and an accomplice, Wynn, came to Dr Laws’ house. It was a day with cumulus cloud.

It was a handsome two storey house. They went to the door feeling cocksure knocked too loudly to be polite.

A slender maid in her black and white pinafore came to the door.

”Good evening” she said nervously. She knew the two by sight and could think of no good reason why they would be calling on Dr Laws. A wounded IRA man we wondered?

”Get us the doctor right now” said Hendricks imperatively. He was an anxious as he was angry.

The timid maid said ”I will see if he can meet ye”

”No. In fact we are coming in” said Hendricks cockily. He pulled out his revolver and shoved it in her face. She crouched and shrieked. Hendricks pushed her and she fell over. He stepped into the front hall and Wynn followed him also drawing his revolver.

The turned left into the house. They caught sight of a door open to a large drawing room. Dr Laws was sitting by the fire  with his pince nez on reading the Freeman’s Journal. He looked up on hearing the commotion.

Laws got to his feet. ”What the hell do you think you are doing?”

His two teenage daughters were sitting in the drawing room. The screamed as Wynn and Hendricks approached.

”Give us the keys to the car” said Hendricks.

”I will not. Who are you?” said Dr Laws.

”IRA. Now hand over the keys or you get shot.” said Hendricks.

”I will do no such thing” said Laws. ”Now shag or before ye get a toe in the ole you little bastard!” Laws was incensed. He would never have used such language in front of his daughters otherwise.

”Have it your way. You treat them fucking Black and Tans!” yelled Hendricks. From 5 metres range he empited his magazine into Laws chest.

Laws’ blood sprayed the room as he fell back on the carpet. The girls shrieked almost smashed the windows.

”Let’s get out of here” said Wynn in a blind panic and ran for the door. Hendricks suddenly realised what he had done. He stood there palsied for a second wishing he could undo it. He contemplated the dead body and prayed he could bring the man back to life. He then turn on his heel and ran. The maid was cowering by the door.

The ran and did not stop until they got back to the IRA bivouac. Hendricks usually found violence diverting but on this occasion he sensed that he had over reached himself.

The look on Hendricks’ face announced a catastrophe.

”What the fuck happened?” said London scowling.

”Ah well it went a bit wrong. Dr Laws fought us – tried too grab the gun and I had to shoot him.” said Henrcicks

”Shoot him?” London frowned. ”Dead?”

”Ah well maybe. I had to shoot him in the chest  – just a couple of times.” said Hendricks looking unsure of himself.

”Hendricks you fucking imbecile. I told you to steal the car not kill the man. Laws was very popular and respected.  So where’s the car.?” said London

”Ah that is the thing I did not get a chance to get the keys” said Hendricks quietly.

”You are a Mongol. There are two strong young men. You threaten him with a gun you do not shoot him. Use force if you have to  – punch him. Do not shoot him. You kill him. If you had got the car that would at least have been something. You are a hothead. Now you killed the best known man in the district. They will be out for your blood Hendricks!” said London seething.

”Sorry boss” said Hendricks sounding ashamed.

”Sorry? How the fuck we going to make this up to the people? We can blame it on the Tans.” said London.

”No trouble is there were witnesses his daughters” said Wynn

”Ah feck” said London. ”I tell you what. We can say he was killed for treating the Tans.”

”Ah but we warned him off last month and he stopped treating their wounds” said Wynn.

”Shite and onions” said London ”But that is the best excuse we have. Put the rumour about. That is the best chance we have of getting away with this.” He turned to Hendricks. ”You are a fecking disgrace boy. I could have you courtmartialled.”

Hendricks hung his head in shame.

London began to Wonder at a certain incongruity in their propaganda. They told people they were protecting them from the English police but it was the IRA and not the police Killing civilians.

Hendricks pictured a hue and cry poster with his name on it and a Bounty offered for information leading to his arrest.



London considered attacking the RIC to be a footling waste of time till he had more men and arms. Besides money in the pockets of the volunteers was a boost to their moral. Most of his men were unemployed but for their robbing heroics. Were they unemployable beyond beating up a geriatric? He began to wonder.

London gathered his battalion. ”God Save Ireland and IRA withdraws from the Bank of Ireland”. He had his men bent double in mirth.

”Take the money back from the Orangies” said Adams. The Bank of Ireland was well known or perhaps notorious for having Protestant senior management.

London said “tOO right. The Bank of Ireland is true blue; know what I mean? All King Georges arse lickers;”

“We are honest men fighting for the poor not like the exploiters in the bank” said Adams sensing some dissimulation in what he was saying.

“We need to do this to raise funds for the cause” said London who perceived that Adams felt uncomfortable about the operation. “I cannot wait to get stuck into the RIC. Teach them bastards a lesson. Send the Protestants packing. Soon the RIC will be running for the boat back to England. Have no sympathy for theM; You heard they have that man Short who softens up prisoners ; beating the hell out of them; We will pay him back! He tortured Lynne as cruel as a Turk; You know the English they descretaed the graveyard for unbaptised babies; We must punish them;”

“Amen to that” said Adams

The IRA went on parade. They formed up. Even Nagle and Tooth had shown up. A bank robbery was the one sort of operation that they could be relied upon to participate in. Commandant London took the salute from his troops. Their weapons were inspected. Then they descended on a remote branch of the bank. There was a little precipitation but not enough to make them fear that their weapons would go rusty.

Simons foostered with his weapon since he felt profoundly worried about this operation.

It was almost closing time when the IRA with balaclavas on emerged onto the main street of Ahabeg. London and Hendricks were on the only two horses that the unit possessed.

The IRA strode into the bank. Adams fired into the ceiling.

Several well dressed customers were there. A woman screamed as the plaster fell down as dust from the ceiling.

Adams handed over a gurney sack to the bank clerk. ”Fill it up!”

There were two clerks behind the wooden counter. One was bald and the other was not. They were both tidily attired in pressed shirts and waistcoats. Both wore glasses and one wore a green visor. They looked down and hurriedly took cash out – stuffing it into the bag.

Nagle saw the chubby moustachioed manager behind the counter. ”Open the safe. That is where the real money is!” said porky little Nagle. He aimed his gun at the manager’s head and held out a gurney sack. Nagle had evidently done this before.

The manager approached slowly – averting his gaze as though that meant he was less likely to be shot. ”Please – please sir” the manager could not believe he was calling a robber sir ”do not point the gun at my head.”

”Hurry up before I shoot your whiskers off” said Nagle.

The manager took the sack and went to the back. He opened the safe.

Tooth then turned to the people there. He held out a sack and shouted. ”Wallets and purses in here!”

Some men and women began reluctantly placing their monies into the bag.

”This is for the West Cork Republican Arms Fund” said Adams.

”Shut up” said Nagle.

”Ye are IRA?” said a middle aged woman.

”Ah no…” said Tooth ”We are …er Black and Tans.”

”Why you not got the uniform on?” said the woman putting her hands on her hips incredulously. ”You do not sound English?”

The other women and the men had averted their gaze and were striving not to provoke the gunmen. They were praying that the robbers would be out of their soonest and no one would be hurt.

”Yerra shut up you old bitch” said Tooth. ”I have a good mind to shoot you now”

”Ah no don’t do that” said Adams. He turned to Tooth

”Don’t tell me what to do you ghoul. Young bowsy – I will pistol whip you.” said Tooth

”You are a common criminal” Adams shouted back waving his shotgun.

”Lads calm down – manager is bringing the money we are almost out of here” said Nagle

Just then one of the bank clerks valuted the counter. He grabbed Nagle’s arm from behind and attempted to wrestle the gun off him.

”Fellas grab them” the bank clerk shouted. Nagle fell over on top of the bank clerk who was still struggling to get a hold of the revolver. Nagle fired the revolver into the counter.

Tooth closed in – pressed his revolver to the bank clerk’s temple. The bank clerk looked Tooth in the eye and screamed ”Mercy.”

A second later Tooth pulled the trigger. The bank clerk’s blood and brains spattered the counter and Nagle.

A woman fainted and another shrieked like a banshee.

”Ah shit let’s get out of here” said Tooth

Nagle pushed the corpse off him and said ”what the hell you go and do that for? You fool?”

”Rescuing you” said Tooth as he ran out the door.

Adams too made himself scarce.

”Money – give us the money” said London. He pointed his rifle at Nagle and Tooth as they came out – he knew better than to trust these two.

”Ah I will give it to you later” said Tooth

”Nagle has nothing in his” said Adams

”You will give it right now” said London taking the safety catch off. Tooth  reluctantly handed one sack to London and one to Hendricks

”Why you got blood all over you?” said London

”Tooth shot a man” said Nagle.

”Ah shit” said London digging his spurs into his steeed. He rode off.

The other hijacked a pony and trap and off they rode.

The pony and trap was abandoned a few miles down the road. The IRA men then melted into the fastness of the hills. They all met up at an abandoned cottage.

London dressed them down for their incompetence in killing a bank clerk. ”You do not turn your back on a man during a robbery Nagle” said London ”Tooth had to shoot that fucker because of your incompetence. If he had not shot him then that fella would have had your gun and you would have been dead. You did not even get the main prize – the money from the safe Nagle. You are a fucking disgrace Nagle” said London ”I have a good mind to court martial you”

”Jim I am sorry. I will make it up to ye. I shall steal that amount and more for the cause.” said Nagle diffidently.

Adams sat with his head in his hands – distraught that he had participated in an action that ended in the death of an innocent man.

”Adams do not feel bad” said London ”served the bastard right for working for the Prods. Bank evict people. He was a collaborator. He got what was coming to him. Profiting from our misery.”

“Ah right. This is a war. I know it is in a good cause but sometimes innocent people get hurt.” the justification rang hollow in his mind. “We have a great president in de Valera. A good Catholic like Kruger who also beat the English;”

“Now Nagle and Tooth. You will not be paid this week. Your money will go to compensate the family of the dead bank clerk.” said London

“Ah come on he was working for a Prod bank like. Deserved what he got. People who do not pay back loans have their farms confiscated. Usurers like the Jew;” said Tooth.

“Tooth I knew the fella you killed. Gerry Harrington his uncle is a priest in Mallow. They are a popular family. Poor fella was just doing a job like. Yes the Bank of Ireland rob the poor but the bank clerks are not well off. This will cause a lot of ill feeling in the town. If we carry on like this people will start helping the English more. We can only terrorise local people so much. We have to be nice to them too;” said London;

“Qh keep your hair on” said Tooth “Who are you Jesus fucking Christ? This is a war and that Harrington was an enemy;”

” I will have no more insubordination” said London threatning him with a gun.

*Tooth lowered his gaze and fell silent.




The IRA held its council at a dugout 3 miles north of Lismanistry.

London announced ”Volunteers you will have noticed that we have a Tinker infestation in the townland. Fucking filthy knackers moved in. Clothes have disappeared off washing lines. It is our job to defend the people. We must move these flea bitter Tinkers and their whores out of town.”

”The Tinkers have no religion like” said Adams ”they never go to mass.”

”Quite right” said London ”They are a gang of thieves. Drive out these beasts. ”

”They are nothing but vermin” said Hendricks. “White niggers”

”That’s right” said London ”I wish they went extinct. Tinkers came to Ireland. They have ENglish and Protestant blood in them. They are a race of Mongols. None of them can read like. They have never see soap. You can smell a Tinker a mile off.”

”Let’s go and knack out that criminal breed” said Hendricks with delight.

“Now Hendricks do not lose your head and kill someone got it?” said London

Hendricks nodded and seemed embarrassed.

The three IRA men descended into the valley. A single Traveler’s caravan was there. Two pie balled ponies were tethered to a tree and browsing on the grass. A few barefoot and unwashed children scampered around.

The IRA men had revolvers and hammers.

”Come to the door” said London knocking on it with his hammer.

A bearded Traveler man came to the door of his caravan.

”Hello sirs” he flashed them a rotten tooth smile full of anxiety.

”Get you and your whore and your brats out of this town” said London

”I am here looking for work like” said the Traveller.

”You are here looking to rob; You bone idle fuckers never do an honest days work in your life” said London ”I do not like you Tinkers and your unhygenic ways. We are decent Irish people. You are sheer filth. Now fuck off out of town you animal.”

”Please sir – I am looking to sell a horse. Maybe get some work repairing shoes, setting bones. I can play the bodhran and sing songs. I have ten children like” the Travellers implored.

”You are here to steal. It is as plain as the nose on my face. You are brought up to steal since the day you can walk. Now I am giving ye one hour to get out of town or we will burn the caravan with you in it you Tinker rat.” said London.

The man went down on his knees ”Please sir we were driven out of Dunmanway. My wife is about to give birth. We cannot move for a week.”

London went to one window of his caravan and smashed it. ”Smash the windows men” said London.

The others smash all the windows. The glass shattered into the caravan. The woman and her children inside started screaming.

”Ok ok – I will go. Please sirs give over” said the Traveller man holding his hands up to his ears.

The windows had all been broken. ”One hour like” said London ”The next blow with this hammer is for your skull you fucking dirty Tinker shit!” spittle flew out of the corners of his mouth. There was sheer hatred in his eyes.

The IRA men walked away feeling like heroes. ”We gave that Tinker what for” said Hendricks.

”Those children should all be put up against a wall and shot. It is pest control” said London

”I wish we could buy Tinker hunting licences. They are vermin like. Tinkers have no God. Killing a Tinker is no more a crime than killing a rabid dog.” said Hendricks.

The Traveler family moved on within the hour. The wife had a miscarriage.

”My uncle was in South Africa in Kruger’s time” said Hendricks. He pronounced the name as ”Kroojer”.  Hendricks went on ”Said the niggers were not as bad as Tinkers. How dare the Tinkers call themselves Irish? They are dirty Knackers”*

Back at the encampment the IRA bragged for their heroic feats against the Travellers>. Conlan was unimpressed by these exploits. He felt growing doubts about the cause and the conduct of the IRA/ These misgivings were increasingly difficult to dispel.

London treated them to his assessment of the Travellers “They are like the negro in AMERICA. Only want a boondoggle like. A job that is no work;:” He was pleased that Hendricks had not been enough of a whirligig to kill someone.

” I a, going to celebrate this Victory over the Tinkers on me day off. Go up to Cork and do Pa na” said Hendricks.



The weekly army convoy passed through. A trio of lorries came to the town. There was mail. Prisoners were taken away. Some RIC officers were able to go off on leave. The Irishmen with their wives and children in nearby big town such as Tralee, Limerick and Cork headed off.

Bulkeley had been very surprised to see four horses tied up behind the rear lorry and cantering along. Head Constable Bulkeley came out to greet the army.  He saluted his opposite number Lieutenant Taddy.

They then shook hands. ”Aristophanes how the devil are you?” said Bulkeley with the uttermost warmth.

”Bally top hole” said Aristophanes Taddy. ”How are you William?”

”Could be better. Having bother with these rebels around here; This is the vortex of the IRA” said Bukeley. ”By the way what the horses doing behind your lorry.”

”Oh yes? You asked for reinforcements. They decided to give you these.”

”I asked for men not horses” said Bulkeley in ingratitude.

”I know they had none to spare. But horses will give you transport. No need to press horses into service from local farmers and irk them” said Taddy

”Very well we shall put them in the stable yard”, said Bulkeley, nonplussed

”Three mares and a gelding”, Taddy clarified.

”These horses do not look in great nick” Bulkeley commented.

”No, not great shape” Taddy conceded ”ex army mounts. Should have seen the French Army they had their horses in much worse shape.”

”Still they will move. Fairly old not in the best of health but we can outpace the IRA with these.” said Bulkeley.

“Well good luck beating these banditti” said TADDY

“Thank you. Fighting them is a cynch. It is finding the buggers that is a problem. Bastards wont stand and fight. Always flitting around the woods;” said Bulkeley

“They used to call Irish rebels woodkern” said Taddy

Bulkeley had his men put chicken wire over the stable yard so the IRA could not chuck a grenade in to finish off the steeds.

Bulkeley later spoke to Limtay in his room.

”Sir, I have some intelligence” Limtay showed him the latest news from the drop.

‘IRA man is staying at 5 Loch Road, Lismanistry.”

”Now we have horses we had best use them before the IRA get wind of this. Surprise is half the battle. If they learn we have horses they will take evasive measures. Set out before dawn tomorrow and surprise them in Lismanistry” said Bulkeley.

”You sure it is wise to go out with only four men?” said Limtay

”Calculated risk. Your source previously said they would only attack with a 2 to 1 superiority. I know they have up to 50 IRA men or Sinn Feiners in the district but seems they have 20 firearms at most. They are never all together at the same time. Catch this fella on his own. Soon we will have the blighter singing like a canary. He will tell us where the others are” said Bulkeley with enthusiasm.

”Mounted infantry tactics. Rediscover the South African War – mobility and so on.” said Limtay

”That is it speed and surprise. Fight on foot. No longer restricted to the roads” said Bulkeley ”I would attack the IRA camp but that is in the deepest woods – impassable to horses. They have their Fianna Eireann scouts posted with whistles all around. They would be alerted ten minutes before we got there. They could stay in the cover of the treeline and shoot us down as we cross the open ground. Either that or else spread out fanwise. Just scatter before we get there. We would be lucky to get one of them in the bag.”

An hour before dawn Bulkeley, Limtay, FitzGerald and Brokenshire were up and the horses were saddled. They set out towards Lismanistry arriving there half an hour before the sun was full up.

FitzGerald was sent to the lane behind the house. Brokenshire stayed on his horse outside the front door- holding the other two mounts.

Limtay and Bulkeley had their revolvers drawn. They left their rifles in the special rifle holsters in the saddles.  Rifles were not much use at such close quarters when movement and quick turns were vital. Limtay put revolver down a minute and opened the door with a sledge hammer.

Bulkeley rushed into the little house – he turned left into the front room. No one there – then into the kitchen-pantry.

Limtay was rushing up the stairs revolver in hand. He heard a thump.

Simons was upstairs. He had been congratulating himself on being a bold raperee. He thought of his ancestoes as Ribbonmen and Whiteboys. What splendid deeds they had done. Now he was writing another glorious chapter in Irelands History.

Seamus Simons had opened a first floor window and jumped out into the back garden. He was attempting to climb the garden fence into the next house.

FitzGerald on his horse saw this. ”Stop or so help me God I’ll fire!”

Simons stayed holding onto the fence pondering whether to cross or not. A shot over his head from FitzGerald made him drop down to the ground.

Simons put his hands in the air and called out ”I surrender”. He trembled madly and wept.

Bulkeley came out the back door into the garden.  He quickly patted the man down. ”Keep him there FitzGerald. I will clear the rest of the house.”

Limtay burst into one bedroom – there were three little boys in one bed and four girls in another. They all squealed to see him.

Limtay then entered the parents bedroom – the father and mother were already up and standing with their hands in the air.

Bulkeley then went down and handcuffed the suspect. ”What is your name?”

”Simons” he yelled with tears in his eyes.  ”I will tell you everything just please do not hurt me.”

Bulkeley thought to himself that this would be easy.

The garden gate was opened and Simons was told to walk out to FitzGerald. FitzGerald still mounted escorted the prisoner out of the lane and onto the main road.

The neighbours had been roused and were looking out of the windows.

Bulkeley and Simons then ordered the whole family into the garden while they searched the house.

The father of the family Mr Luxon – was taken into custody. Luxon and Simons were made to walk as they RIC rode back to their station.

Simons was questioned as they walked.  He disliked being made to walk wHY you making me walk I am not a Kaffir” he said.

Bulkeley wanted information as fresh as possible. He did not want Simons to have time to think about lies to tell or what to conceal.

Simons would not stop talking on the way back to the barracks. Bulkeley could not believe the treasure trove of information. But was some of it disinformation.

Luxon shot Simons a look to silence him. Simons suddenly realised the danger he was putting himself in by giving away secret information so easily. Simons then reasoned that his best hope of survival was by staying in custody. If released and the IRA heard tell of what he had said to the police he was for it. Bulkeley got his notebook out and tried to jot down some of the names and addresses that Simons had mentioned. The sun was up and the sky was scowling.

They got back to barracks and Simons and Luxon were put into custody.

”North, Watkins, David and Lumley” said Bulkeley – come with us. ”Short – you interrogate these men.”

The four men whom Bulkeley summoned were brought out into the stableyard. Bulkeley never liked to leave Lumley in the station unsupervised.

”We are going to launch a surprise attack on the IRA. I know where they are going now. So we are going to share horses. No time to lose.” said Bulkeley.

Uncomfortable though it was the had two men per horse. Slower than normal but faster than running and less exhausting.

They came to Caoimhin’s Gully. Four men dismounted ready to sweep down on the camp. Four horsemen rode around to the bottom of the valley to where the IRA would flee. Watches had been synchronised. The party on horseback were given ten minutes to get into position.

Then the four men on foot advanced rapidly. They saw the Fianna Eireann scouts who ran away blowing whistles.

The RIC men advanced across broken ground. An IRA man came to the edge of the woods and fired at them ineffectually. The RIC returned fire. They dashed from tree to bush to hollow in the ground. The IRA soon decided the situation was too hot. He took to his heels. He was content that he had bought time for his comrades to escape.

The other IRA men in the camp heard the whistles and then the gunfire. They ran down the valley. Faster to escape downhill than up. They came out of the woods onto the open fields only to see four horsemen. The RIC expected plenty of gunplay.

”There they are!” shouted Bulkeley as he saw 5 IRA men emerge from the dark woods. Bulkeley opened fired with his rifle. His three shots missed.

An IRA man with a shotgun fired at him. A few pellets irritated the horse and some hit Bulkeley in the stomach but caused only superficial injuries. This IRA dashed to the far side of the road and into the thick woods beyond. He was gone.

50 yards further west FitzGerald was on his horse when an IRA man emerged from the woods  blinking in the light. The IRA man screamed to see FitzGerald level his rifle at him. The IRA man dropped his rifle and threw up his hands ”Surrender” he shouted. FitzGerald then exchanged his rifle for his revolver. Using his left hand he threw a pair of handcuffs to the captured IRA man.

”Put these on” said FitzGerald.

The IRA man duly obeyed.

”Now walk west” said FitzGerald ”Not too fast now.”

FitzGerald was keen to get the IRA man away from his rifle. Even with handcuffs on this man might be able to pick up rifle and do some damage. One of his republican comrades might shoot the handcuffs off for him.


Another IRA man emerged from the woods 50 yards east of Bulkeley. Brokenshire was near. This IRA rebel had a revolver he fired three shots at Brokenshire and missed. Brokenshire then took aim and fired three shots. One of them hit the IRA man on the left of the left bicep. The IRA man cried out in shock and pain. Brokenshire saw a little blood spurt from his enemy’s arm. The IRA man ran into the dense woods on the far side of the road and was gone.


”Winged him” Brokenshire said to himself.

Limtay saw two IRA man much further east. They had not come out of the south side of the woods. They must have heard the firing and had run out of the east side of the woods where a slight eminence rose. They were 500 yards away from Limtay. He kicked his steed into action. Louis was just thinking why was he pursuing these fellows and putting himself in danger? mAYBE slow down and not risk it. What did he care if they got clean away? But by then he was too close? Safer then to shoot than not.

Limtay then aimed his rifle as best he could. The rolling motion of the horse made it very difficult to aim true. He fired several shots – all missed.

The IRA men heard the shots and turned. One of them fell to his knee and took aim at Limtay. The IRA man fired several bullets. Limtay felt the bullets impact on the horses chest. The horse sank to her knees – dying. Limtay climbed off and was lucky not to have his leg trapped under the beast.

Several more shots from the IRA spattered the muddy ground around Limtay. He took shelter behind his dying horse. More IRA bullets hit the horse. Limtay aimed at his foe and pulled the trigger. Click, click, click. He was out of bullets.

Limtay loaded as quick as he could. His heart was racing and his adrenaline was up. The bastards were getting away. His fingers were all thumbs. Finally he fumbled the bullets into his rifle. By now the IRA were 200 yards further away than when he had opened fire. He fired a whole magazine but missed. With his pulse up he could not be steady. The rise and fall of his chest made it impossible to aim properly. The IRA had reached a rude farmstead. He saw them steal some horses and mount them bareback. They made good their escape.

Limtay then walked down the muddy hill to the bottom of the valley. Only then did the fear hit him. Could have been him that got shot and not the animal.

A Fianna Eireann scout had also emerged from the woods. He was duly taken prisoner by Brokenshire.

”How old are you boy?” asked Brokenshire.

”14 sir” said the whey faced youth. He was understandably frightened.

A minute later the four RIC men on foot came out of the woods.

”Well done men” said Bulkeley ”We have three prisoners and Brokenshire wounded another” said Bulkeley.

”We found this” said Lumley holding a rusting old mid 19th century British Army rifle.

”Did you get any of them in there?” asked Bulkeley.

”No” said Watkins. ”They all ran down this way. We saw a couple of their boy scouts – unarmed – but we ignored them. Went for the main prize.”

At that moment Limtay came along. ”Sir, my horse has been shot. Dying.”

”Ah well. Not a bad innings” said Bulkeley feeling up ”We have got four of theirs in some way or other. None of us even wounded.” He turned to the IRA scout who was by now handcuffed. ”Boy how many IRA men were in the woods with you.”

”Six sir” said the boy. He immediately felt he had betrayed his cause.

”Six?” said Bulkeley loudly incredulous ”I heard you had 12 there.”

”We did sir this morning but some left.” said the boy. Bulkley studied the teenager’s face closely and divined that he was speaking the truth.

”I had hoped to get all 12. Ah well not a bad day’s sport” said Bulkeley.

All the RIC men met up and all the prisoners were there. They met a brougham of a well off farming family. It was commandeered to take the prisoners and walking RIC men back to barracks.

Bulkeley had the teenage boy walk by his horse for a bit. He questioned him informally – out of the hearing of this confreres.

”What is you name boy?”

”I cannot tell you that sir.”

”You can tell me that or you will go to prison for the rest of your life. What the hell is your name?”

”Diarmuid O’Donovan” he said.

”Hand me your jacket” said Bulkeley.

The boy took off his dark brown tweed jacket. Bulkeley saw the name O’Donovan on a name label in it. He threw is back to the boy.

”How old are you now?” said Bulkeley roughly.

”14 ” said the boy.

Bulkeley made sure to question the two other prisoners in a like manner. He did not garner any valuable information from them.

Bulkeley later sent word to Fr Meagher that they had captured Diarmuid O’Donovan. If his parents wanted him back they had better go and get a cart and bring in the cadaver of the horse. The parents duly did so. Then Mr O’Donovan came in for an interview.

It was fascinating to discover that this boy was a Fian. Moore said the family were not known to be republicans.

”Well that is another safe house to have on the search list” said Bulkeley.

”I am very sorry for this head constable” said Mr O’Donovan ”My son is a good boy. I will give him a hiding when I get him home. I am dead against the IRA. I had no idea he was in Fianna Eireann.” He held his cap with both hands as a supplicant.

”Didn’t you now?” said Bulkeley sceptically.

”No sir. I am a hard working farmer. I am not a political person. I have no time for any organisation. I have no prejudice against men of any class. I go to mass every Sunday. The priest said we must not get mixed up in that murder gang that is the IRA” said Mr O’Donovan with conviction.

Bulkeley carefully considered the mans’s tone and facial expressions. He was beginning to think that O’Donovan was honest.

”Why shouldn’t I send your boy to the reformatory? He was helping the IRA try to kill my men?” said Bulkeley.

”He has been led astray by older men. The boy has been a fool. He was tricked by fancy talk. Sir, I will have him working on my farm. Diarmuid is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He liked playing at soldiers.”

Bulkeley took pity on the boy and let him go.

Bulkeley had the horse’s body butchered up by Watkins who once worked as a butcher’s apprentice. The men had horse steak for the night. The leftovers were given to the poorhouse.

Later Bulkeley summoned Louis to his room. “YOU DID sterling work today>. wOULD like to recommend you for a promotion. We have got the IRA on the run now. No more coasting as it was before we arrived;”

“Thank you sir” said Louis brightly.

“Get the bastards out in the open. We must avoid defiles where they coudl ambush us; Firepower and marksmanship are our advantages. These blighters try to negate that by fighting where there is little visibility.” said Bulkeley.

“Yes, sir. I do think though that we should not beat prisoners. It is illeglal;”

3 I know but we do not do it in a serious way. The boys are never hit;” said Bulkeley “This is not just letting off steam; This is to get intelligence. They are roughed up that is it. In any anti rebel campaign this happens. Compared to what the French or the Russians or the Gerlans do this is mild. The Yanks complain that we fight the rebels. A bit rich coming from them. They invaded the Philippines to boot out the Spaniards and help the Filipinos become independent. The Yanks then killed a million Filipinos as they fought for their indepencne. Filipinos would have been better off with the Dagos in charge; said Bulkekey. “I know all this because my cousin is married to our consul out there;”

“Ah I see; Hypocritical” Limtay was uncomfortable with Bulkeley changing the subject.

“Yes I know I am talkative. Got hit in the head by a shell fragment in the war; Not quite the same since. When i get home I want to lay out a pleasance.”




About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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