Black and Tans chapter 16. Placidity


IRA left reeling – IRA kill a tramp – Catholic ex soldier volunteers as a spy – IRA drive out rich Protestant family – criminal chained up and dies of cold – Bulkeley forms liaison with young woman.




  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               . Dismissed.   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.






Jim London mustered his men on a farm 10 miles west of Lismanistry. Many of the part timers had stopped turning up.

”I won’t lie to you men. The situation is bad”  London said morosely. ”This Bulkeley fella is plucky. He has almost got us beat.”

”No he has not” said Hendricks. ”Do not give up. We can storm the barracks tonight!” he said with characteristic precocity;

”Shut up Hendricks what do you know?” said London in irritation ”You never been in a real army.” London then realised he had insinuated that the IRA was not a real army. ”We need at least a two to one advantage to take the barracks. We needs mines and all that. The Black and Tans have captured 10 of us in the last couple of months and killed is it 5 of us? Some of us are wounded. They know all our safe houses and all our hides in the woods.”

”So what we do now?” said Conlan his tone containing a heavy hint of disillusionment.

”We withdraw for a while. Regroup. I am sending a request to General Headquarters in Dublin for more men and more guns” said London trying not to come across as apprehensive which he was.

”I get it – lull the enemy into a false sense of security” said Conlan.

”That is partly it. The RIC here are patrolling very aggressively – always surprising us. I had to post look out night as well as day. We do not have so many boys volunteering to do it. They think we are losing so they are not reporting for duty” said London; He was concerned about the effect of his circumspection on his reputation.

”We need a success for morale” said Hendricks pugnaciously. “Get fame for the unit;”

Conlan believed it would be a posthumous fame but judged is smarter to keep that thought to himself.

”That is what I am thinking. We need to pick a fight we can definitely win” said London ”Need to outwit that bastard Bulkeley.”

”He is a sly fox” said Conlan. He was developing an unwilling respect for Bulkeley as a gifted commander.

”He is a cute hoor all right” said Hendricks. ”Now Jim – when the RIC were chasing us up the hill why did you shoot the horse and not the man?”

”I learnt that in the army. If cavalry charge you then shoot the horse. It is a much bigger target. The horse falls and the man may well be killed or injured. But once he is on the ground we can shoot him. He is so much faster on a horse. Do not let him get to you or you are dead.” said London.

”The whiskey is almost ready. I checked the still” said Hendricks changing the subject.

”Ah good. Now remember to give the first few drops to the fairies or they will curse us” said London

“Yerra all right I will;” said Henricks sounded irked.*

Conlan was somewhat repining over having enlisted in the Irish Republican Army. But he was this far gone. Was it a decision he could reverse? Despite all the human frailities and the excesses perhaps the revolution would turn out right in the end. One could not expect blameless conduct from soldiers. Their wrongdoing was trifling in comparison to all the odious misdeeds the English had done down the centuries to his forbears. Now as the time to throw off the foreign and the bourgeois yoke. He noticed that Henndricks was trying to imitate London’s mannerisms and tone of voice; Was it subconscious?



The RIC noticed a downturn in IRA activity. People walked the streets with more self-assurance. People began to make eye contact with the police and even smile at them.  People started to come to the barracks to report petty crimes. The RIC went to follow them up. Bulkeley was nervous at first that they were being set up for an ambush. He would insist those reporting the crime accompanied the RIC. The IRA would be reluctant to open fire for fear of hitting their own person. Moreover, if the RIC were being led into a trap they would at least be able to exact revenge on the person who had led them there. Bulkeley sometimes insisted on approaching crime scenes by a circuitous route – to frustrate any IRA attempts at ambush or sniping.


Bulkeley decided to project power. He wanted the district to know that the RIC was in charge. They continued to patrol to the outlying villages. Bulkeley was cunning enough to do this is no particular sequence. He had been warned of establishing a pattern. If the IRA are going to launch an ambush they need to have an idea when the enemy will be along. If they can predict when the Crown Forces will be coming down a particular road then it is worth the IRA lying up in an ambuscade. If the IRA haven’t a notion when the Crown Forces will come along a certain road they will not lie in wait on spec. Bulkeley knew that he was a seasoned army officer but counterinsurgency was Something new to him. He was Learning on the job. His dispatches back to Dublin Castle all contained good news but he did not stint on reporting bad news. He was becoming celebrated in the RIC high command. Bulkeley’s successes were minor but this was one of the only districts in Ireland where the RIC was gaining control and not losing it.

Bulkeley had his men patrol sometimes before the dawn of day. They would descend on villages as the sun came up. They continued to mount roadblocks. They searched houses but not as much as before. Bulkeley was aware that this alienated the populace.

Bulkeley would have his men share the three horses. Two men on each. That way they still moved fairly fast and the men were not exhausted. Alternatively one walked the horse and the other jogged and the men swapped over regularly.

The RIC noticed IRA boy scouts were out observing them less and less frequently. This was also an encouraging sign. The RIC mens’ faces radiated a growing confidence.

Limtay went to clear the drop.

”We will withdraw to the east” read one note.

Bulkeley or Louis Limtay faithfully checked the drop every day. They found the messages became less frequent. At one point there was no message for a week. They began to fear that their man had been exposed for what he was and awarded the OBE  – One Behind the Ear – by the IRA. Then another note was found.

”We want more men and guns. London says he cannot take ye on without more men.”

That was good to know.



The RIC noticed an old tramp named Ronnie O’Dea. Bulkeley had stopped him wondering if he was up to no good. Ronnie had a long, lank unkempt beard and very soiled clothes. They asked him where he slept. There was an abandoned wooden shack that he called home. Bulkeley wondered whether Ronnie might be a thief so insisted on being shown the shack that Ronnie lived in. Bulkeley was then satisifed that O’Dea did indeed live there.

Ronnie begged on the Streets cutting a pathetic figure. He often knocked on Fr Meagher’s door and was given food scraps. Ronnie was no thief. The unhygenic old man was clearly ill – malnourished and suffering from exposure. Bulkeley gave the old men some old clothes and a blanket so he could live more comfortably.

Louis had been on the verge of being a down and out. This is why he felt an especial compassion for Ronnie O Dea. O Dea was not quite the full shilling either. O Dea had been debilitated by malnutrition and sleeping rough. His personal hygeine left much to be desired.




There was a ceileidh on in the parish hall. Bulkeley felt sufficiently confident of the situation to allow his men to attend. Only the unmarried men were permitted to attend. Four of the married men stood guard outside. The four men attending the party did so in uniform. Bulkeley insisted that uniforms were pressed and boots spit polished and buttons burnished to a blaze and hair was geled.

The four RIC bachelors walked into the party looking the finest dressed men around.

The band struck up some songs. The RIC fellows were soon inviting damsels to dance. In those innocent days no alcohol was served.

The RIC got many dances from ladies and envious stares from the other men. These police boys were dashing young blades with plenty of money and good prospects. The other men treated the RIC with an uneasy civility.

Only David had a girl who wished to meet him again. Aine Maloney agreed to walk out with him again. She had jet black hair that tumbled in waves over her slim shoulders and a slender figure.  Aine’s azure eyes captivated David. Her teeth were Irish buckers but apart from that she was good looking.

David sometimes went to Aine,s house to call on her. His comrades would launch a discrete patrol qnd stay 100 yards away. The IRA were known to use such trysts as a chance to kill a man.

David’s dalliance with Aine was going well. “But arent ye Scotchmen Protestants?” she asked him on one occasion.

“aYE we are but we were Catholics long ago. There are still some Catholics in Scotland. Most of them came from Ireland”

“Mammy said I could marry an Englishman or a Scotchman but he would have to become a Catholic and all the children must be Catholics”

“Fine by me doll” said David “I dinnae care two hoots who is a Catholic and who is a Priddy. It is all the same to me all Christians” said David

“Is it tru there is an Orange Lodge in the RIC barracks?” asked Aine

“Are you joking pet?” said David;

“No I am not; A lot of people in the town are saying that ye are all Orangemen and ye have an Orange lodge in there;” she said seriously.

“No not at all. Not one of the men is an Orangeman. Some of us are Catholics; I could bring you in and show you;” said David

“Ah no. It is bad enough that I am being courted by an RIC man but to go into the RIC barracks would be Dangerous. People are calling me an Orange whore for stepping out with you” she wept. He hugged her.

“Darling do not mind what they say. You are brave” said David

” Do I want to eb brave or do I want to be happy? ” said Aine ” My cousin is in the IRA in County Tipp. I had a nasty letter from him. He heard I was stepping out with you and he told me not to; ”

“There there ” he comforted her “Youy must do what you want to do and not what he wants”

“But you have no Freemasons ‘ lodge in there either? Some people are saying it is a Freemasons Lodge ye have and ye are all Freemasons” said Aine

“WE ARE no freemasons do ye ken hen? I have been into a Freemasonic lodge before but I have never been a Freemason. Anyone can go in and see that black and white tiled floor. They are not some nbasty secret society. Seems a load odf nonsense to be a mason to me and I am not one;” said David

Aine was convinced as there were no false notes in his voice; Their Relationship continued but she still remained a little depressed and felt vulnerable. She was caught on the horns of a quandary. She liked this man but he was also problematic.



Bulkeley felt he had used enough force for now. It seemed that the local populace were beginning to accept the RIC as their police force. Bulkeley was keen to build on the growing cordiality from the local people. He was very aware of the ill feeling that Teacher’s notorious anti Catholicism had caused. He had warned Teacher to desist from his fulminations about the evils of Catholicism. But Teacher did not and Bulkeley had more complaints from FitzGerald, MacNeill and Moore. Bulkeley wrote to headquarters requesting permission to discharge Teacher. Bulkeley had previously needed every last man. He had not been able to afford to be fussy over the characters of the men he used. As IRA activity had been brought to a standstill Bulkeley felt that he was in a position to put Teacher out to grass.

That morning as he shaved around his waxed moustache Teacher had been saying ”Fenians only ever wash in the Pope’s piss. I wish I could hang the Pope on an orange rope. I remember a rhyme I learnt at my grandmother’s knee – slitter slaughter/ Holy water/ Sprinkle the papishes every one/ Cut them in two/ That’s what we’ll do/ And the Protestant boys will carry the drum.”

Teacher was summoned to Bulkeley’s room.

”Sir!” Teacher saluted.

Bulkeley returned the salute and sat down.

”Teacher” Bulkeley began pointedly not inviting the man to take a seat. ”As you know I have had numerous complaints about you mouthing off anti Catholic diatribe.”

”What is diatribe please sir?” said Teacher.

”You know – comments and verbal attacks. I have told you to desist. It generate a great deal of ill sentiment among the men. I have heard you pass this anti Roman Catholic remarks before.” Bulkeley said solmenly.

”Sir, it is my right. I am a true Briton. It is my duty to warn people against the wicked ways of Rome.” said Teacher. ” Damn the Pope!”

”Yes, yes thank you I have heard it all before” , Bulkeley closed his eyes and waved his hand dismissively. ”I have had quite enough of that. You have sometimes been foolish enough to make these comments in the public hearing. It has morally offended many of the townspeople. This is a Catholic county. It is bad enough that you abuse the religion of your colleagues but your outlook is making out job with the civilians a damn sight harder.”

”Sir, it is popery we are battling. Every papist from the pope down is an enemy. Stopping my free speech that is the first step to Rome. The Romanists are tyrants and I stand for British liberty!” said Teacher.

”Teacher that is exactly the problem. You see 9 out of 10 people here as the foe and that is rot. ANyway I will come straight to the point. You are dismissed. It has been approved by the inspector general of the RIC. You have one month’s pay.” said Bulkeley.

The look on Teacher’s face expressed pure bemusment.

”Sir, with respect ; you cannot do this!” Teacher’s waxed moustache bristled in indignation.

”I can and I have” he said drily.

”Head Constable, I have an unblemished disciplinary record during my time in the army.” said Teacher

”But not in the RIC. It is all on file. You were warned.” said Bulkeley.

”Head constable Bulkeley – I shall write to my MP. I shall be reinstated. This will blight your career. You kick me out to please them Fenian bastards? Sir you cannot betray a fellow Protestant.” said Teacher.

”Teacher you betray your comrades by hating them for their faith. Sacking you shall do me no harm it shall not damage my career. It will blight the whole county is you stay and continue to scorn and demean the Catholics. You are out.  You have been undermining unit cohesion. You disobeyed repeated orders. A decision has been taken there is nothing to discuss. The army lorry is coming today. You shall be taken to the nearest base – accommodated overnight and then given a travel warrant to get home. Now here are your discharge papers” Bulkeley handed a sheaf of papers to Teacher who snatched them in ill temper

”Sir” Teacher sneered saluted and marched off. He reflected that perhaps it was enviable to be going home now. The others may return home in coffins.




It was early summer when Rev Playfair invited Bulkeley to his garden party on a fine evening.

The better off Church of Ireland sorts were there. Bulkeley was escorted by only two police officers; Cunningham and MacNeil. These men stayed outside the garden gate with their rifles. One would patrol the perimeter of the garden sometimes this direction and sometimes in that direction.

The party was already in progress when Bulkeley let himself in the metal garden gate. His service dress was as pristine as a Guardsman’s. His Sam Browne shone like brilliantly.

Mrs Playfair wore a long plain floral dress which was not especially flattering to her figure. It was evident now that she was a few months pregnant. She had a cup of tea in her white gloved hands.

”Head Constable” Mrs Playfair greeted him with a perfunctory smile.

”Mrs Playfair what a delight to see you again”  said Bulkeley they shook hands.

There were two dozen people there standing around and sitting on garden benches as they chatted. Bulkeley pinched himself to think he was in a conflict zone. Two months before such a scene would have been unthinkable. It would have been a sitting duck for the IRA. He could not quite forget that he had been obliged to bring two armed policemen with him. This was still not the Home Counties.

Rev Playfair was wearing a Panama hat as Bulkeley had once predicted. The clergyman speaking to a man with thin grey fuzzy hair who looked to be 70 years of age. The old gentleman wore a slightly dated dark brown suit and brown leather laceup shoes. He had very ruddy cheeks and stood a little stooped.

”Ah Head Constable” said Rev Playfair ”how good of you to join us” he shook Bulkeley’s hand. There was not question that the warmth was unfeigned.

”Good evening Rev Playfair. Thank you so much for inviting me.” said Playfair

”Well it is the least I could do. You are a regular churchgoer. I realise duty calls some Sundays and you cannot always make it. You have done so much for the parish. People no longer live in fear. ” Playfair then turned to the old man beside him. ”May I introduce you to Mr Upjohn?”

”Mr Upjohn” said Bulkeley ” I am very pleased to meet you. How do you do?” he shook the elderly man’s hand a little to vigorously.

”Ah … very… well” said the old Mr Upjohn managing a smile ”It is …so nice … to meet you.”

Bulkeley noticed that the old man had a speech hesitancy.

”Mr Upjohn. That is an unsual name. I know some people by that name”

”Ah well it is French. We came from France to England 200 years ago and then to Ireland about 100 years ago” said the old Mr Upjohn.

”I see. And what do you do?” said Bulkeley not so sure that Upjohn was right about the origins of his name.

”Well I am a … farmer. Cattle – Fresians. We have crossed them … with some … Aberdeen Angus. Better for beef … that way… you see.” said Upjohn

”Ah excellent. Well we do all like beef. Army used to run on it. Bully beef” Bulkeley forced a feeble chuckle.

”Hate to say it … the war was a good time for us. Made a lot of money. Now that is over. Competition from ….America… hurts too” said Upjohn

”More is the pity.” said Bulkeley

”Well it is my sons running the farm now; Birney and Joshua ” said Upjohn;

”Oh good for you.” said Bulkeley

”My daughter… Naomi made a good …match for herself – an arable farmer ….around here. The other one…. Winifred married an English soldier ….so she has gone. I still have little Mabel left” said Mr Upjohn. ”Whom you might like to meet” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

”Well certainly” Bulkeley said.

Playfair looked at Bulkeley mischievously.

”Mabel come over here please” said Upjohn.

A bouncy girl flounced over. She looked to be 14 and was chubby. She wore a pale blue dress that seemed a bit too young for her. It came down to her knees had a white bow around the waist. Her red hair hung over her shoulders and she had blotchy freckles on pallid flesh.

”Mabel not this is Head Constable Bulkeley” said Upjohn.

Mabel shook his hand not at all shyly ”How do you do Head Constable?” she said a little too loud. Bulkeley thought she was a hefty heifer. Just the sort of breeding stock a cattle farmer would be proud to have produced.

”I am very well indeed. I am very pleased to meet you Mabel” said Bulkeley. She was not what he had been hoping for. ”How do you do?”

”I am  feeling splendid thank you sir”. Mabel then dashed off to a trestle table and scoffed sandwiches.

”A well fed girl” said Upjohn ”You should not like them skinny uns. Women are like cattle. Must be nourished; That is the way they can breed best.” he said without trying to be funny.

”Is your daughter still at school?”

”Yes she is. Aged 14 but leaving in a few months. Must get her married off you see” said Prideaux.

”Isn’t she a little young for that?” asked Bulkeley uncomfortably;

”Yes she is. Not to wed now but she can find a suitor now and get married in a few years time. No sense in shilly shallying about it” Upjohn said irascibly.

Playfair sensed the conversation was going badly. He guided Upjohn on to a couple to speak to. Bulkeley judged Upjohn to be a dolt.

”Rosemary” Playfair called. A young woman turned around to him. She wore a long white dress with a red motif on it. Her dress was almost figure hugging but the neckline was respectable – at her collar bone. Her lustrous chestnut hair had a slight curl in it and hung down over her back.

Bulkeley was smitten.

”Head Constable Bulkeley I wish to introduce you to my niece.”

”head constable” said Rosemary smiling decorously ”I am very pleased to meet you. I have heard so much about you” she tittered blushingly.

Bulkeley was dumbstruck a second. His pupils dilated. He shook her hands as if in a trance before he remembered to say ”Good afternoon Rosemary. I am most pleased to meet you.”

Rosemary was demeure but no fool. She noticed that Bulkeley was taken by her.

”Rosemary is 19 and I thought it would be good for you to meet another young person” said Playfair.

”Ah I see. Miss Playfair I should call you – you are an adult.” said Bulkeley.

”No Miss Wells in that case. Rev Playfair is my mother’s brother.” said Rosemary.

”Ah I see” said Bulkeley.

”Well head constable and Rosemary – I must mingle” said Rev Playfair was off.

The two chatted gaily. It turned out that Rosemary has sisters Eliza, Prudence and Rebecca. The eldest two were wed. Prudence was the youngest was only 10.

It emerged that Rosemary was a music teacher and lived in Mallow. The two got along very well and agreed to meet again soon. He was so engrossed by her that tea and sandwiches had to be force d on him. He had forgotten to get any. It was a cloying respectable garden party without alcohol. It did not take much to elicit conversation from Rosemary. The two had an instant bond and it seemed they could talk for hours. Roselary seemed to be a panacea for Bulkeley. The strain of fighting and the horros of the Great War vanished in her presence.

Other parishoners were patting Bulkeley on the back and congratulating him for putting paid to the IRA.

Rosemary was glad to have met an eligible Protestant bachelor. It was a taboo of her tribe to wed Catholics unless they were willing to cross the Tiber.

Rosemary began visiting her uncle Rev Playfair every other weekend. It was a long Journey from Mallow. She had a reasonable pretext for so doing in that she wished to help Gail Playfair with the children when the maid had a day off; In reality she wanted to give Bulkeley an opportunity to pay court to her. Mrs Playfair actedd as a go between. Bulkeley attended mid week worship as well. Meeting Rosemary caused a fit of religiosity to come on him. He was honest with himself that he did this to be in Playfairs good books. It was another chance to pass messages to Rosemary via Mrs Gail Playfair.

After divine worship on Sunday Bulkeley and Miss Rosemary Wells would step out together to a secluded spot near the woods. It could not be too secluded; certain decencies were to be observed. Bulkeley was Wise enough to have his main tail him from a discrete distance.

Rosemary was a little damp eyed as she headed to the railway station on Sunday evening.



Jim had gathered the IRA.

”Volunteers tis time we did something. We have regrouped. Got new men. We have not done much in more than a month. Other battalions in the county are given the Crown Forces a hard time. Tis high time we did something. People are starting to speak to the RIC so I hear. They are going to them not us about crime” said London.

Conlan silently reflected that was because the IRA had been behind most of the robberies that year. He also noted that the IRA was no longer rattled.

”Yes let’s wipe out those ENglish” said Hendricks.

”One step at a time” said Jim London.

”I heard they got rid of that Scotchman” said Benedict Thompson.

”Yes they did so they are under strength.” said London. ”We do not have enough men for an ambush yet. But there is something else we can do to remind the people of the district that we are the law. This is the Republic of Ireland. King George does not rule here” said Jim.

”Kill the Prods!” screamed Hendricks.

”Calm down” said London ”We did that but that did not go down well. A lot of people feel bad about us killing them old Clifford brothers.”

”But we said they were spies” said Hendricks

”Not a lot of people fell for that” said London. ”Not Bertie Crowley stole some chickens from that old widow McCormick’s coop. So we will punish him”

”beat the bastard to within an inch of his life!” said Hendricks salivating at the prospect.

”Ah no because you would get carried away with that” said London ”Got an idea. I have heard other battalions around the country are doing this. We get him chain him to the church railings overnight with a sign around his neck – thief. That will learn him.”

The IRA battalion moved out to a small house on the main street of Ahabeg. It was sometime after midnight when Hendricks, London, Conlan, Thompson and Adams came up to the door. All wore balaclavas.

London used his rifle butt to knock on the door. Then he shouted ”Bertie Crowely come out or we burn the place to the ground.” He waited a few seconds and then banged a second time. He was on the point of shouting his threat a second time with he heard a young man’s voice shout.

”Jim, I will be down in a jiffy like” – it was Bertie Crowley.

Crowley came down wearing his long johns and vest. He opened the door.

” How did you know it was me? Why the hell did you say my name?” said Jim.

”Everyone knows it is you” said Crowley smiling. He had not appreciated the gravity of the situation.  ”You coming in for a drink? Me father has some whiskey”

”gET out here now” said London

”But I have no shoes or coat. ” said Crowley.

London grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out,.

”Hey” Crowley protested.

”Bartholemew Crowley you are under arrest by the IRA police” said London.

”What?” Crowley looked around nonplussed. Adams took the boy’s hands and bound them with bailer twine.

”How old are you?” asked Adams brooding

”17” said Crowley

”Old enough to be judged as a man” said Adams.

A shotgun barrel was shoved into his spine and we was made to walk barefoot over the unpaved road. His feet got wet in the puddles.

”Please lads let me go back for shoes. My feet is foulty like” said Crowley

”Shut your hole” said London.

Crowley grew scared. He decided to keep his counsel.

They led him into the woods.

They stood in a circle. ”This is your trial” said London. ”You stole chickens.”

”No I didn’t” said Crowley.

London nodded to Hendricks. Hendricks punched the boy so hard in the mouth that he fell over. He was got to his feet by Adams.

”Try again” said London

”Ok I stole the hens” said Crowley spitting out teeth and blood.

”The Republican court finds you guilty. You are sentenced to be tied up to the church railings.” said London.

Crowley was led to the church railings and tied up with rope. A sign reading ‘thief’ was hung around his neck

”Lads when you let me out?” said Crowley plaintively.

”We don’t” said London ”That is for your family tomorrow morning.” He then put a rag in the boy’s mouth so he could not shout for help. There was desperation on his face.

The boy looked very distressed. There was a faint patter of rain.

The IRA moved off

”He will piss himself because he cannot go.” said Adams with a cackle.

”Maybe shit himself too” said Hendricks delightedly.

An hour later the heavens opened and soaked the boy. He caught pneumonia. Next morning his family found him. They were delighted he had not been shot. The cut the ropes. He was brought home. The doctor was summoned though the family could ill afford to pay his fee. But the lad’s condition worsened for exposure. He died a week later.



London and Hendricks went to the shack that O Dea lived in. The deranged old mendicant was muttering to himself;

It was mid afternoon but London reckoned they need not worry. This was a remote and hidden grove.

London and Hendricks Drew their revolvers. “HANDS up” said London

O Dea was so mentally ill that he did not notice them. He carried on an animated conversation with himself and put on his knuckles one by one.

“Hands up God damn you” said London.

“What” said O Dea looking at them in perplexity not fear.

“Damn your eyes O Dea put up your hands” said London in annoyance/ HE Was not used to being disobeyed.

O Dea put up his hands “Oh hands it is, WHAT would ye be wanting with me ahnds. Boys can you give me a drink or a few pennies will ye?”

They Drew closer and O Deas stench offended them:

London chose to cut to the chase.

“O Dea what you being telling the English?”

“I just been telling them me life story. I was born in Kildare like. I was in an orphanage. Priests treated us awful mean like. Then I was out working in the fields when I was 12; I cannot read too well. I did this and that and odd jobs on building sites in England ant eh gaffers were fierce mean like boxing me ears. I came back to Ireland and  I got a taste for the drink. I am a vagrant. Been here in this town wherever it is for a few years like” said O Dea clearly elated someone was listening to him

“No what you being telling the police about us” said London

“not been telling them anything about ye. Who are ye anyway?” said O Dea with veracity on his face.

” Why are the police coming to see ye sometiles and giving you food and a blanket?” saidf London

“They just said they fell sorry for me; There is one real nice fella called Louis” said O Dea.

“Stand up” said London; He Grabbed O Dea by the matted hair and pulled him to his feet. O Dea howled in pain;

Hendricks got a hunting knife out and held it to O Deas throat from behind

” I give you one last chance; What you been doing to help the English? Tell us or we kill yoy” said London

” I have not been telling them anything about you” he said slowly and tranquilly sounding even bored of the question;

London tipped Hendricks a wink who slit the mans throat. The luckless indigent fell dead. London stepped back but blood splashed onto him/

” nO one will miss a tramp: We cleaned the place up” said Hendricks.

“Another Victory for the IRA ” said London




Limtay was manning a roadblock one Sunday. Because of the day of the week there was very little traffic. It was two miles east of Lismanistry. MacDonnell, Forshaw and David were with him.

Limtay had positioned the roadblock perfectly. It was around a blind corner. If anyone who had something to hide came along he would not see the roadblock until it was too late. Limtay and MacDonnell stood on the road. David and Forshaw were on either side. they looked to see that the IRA was not coming in behind them or that no one suddenly turned around to get out of the roadblock. The four RIC men were distinctly bored but at least the weather was clement. When people came around the corner who looked disconcerted then the RIC were sure to search and question them thoroughly. The RIC did not stay there for two long lest the knowledge of their location become to well known. The IRA could then either give them a wide berth or else Attack.

”Bulkeley seems to be getting on well with Playfair’s niece” said Louis

”He does indeed” said MacDonnell smiling.

”When he has leave he goes off to see her”  said Louis.

”What are these yokes ye wear on your hats?” MacDonnell asked.

”Well this is a Glengarry cap. So we have this pomel and the tassles hanging down” Louis answered him.

”Not like the regular RIC uniform” said MacDonnell.

“David is doing well with that Aine Maloney” said Louis

*”So I heard; Good for morale” said MacDonnell;

The bushes were in their fullest bloom. The flowers were fragrant and Louis breathed deep of the lavender scent.

Around the corner came a man in mid 20s. He had dark blond hair that was a little thin. The man had a white shirt on and a brown-grey jacket. His black slacks were a little tattered and he wore black leather lace up ankle boots as was common in these parts. Louis noticed there was a crucifix pectoral around his neck. He was surprised that this man was smiling eagerly.

”Good afternoon gentelmen” said the man.

”Good afternoon” said Louis. ”This is a roadblock as per Defence of the Realm Act,”

”Yes, yes I know DORA. Aren’t I am ex soldier meself” said the man in an amicable tone. ”I served three years in the Royal Munster Fusiliers. God Save the King. ” The man seemed a little bleary as though he had a midday drink.

”God Save the King” said Louis – perplexed. Was this man mocking them. ”Sir may I have your name?”

”Yes, Philip Pius O’Dwyer.”

”Ah so you wanted to give your full name” said Louis

”Yerra I did sirs” said O’Dwyer.

”I think I have seen you around here before’ said Louis.

”Yes, I know him” said MacDonnell more guardedly. ”No republican connections. His military service is true.”

”I am afraid I must pat you down” said Louis

”Please do” said O Dwyer.

Louis searched him carefully. He was staggered at how friendly the man was. It smelt bad. Was he drunk? No. Was this some sort of ruse?

O’Dwyer then looked around avidly. He then looked at Louis ”Officer – I am on your side. I want to help ye against the IRA.”

”That is good to know. Join the RIC that is the best way.”

”Yerra I tried but my writing is not up to much” said O’Dwyer. ”And I lost a finger and a thumb in the war” He help up his left hand and he was missing two digits.

”Sorry to hear that. You served His Majesty well then” said Louis. ”Well if you have any information on the IRA let us know.”

”All right but fellas I am a bit low on cash.  I came back did a bit of farm labouring and building. That work has dried up.” said O Dwyer

”So  – sorry to hear about that chum. Nothing we can do we are not a charity. There is national insurance.” said Louis.

”I know. Fellas – if I give you news of the IRA can ye pay me?” said O Dwyer

”Well we will discuss it with the head constable.” said Louis. He knew that Bulkeley had a slush fund for this purpose.

”Can I come to your barracks to talk about it” said O Dwyer.

”If you are seen coming to the barracks of your own free will the IRA will come to hear of it and that will not look good for you.” said Louis. ”Tell you what if arrest you on suspicion of something we have an excuse to bring you in. We had a report of a fence being vandalised a mile from here. Could be you.”

”Not me” said O Dwyer

”Not your game I know but if you do not mind we will take you in for questioning.” said Louis

”Yes do” said O ‘Dwyer keenly.

”We were about to finish up here. All right we will take you back to the station” said Louis

O’Dwyer held out his hands to be handcuffed. They all walked back to the barracks.

O’Dwyer was put in a cell and not mistreated in anyway. Bulkeley discussed it with Louis and Moore.

O Dwyer told them what he knew about the IRA already. It was all true – information they already had. He did not seem to be a plant. The names and addresses were too damaging to the IRA. But was he telling them things that the IRA was aware the RIC already knew? Bulkeley decided to give him a chance. They would pay him a shilling a day which was a welcome boost to the income of a jobless man.

They decided that O’Dwyer would have a dead letter drop on the road to Lismanistry in a mulberry bush just off the road – near Neligan’s Corner – there was to be biscuit tin.

They decided not to ask him to infiltrate the IRA. They happened to know the IRA had stopped accepting men who had formerly served in the British Army.

It was emphasised to the man that his information must be true. He must not invent or exaggerate just to be thought important.



The IRA battalion arrived before midnight at the Horner’s house. Each of the ten IRA volunteers had a balaclava on.

London banged on the door. ”Open up Horner and come down. Open up or we will burn your place down”. The IRA had the place surrounded. A minute later London thumped on the thick green painted door door again ”Open this door right now. Come down or are you a coward?”

The  window of the six bedroomed house opened. A middle aged woman lent her head out.

”Please commander this is Mrs Horner. My husband is not here. He went to Killarney this afternoon.”

”Mr Horner is not here? We will soon see about this. Open the door and we will come in and search for him.” said London

”All right. Please don’t burn the house.” said Mrs Horner

The woman hurried downstairs. She wore her nightie dressing gown and slippers. Her 11 year old son accompanied her as if to defend her.

She unbolted the double locks and pulled open the heavy door.

London and Hendricks stepped in.

”IF I find you are lying you will regret it” said London ”Want to change your mind?”

”He is not here.” she assured him ”I would swear on the Holy Bible”

”Turn on the gas lamps” said London. ”Nagle and Thompson come in here. Search the place. WOman – we want your money. You and me go into the kitchen. ”

The woman went into the kitchen ”How many are in the house?” said London

”My mother in law – my son and two daughters. The maid is here too” said Mrs Horner

”All right. This farm is being confiscated by the IRA. You Prod land grabbers are to leave Ireland. We are giving your husband one week to get the boat to England. When does he come back from Killarney?’ said London

”Tomorrow” said Mrs Horner

”He will go straight to a solicitor in town – Mr O’Leary. You will sell your house and farm to the Sinn Feiners in the town. Here is a list” he pulled it from his pocket ”They will be joint tenants. Lynne, Condon, McGillycuddy, Coffey and  Hanley  ” said London

”Why is your name not there?” said Mrs Horner

”That would make it too obvious now don’t ask questions woman. How do you know I am not one of them?” said London

”Everyone knows Jim London is the masked man who robs houses.” said Mrs Horner

”Ah shut it. Your husband will sell the farm to us for 100 pounds.” said London

”100 but it is worth 2000” said the woman.

”This is being confiscated to feed the soldiers of the Irish Republic. He will sell it or be shot. The battalion does not have that much money. ” said London

”But where will we go?” said Mrs Horner

”Your people should have asked that in Cromwell’s time when you drove our people into the hills and bogs.Now get your maid down here and cook us a meal” said London

The woman summoned the maid. The IRA ate all the food in the house. They also took the opportunity to bathe. They relived the woman of her monies and jewellery. Then they took the cattle from the byre and they took 10 horses with tack.

An hour later the IRA rode off into the night.

London quipped to Hendricks ”IRA has cavalry now boy!”



Aine was walking home one evening from her work as a milkmaid. At a shady spot in a lane she was set on by London and Hendricks together with two women of Cumann na mBhan.

“You traitor bitch” shrieked a Young woman.

Aine started to weep and pleaded “mercy; What did I do?”

“You were walking out with a Scotsman ; a Prod too. ” said the Young women with furious self righteousness on her face.

London and Hendricks looked on and covered her with their revolvers.

A skinny middle aged woman screamed at Aine ” you are worse than a common whore/ You have been holdig hands and smooching with that dirty Prod policeman”

” he is a nice boy. I did Nothing wrong” she pleaded

“Giving aid and comfort to Irelands enemy in time of war. That is treason” said the middle aged woman. “Death penalty”

“Ah no please. I will break it off with him ” said Aine warbling;

“Ye filthy little Orange slut. That Englishman has been fucking you” said the Young Cumann na mBann woman.

“He has not. I am a Virgin” said Aine crying wildly.

“We will soon see about that” said the middle aged woman. The men Grabbed Aine from behind as the woman pulled up Aines skirt and down her draws. She roughly digitally examined Aine’s pudenda;

“Virgin all right” said the older woman in disappointment.

“No one goes out with an Englishman and gets away with it” said London

“hE IS a Scot.” she said between floods of tears.

“Same fucking thing. Brits or Scots or whatever they are:” said London.

“Now shoot this strumpet Orange bitch” said the Young woman.

Aine screamed hysterially “Oh God no; Please have mercy. ” her heart was nearly beating out of her chest. She began to chant Hail Mary and perspire profusely;

“We will not” said London. The Young woman got out a pair of scissors. She reluctantly cut off Aines hair. The older woman took the scissors and quickly and roughly lopped off Aine’s locks. She cut into Aines scalp occasionally. The girl shrieked in pain. She was bright red in the face and her quailing made it harder to avoid cutting her.

In a minute most of her glorious hair had Fallen into the mire

” That is a warning what happens to Irishwomen who kiss British police” said London ” You got 24 hours to get out of Ireland or be shot dead”

“Yes” she said timorously. Her sobbing abated. The women then punched her to the ground. The IRA retreated in good order.* Aine limped home>. The penniless family did not have money for a train fare. The next day Aine walked to Queenstown and begged till she had the money for a ticket to WALES.










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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