Black and Tans. Chapter 19. Blackmail




  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.







BLACK AND TANS. Chapter 19. Blackmail.

Visit to priests’ house – detonators – bomb goes off prematurely – IRA man killed in training accident – RIC burn creamery where guns are hidden,



Workman set out with an escort for the priests’ house. As they passed the Catholic Church Moore was relieved that Teacher was not there saying that it was a “mass house”.

Workman turned up at the presbytery with RIC officers accompanying him. Workman knocked on the door.

The obese housekeeper waddled to the door. ”What do you want?” she practically spat.

”Good morning madam” said Workman who was plainly horrified by the hideous female in front of him. ”I wish to speak to Fr Meagher.”

”You are not coming in here you stinking ENglish bastard” said the housekeeper.

”Mind your manners woman” said Moore.

”Yerra shut up your mouth you bowsy – hireling of the English” she said to Moore. He was unfazed – accustomed to such barbs.

”We must speak to him on a matter of some urgency” said  mustering his meagre authority.

”That fella Bulkeley came in here then he got shot a few weeks later is that what you want?” said the woman.

”Right we are coming in. Call it a house search!” said Workman – pushing the door opened. He took the woman’s left arm and pressed her gently to the wall.

”Get your foulty hands off me you mouldy, foulty maggot” said the woman ”You are molesting.”

”As if anyone would want to molest you – in your dreams you old trollop” said Workman caustically. Moore followed him in.

The other two waited outside.

Meagher was in his drawing room reading The Wasteland by T S Elliott.

”Fr Meagher” said Workman opening the door without knocking.

”Ah” said Meagher almost screaming in fright ”I heard a kerfuffle. I did not think you would come in without permission” he got to his feet with some difficulty.

”We are calling it a house search had to force entry.” said Workman.

”You are not actually going to search the house are you?” said Meagher.

”Not at the moment. Moore says it is the custom to never search the houses of the clergy but that may have to change.” said Workman. Workman chose to keep to himself that he had spent most of the war behind a desk.

”I see. Well I would protest to the bishop if you did and he would protest to the inspector general of the RIC” said Meagher

”I faced German bullets for four years. Do you think I am going to be scared by a snotty letter from a mummy’s boy in skirts to the inspector general”‘ said Workman.

Meagher did not answer the rhetorical question. Moore was staning outside and heard the whole harangue. He tried not to laugh. He knew that Workman had only been in the pay corps. Workman was not aware that Limtay had confided in Moore that Workman had not been a real soldier.

”Welcome then” said Meagher moving to shake their hands. They shook his. ”It is a social call? All the new RIC head constables introduce themselves to me” said Meagher. ”We used to work together to keep the parish calm but in recent years relations have been strained. I have not been able to co operate with the RIC. There has been much ill feeling in these parts. Please sit down gentlemen” said Meagher feigning a smile. He was nervous.

”Father – Moore is going to take notes. He is a dab hand at shorthand.” said Moore.

Meagher looked worried. This had never happened before.

”What am I under arrest?” Fr Meagher asked in disbelief.

”Guilty conscience have you? No, not under arrest – for the moment. Depends on how much you help us” said Workman wryly smiling – sensing a weakness.

”I shall co operate. I have nothing to hide.” said Meagher pompously.

”Oh goody” said Workman in relish. ”Fatherr – we found a certain letter being delivered by a boy we have under arrest outside. An altar boy. Riordain. Could he be in Fianna Eireann too?”

”The IRA boy scouts? I do not allow anyone who is in Fianna Eireann to be an altar boy. Fr Downy wants them to be but I said no.” said Fr Meagher

”That’s true” said Moore quietly ”He doesn’t allow Fianna Eireann to be altar boys”

”Well suspicion is enough. We have suspended habeas corpus. I can arrest his father too and have him interned.” said Workman.

”Ah no please don’t” said Meagher in fright

”You shall have to help us then your reverence. I have in my possession a certain letter that was being delivered to you. I had to open this correspondence pursuant to the Defence of the Realm Act. The boy was hiding it in his shirt/ Now why would he hide a perfectly innocent letter in his shirt? Can you guess who it is from?” said Workman.

”I cannot” Meagher blushed and blinked.

Workman sneered at the blatant lie. “I cannot” Workman repeated Meagher’s words derisively. He got the letter out ”It begins ”Dear Ricard ….”

Meagher said ”I have no idea who it is from. How do you know it is for me?”

”Because it has your name on the envelope and the boy said it was for you!” said Workman.

”Ah I see” said Meagher turning crimson.

”I hesitated to read this letter because it is so foul. You wear a cassock. You call yourself a man of God and you get up to goodness knows what with another man. Disgusting. I have never heard the like of it. There is enough evidence here to charge you with gross indecency. You know what sentence that carries?” asked Workman in a lather.

”Please – you cannot arrest me. The town would be in uproar. Even the loyalist Catholics would riot. That is true isn’t it Moore?” Fr Meagher looked at Moore

Moore said nothing but his facial expression indicated that he knew Meagher was right.

”I don’t care what you say” said Workman

”No judge or jury has convicted a priest of anything since Penal Times” said Meagher.

Workman changed the subject ”This is written be Benedict. There is only one Benedict in these parts and that is Benedict Thompson. We have had a graphologist anaylse this and he says it is Thompson’s writing” He lied. ”You know Benedict Thompson don’t you?”

”Yes” said Fr Meagher meekly. He instantly regretted admitting that. Then again he was in no position to deny it. Scores of people had seen Benedict coming and going from his house at all hours of the day and night.

Moore was taking note frenetically.

”Well Fr Meagher. We can find this Benedict of yours. Even if we do not charge you we charge him. I heard tell that he has been walking out with a young woman. Would Thompson like her to know of the revolting things he writes and does?” said Workman with a smirk. ”A sodomite and a catimite. It makes me sick. I want to throw the book at him. But there is worse. I have heard rumours that Thompson is in the IRA. His name came up in a few interviews in the past few months. We assumed he was only in Sinn Fein. But a couple of weeks ago he left home. Not been seen since. So he is in the IRA. This boy here told us where they were this morning. We raided that encampment. The bastards had all fled before we got there. I do not like to use bad language in front of a man of the cloth. But as you engage in such sinful acts I think effing and blinding is mild compared to your unnatural vices. You make me want to vomit.” said Workman.

”Well gentlemen I would offer you tea but I am afraid the housekeeper would spit in it if she made it. Fr Downy is out attending to the sick and I really must be getting on” Fr Meagher got to his feet as if to bide them goodbye.

”Ah not so fast” said Workman ”Stay right there. Sit down!” he ordered.

Meagher slumped back into his armchair.

”Now Father” said Workman ”We can find Thompson and kill him.”

”Ah no please – please don’t do that I beg of you” Meagher was reduced to a crying wreck.

”We can send this boy out there and his father to gaol. Is that what you want?” asked Workman relishing his potence.

”No I beg and beseech of you. No don’t hurt my Benedict.” Meagher wailed like a baby.

”More than just good friends.” said Workman darkly. ”Very well – if you want Benedict to live then you are going to have to help us. We want to know what is said in confession about the IRA. We want to know any other useful information. Otherwise Benedict gets it.”

”I beg you don’t hurt him I will do anything to save him” said Meagher

”Break the seal of the confessional?” asked Workman surprised at how easy it was.

”All right then” said Meagher sniffling.

”Good. You had better play with a straight bat. As a gesture of our good faith we will release the boy out there – we will say we did it because of your good offices. That will stand you in good stead in the community. But O’Riordain is kicked out as an altar boy mind.” said Workman

”All right he will never serve mass again” said Meagher

”If I find that you are breaking the deal that boy and his father are going straight to prison – feet won’t even touch the ground. Got it?” said Workman.

”Got it” Meagher confirmed.

”We could always show people that letter. It is not a forgery.” said Workman.

”I know. May I keep it?” asked Meagher sheepishly.

”No that is evidence in a crime of gross indecency. That boy could be done for soliciting. He has been delivering a letter to arrange an act of gross indecency. ” said Workman ”We expect regular bulletins from you. When an RIC man comes to the confessional you will hand over a bulletin understand?” asked Workman.

”Yes head constable I do” said Meagher timorously.

”Very good” said Workman standing up. ”We must be on our way. I recommend you get a new housekeeper. I did not think much of her charming behaviour. I cannot imagine aa vicar’s housekeeper using such language to an officer of the law. Don’t you think of denying what you said. We have your admission. Short hand notes. Moore is a witness and he is a good Catholic.  ” They left as Meagher dried his tears.



Short was saying to Limtay ”I am going to Cork on leave soon. Down by the Coal Quay there are some good whores. Only cost a bob. When I gets leave I is gonna go back to London  ” he pronounced it as Laahndaahn “and buy a new whistle and flute. Then do some whores in Soho then getting totally fucker rat arsed int i?”

”Aren’t you worried by disease?” said Limtay.

”Why I worry about syphilis? Could be shot dead any day. That disease take years to kill you” Short gave a nicotine laugh. ”You going to painted ladies?”

”Probably not. I did in France a bit during the war. COuld have been killed any day though. But I can go back to my wife. ” said Limtay

”You don’t care tuppence for your wife?” said Short

”That is right but I have three children. While I am paying for her might as well use her” said Limtay

”Good on you mate. After I fuck a whore I am going down the boozer to get totally arseholed.” said Short.

FitzGerald heard all of this and turned away in disgust. He could not stand these English RIC men with their swearing, whoring and drunkenness.



The IRA were camping several miles from town. It was a warm summer’s evening. The cooked over a campfire. London had posted sentries 100 yards from camp. There were also unarmed scouts half a mile from camp – two at each point of the compass.

The IRA had a hooley.

Nagle sang ‘ The Bells of Shandon’

”You have a fine voice” said London

”I am a tenor” said Nagle.

”If only you  fought as you sang” London laughed at him.

”I like that Shandon church – trouble is the Prods have it” said Adams ”When freedom comes we take it back from them and all the holy places. How dare they have St Finbarr’s. Christ Church in Dublin must be ours and St Patrick’s Cathedral. In Downpatrick and Saul and Armagh – that is all ours” said Adams. “Every time I pass a Prod temple I spit on the ground. Black Protestants! They say they hold their Masonic séances in there. It is a black mass that is what it is; Devil worshippers. Praying to tje King of England!”

London said ”Enough of your ranting Adams – let’s have the banks of my own Lovely Lee”

So they all chorused ‘By the Banks of my own lovely Lee’. A Fian Eireann accompanied them on the fiddle.

There was whiskey going around. Then Brannock piped up. ”I know this new one about a hurling match. You know a couple of years ago when the younger boys beat the olders? He sang

‘Here’s up them all said the boys of Fair Hill’. The others joined in for the chorus. The woods resonated to their lusty singing.

”Adams why don’t you drink” said London

”I am a tea totaler. Besides many a drunk gave information away by accident. Some alcoholics will sell information to the Brits” said Adams.

”That reminds me there is that tramp who lives in a hut – he has been seen speaking the to English” said London

”Yes I heard they took him home to his hut gave him blankets and food like” said Adams

”We need to stiff that bastard”, said London.

”Too true” said Adams

Brannock said ”Commandant London shouldn’t we have porter for the boys. Got some nutrition in it. Whiskey is a fine drink. Juice of the barley does not fill a man up.”

”That is right Brannock but we get poteen for free from the families around here. We don;t have the money. Carrying a barrel of porter is too heavy. ANyway I do not want you fellas getting too drink. Just a dram. We could be attacked any time” said London ”Fair play to Adams for not drinking at all. He is a pioneer.”

”I took the pledge at my confirmation” said Brannock ”Priest said that does not mean you cannot have a drink of something with your family at Christmas”

”What kind of pledge is that – that you can break sometimes” said Adams

”Well a priest said it so it must be true” said Brannock

”The 1798 Rebellion failed because one of the leaders was a drunkard. I think twas Samuel Neilson” said Adams

”Prod I might have known” said Brannock

”Maybe it was just as well – led by a Prod Atheist suicide Wolfe Tone. We would have had the French here and they were attacking the Church then. We need a Catholic Revolution not a French anti Catholic one” said Adams.

”Enough of talk and theories” said London ”This is about soldiering not speeches and ideas. You can fight all right Adams. We need men who are willing to fight not run at the first sign of danger like them Tussock brothers. I have sent word to their brigade. Have them court martialed for cowardice. Should be executed for desertion.”

”That’s right.” said Adams ”Not everyone is a brave fighter.”

”I am the bravest of the brave” said Jonathon Wynn.

”Oh yeah what is so brave about you?” said London sceptical of such braggadocio.

”I have fought since I could walk. I was in many fist fights. I was the cock of the school.” said Wynn.

London was incredulous of this and it showed on his face.

”What?” said Wynn perceiving that he was disbelieved. He was cock eyed and tried to explain it. ”You see this eye of mine? There is a scar underneath it. I was in a pub once and this Orangeman he says to hell with the pope and I says he had better beg for mercy or he will regret it. He says fuck the pope. So I goes to punch him – I hit him a real hay maker. Damn near killed him. Then his pal smashes a beer bottle on the bar and comes at me . I managed to grab his wrist like this but as I am pushing it away it nicks me just under the eye. Anyway I then got the bottle and stabbed him to death. There there three more of the Orangies and I took them on with my fists – knocked every one of the gobshites to the deck.  Been on the run from the peelers ever since”

Wynn had been blinking throughout. Adams stifled a laugh. Wynn then rubbed his nose vigorously and turned away.

”Quite a story” said London smiling. ”Well since you are so courageous you shall lead the next attack. When we need a man to creep up to the barracks and lay a mine you will do it. You are the bravest in the battalion – you all heard him didn’t you boys?”

”Yeah” they chorused.

”There you go Wynn” said London ”You will win the day for us”

”Ah no I cannot do anything too risky now. Not that I am afraid of death but  I am my mother’s sole support” said Wynn.

”No no Wynn – you volunteered. You said you are the bravest man in the battalion. I thought twas me but oh no. you win! ” London chortled; “When we need a man to go an put a hand grenade in an enemy lorry you are the only one will be sent out of cover to do it.” said London in glee.

This miles gloriosus was dejected. ”Ah no but times have changed.” said Wynn his face turning pale.

”No they have not unless you want to admit your whole story was bullshit. Hero?” London laughed at him. The others joined in the raucous mocking laughter. Wynn turned red and ran off in tears like a jilted girl.

Adams changed the topic. “Lads ye should join the Legion of Mary like me. Tis a great spiritual support like”

London said ” I am as a good a Catholic as the next man but we are not all craw thumpers like you”

“Craw thumpers?” asked Adams

“You are always hitting yourself mea culpa for your sins and praying. Come on you are a bit of a creeping Jesus sometimes” said London the alcohol getting the better of his tact “Who do you think you are the child of Mary?”

“Hey not that is going too far you do not mock the Blessed Virgin”

” I am not mocking the Queen of Heaven. I pray to her same as everyone else. It is you I am mocking. Will you ever give over? You are always going on about religion”

“Well how about joing An Rialt? The Irish speaking chapter of the Legion of Mary; My cousin is in that and she speaks Irish. I wish I could be in An Rialt. That is the most Irish thing in Ireland!” Adams said his eyes gleaming with zeal;

“I cannot speak Irish either. wHo the hell can speak irish around here? We are not in Connemara. Only country bumpkins speak Irish” said London contemptuously

“You are going to hate our own tongue now? Thank God I am a happy English child; Is that it? That English propaganda brain washed you at school” said Adams bitterly

“You Watch your mouth boy; Remember who you are speaking to. I will have you calling for your patron saint.” said London in a deep menacing tone.

“Oh sorry. You are right: Twas just a silly poem they taught us at school. You are super Irish” said Adams.

“wE NEVER learnt that English child poem in my school. In fact worse insult the teacher gave was to call us a Sasannach. Nobody wanted to be a Saxonhead!” said London


Next morning London insisted on some weapons training.

Sean Simons was lying on the ground with his rifle looking at the tree that London had told them to shoot at. Adams lay beside him. The safety catch was off and Adams had his rifle pointing at Simons.  His finger was on the trigger.

London called him ”Adams?”

”Yes” said Adams budging. As he moved he accidentally pulled the trigger – a bullet hit Simons in the neck.

Adams turned to see Simons unconscious and blood fountainting out of his corotid artery.

”SImons!” Adams screamed in distress. Putting down his rifle he leant over Simons. He tried to stem the flow of blood with his bare hands. The high pressure flow came out between his fingers.

”Help help” Adams screamed pathetically.

”What the hell happened here?” said London running over. Others came too

”I am sorry I shot him by mistake I did not mean to I am sorry I am sorry for fuck’s sake” said Adams in extreme distress. He never swore but for that moment.

Simons was growing paler by the second. He was limp.

”Shit he is dying. Fuck all we can do?” said London who was irked not sad.

”I can save him” said Adams in dismay his heart pounding.

”You are wasting your time pal. He is done for.” said London

”No he is not I will save him” said Adams shrieking hysterically.

”Adams I seen enough men die. Simons is a gonner. ” said London flatly.

Despite Adams frantic efforts Simons slipped from life very rapidly.

”Keep your fucking safety catch on you dozy bastard” said London ”we lost a good volunteer”

”What is my penance how can I redeem myself?” said Adams

”All your IRA pay goes to his family and you will lead the dangerous charge” said London

”I agree. Anything to pay for my sin” said Adams genuinely.

London had no doubt that Adams wanted to redeem himself. London knew that Adams would be willing to expiate his mistake with his blood.



One evening Limtay and  Moore were on duty together as the others slept. As Limtay smoked he said ”Moore it is great that you are on our side. You are a fine police officer. But how come you are on our side? I mean you are an Irish Catholic? Is it not a little strange?”

”You saying I should be IRA like? Get out of it. I joined the Leinster Regiment as you know. 10 years meritorious service. Finished as sergeant. I was in South Africa fighting them Dutchies. I got out there. We Irish wanted victory as much as the English. I heard there was a place called Orange Free State. I thought the Orangemen was there – you know the Dutch and their William of Orange. We were told we are fighting Afrikaner turned out to be black. There were men on our side from Western Australia, New Zealand and India. Being in the British Empire meant I was part of something great like. Anyway when I left the army the RIC was a good job  – respectable. Permanent, paid and pensionable.” said Moore

”No but do you believe in what we are doing? Aren’t you nationalist?” asked Limtay wondering if his question was straying onto Dangerous territory.

”Well I am a bit. I am a Home Ruler because I am a Catholic like. I do not speak Irish though. I am from Parsonstown, King’s County. Nobody speaks Irish there. What is all this stuff about speaking Irish? I am as Irish as anyone. I am not a republican with saying we have to speak Irish. I have some regard for the king. I swore an oath of loyalty to Queen Victoria. But when there was fighting we did not care about the Queen or King  – I was there for my pals. Fighting for the regiment like and   the glory of Ireland.  So the Irishmen in the Transvaal would have the vote the same as the Dutchies there. Anyway I want Home Rule. I do not like these Sinn Feiners with their pro Germanism. My nephew was in the Munster Fusiliers. Out fighting the Jerries and the Turks. Then Sinn Fein ask the Germans to invade us. That is treason to Ireland. A stab in the back. The IRA made a mess of our capital. Dublin was all smoking ruins thanks to them. If the Germans come in we would never get them out. Nothing wrong with the British Army. That is Ireland’s army. Sinn Fein are just going around burning down buildings and killing people willy nilly – civil servants and Protestants. I know those UVF fellas in the North are killing some of our own. If the IRA kill a UVF swin I do not mind that too much” said Moore.

”No but do you not have any doubts about being on our side?” asked Limtay glad that the implication that Moore might not be totally loyal did not seem to bother Moore.

”Well I did not like it when Teacher was denouncing Catholicism. I hated it when he exalted the Ulster Protestant Association a band of murdering thugs. Killing any Catholic man in Belfast – that could be me. My cousin was in Derry for work. The UPA are stopping men and checking if they have a crucifix on. He had his rosaries and they knew he must be a Catholic so they beat him up just for being Catholic like. It is behaviour like that drives decent men into the IRA. ” said Moore. “Damn fool Teacher was going on about is being Romanists and papalists. I know some Catholics say your sort are dirty Proddy dogs. I do not hold with bigots of either kind.”

”I know it is a disgrace. The RIC has got to stop bastards like the UPA.” said Limtay

”So we will have Home Rule when it is safe for it – not when the IRA is running around destroying the country. I do have my doubts. But I have chosen my side now. So I am sticking to it. I cannot leave. Cannot get any other job. Haven’t I have six children to support? I told my nephew not to join the RIC. No future in it. Maybe once the IRA is beat and the situation returns to normal twill be ok. Till then go to America says I. Might earn a few bob like.” said Moore.

”I think about what we are doing. I am against the IRA. I do not want Ireland to be a republic or separate. Home Rule we can agree to that. SHould have done it years ago then we would not be in this debacle we are in now. I have my doubts about what we are doing. Suspects beaten up. That is illegal.” said Limtay.

”I know but happens even in peacetime. Got to be realistic. If we did not do that crime would be far higher. There was a notorious rapist Tussup-Beck. There was another sex maniac called Paul Connor and one named Hugh Codrington and Chad Boulton too. I had to beat the bRUTES till they confessed to their crimes. Raping little girls under the age of 12 like! The people want us to do it. Same as in England. We do not kill prisoners but the IRA does so we are more humane than them. They can take prisoners their republican courts hold people for months. So they only kill prisoners because they are murderers” said Moore.

”I notice you never use bad language very unusual for an old soldier.” said Limtay.

”I am a clean living man. Yes, I was a soldier for years and there is a lot of swearing but I am an honourable and religious man. I bring my children up to be respectable. You will never hear a foul word coming from my mouth” said Moore ”I only have a drop of liquor at Christmas and I do not smoke. I provide for my children. I respect the king, the church and all that.”

”I am glad you do not have any anglophobic sentiment in you or anti Protestant prejudice.” said Limtay.

”I like that you are not anti Irish or anti Catholic. Some English are saying Paddy lives with pigs in the parlour and is thick and drunk. I know there are some Paddies that are very ignorant or do drink too much but that is no different to the English. I did grow up with some anti English and anti Prod sentiment. My aunt used to talk about black Protestants. Not saying that Prods are African but they are bad – heretics like. Say they were land grabbers. The Prods are not Irish like and have no right to be here. Must be booted out. Every time we passed a Prod church my uncle would spit. Every time we saw a Prod my aunt would pass an anti Prod remark. Twas difficult not to see it that way. When I joined the army I met Protestants and Englishmen. I got to see that ye are just like us. No reason to be divided much less to be against each other. I remember the rhyme I was taught as a child – ”Proddy dogs Proddy dogs/ nEVER had a wash/ If they do they think they are posh.” ”

”Wow.. Well it is not so bad. A harmless rhyme. What do you make of the Orange Order.” asked Louis

”I do not like them too much Louis. They have their rights. Let them march. I met a few fellas who were Orangemen who were decent all right but some were bowsies. Then there are those mountebanks Protestant preachers firing the men up with their speeches. Sometimes I was drafted in to the North for the marching season. You know July when the Orange Order are marching all over for the 12 th of July – victory at the Boyne. They have all these banners  about King Billy. Success to Lol it will say. Lol means Loyal Orange Lodge.   They have slogans like our civil and religious liberties we will maintain. Some of them are religious men and their have their views and I do not object to that. Some of them are anti Catholic. It is not the Orangemen were the trouble so much as the hooligans who would follow them, Fellas who were not in the Orange Order who would start fighting.    Some of our own try to stop them marching.  An Orange march is a fine thing to see with the lovely music of the bands and the lambeg drum rolling rub a dub.   There is a party atmosphere. I have been to Derry to police the Apprentice Boys. Same story. They have the Royal Purple Arch another marching group and Royal Black Institution. Don;t ask me what they are about. These fellas are calling each other sir knight. What is that all about? Seemed very silly to me. they are working men same as myself. Some titled people are in the Orange Order as well as working men.   Sometimes a working man gets a higher rank than a nobleman so it is  a very equal organisation in that way  ” said Moore.

”I saw one of those Orange parades in Southport one time” said Louis “Totally peaceable and good natured. A lot of the people going were not churchgoers so I heard. They are just along for the party. Some of the bandsmen were even Catholic;”

”Yes I have heard they have Orange lodges all over not just in Ireland. Even in West Africa and Canada. You know in Ireland it is not just Prods watch. SOme of our own people go and watch. These things can be nice and peaceful but there are sometimes some thugs on either side who want to start lobbing bricks. That is when I have to wade in with a baton and knock some sense into the bowsies. ” said Moore.

“I cannot stand those swine. Bastards saying they set fired to a Church; I know then there are some swine who put a dog collar on and preach hate.” said Louis “There are good clergymen of both dénominations. We had a Catholic chaplain in my battalion for the few RC men. Fr Burke was a very courageous man. Giving out his rations and cigarettes. Listening to all the men’s troubles even if they were not RCs. Some of the soldiers were just boys you know ran away from home and lied about their age to get into the Arly aged 14. Recruiting sergeant must have known but they wanted to meet their recruitmen target. They took boys whose voices had not broken. The chaplain he comforted them as they were crying for their mum. Intervened to help fellas in disciplinary trouble. Fr Burke used to write letters of condolence to the families of the men killed. He was a real soldier of Christ. Never met a more self sacrificing man. Christian in the truest sense. One time my companu was out of the front line. There was a very heavy Jerry bombardment. They said they offered Fr Burke the chance to retire to the rear but no he insisted on staying there to keep morale up and pray with the lads.  He was tending the wounded and praying with the dying. A hun shell landed on his dugout and he bought it.”




Moore returned from the confessional. Four RIC officers had been outside when he had gone in to have his confession heard by Fr Meagher. Moore made sure to go to Fr Downy sometimes despite getting an earful of abuse from the curate. Moore did this to allay suspicion that he only went for this sacrament to Fr Meagher for the purpose of gathering intelligence.

After they left the church they hastened back to the barracks. No sense in tarrying in the open where the IRA might snipe at them.

They got back to the barracks and Moore went straight to Workman

”Sir I have very valuable information from Fr Meagher” said Moore

”Oh yes what is that?” asked Workman

”Arms cache at the creamery” said Moore ”Three rifles under the pallet crates in the cold store”

”By jove he has been good.” said Workman. His use of this expression was patently forced.

”Yes sir until now everything he told us we already knew.” said Moore

”That proves his bona fides then. ” said Workman

Moore did not know what bona fide meant but decided it was an inopportune moment to inquire.

Workman continued ”Very well you stay here. I will take some men and be there. It is a mile east of the town is that not right?”

”Yes sir it is.” said Moore

”We are then going to burn the place down” said Workman

”Burn it down why sir?” asked Moore seeming troubled.

”Stop them using it as an arms dump again. People have got to see that if they harbour the IRA or their weapons they pay a price. Why not do it again? Any other force would shoot people for hiding wanted men or weapons. Destroying a building is a very gentle measure” said Workman

”But is that against the law?” said Moore who was not used to questioning orders but felt this time it was imperative.

”I do not care tuppence what is against the law” said Workman

Workman and four others headed for the creamery. Three men rode and the others jogged. Workman jogged much of the way. Whatever else they thought of him they all respected him for his athleticism. He was a marathon runner and had not a pinch of fat on him. The men on horseback took the rifles of those jogging.

In ten minutes they came to the creamery. 30 people worked there.

Workman led his men in through the gate.

”Where’s the manager?” Workman shouted.

A hulking grey haired man with a diffident manner and thick glasses stepped forward. He wore a blue serge suit.

”Get your people out of here right now” said Workman

”Sir, why sir?” asked the manager softly/

”Just do as I say damn you. IRA activity around here. Get them out in one minute or you will be under arrest and may find yourself on your way to internment in Ballykinler” said Workman irascibly.

”All right. Fellas – lads – will you all get out please. Get out right now or the ENglishman will have me arrested” he said not very loud

”The Englishman? I am a head constable – damn your eyes.” said Workman striving to assert authority.

”Yerra sorry sir” said the manager shyly

”What is your name man?” asked Workman drawing himself up to his full height of 5’6”

”Prionsias Murphy sir” said the manager.

”Right Murphy show us the cold store.” said Workman pointedly not using mister for his interlocutor/

The five RIC officers moved through the complex of buildings. The workers  slunk away giving them hostile glances and mumbling. The RIC glowered at them and showed their bayonets. The RIC looked in all directions lest there was an IRA ambush. Three men stayed on horseback.

They reached the cold store

”Open up” said Workman

Murphy duly did so.

”Get those pallets out” said Workman

”What on earth do you want with the pallets?” asked Murphy sounding perplexed.

”You will see” said Workman

Murphy pulled out the wooden ballets on which milk churns stood. To his horror he saw three rifles among the wooden slats.

”What is this I never saw these before?” said Murphy

”You have some explaining to do man.  Who the hell put them here” said Workman

”Not me sir no idea” said Murphy looking shocked and scared.

”You are the manager you are responsible in my book. You better start talking Murphy. You put them there unless you can prove to the contrary. WHo are the Shinners in your workplace.” said Workman

”There are a couple I can think of but I cannot tell you their names” said Murphy loyally.

”Why don’t I shoot you out of hand? Abetting the enemy  – levying war against His Majesty” said Workman drawing his revolver.

”Head constable – the Shinners are Ciaran Lynne and Aoife   Hendricks – I do not know if either of them hid the rifles but they are republicans.” said Murphy trembling.

”Lynne – Hendricks. I read those names in the files of republican suspects.” said Workman.

”Yes sir Ciaran’s father was an IRA man he is in prison now like. And Aoife Hendricks her brother was a big cheese in the IRA. Got shot dead they say by another IRA man in a feud. ” said Murphy.

”Men take these rifles – there are two boxes of ammunition. That will do nicely thank you” said Workman. ”Now Murphy go and get me Aoife Hendricks and Ciaran Lynne”

”yes sir” said Murphy. He walked out of the building with the RIC close behind. Murphy walked to the gates where the men and women had gathered.

”Lynne come here these men want to speak to you” said Murphy looking here and there ”Would Aoife Hendricks some to the RIC please? ANyone seen Aoife?” he looked at his workers.

The men and women looked away.

”They are not here ” said a woman

”Never turned up today” said a man

”That is funny I could have sworn I saw Aoife and hour ago” said Murphy ”she works in the cold store usually”

”They have made a run for it.” said Workman ”Very well men – fire the buildings. I saw some parafin in the manager’s office – use that. Burn the place. Get to work now!”

Workman and his men walked back into the complex of buildings. They signalled with their rifles to stay out. Within minutes the workers saw smoking coming up and then flames.

”They are burning the place” said a woman.

”Oh my God better put out the fire” said Murphy

Just then the RIC walked quickly towards them ”You hide weapons we burn the place to the  ground” said Workman.  ”You are all out of work now,.”

”But I never touched any weapons” said a man

”Not my fault” said Workman ” it is your duty to see no weapons are hidden anywhere. If they were in your house we would burn your house. Attacking the forces of the Crown is not a game. Harsh measures shall be taken!”

”You bastards!”, shouted a man

”English bastards!” the others cried. The others chorused this. “English rats! Fuck off back to England. English scum; Fuck off ye huns!”

“They call us Huns and these Shinners supported the Huns. The Kaiser in Dublin; Is that what they wanted? Then these Paddies would get a taste of REAL oppression. He would give  the Micks Something to whine about.” said Workman .

Workman then grabbed Murphy and pinnned his hands behind him – handcuffing the manager’s wrists

” Aoife and Ciaran Lynne better give themselves up or this man will be prosecuted for hiding the weapons” said Workman

The RIC marched out the gate. The men on foot had fixed bayonets.

”Get back get back” Workman threatened them.

The crowd stayed a good 10 yards back

The RIC looked behind them as they went. The crowd jeered. They then hurried in to the creamery to douse the flames but it was too late.



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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