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Capt Frederick James Welsh - tinker, tailor, soldier, spy ?


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I have research over 2000 ex-officers who joined the Auxiliary Division on the Royal Irish Constabulary, and in all but a handful of cases have found the life of the individuals. This man is one of the handful, and it may have been because he was an Intelligence Officer put into the ADRIC under a false name.


If he is genuine, I am looking for any help in establishing his identity. I may have missed something. You don't  need to know the details of the murder in which he was involved in 1921 in Dublin, but I will give you my reference to the Drumcondra Murders - click.if you want to know more. But the murders themselves re outside the scope of this forum and should not be commented on to stop the mods having to intervene


The essence of it was that during a raid in Dublin, F Coy ADRIC arrested two Irishmen, James Murphy and Patrick Kennedy. On the 9 Feb 1921 their bodies were found in a field in Drumcondra.

The two IRA prisoners Patrick Kennedy and James Murphy (both men may have been on the execution squads on Bloody Sunday) in the custody of 'F' company of the Auxiliaries were shot dead with pails on their heads and their bodies found at Clonturk Park, Drumcondra, Dublin. The two prisoners had been taken from Dublin Castle by the ADRIC. The dying James Murphy testified that the F Coy Commander King had taken them and stated that they were "Just going for a drive." Captain King, and two of his men (Hinchcliffe and Welsh) , were arrested and put on trial. They were acquitted by a court-martial on the 15th April as testimony from a dying man was inadmissible and King "established" that he was elsewhere. . O'Malley (a high up IRA member)  met King in the prison exercise yard, who bemoaned his fate that he was a political scapegoat, taking the blame for the government. King was transferred to run the ADRIC company in Galway city


Although charged with murder, Welsh was released the day before the actual trial without explanation


Three ADRIC men were arrested and charged over the murders were -  (click below for more details on any one of them)


Capt W L King (CO of F Coy and seconded to the RIC, he was still a serving British Army officer)

T/Cadet H Hinchcliffe

T/Cadet F J Welsh


So now I turn my attention to the man I know nothing about Frederick James WELSH of the Welch (within the context, and allowing for the Irish police clerk in Ireland who wrote the regiment in a ADRIC register, this could be Welsh Regiment, Fusiliers or Guards, but its tends to read as Welsh Regiment). There were a number of transcriptions of FJ Welsh's name in news reports at the time, but the Court Martial verdict has him as FJ WELSH, as do other official British papers.


He joins ADRIC and this is the only reference to his rank and rank in the Army




The British have him on remand with the other defendants before the trial




And the Court Martial verdict of not guilty



All three men were charged with murder on April 12. In the event Welsh was released the next day 13 Apr, before  the trial itself of King and Hinchcliffe. started on 14 April 1921.


The murder and the trial we could debate, but that is not allowed on our forum. What I want is to find out who Frederick James Welsh, a Captain in the Welsh (whatever) actually was







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Yes, I wondered if anyone would spot that. :-)


It seemed to me perhaps a part of him having an assumed character. There are a couple of other instances of "Welch", but in the end I went with the Court Martial and Remand records which say clearly "Welsh".


If you can fins a "Capt  Frederick James Welch" in one of those Welsh regiments I would be delighted


I have tried under "Welsh", "Welch" and "Walsh" without any success

Edited by corisande
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For the benefit of others, this is his signature



It is from a raid report (the raid was in fact with King in Oct 1920) soon after he joined ADRIC


After the murder trial I can find no trace of Welsh (or whoever, on raids or anywhere else)

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So the dubious options appear to be that;


a) He went under an assumed name (was this even possible, given that they were ex-officers?)


b) His name actually is Welch, but the clerk was daydreaming and wrote Welsh again in the Regiment column.


c) He was some sort of government agent.

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That's about it.


I have spent a lot of time on trying to get him from the clues. With virtually all the other Auxiliaries it has been possible. I cannot find him under Welsh or Welch as an officer.


It is unlikely to be an assumed name. If it were he would have had to have used it in his WW1 service & I cannot get him there. In other words , he could not have changed his name just to serve in ADRIC (unless he were a government agent)


My feeling is that he is a Government Agent with a false mname. But I am aware that if that is the case he had, as it were, "a license to kill", in as much as he was certainly involved in the murder of Murphy and Kennedy, and his prosecution was stopped the day before the trial (presumably)  in order to avoid him having to go to court. The trial was reported but under "reporting restrictions " where names of anyone in a sensitive position were not used. Various Auxiliaries were just referred to as their position not their name.


An odd exception to this was "Lt Commander Fry" who was the whistle blower, and was named in UK Parliament. . Never been able to find him among Naval Frys - long forum thread here


As far as I can see the trial papers themselves have not been release (I could be wrong, but I cannot find them)


I did the thread here to see if I was missing something and Capt Frederick James Welsh/Welch was plain to see

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Regarding recruitment, were the number sequences arbitrary, or do you ever find batches of brother officers who joined at the same time?


I see, from your website, that 672 was Crabbe. Does 674 offer any clue?

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That  is a good thought that I had not checked. Though I have never seen, other than in very rare cases, friends joining up together.


I have the men by sequence here for the 600 range - click . In fact the next man Edwards is not on RIC Register. But he absconded after 10 days, and that will be the reason why the RIC register does not have him


British recruiting of Secret Service men was somewhat haphazard - most came directly from recruitment in London. The nuts and bolts of it are on this link - click


Up to about the time Welsh (if he were Secret Service) was employed, announcements were made in LG. Basically IRA read LG every week and clocked them coming off the Holyhead Ferry, so knew who they were and where they were living. Beggar's belief, but that is what happened. Around the time of Bloody Sunday (Nov 1920) it changed, the men were still graded for extra pay (grade FF, GG, HH, II) but their files say that LG announcement was not to be made


Net result is that I have a list of men I believe to be agents up to the point LG announcements stopped, and they are on that link above, but if Welsh was an assumed name, then I would have no idea which of the men on that list it could have been


I have nothing to go on, other than what is in the registers. Unless we can use that to establish an identity, then the balance of probability is that he was an undercover man - saved from trial at the last minute, and indeed taken by the Company Commander King on the escapade that ended with the murder of Murphy and Kennedy


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Having spent a few hours on Crabbe , you are right to flag him. He appears to have been Secret Service. Having worked in F Coy alongside FJ Welsh, Crabbe was posted 7 days after the murder trial to Z Coy, which was the Secret Service company of the Auxiliaries. Crabbe committed suicide a few weeks later, on May 16. The Military Inquest concluded that it was suicide and that he "appeared very depressed last month" . Apart from the Platoon Commander and the Intelligence officer involved that night, Crabbe was the only T/Cadet called


It would seem probable that Crabbe and Welsh were slid into the Auxiliaries at the same time

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