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Remembered Today:

Auxiliary Division, Royal Irish Constabulary


PhilB
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The ADRIC was recruited in Britain from among ex-officers who had served in World War I--especially those who had served in the Army and the Royal Flying Corps. Most recruits were British, though some were Irish, and others came from the British Empire and Commonwealth. Many had been highly decorated in the war and two, George Onions and James Leach, wore the Victoria Cross. Interestingly, their decorations make it clear that many had been promoted from the ranks: some men, for example, had been awarded the common soldier's Military Medal instead of (or in addition to) the officer's Military Cross. Enlisted men who had been commissioned as officers during the War often found it difficult to adjust to their loss of status and pay in civilian life, and historians have concluded that the Auxiliary Division recruited large numbers of these "temporary gentlemen".

Recruiting began in July 1920 and by November 1921 the division was 1,900 strong. The Auxies were nominally part of the RIC, but actually operated more or less independently in rural areas. Divided into companies (eventually fifteen of them), each about one hundred strong, heavily armed and highly mobile, they operated in ten counties, mostly in the south and west, where IRA activity was greatest. They wore either RIC uniforms or their old army uniforms with appropriate police badges, along with distinctive Tam-o-shanter caps. They were commanded by Brigadier-General F P Crozier, a former officer of the Unionist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force.

Is there any record of who these men were? Phil B

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Thanks, Mick, but I believe the Auxiliary Division was not actually part of the RIC? Or would ADRIC men be on that list? Perhaps in a separate part? Phil B

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Hello Phil,

Two photos that may be of interest to you.

Brig Gen Crozier inspecting Auxiliary recruits, the second in Cork City.

Regards,

Sean

post-8617-1170027551.jpg

post-8617-1170027904.jpg

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Phil

One of the most contraversial incidents involving the Auxiliaries was at Kilmichael on 28/11/20.

Wikipedia link

My interest is in Leonard Bradshaw, one of the Auxiliaries killed. He is remembered (as an RIC man) on the South Reddish War Memorial in Stockport. Research is still at an early stage but he was an RFA man who rose throug the ranks to Lieutenant.

John

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I find this a fascinating group of men. Ex infantry/RFC officers (regular and temporary). I suspect most would be ex temporary officers who`s employment chances were low at home. It would be interesting to know whether their motivation was political or practical. Either way, they must have been excellent material. Any books on the subject? Phil B

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Thanks for that, Phil. I had previously seen it.

I hope to be able to read Bradshaw's file on a future visit to Kew. Maybe it'll give some clues to answers in your post #7. An interesting bunch, as you suggest.

John

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I read a book years ago called Barry's Flying Column wich details the affair at Kilmichael in some detail. It suggests that the ambush was used as a "model" for training purposes in some armies up until WW2.

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Hello All,

it has to be said that the Irish view on these men is very different from the English one. The Black and Tans were ex-OR and were feared enough, but the Auxilaries were felt to particularly dangerous. They had a reputation for indiscipline and brutality towards the civilian population. It has always seemed ironic to me that the group with the worst reputation for bad behaviour were officers (or ex-officers) and therefore supposedly gentlemen.

As Des has said, some of the stories from Ireland at that time were true, some embellished with the passage of time and some are utter nonsense. There are, however, far too many stories from reputable sources of these men being involved in some very unsavoury behaviour towards innocent civilians.

Regards,

Liam.

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Hello Phil,

Two photos that may be of interest to you.

Brig Gen Crozier inspecting Auxiliary recruits, the second in Cork City.

Regards,

Sean

Seeing this photo of "K" Company of the "Auxies", I assume in Cork, reminded me. I recently read a biography of Montgomery, written by his brother Brian. After graduating from Staff College in December 1920 Bernard Montgomery became Brigade-Major of the 17th Infantry Brigade, based at Cork.

In one letter, written to his father, Bishop Montgomery, in March 1922 he says:

"Have you heard the nonsense being rumoured about the burning of Cork? It is complete nonsense. Cork was burnt by K Coy of the Auxiliaries, and by no one else. A bomb was thrown into a party of them near Cork Barracks one night, wounding 14 of them. They broke out of barracks that night, and by the aid of petrol, etc, set fire to the City Hall and half the shops in Patrick Street". (My emphasis)

Interestingly, the IRA raided Montgomery's family home in the summer of 1922. New Park at Inishowen. "Montys" English born mother was home alone at the time, made the eight raiders cups of tea, and got a receipt for what they took, bedding and weapons: Muzzle loading flintlocks and pistols captured in India by a family member, plus native swords, bows and arrows, spears and daggers and wooden clubs. Souvenirs from India, Africa and the Pacific Islands obtained by Empire building Montgomery's.

I wonder if any of this stuff was actually used in action? :)

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Major Bernard Law Montgomery arrived in Cork on the 3rd January 1921 to take up his position as Brigade Major of the 17th Infantry Brigade, this was just 22 days after the burning of the city therefore the devastation was quite evident.

He tried to rebuild relations between the local people and the armed forces by drafting a series of instructions to increase the efficiency of the 17th Brigade but unfortunatly it was to late.

These full set of instructions can be found in the Strickland papers held in the Imperial War Museum.

Regards,

Sean

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This is what I found out about a local man buried in Nostell Cemetery.

George Bush. Cadet 79943.

Royal Irish Constabulary Auxiliary.

Joined the R.I.C. on 15/06/1920. His original service number was 71657.

Cadet Bush joined the Auxiliary Division R.I.C. on 19/11/1920. Attached to B Company.

Later transferred to M Company. Auxiliary Number 1073.

Aged 22 yrs. Date of birth 24/02/1899.

Son of Arthur Henry Bush (died 11/11/1932) Ellen Bush (died 01/11/1936).

Huntwick Lodge.

George Bush is on Roll of Honour in Wragby Church nr Wakefield West Yorkshire.. 2nd Lieut G Bush. The Roll of Honour includes those who served as well as those who died.

Initially joined the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry as Pte 20046.

Awarded the 1915 Star, BWM, Victory Medal. Entered France on 07/08/1915.

Commissioned and transferred to 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment as

2nd Lieutenant.

Date of commissioning 31/10/1917.

Originally ?8th (Service) Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

2nd February 1921. 2pm

Two lorries carrying 17 RIC Auxiliaries were travelling from Granard to Longford when they were ambushed by the IRA’s Longford brigade lead by Sean MacEoin at Clonfin, about midway between Granard and Ballinalee.

The ambush occurred as the lorries were crossing a small bridge at the bottom of a slight incline. The first lorry was blown up, killing one officer, Cadet John Houghton, outright and wounding all of the other occupants. Approximately 50 IRA men opened fire on the second lorry from both ides of the road and a pitched battle ensued for 10 to 15 minutes, during the ambush DI Craven had been wounded in the leg and was bandaging it when he was shot again, in the neck and killed. The Auxiliaries were forced to surrender when they ran out of ammunition.

After the surrender MacEoin congratulated the police on their fight and also denied killing another Officer, DI McGrath, in a previous incident. He then allowed them to leave the scene for Longford Military Hospital in one of the police lorries. The IRA removed the police weapons and burned the other vehicle before leaving the scene in the direction of Ballinalee.

The following day the wounded were taken from Longford Military Hospital by special train to Steeven’s Hospital. Six of the wounded were stretcher cases and were escorted by doctors and nurses.

Cadet George Bush and Cadet Harold Clayton died from their wounds on the 4th February at Steeven’s Hospital.

Mick

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He tried to rebuild relations between the local people and the armed forces by drafting a series of instructions to increase the efficiency of the 17th Brigade but unfortunatly it was to late.

These full set of instructions can be found in the Strickland papers held in the Imperial War Museum.

Regards,

Sean

Interesting point about Monty. I wonder if it was because he was Irish?

Another British officer in Cork at that time, who also rose to WW2 "fame" was Arthur Percival, who lost Singapore in 1942. The English born Percival, of the Essex Regiment, took a much harsher line against the Nationalists and was detested by the Irish:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Ernest_Percival#Ireland

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Pals

If ex officers formed the Auxiliary Division of the RIC, and the O/R's formed the Black & Tans, were the Black and Tans another part of the Auxiliary or did they have thier own offical title.

Malcolm

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The Black and Tans were ex servicemen, mainly ORs who joined the regular police. They were entilted to pensions. The ADRIC were an auxiliary formation but they men were ranked with RIC officer cadets. If Phil is interested there is a Home Office file at the NA which details those who joined and at least one academci article has been written on the subject. Many ADRIC went on to Palestinetothe Palestine Gendarmerie

Greg

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I have met a few ex-Palestine Policemen. I think that organization was not without its skeletons in the cupboard! Phil B

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QUOTE (Phil_B @ Jan 30 2007, 05:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have met a few ex-Palestine Policemen. I think that organization was not without its skeletons in the cupboard! Phil B

Not just the police, but the army too.

There was the well known case of the SAS officer tried for the murder of a Jewish teenager. The army decided that he was "elsewhere" at the time and posted him away from Palestine.

The Stern Gang, I think it was, were so certain that it was an army "whitewash" that they tried to kill the officer in England. They killed his student brother with a parcel bomb by mistake.

The officer left the army and went "out of sight". In fact, he went to Canada and only died last year.

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Not just the police, but the army too.

There was the well known case of the SAS officer tried for the murder of a Jewish teenager. The army decided that he was "elsewhere" at the time and posted him away from Palestine.

Sorry, possibly my mistake. According to one obit. I have just read Roy Farran was actually in the Palestine Police at this time. Seconded? Attached?

"Postwar, Farran was in Palestine with the 3rd Hussars, followed by a posting to Sandhurst as an instructor. But with the end of the British Mandate in sight, he returned to Palestine. With the Palestine Police he set up the "Q" patrols to infiltrate terrorist networks, but was in serious trouble when it was alleged that a cap bearing his name had been found near where a 16-year-old Jewish youth had been abducted and allegedly shot. When the allegations became public, Farran was put under house arrest. Although he claimed to have a cast-iron alibi, when he heard he was to be charged with murder, he stole a vehicle and with others crossed into Syria where he contacted the British Legation in Damascus.

Prevailed upon to return, accompanied by a senior officer of the Palestine Police, Farran was detained in Allenby Barracks. Convinced the British would disown him in the interests of assuaging public opinion, he decamped, but gave himself up when the Zionist terrorist group, the Stern gang, took reprisals against his friends. When Farran came to trial, the case was dismissed. No body had been found, and witnesses claiming to have seen the victim taken away failed to identify Farran in a line-up. When his youngest brother Rex was killed by a letter bomb sent to the family home a year after the boy's disappearance, Farran, away at the time, suspected the Stern gang."

Source:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story...1795239,00.html

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The Stern Gang,

An interesting organisation according to its Wikipedia write-up. Most people will have heard of its violent activities but I didnt know that it made contact with the Nazis offering to enter WW2 on the side of Germany in return for assistance in throwing the Brits out of Palestine.

Another case of one man's freedom fighter being another man's terrorist, perhaps.

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Hi All'

A couple of good books to read-

'Police casulties in Ireland 1919-1922' Lists all those who died in the line of duty with a small write up on how/where, gives service numbers of B&T's/Auxies.

John, This book lists Bradshaw as coming from 24 Larkhill Terrace Blackburn, aged 22, Aux number 297.

Ex-Lt RFA.

'Spies,Informers and the Anti Sinn Fein Society' is new, lists many actions with Cork IRA & Auxies.

Records used are IRA's and military/police so seems pretty even, author contradicts known mistakes.

But it seems the burning of Cork actually frightened Sinn fein into crying off to the Americans for help.

It also resulted in the Police receiving far more information about IRA activities.

As a result the IRA killed a lot of ex-servicemen.

'British Voices from the Irish War of Independance' personnal stories from soldiers, some well known some ordinary soldiers, not too detailed although new [2005] reads a bit dated as the interviews are from the 1970's or papers held in the IWM.

It does have a sad picture of a soldier of the East Lancs, Pte Fielding, lying in a country lane. Killed by the IRA.

An interesting note is that 30% of the B&T's were Irish.

Two Auxies were rankers and one a civillian. One was a Lt General in the war [not Crozier].

Rob.

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I would agree 'Police casulties in Ireland 1919-1922' is an excellent book and gives an idea of just how violent the times were, in fact some give an air of almost casual violence.

Mick

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John, This book lists Bradshaw as coming from 24 Larkhill Terrace Blackburn, aged 22, Aux number 297.

Ex-Lt RFA.

Rob.

I was brought up about half a mile from there and passed it daily. It`s certainly not "officer country" and I guess, like many others, he was a temporary officer who couldn`t resettle. Phil B

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  • 7 months later...
Pals

If ex officers formed the Auxiliary Division of the RIC, and the O/R's formed the Black & Tans, were the Black and Tans another part of the Auxiliary or did they have thier own offical title.

Malcolm

Hi, I'm not sure if someone replied to this (I confess I skim-read the thread) but I wondered about this as well. The auxiliaries and the black and tans were separate and were recruited at different times. Nearly every article you read points out that the "Black and Tans" was a nickname to do with the uniforms but never bother to say what the real name was! I did see a reference somewhere to them as RIC "Reserves" as opposed to Auxiliaries - have no idea if this distinction translates into the service records or not.

Anyone interested in the Auxiliaries/black and tans subject might be interested in a look at http://eprints.qut.edu.au/archive/00000009..._Black_conf.PDF

Hannah

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