ON THIS DATE (22ND SEPTEMBER) 101 YEARS AGO : BRITISH MAGISTRATE SHOT, NOT “BURIED ALIVE AND DROWNED”.
On Wednesday, 22nd September in 1920 – 101 years ago on this date – a British ‘law maker/enforcer’ in Ireland, British Army Captain Alan Cane Lendrum MC (‘Magistrates Court’) (pictured), a 35-year-old County Tyrone man who, before he involved himself in British ‘legal matters’ in Ireland, was an overseer in a rubber plantation in Malaya and had been active with the ‘Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers’ in World War One, was driving his small two-seater Ford car towards Caherfeenick, near Doonbeg, in County Clare. He was on his way to ‘officiate’ at the so-called ‘Petty Sessions’ at Ennistymon Courthouse.
Captain Lendrum was an avid practitioner of British ‘justice’ in Ireland, as he also ‘held court’ in Kilkee, Kilrush and Miltown Malbay, and would have been aware that he had placed himself in ‘competition’ with the Republican Courts, which were operational at that time and were availed of by many people to settle disputes. He no doubt felt somewhat uneasy that his house had previously been searched by the IRA and he knew they were watching his movements, and he was looking to change address from Kilkee to Kilrush.
On that date, the 22nd September in 1920, four members of the West Clare Brigade of the IRA stopped him in his car at a level crossing near Doonbeg, in County Clare, to requisition the vehicle, and an incident ensued – the man went for his gun – and he was shot twice in the head.
George Noblett, an RIC District Inspector and personal friend of Captain Lendrum, later stated : “I am sure he resisted. Alan Lendrum was a man who would never put his hands up and he always carried a small German automatic in those days. His resistance may well have cost him his life but any other action on his part would have been completely out of character…”
His body was concealed in a near-by lake and was not found by the Crown Force search party which was searching the area, due to the man not having arrived at Ennistymon Courthouse but, on a request from his family, his body was later returned to them ; the dead man was put in a roughly constructed coffin which was left on the railway tracks at Craggaknock railway station for the family or the British forces to collect.
British forces in the area were enraged over the killing of Captain Lendrum and the separate Rineen ambush and they moved, en masse, into local towns, killing six civilians in Milltown Malbay, Lahinch and Ennistymon, and burning twenty-six buildings, including the town halls in Lahinch and Ennistymon.
Then the propaganda side of it kicked-in : the British PR machine spread the lie that their man had been buried alive, up to his shoulders, on the shore of a lake, in the knowledge that the flow of the tide would eventually drown him. Those PR people embellished the fable by claiming that IRA men came back to the ‘buried alive’ site the next day to check on their handywork and found that the man was still alive – so they dug him up and re-buried him closer to the shore line. And not only that, but, during the re-burial, he was placed facing the incoming tide, so as he could actually bear witness to his own drowning!
And some people and media outlets in this State ran with it, from the 1920’s up to fairly recently – in 1989, Kevin Myers claimed that the incident had happened but retracted his claim later, and blamed Basil Clarke and his propaganda machine for his ‘mistake’.
In 1951, Sir Christopher Lynch Robinson, in ‘The last of the Irish RMs’, referred to a magistrate being ‘buried alive in the sands’ in Galway.
And there was more –‘The first account of the drowning atrocity appeared in the highly regarded Edinburgh-based ‘Blackwood’s Magazine’ in May 1921 and was loosely based on the ambush and death of Captain Lendrum. Later the same year, the story was reissued by Blackwood’s in ‘Tales of the RIC’, a book of anonymous short stories. This was an ideal propaganda vehicle, enjoying wide circulation at home and abroad.
An ad in ‘The Fortnightly’ (Vol. 110) declared : ‘Read Tales of the RIC and you will there find THE FACTS and no longer be bored’. The ‘facts’ in question made for gruesome reading : ‘And the next flood tide put an end to a torture the like of which Lenin and Trotsky could hardly exceed for sheer malignant devilry’.
Because it presented a macabre vignette of the callous cruelty of the IRA, this story was retold as fact by successive commentators of varying backgrounds. In The Black and Tans (1959) Richard Bennett repeated the story, listing Tales of the RIC as his source in his bibliography. Rex Taylor’s version in Assassination: the death of Sir Henry Wilson and the tragedy of Ireland (1961) baldly stated that Lendrum was buried alive on the beach: ‘In all the history of Irish sadistic violence, there is nothing to equal this atrocity committed against a gallant and decent man’.
The story was recycled through the years in several publications, including ‘Life World Library : Ireland’, by Joe McCarthy (1964), ‘The Irish Constabularies 1822–1922’ by Donal J. O’Sullivan (1999) and ‘A History Of Ireland’ by Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry (1991).
Tim Pat Coogan in ‘Ireland Since The Rising’ (1966) gave it the full treatment, including the reburial facing the tide. A fictional interlude was provided by best-selling novelist Eilis Dillon, who reintroduced the story in The interloper (1967). “I was staying in a house in County Clare..the men I was with were rejoicing — that’s the only word I can use — in the lingering death inflicted on a resident magistrate, buried in the sand and left to drown in the rising tide on a desolate shore..” ‘ (From here.)
However ; on the 5th of October, 1920, in Kilrush, in County Clare, a court of inquiry was held into the death of British Army Captain Alan Cane Lendrum MC, and the death certificate clearly stated that death resulted from ‘..murder (sic) by shooting by persons unknown..’ – no mention or finding of the man having been buried alive or drowned.
But that court finding did not receive the publicity it should have, as it had not got the weight of a British/Free State PR machine behind it. No drowning, no burial alive, no tidal atrocity. Just British and Free State propaganda.
‘GET ENGLAND OUT!’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, July, 1954.
Well Done, Lads!
“I would boldly preach the antique faith that fighting is the only noble thing, and that he only is at peace with God who is at war with the powers of evil.” – Padraig Pearse.
Armagh Action Shows The Way ; British troops occupy our country and there are men and women in the Republican Movement preparing to drive them out. Is it possible that they will fail, because you failed to join them?
Think Well On It –
The political parties of Leinster House are hoping at some future time to buy the allegiance of the Orangemen. Meanwhile, the loss to the 32 Counties each year by emigration is far greater than any war. In fighting World War Two, the English lost approximately 500,000 out of 50,000,000.
In the last 25 years, we have lost 675,000 out of little more than 4,000,000. Is the price we are paying in blood worth the remote possibility of buying the Orangemen with money?
You can serve the Nation in the republican ranks : to join the Movement, contact any known branch in your area or write direct to –
Rossa O’Broin, c/o United Irishman, Seán Treacy House, 94 Talbot Street, Dublin.
Sinn Féin, 3 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin.
Clan Na Gael Club, 112 West 72nd Street, New York 23, USA.
Cumann na mBan, 9 North Frederick Street, Dublin.
Na Fianna Éireann, 32 Blessington Street, Dublin.
Clan Na Gael Girl Scouts, 9 North Frederick Street, Dublin.
(END of ‘Get England OUT!’ ; NEXT – ‘Unionist Reaction’, from the same source.)
ON THIS DATE (22ND SEPTEMBER)…
..IN 1922 :
A Free State soldier, Private James Kennedy, 69 Merchants Cottages, East Road, Dublin, was killed, and several others were injured, as were three civilians, in a gun and grenade attack by republicans on Free State troops at noon on Eden Quay, central Dublin.
An IRA volunteer, Michael Neville, from Lisdoonvarna in County Clare (who worked in Mooney’s pub on Eden Quay) was ‘arrested’ by the Staters and taken to Killester on the north side of Dublin. He was then shot four times –
‘On the 22nd of September 1922, the body of Anti-Treaty Volunteer Michael Neville, a native of Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, was found in a disused graveyard in Killester, County Dublin.
He was a member of the Dublin City Brigade and had been killed while in the custody of the Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D.) of the Civic Guard in Oriel House. The C.I.D. were better known as the Oriel House Gang. Three men entered Mooney’s Public House, Eden Quay, Dublin, and abducted the barman Michael Nevill, aged 23.
Mooney’s body was found the next day in a disused graveyard in Killester. Witnesses told the inquest that three men had entered the public house and ‘arrested’ Nevill. Witnesses for the Civic Guard told the inquest that no one connected with the Civic Guard had anything to do with the shooting and Nevill was not arrested by them.
Doctor G. Meldon told the inquest he found a number of bullet wounds on the victim including lacerations to the lungs, liver and brain and the victim also had a fractured skull, death was due to shock and haemorrhage…’ (from here.)
Free State Army Colonel Michael Hogan was driving an army medic, John Lyden (Lydon), and two civilians, to Blennerville, Co. Kerry when they encountered some anti-Treaty men. In the ensuing shoot-out, Lyden/Lydon was killed. He was a member of the ‘Dublin Guards’, and was attached to the State Army Medical Corps, and was intending to travel to Dublin, by boat, with the two civilian patients.
A (Protestant) man, James Spratt (50), was shot dead by the British ‘police force’ in Westmoreland Street, in Belfast, because he was breaking curfew trying to go to feed his donkey.
On Friday, the 22nd of September 1922, Free State Army Private William Warren, from Fairview, in Dublin (service number 11151), who was attached to the 2nd Company, 4th Battalion of that organisation, was accidently shot dead by a sentry at Howth Tower, in Dublin. Private Warren was a member of the British Army (seven years service with the ‘Royal Irish Fusiliers’), which he left to join the IRA which, in turn, he left to join the Free State militia. He had failed to answer the challenges of a FS soldier, T. Devine, the sentry, who was exonerated by the inquiry held after the incident.
On the 22nd of September 1922, Private Joseph Guinane, 3rd Southern Division of the Free State Army, was accidentally shot and killed at Bushfield, Nenagh, County Tipperary by Private O’Brien. He was 20 years old and had worked as a farm labourer before joining the Staters and was from Kilmacuddy, Cademstown, County Offaly.
‘WHAT IS TO BE DONE? THE STRUGGLE IN THE 26 COUNTIES…’
The following article was solicited by ‘IRIS’ from a political observer in the 26 Counties. The article – whose author, John Ward, is not a member of the Republican Movement – is aimed at provoking discussion within (P)Sinn Féin.
From ‘IRIS’ magazine, October 1987.
(‘1169’ comment – please note that ‘IRIS’ magazine had, at that time, recently morphed from a republican-minded publication into a Trot-type mouthpiece for a Leinster House-registered political party.)
“But that’s all past..”, the new Sinn Féin activist will say,“..we are involved now. In fact, we are in the forefront of the people’s struggles nowadays..”
Maybe that’s true and the activists and militants in those struggles are starting to recognise it, but the consciousness of the mass of the people changes slowly. Didn’t they vote for Charlie Haughey last February? Winning their confidence, convincing them that Sinn Féin is different now*, takes time. Of course, if you don’t like that, you can always try to dissolve them.
There are other factors as well ; however spineless and treacherous the leadership of the Labour Party and trade unions may be, there is a strong working-class consciousness in the cities in the South dating back to the days of Connolly and Larkin. As the Labour leaders have sold out time and again, that consciousness has expressed itself more in union militancy and unofficial strikes than in voting for the Labour Party.
But it is there and, while it is not antagonistic to republicanism, it is suspicious of it…
(‘1169’ comment * – straight out of the nationalist/trot handbook ; ‘we must change our political positions to suit the people’! Irish republicans, on the other hand – recognising that our political position, our objective and the means to obtain it do not need to be changed to suit the prevailing political weather – are in it for the long haul, not for short political gain ie we seek to change the political views held by people rather than change our political views to suit the people.)
IRISH REPUBLICAN PAGES REMOVED FROM ‘FACEBOOK’.
Over the last few days, Facebook Admin staff have removed Irish republican pages from their platform : no notification was given, no warnings were issued, no ‘red flags’ raised by them : just immediate and total bans imposed.
In the area where I live (Clondalkin, Dublin) a very active RSF/SFP Facebook page, which had been active over a good few years and had built up a great following, was wiped out on Monday last, 20th September 2021, as were FB Pages belonging to other republican socialist organisations in Ireland.
RSF/SFP in Clondalkin tried three times to contact FB in the hope of resolving the issue but on each occasion they received this standard response – ‘We have removed this Page, Group or Event for being similar to one that we’ve previously removed for violating our Community Standards. You can learn more about our Recidivism Policy. You can disagree with the decision, and we’ll use your feedback to make improvements on future decisions.’
The decision was disagreed with, and FB stated that the Clondalkin Page had been removed because of ‘..graphic violence/hate speech/harassment/ bullying/nudity/sexual activity/sexual exploitation’, an ‘explanation’ which was, of course, immediately rejected and challenged, and an appeal lodged. This was FB’s response to that appeal –
‘We usually offer the chance to request a review, and follow up if we got decisions wrong. We have fewer reviewers available right now because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We’re trying hard to prioritize reviewing content with the most potential for harm. This means we may not be able to follow up with you, though your feedback helps us do better in the future. Thank you for understanding.’
Contact is on-going with Facebook, through various channels, but the replies to same – when they bother to reply, that is – contain a mixture of the above-quoted paragraphs.
The FB platform doesn’t ‘play fair’ (surprise, surprise!) and does not lend itself to allowing opinions to be expressed which challenge a ‘bosses agenda’. But, with or without FB, Irish republican socialists will continue to challenge that agenda. We have done that for long before you came on the scene, Mr Zuckerberg, and we’ll carry-on without your platform, when we have to. You may delist and delete us, but you’ll never defeat us!
‘STUDENTS ON THE MARCH…’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.
Billy Flynn, a medical student, asked the young men and women in the crowd to take note of the manliness and nobility of the Omagh prisoners, both in battle and in Court, and.. “..although they are captives within the walls of Belfast Jail, they shall continue to inspire us from the penal cells and their idealism and courage shall be our guide.”
Brendan O Dubhghaill, UCD arts student, read the 1916 Proclamation, and Mr P McGovern also spoke. The meeting concluded with the National Anthem, after which many young men and women enrolled in the Republican Movement.
(END of ‘Students On The March’ ; NEXT – ‘Letters From Our Readers’, from the same source.)
Thanks for the visit, and for reading,