ON THIS DATE (20TH JULY) 101 YEARS AGO : BRITISH ARMY MAJOR IN IRELAND DIES BY HIS OWN HAND.
On the 20th July, 1921, a British Army Major in the hated Black and Tan/RIC ‘Auxiliary’ force in Ireland shot himself dead in Woodstock House in Inistioge, in County Kilkenny.
Auxiliary Cadet Major Cyrus Hunter Regnart RMLI (‘Royal Marine Light Infantry’), who made a name for himself in ‘foreign theatres of war’, as those who cause/organise but don’t actually shoulder a weapon in, call them.
Major Regnart was a linguist with a wide range of languages – German, Russian, French, Spanish, Danish – and that fact is mentioned in his reports at the end of various ‘campaigns’, with the implication being that he had used them to further the aims and objectives of the different ‘war efforts’ he involved himself in, for ‘King and Country’.
On the 3rd June, 1921, he was ‘released’ by the RMLI and was demobilised the next day ; he joined ‘ADRIC’ on the 14th June, 1921 (‘Service Number 2046’)and was dispatched to ‘A Coy’ (pictured), who were then based in Woodstock House, Inistioge, in County Kilkenny where, no doubt due to the horrors he had witnessed/inflicted on his foreign jaunts, and those he witnessed/inflicted in Ireland, he killed himself on the 20th July, 1921, and was taken back to his own country to be buried (in St Helen Churchyard, in Albury, Oxfordshire, in England).
Incidentally, that ‘Big House’, Woodstock, was vacated by British forces in early 1922 and was then occupied by a different anti-republican element, the Free State Army. They, in turn, were withdrawn from the building on the 1st July, 1922 and, on the 2nd July, the IRA burned it down.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.
Mr Churchill has resigned.
His life may be summed up by saying that he was a careerist who succeeded, but it would be difficult to say that the world is a better place because he lived in it.
He certainly saved England from surrender and defeat in 1940 when he rallied a defeated and dispirited people and led them to the destruction of Germany. It cannot be said that he led them to victory, because in his lifetime the British Empire has tottered and the economy of England is as brittle as a well-baked oatcake.
Gone are the resevoirs of cheap raw materials in India, China, Malaya and all the corners of the once British Colonies… (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (20TH JULY) 99 YEARS AGO : ‘BOUNDARY COMMISSION’ PROBLEMS.
On the 11th July 1924, the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ was registered at the ‘League of Nations’ by the Free State authorities which, in our opinion, would have been the ideal occasion for a legal challenge to it, based on the fact that, when Michael Collins and his supporters were attempting to ‘sell’ it to their own side, they made a big deal of the ‘Boundary Commission’ clause (established under ‘Article XII’ of that Treaty) and in particular the part of it which stated that the ‘border’ could be adjusted “in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants”, which is precisely why Westminster ‘took’ only six of the nine Ulster counties – a built-in ‘majority’.
Also, the British actually took it on themselves to amend the 1921 Treaty of Surrender to allow themselves (ie Westminster) to unilaterally appoint a representative to speak on behalf of the Stormont ‘Parliament’. That Boundary Commission clause (‘Article 12’) was not properly adhered to by the signatories of the 1921 Treaty thereby, legally, negating the Treaty itself.
But deep pockets would be required to take such an action. And the only grouping in this State in a position to mount a challenge like that is the same (Free State) grouping which benefited then and continues to benefit today from that Clause and that which spawned it. For now they do, anyway.
On the 31st July, 1924, a ‘British Judicial Committee’ stated that the majority would rule on the Boundary Commission and that that Commission did not have the power to order plebiscites ; Westminster then took it upon itself to appoint a ‘Northern Ireland’ representative to the Boundary Commission, thus skewing the outcome of any vote taken, and it should be kept in mind that, at that stage, the Boundary Commission had not even held its first meeting – It actually only met for the first time on the 6th November 1924!
On the 20th July 1923 – 99 years ago on this date – after a meeting between Free State and British political reps in London, the Staters announced that Eoin MacNeill would be the Free State’s representative on the Boundary Commission and around the same time made the formal request to the British Government to actually set up the Commission (“Please, Sir…”) ; this simple request drew a hostile response from Westminster, prompting one of their own, ‘Sir’ James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon PC, PC (NI), DL etc etc to state that he and his ‘government’ (sic – he meant the Stormont puppet/Vichy administration in the occupied counties) would not recognise any Boundary Commission!
So, in effect, one of the main ‘selling points’ of the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ was being renegade on by the British, yet the servile Staters felt compelled to keep to their end of the ‘bargain’. Typical of that mindset, which still exists in that same political institution in Kildare Street in Dublin.
Ulster loyalism displayed its most belligerent face this year as violence at Belfast’s Holy Cross School made international headlines.
But away from the spotlight, working-class Protestant communities are themselves divided, dispirited and slipping into crisis.
By Niall Stanage.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, Annual 2002.
Seán Mag Uidhir’s words find an unexpected echo in those of prominent loyalist and Orangeman Mark Harbinson – “Nationalists have developed that side of things, and it is a credit to them,” he says, “We have had this belief that the Protestant people of Ulster (sic) would always be looked after by the British government. What I am seeing now is people realising that they haven’t been looked after, they have been treated like some distant colony.”
Faced with a disorientating present, Protestants are prone to harking back to the pre-1969 ‘good old days’ and, in doing so, they are reminiscing not just about a Northern Ireland (sic) whose ‘Britishness’ was beyond question, but about an era in which huge companies like Mackies engineering works and the Harland And Wolff shipyard employed thousands of (overwhemingly Protestant) workers.
The decimation of those industries – the shipyard once boasted a workforce of over 20,000 people, now the total is less than 2,000 and closure is regularly mooted – has been a seismic shock from which Belfast loyalism has yet to recover… (MORE LATER.)
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.
‘From Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund,
Clan na Gael HQ.
To General Secretary, Dublin.
Since last writing you our position has greatly strengthened, the GAA President, John (Kerry) O’Donnell, has given the ‘Republican Aid Committee’ (RAC) his very influential support.
He has obtained for us a special field day at Croke Park, with excellent matches to be played at same with permission to have a chance sale booth for the full season in the park, making a strong appeal on behalf of the prisoners at the GAA Banquet of the Year, besides giving generous personal contributions, and pledging full support on behalf of the Prisoners’ Aid.
The group attached to the AOH branch Highbridge, the Bronx, who organised a very successful dance last year, are again to repeat their effort on April 16th, besides making a special subscription drive in their area.
The members of the branch have all declared their willingness and desire to help…’ (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (20TH JULY) IN…
‘The Flight of the Earls’ ; on the 20th July, 1616, Hugh O’Neill (pictured), the head of the O’Neill clan of Ulster, the 2nd Earl of Tyrone, described over the decades as ‘charismatic, machiavellian, a ruthless opponent, a skilled negotiator, a power seeker par excellence, an innovator…’, an Irish rebel who, from 1595 to 1603 (‘the Nine Years War’), led an unsuccessful Roman Catholic uprising against English rule in Ireland, died in Rome.
He hoped to restart the war by building an army of soldiers from Europe, but he never managed to gain enough military support ; the defeat of O’Neill and the conquest of the province of Ulster was the final step in the subjugation of Ireland by the English, a nightmare we’re still living through.
During the 1798 Rebellion, a force of 3,000 ‘United Irishmen’ were camped out in the Bog of Allen in County Kildare and used their encampment as a ‘base of operations’ from which to organise, and carry out, attacks on the British.
From that base, under the command of Colonel William Aylmer, they carried out attacks on British forces at Properous, Clane, Rathangan, Naas, Kilcock and Maynooth, but suffered one major setback when 200 of their number were killed on the 19th June, 1798, in what became known as ‘The Battle of Ovidstown’.
On the 10th July, another rebel camp consisting of Wicklow and Wexford rebels marched from Blessington, nearly 40km away, to join them. This boosted numbers at the Bog of Allen camp to about 4,000 fighters but, the next morning, the Wicklow and Wexford group left the camp and headed north to Meath and Fingal, but they were halted on the 14th July at Drishogue Lane, Ballyboughal, where they were cut down by the British.
The British forces then headed for the Bog of Allen encampment and, on the 20th July, 1798, knowing that they were outnumbered and about to face a foe with superior weaponry, the Kildare rebels surrendered under a conditional amnesty and rebel Colonel William Aylmer sent a message to his father, an acquaintance of the ‘Marquess’ of Buckingham, to try and arrange surrender terms for himself, his second-in-command, Hugh Ware, and their remaining fighters.
William Aylmer was detained in Dublin Castle before being allowed to go to England, named in the ‘Banishment Act’ and was effectively ‘evicted’ from Ireland. But a section of his men had refused to surrender, breached the British encirclement and marched northwards, under Anthony Perry, to try to rise once more the rebels of Meath and Fingal.
The fight for freedom continued, and does so to this day.
Sarah Teresa MacMahon (Sorcha MacMahon, pictured) was born in Coas, in County Monaghan, on the 20th July, 1888, one of seven children (four boys and three girls), and was raised in an Irish-speaking household.
After her schooling, she left the family home in Monaghan and headed for Dublin where she began working as a commercial bookkeeper for Taggart’s Garage, and joined Cumann na mBan, where she made her mark as a secretary and in nursing and first aid.
She was very active in the 1916 Rising and began working with Michael Collins afterwards but, in February 1922, when Cumann na mBan rejected the ‘Treaty of Surrender’, he instructed her to end her membership of, and association with, Cumann na mBan and – more fool her – she did.
While she then claimed that she did not support either side in the conflict between Collins’ Free State and the Republican Movement, she continued to work, in a clerical position, for the Staters. She died as ‘Mrs Sorcha Rogers’ on the 13th December, 1970, in Sutton, County Dublin.
On the 20th July, 1920, the RIC and their comrades in the British ‘Dragoon Guards Regiment’ (pictured, who were stationed in Claremorris, County Mayo) went on the rampage and provoked riots in Tuam, County Galway ; the British forces looted public houses, fired their weapons indiscriminately, burned down the Town Hall and a number of other buildings and houses.
An English reporter who was observing the destruction compared the wrecked town of Tuam to Belgian and other French towns which had been destroyed by the Germans during the First World War.
They were on a revenge mission – on the 19th, an IRA ambush in Tuam resulted in the death of two RIC men.
At 2am on the morning of Tuesday, 20th July 1920, the RIC Barracks in Nurney, County Kildare, was attacked by the IRA and burned down and, at 2.30am, the RIC Barracks in Castledermot (about 17 miles from Nurney), also in that same county, was attacked and burnt down, as was the courthouse and, in Athy, again in Kildare, the courthouse was made unusable.
In all three attacks, communication links were cut and the ‘Weights and Measures’ ledgers, and other ‘official’ books, were destroyed. IRA casualities were light, with only one Volunteer having received injuries.
On the 20th July, 1920, the West Limerick Brigade of the IRA held a meeting in Dirreen, Athea, in Limerick, and formed a ‘Flying Column’ of Volunteers, consisting of about 35 fighters. The Vice Commander of the Brigade, Garrett McAulieffe, was announced as the Commander of the new Column and IRA Captain Michael Colbert was promoted to the position of Vice Commander of the new Unit.
On the 20th July, 1921, political ‘movement’ took place in relation to possible ‘peace talks’ regarding the political and military situation Westminster had placed itself in, in relation to its interference in Ireland.
Various issues were discussed/offered/touched-on by Westminster, including that the use of the word ‘treaty’ was now deemed acceptable by the British cabinet, which was very decent and jolly hockeysticks etc of them.
A proposal was on the table to have 26 out of our 32 counties declared as ‘a qualified Dominion Status’ with ‘internal control over taxation, finance and land defence’, but with no navy force, and existing navy bases to be practically handed-over to the ‘Royal Navy’, and there would be agreed restrictions placed on the number of and actual individual membership of the new State’s army.
There was to be free and open trade between the new ‘Free State’ and England, which would, potentially, help the new State and the Staters within it to pay the demanded ‘Irish contribution to the British war debt’!
In addition, the new State must recognise “..the existing powers and privileges of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, which cannot be abrogated except by their own consent…”
A ‘win-win’ situation for Westminster, with gifted political careers and an easy life guaranteed for those who accepted the ‘Terms and Conditions’ offered/imposed by Westminster. And those acceptees are still there, in Leinster House, in Kildare Street, in Dublin.
On the 20th July, 1922, Free State Army Captain Ned O’Brien and about 100 State troops, using boats, attacked republican positions on the quays in Waterford and took about twelve prisoners ; they then crossed the river Suir into the city to continue their assault.
Free State General John T. Prout (pictured, a republican-gamekeeper-turned-Free State-poacher), with about 450 State troopers under his command, used an 18-pounder field gun which he stationed at the Suir Ferry bank to fire at close range into the IRA-held Post Office. Two Free State soldiers were killed in the fighting in Waterford and nineteen were wounded, and at least one IRA fighter was fatally wounded. Five civilians were killed in the three-day State onslaught.
On the 20th July, 1922, two Free State Army Privates, John Foran and John Martin, were killed in successive nights in attacks outside Mountjoy prison in Dublin. We have no more information on these two men.
On the 20th July, 1933, republican-gamekeeper-turned-Free State-fascist Eoin O’Duffy(pictured) became the leader of the ‘National Guard’ grouping(the ‘Blueshirts’, without whom there would have been no Fine Gael), an organisation which sprang from the 10,000-strong ‘Army Comrades Association’.
Mr O’Duffy joined the IRA in 1917 but, when the Free State was spawned in 1921, he jumped ship to it and was the commander of the State Army between 1924 and 1925, and also ‘served’ as chief commissioner of the Civic Guard (the State ‘police force’) from 1922 to 1933.
He was removed from that position in 1933 and, true to his fascist political leanings, he helped to found the ‘Fine Gael’ party ; he was president of that outfit from 1933 until 1934, when he was forced to resign.
This foul creature died on the 30th November, 1944, at 54 years of age. More about him here.
On the 20th July, 1982, the IRA detonated two bombs in London, one in Hyde Park and the other in Regents Park, two hours later. Both were timed to coincide with British military ceremonies which were taking place in those parks.
The explosions killed 11 military personnel – four soldiers of the Blues And Royals at Hyde Park, and seven bandsmen of the Royal Green Jackets at Regents Park, and a further 51 people were injured. Seven horses also died in the attack.
According to Andrew Parker-Bowles (the ex-husband of the ‘Duchess’ of Cornwall), the English Queen saw the attack as one of the darkest days of her reign : “She said to me it was ‘the most ghastly day of my life.’“
We here in Ireland know all about such “ghastly days”.
Thanks for the visit, and for reading!
We’re temporarily closing up shop here for a few weeks ; not going away, not even going on a ‘staycation’ and, unfortunately, definitely not going back to NYC. Yet..!
We haven’t had a decent break in…eh… yonks (!) and the two lads will, I know, appreciate the free time and I’ve already made some arrangements with the Girl Gang for a few days/nights out, plus we’ll be contacting our buddies in New York to have a chat.
We’ll be back here on Wednesday, 10th August 2022 with, among other pieces, a few paragraphs about an IRA Executive meeting held in the mid-1920’s, comprising over two dozen republican fighters, at which past actions were discussed and future arrangements were made.
If you’re unable to do without the pleasure of my our company (!) until the 10th August next, then get yer fix on Facebook and/or Twitter. Or don’t. See what I care ; I’m off on me holliers…!
Sharon and the team.