Ambushes of the War of Independence

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Re: Ambushes of the War of Independence

Postby Na Fianna Éireann on Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:46 pm

Hi Ger thanks for your post, I have not really been on here in a while as my father has been quite ill and i spend most of my time after work staying at my parents to help mum out. We don't see our parents age until its upon us. I have a lot of stuff regarding these ambushes some where gathering dust as my own grand father took part in this war and like you I have his medals as well. I have other ambush accounts but have given my word not to publish until a close relative is no longer with us.

I did have a site once which gave fantastic detail of lots of Irish war of independence material but took it down some time ago, however it is all in print in my home and if and when I get time I will dig it out, generally you can Google most of the information, however I did have the fortitude of knowing characters from this era, and if I can help you I will.
Na Fianna Éireann Fíor inár gCroíthe Neart inár Láimhe Comhsheasmhacht inár dTeanga.
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Re: Ambushes of the War of Independence

Postby michaelcarragher on Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:14 pm

My sympathies on your situation, Mairtin. Hope things work out as best they can.

This may sound inappropriate, given your troubles, so indulge me, please:

Trawling back along this thread, I've chuckled myself into a great mood thanks to Bannerman's account of General Lucas, which I'd somehow missed. What a smashing story! A true-life "Guests of the Nation" but with a happy ending.

It's particularly uplifting to read it now, after so much time spent on the Cork and Coolacrease controversies--and indeed, given the grim state to which wastrel successors have reduced our country, which men and women died for.

I was treated as a gentleman by gentlemen


General Lucas's testimony reminds us that we can choose to be the best we can, rather than the dark and selfish worst.

Thanks for that, Padraic.
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Re: Ambushes of the War of Independence

Postby Na Fianna Éireann on Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:37 am

Thanks for your kind comments, yes you are correct in saying that there was a decorum amongst the volunteers and some units of the British military, however the Essex regiment under Percival were not I have an interesting article I wrote about this poor excuse for a soldier some where I shall look for it now and post up .


My friends dad was one off the soldiers that was captured along with Lt Gen Percival at Singapore, but are you aware but for a twist off fate almost twenty years earlier that the British army in the East may well have successfully defended Singapore under a different commander, but for the fact that Gen Percival survived an assination attempt on his life in Brandon West Cork twenty years earlier.

Major Percival as he was rhen known was the officer in charge of the notorious 1st Essex reg which served in West Cork," day and night he raided homes and arrested numbers including civilians, he was described as being the most anti Irish of all serving British officers " as quoted by book

However the West Cork flying column decided to repay his kindness and sentenced him to immediate death, he was well watched and a routine was established off his movements , Tom Barry officer West Cork Brigade was despatched with another volunteer to murder Percival.

However fate intervened and Percival had been despatched to another engagement an hour earlier that day .

Tom Barry never did get the chance to try again but in his memoriors he mentions this and the subsequent British surrender in the east under Gen Percival as follows "disappointed , we trudged, little thinking that Major Percival, who was to fail so dismally against West Cork IRA was later to become the commander of the pathetic surrender of 1941 at Singapore, We could not foresee that our target that night would as LT GEN PERCIVAL CIC of ninty thousand British troops, surrender to a much smaller force off Japanese "

Had things turned out different that night I ask would the Japanese tide have been stopped under different circumstances and a different leader, would make an interesting theory .

NB my mate s dad was captured in Singapore and endured terrible imprisonment and starvation , he like others wanted to fight on but could not , their sufferings were forgotten this should not be so.
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Re: Ambushes of the War of Independence

Postby michaelcarragher on Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:23 pm

Yes, Mairtin,

Percival was a real beaut. Best recruiting sergeant the IRA could have wished for.

As to whether anyone else would have done a better job in Singapore? I doubt that he could have done much but modify the details of defeat, for Percival paid the price for inter-war neglect and political expediency. Some years before the Japanese invasion he had compiled a report that accurately exposed the vulnerability of the peninsular approach, and might even have warned of Japanese invasion along there, but in the Hungry Thirties, the Jarrow hunger march and other domestic concerns took up most of the politicians’ time (though not necessarily much exchequer funding), and Singapore’s defences were neglected. The tanks that were promised were sent to Russia as a token of good faith; they could be of minimal worth there compared to the potential they had for stemming the Jap assault.

Percival not so much neglected the defences as he refused to build any, believing that a defensive mentality is bad for morale, a lesson he would have taken from the First War (where he had been a notably good soldier, earning many decorations), the British insisting on night raids and patrols in their sectors to prevent this defensive mentality.

Yes, there was a wish by many to fight on, and I don’t know enough about that theatre of operations to comment on the wisdom or feasibility of so doing. The Australians did a lot to highlight British ineptitude, but their own officers were far from blameless in their conduct. From my understanding the garrison could not have held out. Still, better to have died there and take a few Japs with them than in Changi Gaol or on the Burma Railway.

Your friend’s father suffered a dreadful fate and indeed, he and his comrades should not be forgotten. There’s a strong movement in Japan in recent years, though, to deny the countless crimes committed by the Empire of the Sun. Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking is a truly disturbing book, the writing of which may have helped lead to its author’s suicide, though some say that abuse from Japanese reactionaries also played a part.

The father of a great friend of mine, a friend in his own right, indeed, now sadly dead, fought in both Chindit campaigns. He did not like the Japanese! While many old enemies admired the Germans, who for the most part were worthy and honourable foes, just about all look on the Japs as murderous, sadistic little brutes. The one exception I’m aware of is Eric Lomax, author of a very good book, The Railway Man; after many years Lomax made peace with one of his torturers, who to be fair for years had been racked with remorse over his crimes.

While I agree that Percival’s unfortunate garrison must not be forgotten, this forum, and perhaps especially this thread, is hardly the place to commemorate British soldiers!

I would be interested, however, to read your piece about Percival.
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Re: Ambushes of the War of Independence

Postby Na Fianna Éireann on Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:47 pm

Na Fianna Éireann Fíor inár gCroíthe Neart inár Láimhe Comhsheasmhacht inár dTeanga.
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Re: Ambushes of the War of Independence

Postby Na Fianna Éireann on Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:47 pm

Na Fianna Éireann Fíor inár gCroíthe Neart inár Láimhe Comhsheasmhacht inár dTeanga.
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Re: Ambushes of the War of Independence

Postby Jd66 on Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:11 pm

An article on the Upton ambush, February 15, 1921, its context and memory.

http://www.theirishstory.com/2011/02/15 ... y-15-1921/
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