Deserters or Spies?

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Deserters or Spies?

Postby bannerman on Tue May 11, 2010 12:20 pm

On the 22 of February 1921 the bodies of three British Soldiers, Privates Harry Morgan,
William Sydney Walker and David John Williams of ‘B’ Company, 1st Battalion the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were found near the shores of Lough Attorick on the Clare Galway Border. The three men had been executed by the I.R.A.'s East Clare Brigade, one of them had a label attached to his body which read: “Spies. Tried by courtmartial and found guilty. All others beware.”

The three men claimed to have been deserters from the British Army - but their executioners were convinced the men were spies. What were these three British soldiers really doing in the hills of north east Clare? Read the full article for free here:

http://www.warofindependence.net/?page_id=411

Padraig Og O Ruairc
http://www.warofindependence.net/

"Is doigh linn gur mor iad na daoine mora mar atamuid fein ar ar nglunaibh. - Eirimis!!!"
Jim Larkin 1913
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Re: Deserters or Spies?

Postby euryalus on Sat May 29, 2010 1:59 pm

For what it is worth, my view is that the three men would not have been capable of sustaining any kind of undercover role. One was a miner from the Forest of Dean, the other a cobbler and the third the son of a tenant farmer. Regarding Pte Williams, the Forest of Dean man, local historian Roger Deaks has commented as follows:

"Sadly, we have so far been unable to locate the grave otherwise a headstone would be put up. The cemetery records are insufficient although we think he was buried with his 10 month old daughter, so we are concentrating on looking for her grave. His wife re-married and moved to Newbridge so there was no one locally interested in the grave. He seems to have been quickly forgotten, which was rather sad given that he was an Old Contemptible and served at Gallipoli and the Somme. He was also wounded twice. However, the time and circumstances of his death seem to have excluded him from any local memorials. I will keep you posted on the CWGC developments. Thank you for all your help. Padraig's email prompted a lively discussion here. A propensity for subterfuge is not a characteristic of the average Forester, so it is doubly difficult to sustain the spy story, although it makes interesting reading".

I think what Roger is tactfully saying is that Pte Williams was a simple, uncomplicated man - and the same could be said for the other two; I think they went out on the town in a working class area of Limerick, got blind drunk, and woke up in the "wrong" company - as simple as that.
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Re: Deserters or Spies?

Postby bannerman on Sat May 29, 2010 6:53 pm

Hi Stanley,
Its a tricky one to work out - I cant say 100% they were spies and rule out all other reasons for their presence in the area, but to me it seems the most likely. I have to concede they definitely dont sound like the usual candidates for intelligence work - but then again this particular conflict wasnt a usual war. Im currently reading Ernie O Malleys interview notes with IRA Veterans from the East Clare area in the hope that Ill get more information. O Malleys handwriting is very difficult to read - so it will take some time. Im also hoping that more information about their I.R.A. courtmartial will come to light. But either way its hard to rubberstamp any theory as being proven beyond doubt

Whatever they were doing its a great pity that the location of the grave is currently lost. - If only temporarily. I hope the search comes to and end soon

Ill keep updating the article periodically as new information emerges.
All the best
Padraig
http://www.warofindependence.net/

"Is doigh linn gur mor iad na daoine mora mar atamuid fein ar ar nglunaibh. - Eirimis!!!"
Jim Larkin 1913
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bannerman
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Full Name: Padraig O Ruairc
 
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