The Manchester Band Boy Killings 1921

#OnThisDay 1921 Bandboys John Cooper (pic), Charles Chapman & Matthew Carson of the Manchester Regiment Band were shot by the IRA in Cork. They 16, 17 & 18 respectively & the rank of ‘Boy”. They had left the Ballincollig barracks in uniform, were picked up by the IRA, taken across country to Ovens (where American Civil War Confederate General Patrick Cleburne was from) & shot. They were buried in the yard of an abandoned house. In August 1923, they were exhumed and reburied in Bandon workhouse grounds.

Again, their bodies exhumed in 1924 when Carson’s father, an Irishman who served for 20 years in the Royal Irish Rifles, finally got permission from the Irish Government to return their remains where they were buried in Ashton-under-Lyne.


The Scullabogue Massacre 1798

#OnThisDay 1798 United Irishmen killed over 100 civilians, most but not all, are Protestants at Scullabogue, Wexford. The guards were also both Catholic and Protestant. Rounding up of pro-government people in an area was not unheard of (and still existed into the 20th century in various conflicts-rounding up people suspected of sympathising or supporting the enemy). This was in revenge of the failed rebel attack on New Ross & for the government forces killing wounded prisoners (70 in Mary St).

At first, male prisoners were taken out in groups of four and shot but once rebels returned from New Ross, the guards in charge of the prisoners could not hold them back any longer. This atrocity has long stained the 1798 Rebellion as a purely sectarian conflict but it is more complex than that.

Scullabogue Barn massacre, artwork



The Battle of Benburb 1646

#OnThisDay 1646 Eoghan Ruadh Ó’Néill and his army of 5000 defeated a slightly larger Scottish Covenanter army under Robert Munro at the Battle of Benburb in Tyrone during the War of the Three Kingdoms. Ó’Néill was the nephew of Hugh O’Neill of The Nine Years’ War fame. Munro stated the battle tactically well, first with artillery fire and then a cavalry charge but neither broke the Confederates nor caused many casualties. A final pike charge by the Irish, whose pikes were longer and had smaller heads which were better for piercing armour, caused the Scots to break & run, killing between 2000-3000. This ended Scottish hopes of conquering Ireland and imposing their own religious settlement there.
Eoghan Ruagh O'Neill

Operation Dynamo 1940

#OnThisDay 1940 Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk ended. 2 Royal Ulster Rifles had the unenviable task of holding the perimeter defence while the evacuation took place. They’d lost nearly 200 men, 34 killed, 70 wounded with 70 missing or captured by the enemy. They managed to hold out the perimeter until they got off the beach on June 1st. Roughly 340,000 troops got off the beach.


Lt Thomas Keane IRA executed in Limerick 1921

#OnThisDay 1921 Lt. Thomas Keane C. Coy 2nd Batt Limerick IRA was executed for levying war & possession of arms without any sufficient evidence. He was at the scene where some troops were fired upon but did not have a weapon in his possession, could not be identified as the shooter and a fully loaded revolver was found in a bush (which meant even if it was his, he was not fired at). No evidence of him levying war was possible either as they could not prove he killed or maimed any persons.

It was expected that he would be reprieved so a plan to break him out of jail by IRA Volunteers in British officer uniforms was shelved.

He was 34, married with two kids & a third on the way.

At the funeral, the Black and Tans arrived & beat the mourners.

thomas-keane Limerick

Lord Edward Fitzgerald Dies from wounds 1798

#OnThisDay 1798 Lord Edward Fitzgerald died in Newgate Prison, Dublin from his wounds suffered during his arrest. Fitzgerald was the iconic leader of the United Irishmen and his and many other United Irishmen leaders meant that the upcoming rebellion was almost completely leaderless. His sister said of him:
He was loved by everyone. He was the acknowledged favourite of our hearts. Whenever he came among us, it was universal delight.