Great Britain has no quarrel with Irishmen; her sole quarrel is with crime, outrage, and disorder.— General Macready, December 12, 1920.
It is obviously the interest of the Government to find the perpetrators of this outrage.— Sir Hamar Greenwood, December 13, 1920.
We are out for peace, but there can be no compromise with murder.— Sir Hamar Greenwood, December 31, 1920.
PUBLISHED BY THE IRISH LABOUR PARTY & TRADE UNION CONGRESS, DUBLIN.
Also to be obtained from THE LABOUR PARTY, 33 Eccleston Square, London, S.W.1
The map represents the centre of Cork City and includes most of the area devastated by fire on the night of December 11-12, 1920. The burnings at Dillon’s Cross are not shown. Some of the buildings burnt during some weeks previous to December 11 are also shown (four Sinn Fein clubs, one trade union hall, the block marked “9,” &c.) ; but many of these also lie outside the area covered by the map. It is important to notice the position of the Police Barracks; Union Quay close to the City Hall; Tuckey Street near the Grand Parade; the Bridewell near the Coal Quay; Shandon Street; and Empress Place on Summerhill.
1. National Monument
2. Berwick Fountain
5. Hilser, Buckley
6A. Murphy Bros.
7. Grant & Co.
9. Cahill, Ryan, American Shoe Co.
10. Victoria Hotel
12. Forrest, Egan, Sunner, Munster Arcade, Munster Warehouse
13. O’Regan, Dartry Dye Co., Saxone Shoe Co., Burton, Cudmore, Thomson
14. Lee Cinema
15. Cash & Co.
18. Scully, Connell & Co., Lee Boot Co., Roche’s Stores, Wolfe, O’Sullivan
19. Father Matthew Statue
21. Munster Hotel
22. Pipers’ Club
23. O’Gorman, Dalton
25. Coliseum Cinema
26A. Standard House
WHO BURNT CORK CITY?
A TALE OF ARSON, LOOT, AND MURDER
The Evidence of over Seventy Witnesses
“What justice is there in punishing one man for offences committed by others over whom he has no control ? … I wonder how long will humanity stand this attack on women and children. How long will the civilised world tolerate it? The feeling of the people of Europe may one day become too strong. If the war is prolonged and operations of this character continued, we shall not only suffer the shame of these transactions, but may have to face the intervention of armed humanity.”— Mr. LLOYD GEORGE, December 16, 1900.
“This is not fair fighting, it is degrading. The people who talk of the Empire—why, the honour of no empire is safe in their keeping!”— Mr. LLOYD GEORGE, January 1, 1901.
THE IRISH LABOUR PARTY & TRADE UNION CONGRESS, DUBLIN
1.— THE GOVERNMENT AND AN INQUIRY
(1) Government Propaganda
(2) The Challenge
(3) The Military Inquiry
(4) The Present Investigation
II.—WHO DID IT?
III.— THE EVIDENCE
(1) GOVERNMENT PROPAGANDA
The policy of the British Government is to give an immediate indignant denial to the infamous suggestion that any Irish outrages are due to Crown forces, to insinuate or assert that on the contrary they were done by Irish “extremists,” and meanwhile to refuse every request for an impartial inquiry on the ground that it would be an aspersion on heroes who fought in the great war. Vehement denials, righteous indignation, rigid prohibition of all investigation—these are the highly successful methods whereby the Coalition Government has largely succeeded in deceiving the English people and the world concerning the aspirations and sufferings of the Irish nation. And if perchance the suppressed evidence begins to trickle into publicity, through a British labour commission or before an American committee, the Government, hoping that by this time the passionate protests as well as the ruined towns have smouldered into coldness, will gracefully own up to just a few general irregularities shorn of all their hideous details. Yes, the “Black and Tans” did get a little out of hand at Balbriggan. And at Cork a few Auxiliaries, unidentified, uncensured, unpunished, were a trifle excited; but the military and police behaved as guardian angels. Meanwhile, fresh horrors at Dunmanway, Midleton, and elsewhere have happened, and it is hoped that the public has almost forgotten the sacking of Cork.
The day after the great conflagration, Sir Hamar Greenwood, Chief Secretary for Ireland, was ready—long practice makes master—with his denials and counter-assertions. “I protest most vigorously,” he said, “against the suggestion, without any evidence, that these fires were started by the forces of the Crown.” Quite so; in fact the evidence is all the other way. “My contention is that the forces of the Crown have saved Cork from destruction,” not indeed by refraining from destroying the remainder of the city, but because “all available policemen and soldiers in Cork were turned out at once; and without their assistance the fire brigade could not have got through the crowds and done the work they tried to do.” The peaceful English Government is always engaged in the beneficent work of saving and rescuing, but “the protection of life and property will remain difficult till the Sinn Fein conspiracy is crushed at the source”—wherever that is. In fact, according to Sir Hamar, it was the Sinn Feiners who, being short of arguments and superabounding in explosives, burnt their own city, and did it without a single casualty. “It is obvious to anyone that a fire of this kind is the only possible argument that is now used against the Government’s policy in Ireland.”
In reply to Lt.-Comdr. Kenworthy’s question whether two civilians named Delany were shot, whether the hoses of the fire brigade were cut, and the fire brigade fired at while extinguishing the fire, Sir Hamar replied, “There is not an atom of evidence that I know of to that effect. There is no evidence,” he continued, “of hoses being cut or of the forces of the Crown being responsible for these outrages at all.” Apparently not an ounce of ammunition, nor a gallon of petrol, was missing from the various Cork barracks!
 House of Commons, December 13, 1920. In the Daily Chronicle (December 14), Mr. Lloyd George’s organ, these remarks are given under the heading: “Sir H. Greenwood replies to Sinn Fein charges.”
n the official account of the fire, issued in London on the afternoon of Sunday, December 12, 1920, it is stated that “the fires appear to have started at Grant’s, Cash’s, and the Munster Arcade, and extended to other buildings.” In the House of Commons on Tuesday, December 14, Sir Hamar Greenwood stated categorically that “the City Hall and the Free Library were not fired, but were burnt down by the spread of the fire which the local forces and the fire brigade were unable to stop.” What the action of “the local forces” was in the burning of the City Hall will be shown presently (see Depositions 26 and 27). But meanwhile, a glance at the map will show the humour of the assertion that the fire “spread” a quarter of a mile from Patrick Street and over the River Lee into the City Hall. It is a pity that the Chief Secretary does not know a little more about the topography of the country he is supposed to rule; he could then lie more safely.
The Government Press adopted the same tactics. The Daily Chronicle, in its issue of Monday, December 18, 1920, published a faked map of Cork City, whereby, in accordance with the official report of the Irish Office, it was shown how the fire “extended” from Patrick Street to the City Hall. As this bogus map was never withdrawn, never apologised for, never corrected by the Daily Chronicle, it is reproduced here so that it may be compared with the accurate folding map accompanying this pamphlet.
And next day (December 14) the Daily Chronicle declared that “until the [military] inquiry is completed, it is at least premature to assume that the burnings were reprisals by servants of the Crown. No clear evidence is forthcoming. The Chief Secretary pointed out that the presumption from some of the facts was quite otherwise.” And that was all the Daily Chronicle had to say concerning the sacking of Cork City.
Other papers were more explicit. “It will be represented, no doubt,” said the Daily Telegraph of December 13, “that this was part of the campaign of unauthorised reprisals by servants of the Crown, who had been subjected to murderous attack on the same day. What seems to us more probable is that this was the reply of the rebel element to the proclamation of martial law on the previous day, and the intimation to the moderate majority of Sinn Fein Ireland that the ‘Irish Republican Army’ will have no peace or any talk of peace…. That the chiefs of the terrorist organisation are capable of such a stroke is not to be denied.” And “Clubman” says, in the Pall Mall Gazette for December 14, 1920 :—
“The Government, I am told, are now in possession of some very remarkable evidence which seems to justify Sir Hamar Greenwood’s emphatic repudiation of the suggestion that the firing of buildings in Cork on Saturday night was the work of the forces of the Crown. That some, at least, of the individuals who took part in the attack on the military lorry at Dillon’s Cross subsequently joined in the work of incendiarism is beyond all doubt.”
*Sir Hamar never apologised for his assertion. On Thursday, December 16, he said half-apologetically: “The remarks I made in reference to the spread of the flames were given to me in reports I had received.” That merely makes the concoction official.
It is hard enough on Irishmen to have the heart burnt out of one of their finest cities; it is worse to be told that they did it themselves. The Government which stoops to such methods is not only a bully but a sneak.
(2) THE CHALLENGE
There was an immediate universal demand for an impartial civilian inquiry into this burning of Cork. The Sinn Fein leaders in Cork, as well as the local Unionists, asked for such an inquiry. The Parliamentary Labour Party offered to prove before such an inquiry that “the fires were the work of Crown forces.” Every party was anxious for the fullest possible investigation—except the Government. Which is significant. The following resolutions, which were a direct request and challenge to the British Government, deserve to be placed on record:—
A.— Telegram sent by Lord Mayor O’Callaghan, Messrs. Walsh, M.P., and De Roiste, M.P., to Sir H. Greenwood, Lord R. Cecil, Messrs. Asquith, Henderson, Adamson, and Kenworthy (December 14, 1920):—
“On behalf of the whole citizens, we absolutely and most emphatically repudiate the vile suggestion that Cork City was burned by any section of the citizens. In the name of truth, justice, and civilisation, we demand an impartial civilian inquiry into the circumstances of the city’s destruction.
“We are quite willing to submit evidence before any international tribunal, or even a tribunal of Englishmen like Bentinck, Henderson, Kenworthy, and Cecil.”
B.— Telegram sent by British Labour Commission in Ireland to Parliamentary Labour Party, adopted by that party and transmitted to the Prime Minister (Tuesday, December 14, 1920):—
“The statements made by the Chief Secretary in the House of Commons confirming the burning of Cork are greatly inaccurate. The Parliamentary members of the Labour Commission who visited Cork yesterday are convinced that the fires were the work of Crown forces. The suggestion that the fire spread from Patrick Street across the river to the City Hall, a distance of several hundred yards, cannot be entertained by anyone knowing the topography of Cork.
“We stand by our statements regarding fires in Cork, and can, if safety of witnesses is guaranteed, produce reliable evidence on the subject. We, therefore, demand independent inquiries into recent incidents in Cork. If the Government refuse the British public will form its own conclusions.”
C.— Resolution, unanimously adopted by Cork Employers’ Federation (Unionist capitalists) at a special meeting held on Tuesday, December 14, 1920:—
“We, the Cork Employers’ Federation, call the attention of the Government to the terrible condition of things which occurred on last Saturday night and Sunday morning in Cork, by which life was lost, an enormous amount of valuable property destroyed, thousands of persons thrown out of employment, large numbers rendered homeless, and the inhabitants generally kept in a state of abject terror. We demand an immediate and searching inquiry into the circumstances by an impartial tribunal. Copies of the resolution to be sent to his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Prime Minister, and the Chief Secretary for Ireland.”
D.— Telegram sent by the Cork Incorporated Chamber of Commerce and Shipping (practically consisting of Unionist capitalists) to the Chief Secretary, November 29, 1920 :—
“Council of Chamber desire to draw attention of Chief Secretary to number of incendiary fires occurring in Cork, more especially within the last few days, resulting in enormous destruction of property; and request immediate steps for protection of citizens’ property.”
Second resolution passed unanimously at a special meeting on December 15, 1920, and telegraphed to the Chief Secretary:—
“The Cork Incorporated Chamber of Commerce and Shipping express their astonishment at the statements made by you in the House of Commons with reference to the destruction in Cork. We demand that, as Chief Secretary, you make personal investigation on the spot of the true facts, when incontrovertible evidence will be placed before you, and that a Judicial Commission of Inquiry be set up without delay. We claim that all damage be made good out of Government funds.
“The Chamber beg to draw your attention to the fact that on November 29 they wired you with reference to incendiary fires occurring in Cork, and requested immediate protection for citizens’ property, to which telegram no reply was made by you.”
E.— Resolution adopted unanimously by Cork Harbour Board, Wednesday, December 15, 1920. (This was proposed by Mr. B. Haughton, a leading business man, Unionist and Protestant.)
“This board begs to convey to the citizens, who have suffered so cruelly in the recent terrible deeds of incendiarism, the expression of their heartfelt sympathy in the severe losses sustained.
“This board strongly supports the joint demand of the Lord Mayor and the two representatives for the City that an impartial civilian inquiry be at once held into the whole matter.”
F.— The Cork Constitution (local Unionist organ), December 16, 1920:—
“The demand for a satisfying inquiry is becoming irresistible, and should it not be forthcoming the public will naturally draw conclusions by no means complimentary to the Administration.”
(8) THE MILITARY INQUIRY
The British Government absolutely refused to allow any judicial civilian inquiry into the Cork outrages. “The best inquiry and the most impartial,” declared Sir Hamar Greenwood in the House of Commons (Monday, December 13, 1920), “will be that made by the General Officer Commanding on the spot.” “In the present condition of Ireland,” said Mr. Bonar Law (December 21, 1920), “we are much more likely to get an impartial inquiry in a military court than in any other.” That is, the most impartial investigation will be conducted by the defendants themselves, by the very persons whom thousands of men and women in Cork wish to charge and incriminate. “It is obviously the interest of the Government,” said Sir Hamar Greenwood virtuously (December 18, 1920), “to find the perpetrators of this outrage.” Hence, in order to discover the perpetrators, the Government handed the inquiry over to those who were publicly accused of being the perpetrators, and are here proved to have been so. The military were asked to hold an inquiry into their own conduct.
The official announcement of this military inquiry was issued by General Strickland on Thursday, December 16, fixing the date for Saturday, December 18. On the same day, Mr. Maurice Healy, ex-M.P., solicitor, formally applied, on behalf of the Cork Incorporated Chamber of Shipping and Commerce and of the Cork Employers’ Federation, to be allowed to be present at the inquiry and to offer evidence. Next day (Friday, December 17), Mr. Healy was informed by the military “that lawyers would not be admitted to the inquiry, that the inquiry was private, and that any witnesses sent up would only be admitted one by one and examined.” On December 17 and again on December 20, Mr. Healy wrote to the military asking for a written confirmation or repudiation of this refusal to allow Cork business men to present evidence and to be professionally represented. The reply came finally on December 21: “As the court of inquiry has now closed, your question does not arise.— GENERAL, Cork.” Thus this inquiry was closed before it was opened.
The only civilian witness who is known to have been examined is Alderman Liam de Roiste, M.P., who was arrested for the purpose on December 20. The Alderman declined to recognise the inquiry, and in any case was known to have no evidence to give; so he was released. One other civilian was asked to attend, not to give evidence, but to estimate the total damage. On Friday, December 17, 1920, the city engineer received a telegram from the Commanding Officer, Cork barracks, asking him to appear before the military inquiry. The telegram was submitted to the Cork Corporation, and the following reply was sent:—
“We have instructed the city engineer and other corporate officials to take no part in the English military inquiry into the burning of this city, with which we charge the English military and police forces before the whole world. We adhere to the offer made by the City Members and the Lord Mayor to submit evidence already in our possession before an impartial international tribunal or before a court of fair-minded Englishmen.”
Up to the time of compilation of this pamphlet, the report of this two-day inquiry, without witnesses, had not been published; it is not certain if it will ever be published. “The Chief Secretary,” said Mr. Bonar Law (December 21, 1920), “has promised to carefully consider whether he could safely allow the Strickland report, when it is received, to be published. The Government cannot go further than that.”
The military know right well who burnt Cork. What they do not know is how much evidence of their guilt has been collected and is in the possession of, say, Cork Corporation or the British Labour Commission. But they suspect. They can hardly hope this time to conceal all proof and terrorise the people into absolute silence. It is therefore probable that they will own up to just a little—perhaps make scapegoats of a few Auxiliaries and completely exonerate the military and police.
The report, however, is of no evidential or judicial value; it is merely a measure of how much, under pressure of public opinion and through fear of “unauthorised” disclosures, the Government—that is, the defendant—is prepared to confess. What would be of more interest to the public would be the answers to these questions:—
(a) How many casualties occurred among the forces of the Crown during the burning and looting of Cork?
(b) How much petrol and ammunition was taken that night from the various barracks in the city?
(c) Were the barracks at Union Quay and Empress Place and the Bridewell officially searched next day for loot? If so, why was it not restored to its owners?
 This correspondence is published in full in the Cork Examiner for December 22, 1920.
 There is evidence as to several casualties (due to quarrelling, drunkenness, &c.) available.
 There is evidence that 300 gallons of petrol were taken out of Victoria Barracks that night.
The Government have often indulged in pharisaical claptrap concerning the impartiality of their own courts when inquiring into their own sins. And this perfectly monstrous proposition, which is tantamount to the assertion of the divine right of politicians to be absolutest despots, immune from criticism and censure, this immoral despotism is proclaimed with such an air of self-righteous virtue that it has almost come to be regarded as a truism—at least, when it concerns the mere Irish. Military inquiries are common in Ireland; in fact they have superseded everything else. Every offence, from the possession of a “seditious” newspaper to the burning and looting of a city, is tried by court martial; that is when there is any trial at all, which is very seldom. In particular, coroner’s inquests have been abolished over most of Ireland; instead, there is a military inquiry. Two instances of such inquiries are included in this booklet. One of them may be referred to here. The reader is asked to turn to the last deposition (No. 66) in the chapter on evidence (page 68). He will there find a sworn statement (which can be corroborated by further evidence) showing that the military inquiry into the death of Mr. James Coleman, a respected business gentleman of Cork City, not only violated the pledge of publicity given to the widow, but deliberately suppressed the evidence and brought in a false verdict. This is a strong statement to make against a military inquiry. Read Deposition No. 66, which is only portion of the evidence available in this case, and you will cease to wonder why Irishmen refuse to recognise these military tribunals, and perhaps also why the Government appeals to them so confidently.
(4) THE PRESENT INVESTIGATION
Since the burning and looting of Cork, a quiet and, under the circumstances, rather dangerous and toilsome investigation has been proceeding. Nearly a hundred depositions have been taken. The evidence is, of course, far from complete; it is only a tithe of what would be available if a proper civilian inquiry were set up. But such as it is, it is sufficiently explicit and startling to justify immediate publication. The statements and depositions are, therefore, given here in full, with such small omissions as were necessary in order to conceal the witnesses’ names and identity. The witnesses consist chiefly of responsible commercial or professional men and householders; some are English and some are Americans; several are ex-officers or ex-soldiers. In every case a signed and witnessed original is filed and deposited in a place of comparative safety. These originals will be produced for any competent and responsible commission of inquiry. And were such an inquiry established, hundreds of persons who, in the prevailing state of lawless terrorism, dare not sign any evidence against the military and police would be prepared to come forward and give evidence.
But the evidence here presented is, as far as it goes, absolutely conclusive. Its collection and publication is a public service. “It is obviously the interest of the Government,” declared Sir Hamar Greenwood (December 18, 1920), “to find the perpetrators of this outrage.” If so, then this investigation is in the interest of the Government, for it has certainly succeeded in finding the perpetrators of the outrage. And the Daily Telegraph (December 14, 1920) tells us that “it is certainly the interest, not only of the Government but of us all, that an outrage of this magnitude, the noise of which has already travelled round the world, should not remain in the category of crimes as to the authorship of which there is no evidence.” A perusal of the evidence here submitted will leave little doubt as to the authorship of the crime.
II.— WHO DID IT?
[References are to the number and paragraph of the depositions and statements given under “Evidence.”]
That outrages similar to the sacking of Cork have been previously committed by the Crown forces in Ireland is admitted by everyone except Sir Hamar Greenwood. One of the latest and most competent of investigators is General Sir Henry Lawson, envoy of the Peace-with-Ireland Council, who on December 31, 1920, reported thus:—
“It would probably have been impossible, had I tried, to find out to what extent the policy of collective reprisals, so widely carried out by certain sections of the Forces, was suggested and approved from above. That it received something more than tacit approval was obvious from many public utterances; but the policy has never received publicly expressed official approval despite its extensive practice… Their point of view seems to be that of forces operating in an enemy country against guerilla warfare, very much like the Germans in France in 1870 and in Belgium in 1914.”
Several official orders against these so-called reprisals were issued, but so far have proved of no avail; whether because the Auxiliaries are uncontrollable or because these orders are not seriously meant is not certain. On August 17, 1920, General Macready issued the following special order:—
“It has been inferred that soldiers indulge in acts of retaliation on the civil population as a whole for acts committed against them, as distinct from defending themselves when threatened or attacked.
“Such action would reflect the utmost discredit on the army, and would indicate a lapse from discipline which, if committed on active service, renders the offenders liable to a death sentence….
“I, therefore, look to all officers to ensure that there will not be the least grounds for allegations of looting or retaliation. And, though confident that these orders will be rigidly adhered to, must point out that any dereliction would be met by the severest disciplinary measures.
“The above remarks of the Commander-in-Chief will be read to all units on parade and kept posted on the unit order board.”
And again, after the burning and looting of Cork, on the very day the military inquiry was sitting, General Macready issued a further order against murder, arson, and robbery on the part of military and police (December 18, 1920)
“All forces of the Crown are hereby warned against the commission of the following offences, namely:—
“(1) Committing any offence against the person or property of an inhabitant of or resident in this country, or
“(2) Breaking into any house or other place in search of plunder, or
“(3) Forcing a sentry on duty for the protection of some person or property, or
“(4) Forcing or striking a soldier when acting as sentinel.
“Any person subject to military or martial law who commits any of the above offences will, on conviction by a court martial or military court, be liable to suffer death.”
Of even more interest is the appeal to the police to stop incendiarism issued privately by General Tudor, Police Adviser, Dublin Castle, December 6, 1920, just a week before the burning of Cork:—
“There have been recently a large number of reports of arson. Whilst by no means clear that this is done by the forces of the Crown, I wish again to impress on all members of the police force the absolute necessity of stopping burnings, whatever the provocation.
 Yet a month later (September 26) he gave an interview to the representative of the Associated Press of America, in the course of which he said: “It is only human that they should act on their own initiative. Punishment for such acts is a delicate matter.”
“The only justifiable burnings are the destruction of buildings which have been used to shelter ambushers or from which fire is opened on forces of the Crown. Burnings of houses or buildings not directly connected with assassination is indefensible.
“I appeal to the police of all ranks to suppress all destruction of property in Ireland, even of notorious Sinn Feiners.”
Being clearly unable by orders and appeals to stop the excesses of the police and military, which they had encouraged up to a certain point, the Government have now decided on “official” reprisals, which were inaugurated on New Year’s Day at Midleton. “It was decided by the military governor that certain houses in the vicinity of the outrages were to be destroyed, as the inhabitants were bound to have known of the ambush and attack, and neglected to give any information either to the military or police authorities.” No investigation as to whether these people did know anything beforehand, no investigation as to whether they could have reached the English forces without being shot by the Irish; apart altogether from the question of the morality of penalising people for not acting as spies on behalf of a Government which is guilty of such damnable tyranny. And finally, as General Tudor put it, “the only justifiable burnings are the destruction of buildings which have been used to shelter ambushers.”
A Government which can do such deeds ought not to boggle at the burning of Cork. Perhaps the burning was only a reprisal (slightly unofficial) on a city which was “bound” to know about the ambush at Dillon’s Cross? Yet Sir Hamar Greenwood declared (December 13) that “the fires in the centre of the city had nothing to do with the attack on the military division half a mile away.” And, in a sense, he is right, for there is not the smallest evidence that there was any such ambush. Here is the official account issued from the Irish Office, London:—
“Twelve cadets were wounded, and one has since died of wounds. Bombs are believed to have been thrown from houses at Dillon’s Cross, in the north district of Cork, into lorries containing cadets, as they were leaving Cork military barracks. And it is suggested that the bombs used were supplied to the assailants from the bomb factory which was discovered in Dublin, and in connection with which four men have been arrested. The ambush took place at 8 p.m. … So far as can be ascertained, the attackers of the ambushed cadets escaped.”
The main point, apart from beliefs and suggestions, is that the attackers were not seen and the attack took place quite close to the military barracks. One of the Auxiliaries thus describes the attack: “The party had not got 100 yards from barracks when bombs were thrown at them from over a wall” (50 C). And that is all the Auxiliaries can say of the attack.
Curiously enough, several witnesses bear testimony to the fact that Crown forces, especially Auxiliaries and military, fired at one another and quarrelled in the city that same evening. A student held up near Patrick’s Bridge saw two parties of Crown forces in conflict at 9.30 p.m.: “I saw them firing at one another, and I saw a bomb hurled by the men in Bridge Street at the men on the bridge. I saw the bomb explode; I did not see the result” (10 C). Later on, half-a-dozen Auxiliaries fired at a fireman and three soldiers, hitting a soldier in the leg (18 B). On another occasion “Black and Tans” fired on another fireman with a military escort, and again wounded a soldier (23). Obviously there are other possibilities of attackers besides Volunteers, especially within a hundred yards of the military barracks.
Long before the attack came off (about 8 p.m.), it was known that there was going to be trouble in the city. “About five-thirty that evening,” says a witness (11 A), “I was reading in a library in the city, when a friend—a Protestant Unionist—came up to me and told me to go home at once, as he was told there was to be bad work that night.” And, as a matter of fact, the indiscriminate firing in the streets began before 8 p.m. (41 A). And these earliest assailants were “Black and Tans,” not Auxiliaries. The attack or ambush at Dillon’s Cross, while it may have intensified the Auxiliaries’ spirit of loot and destruction, has really no essential connection with the sacking of Cork.
 Reproduced in the Cork Examiner, December 13, 1920.
This view is confirmed by the British Labour Commission, who say in their report (December 28, 1920):—
“The Commission was impressed by the sense of impending disaster which overhung the city of Cork during the time it was staying there. This uncertainty was ended by the tragic occurrences of Saturday, December 11, when the Regent Street of Cork was destroyed by incendiaries…. We are of opinion that the incendiarism in Cork on December 11 was not a reprisal for the ambush which took place on the same date at Dillon’s Cross. The fires appear to have been an organised attempt to destroy the most valuable premises in the city, and we do not think that the arrangements could have been carried out if they had been hastily made after the unfortunate occurrence at Dillon’s Cross.”
Some details concerning the sack itself may be here collected and summarised from the evidence which is given in extenso in the next section.
(1) The Actual Incendiaries
Auxiliaries set fire to a tramcar (47 B, 11 E, 28 A), which was cheered by a passing lorry of military (29 B).
Cash’s was burnt by police and Auxiliaries (42 F, 39 E), who afterwards danced and fired revolver shots outside it (47 D, 14 E).
The Munster Arcade was set on fire by police under the command of a military officer (45, also 40 C, 41, 44 B, 14 D).
“Black and Tans” burnt Roche’s Stores (23).
Police attempted to set fire to the premises of Murphy Bros., and very nearly set fire to St. Augustine’s Priory and Church (57, 58, and 59).
The City Hall and Library, which is quite close to Union Quay Barracks, was burnt by police, one of whom left his cap behind (26, 27).
An attempt was made to burn Jennings’s by men in uniform and in civilian attire (56 A).
“Take your time, you’ll have a few more [fires] in a minute” (14 A).
“We did it all right, never mind how much the well-intentioned Hamar Greenwood would excuse us” (50 A).
(2) Attacks on Firemen, &c.
The military refused the use of their fire appliances (13 F, 17 A).
The hose at the G.P.O. was cut (13 C), by bayonets in the opinion of the firemen.
Thirty policemen, including a head constable and three sergeants, kept turning off the water from the hose which was being played on the Library (26 F).
The ambulance was fired at (15 C).
Police fired at a fireman (16 C). Police and Auxiliaries fired at two firemen (17 B, 18 A). Auxiliaries fired at a fireman (18 B). A fireman was wounded by a bullet in close proximity to military and police (19). A drunken officer fired at a fireman (20). Other firemen were also fired upon by Crown forces (21 A, 28, 24).
Civilian helpers were fired at, molested, threatened by police and Auxiliaries (41 D, 42, 37 A, 38 A, 49 C). A policeman shouted to a hose worker: “At your peril, don’t turn the hose on that fire; let it blaze” (35 E).
(3) The Looters
Uniformed looters were seen emerging laden from Cash’s (47 D, 29 E). An Auxiliary told an ex-officer that “as Cash’s had been so badly looted they were going to set it on fire in order to cover up the loot” (28 H).
Police and military looted Mangan’s (29 C, 28 D E, compare 30) and Hilser’s (52, 53, 54, 56), and Murphy Bros. (57, 58), besides several public-houses (39 I, &c.). Crowds of Auxiliaries and police were seen taking the loot to Empress Place Barracks (31 E) and Union Quay Barracks (43, 44 A, 45 J). Soldiers and “Black and Tans” looted Tyler’s boot shop (39 H, 43 J, 26 E).
In view of the above extensive looting of silverware, jewellery, drapery, and drink from the finest business houses of Cork, by military, police, and Auxiliaries—not to speak of wholesale robberies for weeks previous—the humour of the following notice will be appreciated:—
SAFEGUARDING OF PROPERTY
Whereas evilly-disposed persons, stating that they are acting by order of the Irish Republic, have raided post offices and private houses and held up individuals for the purpose of obtaining money and arms for the rebels (commonly styled the I.R.A.), and whereas these persons have, in many cases, stolen silver, jewellery, valuables, wine, spirits, and other goods, the public are advised to store in security all articles of value which can be easily removed or consumed.
His Majesty’s Government cannot undertake the storage of any articles.
(Signed) H.W. HIGGINSON,
Brigadier, General, Military Governor, Cork.
All the witnesses are agreed that by 9.30 on Saturday evening, December 11, the streets of Cork were deserted by civilians. This was due to the firing and bullying of the Crown forces. It is important, however, to understand that, even apart from such firing, the streets of Cork are deserted at 10 p.m., and the city remains in complete control of the military, who career around in patrols and lorries and arrest all civilians, until 3 a.m. or later. It was in order to protect the lives and property of Irish citizens that this curfew order was introduced. And it is precisely during this time that most murders and arsons are committed. It was while the military had sole and complete charge of the streets, while no civilian might be abroad without a permit, that Cork City was burnt and looted. This alone is enough to decide the authorship of the fires.
To make this point clear it is advisable to quote in full the curfew order issued by General Strickland on July 20, 1920, which is still in force in Cork:—
“I do hereby order and require every person within the area specified in the schedule hereto to remain within doors between the hours of 10 o’clock p.m. and 8 o’clock a.m., unless provided with a permit in writing from the competent military authority or some person duly authorised by him.
“Schedule.— All the area within a radius of three miles of the General Post Office, Pembroke Street, in the city of Cork….
“Permits will be granted to clergymen, registered medical practitioners, and nurses engaged on urgent duties. Permits will not be granted to other persons save in cases of absolute necessity….
 Depositions have since been taken testifying to the fact that the Sinn Fein Police saved hundreds of pounds’ worth of goods at Daly’s (Caroline Street), O’Sullivan’s (Patrick Street), &c.
“Every person abroad between the hours mentioned in the foregoing order, when challenged by any policeman, or by an officer, N.C.O., or soldier on duty, must immediately halt and obey the orders given to him; and if he fails to do so, it will be at his own peril.”
So far from firing on or arresting the looters and incendiaries, the officers and soldiers on duty in the curfew lorries encouraged the work of plunder and destruction. Sometimes the looters dodged the lorries (52 D, 53 B), but indeed they had not much to fear. An officer got out of the lorry and addressed a few friendly words to the looters near Hilser’s (52 H). The curfew troops in a passing lorry cheered the looters at Mangan’s (45 B), and yelled with delight at the burning tram (29 B). Also, while the Arcade and Cash’s were being looted and burnt, “military came along in a lorry, halted, and shouted to the looters, ‘That’s the stuff to give them, pour it on'” (46 B, 47 E). One officer in charge of a patrol made a feeble effort to stop the looting at Mangan’s, but his position was humiliating; he was almost afraid to give his men an order, and the looters paid no attention to the soldiers (29 F G).
As the military issue a daily bulletin or curfew report, it was a delicate problem to frame a report suitable for this particular night. “What report are we going to make about to-night?” a responsible military curfew officer was overheard (by 37 E) saying to the head of the rioting Auxiliaries. “There and then the two of them made up an ordinary curfew report, to the effect that the Crown forces had found buildings burning, that the fire brigade had been telephoned for, and that the curfew troops stood by to render what assistance they could.” Quite an interesting sidelight into the methods of a military inquiry. The military, be it noted, were bound to inquire on the spot into the fire while it was going on, for they had forcibly seized the city and ejected the citizens from control. Here then is the report of the first military inquiry into the Cork burnings:—
Official military report on the state of Cork City for the period from 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 11,1920, to 5.30 a.m. on Sunday, December 12, 1920, during which period the city was in complete control of the military.
“(1) Three arrests were made.
“(2) At 22.00 hours, Grant & Co., in Patrick Street, was found to be on fire. Warning was at once sent to all fire brigades.
“(3) At about 00.30 hours, Cash & Co. and the Munster Arcade were reported on fire.
“(4) At 05.30 hours the majority of the troops were withdrawn, and the remainder at 08.00 hours.
“(5) Explosions were heard at 00.15 hours, but were not located. No shots were fired by the troops.
F.R. EASTWOOD, Major
Brigade Major, 17th Infantry Brigade.
The soldiers as a whole gave little or no help (47 G), though individual soldiers helped people to remove furniture (36 E) and also assisted the firemen (14 F, 38 B). But there was not much discipline. Soldiers looted with the police (30 C D). One witness “saw a soldier in uniform and trench helmet, with rifle,” “showing some girls articles of jewellery … and also two bottles of wine” which he had purloined (41 E). Soldiers in full uniform looted John Daly and Co., wine merchants, emerging drunk and with armfuls of bottles (41 F). A soldier on duty smashed Tyler’s window with the butt-end of his rifle and took away a number of pairs of boots (39 H). A drunken young soldier on duty was showing his rifle to a youngster, and for mere bravado had a shot at the first civilian he saw (39 L). Under the influence of drink the military were seen “quarrelling and fighting between themselves, and one actually attacked his officer” (49 B). Not much of the traditional discipline of the British army can survive a campaign in Ireland.
(6) Martial Law
All this, be it noted, occurred under martial law, which was proclaimed on Friday, December 10, 1920. In this official proclamation it is stated that Cork County and City, Limerick County and City, County Tipperary, and County Kerry “are, and until further order shall continue to be, under and subject to martial law.” “Martial law,” says Sir Hamar Greenwood (December 18, 1920), “does not mean any careless use of power, but it does mean the earnest discipline of the forces of the Crown and the quickest possible retribution to all criminals.” “If any member of his Majesty’s forces is found guilty of arson, he will come under martial law at once.” Still no one was punished, not even censured, for burning Cork.
(7) Police and Auxiliaries
Incredible though it may appear, a few Auxiliaries and “Black and Tans” actually helped in combating their comrades’ fires (41 D, 87 C, 38 B). The “Black and Tans” gave some civilians a friendly tip “to get home quickly as the Auxiliaries were in bad humour” (40 H). On the other hand, the Auxiliaries blamed the “Black and Tans” for their shameless looting (43 K).
The old R.I.C. seem to have behaved pretty well, helping the firemen (14 F) and warning people in danger (52 B); and early on the Sunday morning they cleared the “Black and Tans” off Patrick Street (46 D). But some of them joined the loot-gangs (44 B), got drunk, and bullied women refugees (49 B); others acted as guides to the incendiaries and looters (45 G).
The Auxiliaries were, of course, the leaders in destruction and looting, and made no secret of it (38 C). “They all seemed to be of the opinion that the city deserved its fate, and only treated the whole affair as a joke. One of them remarked that the thing was carried too far, and, to use his own words, said ‘there would be hell to pay over it'” (87 D). He was unnecessarily nervous, however, for nothing happened. The Auxiliary Division (K Company) was removed from the city without a stain on its character. “It is true,” said Mr. Denis Henry (December 14, 1920), “that the Auxiliary police have been removed from Cork City to the West Cork District; but I am informed by General Headquarters that there is no foundation for the suggestion that the military authorities had expressed any censure upon their conduct in that city.”
It was a member of the same Auxiliaries who wrote on December 16: “In all my life and in all the tales of fiction I have read I have never experienced such orgies of murder, arson, and looting as I have witnessed during the past sixteen days with the R.I.C. Auxiliaries. It baffles description. And we are supposed to be ex-officers and gentlemen!” (50 A). And why are such murderous incendiaries not censured? Perhaps because they are a convenient instrument for torturing the Irish people. And even when these gentlemen go a little too far and give the show away—well, even General Higginson, who talks so strong in his proclamations to mere rebels, abandoned the little sermon which he went specially down to Dunmanway to preach to his Auxiliary flock; they “struck terror into him” (50 F). So he returned to Cork and issued a brand-new proclamation against arson and looting—by rebels.
 Attempted denial by the Government Press that the fire occurred under martial law:—
A.— Martial law came into force on Friday, December 10.
“Last night it was announced from Dublin that martial law had been proclaimed in the City and County of Cork, City and County of Limerick, County of Tipperary, County of Kerry.”— Daily Chronicle, Saturday, December 11 (before the fire).
B.— Martial law only came into force on Monday, December 13.
“Martial law comes into force to-day in the proclaimed counties in the south-west, including Cork City.”— Daily Chronicle, Monday, December 13 (after the fire).
(8) Officers and Leaders
The houses were not fired and looted at random; they were picked out (30 A). An Auxiliary shouted to the “Black and Tans” who were looting Mangan’s: “You are in the wrong shop, that man is a loyalist.” “They replied that they didn’t give a damn as that was the shop that had been pointed out to them?” The men were evidently guided to a definite house, and on reaching it there was a shout “This is it” (39 A) or “Come along, lads, here we are” (56 A).
There were sharp words of command at Cash’s (42 F), a military officer led the police-petrollers into the Munster Arcade (45 F H), an Auxiliary officer led a charge on a public-house (89 B D), an officer headed a party of window-smashers through Marlboro’ Street (48), a military officer joined in the loot at Murphy’s (58 B). Officers were concerned even in outrages (4 A, 8 C). No wonder that there were “no officers at all” in, about 10.30 p.m., in one mess (28 B; compare 32 D, 33 C).
The only instance of an officer behaving as such is the stoppage of the fire at Jennings’s (56 C), owing to its proximity to the police barracks.
A good number of Crown forces were in mufti. Whenever there was a crowd of Crown forces looting or burning, some were sure to be in civilian or semi-civilian garb (46 A, 14 A, 15 A, 16 A). Often the leader of a uniformed party was in mufti (28 C, 48 C D, 9 B). Some of these “civilians” went to the Bridewell to get into uniform, or at least to get their uniform hats, “so that they wouldn’t be shot in mistake for civilians by some other party” (28 G).
Drunkenness, especially as the night wore on, was a general characteristic of the Crown forces. Police and military were drunk (41 D), soldiers were drunk on duty (43 L); they were drunk even shortly after nine on Saturday evening (12 A, 10 B, 11, 28 A). The forces broke into public-houses and looted drink (89 A, 40 B, 46 C, 49 B, 41 F). We have a complete picture of a drunken sergeant, who wanted to shoot everyone who couldn’t sing (32 D, 38 D, 35 C, 36 B). He was an Irishman. But a foreign accent, English or Scotch, was far more universal (14 B, 36 C, 39 E, 43 G, 46 C, &c.).
(11) Outrages and Murders
Two statements (1 and 2) deal with the public horse-whipping of all men-pedestrians in Patrick Street on December 7. No. 8 deals with a typical case of robbery and intimidation which took place on the same day. There is always a sinister combination of violence on political grounds and dexterous robbery. The roving Auxiliary, even when intent on murder, has an eye to business. Were you in the war? Were you in the ambush? Are you a Sinn Feiner? Such-like questions are usually the prelude to a good kicking; they are also the prologue to the disappearance of your watch and purse. (See instances in 4 H, 8 C.) Even in a systematic search for a City Alderman—a peaceful business man whom they wished to murder—the Auxiliaries were on the lookout for cash (5 and 6).
Shortly after 9 p.m. on Saturday evening, December 11, the Auxiliaries held up pedestrians, used filthy language, ill-treated men, and even women and priests, kicked people round, told them to run and then fired shots after them (9, 10, 11, 47 A).
At least two murders were committed that night. Two young brothers, called Delany, were brutally shot in the presence of their aged father; one died instantly, his sister holding the crucifix to his lips; the other succumbed in hospital a week later; their uncle, over sixty years of age, was also wounded, but recovered. Some depositions concerning this case are given under Nos. 60-66. The following particulars are therein established:—
(1) The murderers were accompanied by a motor lorry.
(2) They had strong English accents.
(3) The father was asked if he was a Sinn Feiner.
(4) The actual murderer who fired the fatal shots wore a military uniform.
(5) They refused to allow a sister to go for a priest.
(6) When one of the party was told that the victims were dead, he said, “We may get £40 or £50 out of this.”
There are no coroner’s inquests allowed in Cork; they might be inconvenient. So a military inquiry was held on the death of Cornelius Delany. The relatives naturally refused to have anything to do with a court where the culprits were judges. The verdict was published on December 31, and is as follows:—
“The court found that death was due to peritonitis following a gunshot wound in the abdomen, and that the bullet which caused the wound was fired by some person unknown.”
That is always the verdict of every military inquiry in Ireland. The Athenians long ago erected a temple to the Unknown God. The British military and police should erect an obelisk in the ruins of Patrick Street, dedicated to the unknown person who has committed so many arsons, robberies, and murders in our midst. Or perhaps if they withdrew across the Channel, that unknown person might be found to have also flown; for surely he has an English accent and wears a British uniform.
III.— THE EVIDENCE
Some of the depositions and statements taken are given here. In every case they are given in full without omission or alteration, except for the omission of certain names, &c. The originals, signed and witnessed, are safely stored and are available for the inspection of any accredited and responsible investigators or for the purpose of a civilian inquiry. The present investigation has been attended by obvious dangers and difficulties, and is, of course, very incomplete; even since the collection and arrangement of the evidence here given, much fresh evidence has been obtained.
For convenience of reference each statement has been divided into paragraphs A, B, C, &c. The statements are arranged roughly according to the similarity or connection of their subject-matter. It must not be inferred from the collocation or juxtaposition of two depositions that the two witnesses were known to each other, except in those cases where the witnesses form a group (e.g., firemen, officers of an American vessel) or formally corroborate. As far as possible the witnesses sought were men and women of independence and standing and without bias in favour of Sinn Fein: ex-officers, ex-service men, Americans, Englishmen, Unionists, substantial business men, professional gentlemen. Needless to say, in the prevailing state of terrorism many refused to give evidence, but nearly all were prepared to do so before a public authorised civilian inquiry.
A few depositions referring to outrages prior to the incendiarism of December 11-12 are also included, for the purpose of proving some particular subsidiary points. They will help readers to picture more vividly the “atmosphere” of a town under brutal military oppression. But it was considered unnecessary to include many of such statements, as the British Labour Commission which recently visited Cork is in possession of full information concerning these occurrences.
Auxiliaries Flog Passers-by in Patrick Street, December 7, 1920
I, Margaret —, do make the following statement voluntarily and do solemnly affirm that it is the truth, to the best of my knowledge and ability.
About 4.30 p.m., December 7, 1920, while shopping in Patrick Street, and passing by Cash’s, I saw about four Auxiliaries standing in a group outside Cash’s. They wore Glengarry caps, khaki uniforms, and carried revolvers.
I saw one of them cross over to a jarvey, who was waiting on the “stand” with horse and car for hire, and take his driving whip. He moved off through Patrick Street in the direction of the Examiner office. For safety I moved down Robert Street. I saw people running in all directions from the direction of the Examiner office and the Auxiliary running after them, whipping many of them all the time.
Auxiliaries Flog Passers-by in Patrick Street, December 7, 1920
(The Victoria Hotel is No. 10 in the map. The tower portion of Robert Street is called Morgan Street.)
I, the undersigned, do make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly affirm on oath that same is true, to the best of my knowledge and ability.
On December 7, 1920, I was working in Patrick Street, opposite the Munster Arcade. From 2.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. I saw three Auxiliaries, one tall and two small, in khaki uniform and tam-o’-shanter caps, with jarvey whips in their hands and revolvers in their hosters.
I saw them continually for the whole two hours beating indiscriminately every male that came within reach of their whips, as they walked to and fro between Patrick’s Bridge and where I was working.
I saw one of them severely whipping a middle-aged man, from Morgan Street to Victoria Hotel, a distance of about 100 yards. The man turned around to the Auxiliary and protested, but the answer to this was, “Get on, you Irish swine,” repeating it several times. I dodged them on several occasions and escaped.
During the two hours that this continued, the patience and restraint of the people was wonderful under such humiliating provocation; and women and children fled panic-stricken and terrified with every rush the Auxiliaries made.
Robbery and Violence (December 7, 1920)
I, Mary —, of—Thomas Davis Street, Cork, do solemnly declare and affirm that the following statement is true to the best of my knowledge and ability.
I remember the night of December 7. 1920. At about 7.30 p.m. three men entered the premises (licensed), one who appeared to be in charge was a tall man wearing a trench coat, tam-o’-shanter cap, buff coloured scarf half hiding his face which was whitened as if with flour or powder. He said, “Who is the owner of this house?” I said, “—.” He said, “Where is he?” I answered, “It is a lady.” He then kicked in the kitchen door and saw my aunt, Miss —. He came back to me and placed his revolver and flash-lamp on the counter, and said, “The next policeman that is killed here, take warning and clear out.” This man was under the influence of drink.
The other two remained in the shop. About ten minutes afterwards I heard a knock. I opened immediately and stood back, several men presented revolvers at me. One ordered me to walk backwards through the shop. Three men entered and searched the shop; they were dressed in Auxiliary policemen’s uniform. After searching the shop they departed. After a few minutes I heard another knock, and opened immediately to find three men with revolvers and dressed as already described. The first man asked me if I was married, or if there were any men in the house. I answered, “No, with the exception of one man who is a friend of ours.” This man, who is an ex-soldier, was searched and nothing found on him. He asked me for a candle, I said there was gas in the shop. He said he wanted to go upstairs. I offered to accompany him. At the point of the revolver he ordered me down. Two went upstairs leaving one in the kitchen on guard. My coat was hanging behind the kitchen door, and he searched it and found nothing. On a shelf in the kitchen there were several books, which were thoroughly inspected. One of these books was a scrap book, which he examined and put in his pocket remarking, as he passed, in a sarcastic tone, that I was very loyal. Just then two others came downstairs, and the three left, remarking that they would return in ten minutes.
I went upstairs and found my room thoroughly ransacked, and a desk forced open with an instrument which they brought with them and apparently forgot to remove. I have this in my possession at the present time. They took with them £28 in notes from the desk already mentioned, also two watches, one gold and the other a cased wristlet.
Outrage, Arson, and Robbery near Dillon’s Cross
I, X. Y., do hereby make the following statement, voluntarily, and do solemnly affirm on oath that it is the truth, to the best of my knowledge and ability. I remember the night of December 11, 1920, and although I realised the great necessity of noting times in the great excitement and my experiences, I can only give approximate times in connection with all incidents.
A.— Between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight, I saw that No. —, which is next door, and Mr. B—’s house opposite were burning fiercely. Some time between the above hours, while looking out through my front window, and while the two houses above-mentioned were burning, I saw six men in officers’ khaki uniform and tam-o’-shanter caps walking past in the middle of the road, in St. Luke’s direction. At the same time, a soldier who lives with his wife next to B—’s (burning) house, came out with a bath of water and threw it on B—’s fire. He was immediately fired on and quickly went indoors. Uniformed men of the above description patrolled up and down for many hours, guarding the burnings, fearing attempts to extinguish them.
B.— While in the act of saving my house from the encroaching flames, two members of the Crown forces, dressed in khaki uniforms, tam-o’-shanter caps, and carrying revolvers in hand, jumped on me, roaring, and demanded to know what I was doing. I replied, “Saving our furniture.” They asked, “Were you in the war?” I said, “No,” and immediately I was dealt a severe blow on the face by one of them, causing my teeth to come through my upper lip. I was then dragged into a neighbour’s back-yard, placed up against a wall there by the taller of them. What happened there I can’t remember, but one of my sisters pleaded for my life, and the answer she got was that his heart was as hard as the wall, and that it was no use speaking.
C.— From here I was taken out to Dillon’s Cross, and while here I was surrounded by Crown forces dressed in khaki and tasselled caps. They carried revolvers and made use of terrible language. They were accompanied by a civilian of low stature; fresh, fair features; wearing a light overcoat and black tweed hat. His language was more frightful than his companions’. He spoke with a foreign accent and asked me to point out the houses of Sinn Feiners. This, I said, I could not do. I was also asked questions about an ambush by another of them, but told him that I knew nothing about it.
D.— Then, when I was preparing for the worst, on account of their threatening demeanour, a soldier, a private in the Hants. Regiment, rushed on me. He saved my life, and managed to get me near my own house. Here I was again met by one of the Crown forces, who questioned me and asked me to sing “God save the King,” but the good soldier stood by me and managed to get me safe in home.
E.— An Auxiliary, who was standing by the door, followed us into the kitchen. He was a fine big man, dressed in R.I.C. frieze overcoat, soldier’s ordinary military cap, and khaki trousers. He was a walking arsenal, his pockets bulging out with bombs. These he showed us and offered to make us a present of them. He said he was an Auxiliary, and they, the Auxiliaries, were going to blow up the city. He said he was due to go at 1 a.m. He left shortly near midnight. I might mention he had also a rifle slung over his shoulder, a revolver hanging to his left side, and a baton.
F.— While I was at Dillon’s Cross under threats of being shot, I saw an ordinary “Tommy” bring a small-sized bath full of paraffin or petrol, probably the former, from some house near by, and throw the contents into Bryan Dillon’s house which was burning rapidly. Auxiliaries were looking on at this. A red-cross ambulance, military, was stationed near by on my left.
G.— While indoors with my father, brothers, and sisters, we went through a terrible time. The house next door was by this time fiercely burning, and the fire was gradually encroaching on ours, but we dared not move to save either. The Crown forces kept guard over the burning houses, and anybody trying to save even their own property were fired on.
H.— However, after curfew, these men became more civilised (heretofore they appeared to be mad), and left us to save our own, and what we could of our neighbours’ property. On going through our house afterwards, I found that a silver wristlet watch, valued at £7 10s., and my sister’s gold ring, valued at £12, were missing; much ware and articles of furniture, &c., were broken and damaged.
Attempt to Murder an Alderman
I, Ellen X.,— Street, Cork, do hereby make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly affirm that it is the truth to the best of my knowledge and ability.
At 1 a.m. on the night of December 11, or morning of December 12, 1920, I heard knocking at the door. A stone then came crashing through a window pane in a front room, overlooking—Street, probably on account of the delay in opening the door.
The girl staying with me went down and opened the door. Shortly after, a man rushed up the stairs and entered my bedroom. He seemingly knew his way. He was dressed in trench coat and military khaki cap, and carried a revolver at his right side. He demanded to know where Mr. X. was. From his speech, build, and height, I believe him to be the same officer who raided the house a fortnight previous, armed and disguised, looking for my husband to shoot him. My husband fortunately was not there on the occasion.
I said I couldn’t tell him where he was, as I did not know. He moved over close to me, and behind my left shoulder, and demanded my husband’s whereabouts again. It was of no use. He searched the room for a few minutes. He then said, “Get me those papers, invoices, &c., belonging to the place. Get them quick for me or I will burn the place.”
Demanding the keys of the safe, I told him they may be below, and he rushed down and returned with the little girl whom I told to get the keys out of my pocket. When he got the keys he went below.
After some minutes below he returned to me, and searched my coat where the keys had been. Finding nothing, he turned to me and said, “Where’s the money? Where do you keep it”? I said, “It’s in the bank.” He then said, “What about to-night’s takings”? I said, “The boy took it home with him.” He growled and said, “I must burn now. Clear out.” I said, “Must you.” He said, “Yes. I’ve got to burn now.” I said, “God help us, will you give us time to take out the children.” He said nothing. My two children, aged 5½ and 7½ years, were in bed in the room at the time. He paused for a while, and holding his revolver up, said, “If Mr. X. is not back within a week, I’ll burn the place. Do you hear? Are you aware of that?” Repeating this threat a second time, he left, and I saw him no more.
Corroboration of Preceding
I, the undersigned, do hereby make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly declare that it is the truth, to the best of my knowledge and ability.
I am at business with Mr. X., at—Street, and stayed to sleep there on the night of December 11, 1920. At 1 a.m. Sunday morning, I was aroused from my bed by knocking at the door, and heard glass smashing in the front room. I went down and opened the shop door, and two men in trench coats and khaki military caps rushed in. They both shouted, “Where is Mr. X.?” And I said, “I don’t know.” One of them said, “How is it he was seen here to-day?” I said, “That’s impossible, for he wasn’t here.” He stamped his foot on the ground, and said, “Damn him. I did see him.” The other fellow ran upstairs.
Although the electric light was lighting in the shop, the fellow remaining asked me for a candle, and when he got it, lit it and went upstairs. I followed them up, with another candle in my hand. He told me to get downstairs, and I came down again, following the fellow who went up first, and who was now coming down again. When I reached the shop, he was inside the counter, and when I remarked that it was cold, he said, “I should go and get something around myself.”
The fellow upstairs was shouting at me, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. He came down, and stamping his foot, demanded tea from me. I said I had none, and he brought me upstairs to Mrs. X., in her bedroom. She told me to take the keys out of her pocket, and when I handed them to the military man, he made me come down to the shop again. He made me show him where the safe was, and then made me withdraw.
From the end of the counter I saw them open the safe, and one of them exclaimed, “There’s nothing but papers here.” The one who got the keys, the taller of the two, then rushed up the stairs, ignoring his comrade’s call to come away. After a few minutes upstairs, he came down and said, “If he is not back within a week the place must be burned or blown up.” “That’s sure,” said his companion.
As they made for the door, I opened it for them, and when they had stepped outside, the taller one said, “Are you aware that we are out for blood to-night?” at the same time holding up a revolver in his hand. I said, “I don’t know who ye are, or what ye are out for.” He said, “We are Auxiliary Police, and we are out for blood to-night. There were seven of our men killed and wounded to-night. Did you hear that?” I said, “No, as I haven’t been out.” They then left. Both of them spoke with decided English accents.
Outrage, Arson, and Robbery
We, the undersigned, reside at—Street, where we keep a boarding house.
A.— At about 9 a.m. on Monday, December 6, 1920, a party of Auxiliaries raided the house; some of the young men (five in number) were in at the time. They ordered those men to put their hands up and go on their knees. They told us to leave the door open and to go out from the firing line. While the men were on their knees they searched the house. They said, “One of our chaps is wounded down there, and there won’t be many of ye left in the morning.” They remained almost three-quarters of an hour. They found a card of the Transport Workers on one of the men, and they took this man out on the street to shoot him. They released him after ten minutes, as the officer in charge interfered, but they kicked him severely. One of the men told us that when searching him one of the Auxiliaries pushed a revolver into his pocket, but a hole was in the latter and the revolver dropped out. During the raid the Auxiliaries used very offensive language.
B.— A similar party came on Wednesday evening between 3 and 4 p.m. and ransacked the house. They took £5 from one man and two watches from two others.
C.— The next occasion they (the Auxiliaries) visited us was on the night of December 11, 1920, about 11 p.m. Owing to their former visits, all but one of the men residing with us had left the house and had found other apartments. When they entered the house they gave us five minutes to leave; we were partly dressed and covered ourselves with a blanket. We prepared to leave, and told them there was a man in the house and to call him. He too was ordered out. We went to a gate opposite our house, but they would not let us stop there, telling us to get along up the road. They ordered the man who was staying in the house to do likewise. The latter had not been given time to dress properly, and walked after us up the road in his bare feet, with his boots and socks in his hands. The night was very cold, and we were walking around the Western Road until about 1 a.m., when a man brought us into his house and accommodated us for the night.
D.— When we returned to our home next morning we found the place covered with water and smoke issuing from the rooms. On examining the house we found that some clothes on top of a cupboard had been set on fire. The clothes were burned out, the top of the cupboard was also burned, and cartridges of coppers in same were clung together. Near the cupboard are board partitions, but fortunately these did not ignite; had they done so the whole kitchen would have been burned.
In a bedroom the bedding of two beds were burned, even to the wooden frames of the springs (the beds were spring beds). On the table in the dining room I found three lamps, our property. The globes and burners had been removed, and the oil in them had apparently been used to ignite the place. The small amount of oil in the lamps would account for the failure to burn the house completely. The gas meter in the dining room was riddled with bullets, and was since removed, as it was of no further use.
When the Auxiliaries had departed, neighbours helped to extinguish the fire, which was practically out. Much damage was done to food, which was destroyed either by fire or the water used to extinguish the latter.
We, the undersigned, do solemnly declare that the statement we have given is the truth to the best, of our knowledge and ability.
Outrage and Robbery
(Ballyhooly Road is not shown on the map; it is on the north-east side of the city, in the direction of Dillon’s Cross.)
I, A. B., of —, Ballyhooly Road, make this statement voluntarily, and do hereby testify to its accuracy on oath.
A.— On Sunday morning, December 12, 1920, we were awakened by a loud knocking at the door. My wife and myself went down to open it. At the time we could find neither the key nor a match. The people outside said they would bomb the house if we did not open the b—y door quickly. We got the key and opened the door, and they rushed in on top of us. One of them caught me and put me outside the door, and another followed. Two more took my wife upstairs at the point of the revolver, kept her in while I was outside, and told her if she moved they would burn the place around her; otherwise they offered her no insult or violence. She begged for mercy, and they would not listen to her. When they got me outside the door they told me that I had three minutes to live, and they caught me by the arm and asked me to tell them about the ambush; that they had got information about my being in the ambush. I told them that I knew nothing about it. He then called me a liar. He pushed the revolver against my side several times and called me a coward. He then told me I had two and a half minutes to live, and put me against the wall to shoot me.
B.— He next forced me on my knees, and then, seeing the cincture of St. Augustine on me, he thought it was a belt, and asked the other fellows for their jack knives to cut it. Fortunately, neither of them could find them at the time, so I opened it for him, and he beat me on the naked skin several times with it. I was naked all the time. He then made me stand up and sing “God Save the King,” and when I could not sing it right I got a blow of the revolver or his fist under the eye a couple of times. He then asked me what religion I was. I said I was a Roman Catholic. He asked me what I was, and where I worked, and I told him. He then told me to get inside quickly, and if they heard of any more ambushes they would blow myself and house and block of buildings up.
C.— When I went upstairs I missed my watch, also my wife’s purse, and some silver and coppers that were left out to pay the milkman in the morning. To the best of my belief, three of them wore kilts and brown “tam-o’-shanters.
Two of them wore Glengarry caps, with strings at the back. There was one dressed like an officer, with black cap and light coat, carrying a cane. All the rest were armed with revolvers, with the exception of him.
I am under the doctor’s care since, and am not allowed to go to work.
Brutal Attack on Women and on a Clergyman
(“As to the cases of looting and brutal assaults on civilians, including a priest, the Chief Secretary has no evidence that such action was taken by the armed forces of the Crown; and until he has such evidence, he declines to believe for one instant the suggestion contained in the hon. gentleman’s question” (cheers).— Mr. Denis Henry, Attorney-General for Ireland, in the House of Commons, December 15, 1920.
Since the following statement was received, a similar account of an attack on another priest has come to hand.)
I, Rev. X. Y., do hereby solemnly declare that the following statement is the truth, to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A.— I, Rev. X. Y., was returning home from duty in S.S. Peter and Paul’s on Saturday, December 11, 1920, and I succeeded in getting the last tram for Summerhill, which leaves Father Matthew’s statue about 9 p.m. As the tram passed through MacCurtain Street signs of confusion were visible in the streets outside (I was seated about midway in the interior of the tram), but the occupants did not seem to pay much attention. Just as the tram was about to ascend Summerhill a lorry full of armed men dashed past us shouting and jeering as they went up the hill.
B.— The tram proceeded on its way up the hill to a distance of about 100 yards beyond the R.I.C. Barracks, Empress Place, Summerhill, when suddenly two men (well-dressed and with distinct English accents) dashed into our tram, and at the point of the revolver drove all inside, with me, out. A rush was made for the door at the driver’s end of the car and as that side was soon blocked I, being in the middle, could not, of course, move till the others had crushed their way out. However, the gentlemen with the revolvers insisted that I should, and so they kept knocking me in the side, on my face, and around my head with their revolvers. Repeatedly I told them that I would go as soon as the door was clear, at the same time asking them what was the meaning of treating me like that. As soon as the way was clear I did make towards the door but on my way was forcibly pushed from behind, fell forward, tripped over something on the landing stage of the car, and was pitched out on my face and hands into the middle of the road.
C.— Even in my fall I could see that the tram had been surrounded by armed men, and on getting to my feet I counted about a dozen or more men dressed in long black coats like rain coats, with khaki coloured bands or straps over their shoulders and crosswise in front, and wearing black tam-o’-shanter caps; each of these uniformed men was armed with a rifle. Immediately I recognised them as forces of the Crown. As soon as I got to my feet I found myself in a scene of great confusion; the uniformed forces of the Crown were rushing at men and women indiscriminately, shouting and beating us with the butts of their rides and firing in all directions; the “gentlemen” with the revolvers were raging all round the tram with much cursing and blasphemy, and were issuing orders to the uniformed forces of the Crown. Three or four women I saw beaten by the “gentlemen” in mufti (there were about six of these latter I now discovered). One woman was knocked to the ground and kicked by a uniformed man as she lay there helpless and screaming. I made a move to assist this poor woman when one of the “gentlemen” with the English accent roared out that if any man stirred he would be shot there and then. I tried to remonstrate, but my voice was absolutely lost in the general confusion.
D.— All the men were now ordered to the wall on either side of the ambushed tram, and were roughly told by the “gentlemen” with the revolvers to “put up our hands.” Then one of the uniformed men, apparently to make sure that we had our backs to the wall, prodded each one of us with the muzzle of his ride. Then the “gentlemen” in mufti came before each man, threatening us again with their revolvers, and searching and kicking, and shouting that they were going to revenge themselves on us and on the city for what had happened on the hill that night.
E.— The “gentleman” who had me in hand discovered on tearing open my coat that I was a priest, and he became very excited, shouting that he had got one of the b— fellows who advised the people to shoot them (the forces of the Crown). Tearing open my inside coat and my vest he continued to search all my pockets, removing everything I had, including my watch and some money (about 30s.). These he kept for himself, and whatever papers and books (including my breviary) he found he kicked out into the road.
F.— Meantime, the other men were being searched and abused, and the tram was being smashed by the men in black uniforms. According as the search of each man was completed he was pushed and kicked and then told he could go. But I being a priest was held over till all had been searched: they were going to revenge themselves on me and on the town that night, so they kept saying. They all now gathered round me shouting and cursing the Pope, the Bishop, and all the Catholic clergy in general. One of them rushed on me, tore off my overcoat, my inside coat, vest, and collar, and pushed me up against the wall, saying that I was to be shot. All retired to the middle of the road, and I began to feel that my end had now surely come. In the half light of the place I could not see very well, but they appeared to be debating with one another about me. Suddenly one of the “gentlemen” with the revolver rushed over and roared at me to kneel down, but before I had time to do so he flung me sprawling on the ground. He said that if I would write or say “To hell with the Pope” I would be let off. I said that surely they would not expect a Catholic priest to say this.
G.— At this point some of the “gentlemen” in the middle of the road shouted to let that—go, and the “gentleman” who had me on the ground kicked me and told me to clear. I got up as well and as quickly as I could, and as I was about to go I was kicked again and told I should run. Being scarcely able to walk from all the bruises and kicks I had received, I was quite unable to carry out the latter command. One of the uniformed men ran at me with his rifle, saying that he would make me run, and began to push me violently in the back with the muzzle of his rifle. Thus pushed from behind I stumbled forward up the hill for about twenty yards or so. Then I was suddenly grabbed by the shirt collar behind, and kicked severely and told that if I turned round I would be shot. Without looking round I asked him for my clothes, but I found they had been kicked up the hill a few feet before me. I was putting them on as hastily as I could when a shot rang out in my direction. Fortunately, I was not hit, and I hobbled home as best I could.
Armed Highwaymen near Patrick’s Bridge
A.— I, A. B., of—Terrace, in the City of Cork, University student, do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare that on the night of December 11, 1920, on returning home at about 9.25 p.m., I was held up by armed men dressed in the uniform of the R.I.C., with khaki bandoliers over their great coats. There were five men around me, and one of them ordered me to put up my hands. This I did. They then forced me backwards till my back was to the wall, and they told me they were going to shoot me. They kept me in that position for five or ten minutes. Now and then one of them put the barrel of a revolver to my face and lifted it upwards, hitting my nose, and told me to keep my head back. I was then asked to say “God Save the King,” one of them informing me first that I would be shot this way or that. I refused.
B.— Most of the men were drunk. One less drunk than the others said to give me a chance. Turning to me he said, “Run up that—hill and we’ll fire after you.” I ran up the hill (Patrick’s Hill), and they fired after me. I was not hit. This happened at the comer of Coburg Street and Patrick’s Hill.
C.— While they held me against the wall I saw fifteen or twenty men, dressed similarly to those that held me up, at the bottom of Bridge Street. There were others about halfway across the bridge. I saw them firing at one another, and I saw a bomb hurled by the men in Bridge Street at the men on the bridge. I saw the bomb explode. I did not see the result.
D.— I saw the same men fire at a person on the footpath on the east side of the bridge. I saw the man fall.
On going homewards along Wellington Road, I saw about twelve “Black and Tans,” each with a girl, going towards town.
Trouble Expected Three Hours before the Alleged Ambush
Armed Ruffians in the Streets
I live at Patrick’s Hill, and remember the night of December 11, 1920.
A.— About 5.30 that evening I was reading in a library in the city, when a friend (a Protestant Unionist) came up to me and told me to go home at once as he was told there was to be bad work that night, and also not to let anyone that I cared about out that evening.
B.— I went home as quickly as I could. There appeared to be some sort of trouble or skirmish in Patrick Street.
C.— About 9.30 I was sitting in my house with some friends when shots rang out quite near. I turned off the lights and looked out. There were ten or twleve [twelve] men in dark uniform in the centre of the road where Bridge Street and King Street meet. They were holding up passers-by. I saw them beat and kick one man most cruelly. Then they told him to run and immediately fired two shots after him. As they appeared to be drunk and unsteady, they fortunately missed him.
D.— The same men then went along Bridge Street and broke into the Standard House (jewellers) by the window round the corner. Some police came apparently from Patrick’s Quay and evidently stopped further loot.
E.— A tram came along then from King Street and was stopped by the men at the Standard House. They broke all the glass in the tram. The tram then went on and at the other side of the bridge, near the statue, it was set on fire.
Early Firing by Armed Drunkards
I remember the night of December 11. I had been shopping that afternoon in Cork City, and was making my way towards the Great Southern and Western Railway Station at Glanmire, to catch the 9.45 p.m. train to —.
A.— I passed along MacCurtain Street (late King Street). It was then 9 p.m., and everything appeared normal. Two Crossley light lorries passed me, full of armed men dressed in R.I.C. uniform. They were under the influence of drink, as I distinctly saw them falling about in a drunken fashion in the lorries. They were shouting noisily.
B.— The two lorries pulled up at the Soldiers’ Home, Lower Glanmire Road. They remained there about three minutes, when the cars again left; the majority of the policemen being left behind. Their accents were foreign, so I believed them to be “Black and Tans.” The lorries proceeded along MacCurtain Street, citywards. I stood at the corner of Water Street, about twenty or thirty yards from the Coliseum (a picture house situated at the corner of MacCurtain and Brian Boru Street), to watch those left behind, as I anticipated they intended starting some blackguardly conduct.
C.— I was only there about ten minutes, when the whole party of them, numbering from fourteen to eighteen, opened fire without the slightest warning or provocation. The firing was indiscriminate, going in all directions. Bullets were hopping and whizzing everywhere. Girls, women, and children were in a fainting condition, crouching in doorways and running helter skelter for shelter. This corner of MacCurtain Street was like “Hell let loose” with the firing and roaring. The streets became deserted in a few minutes. I took early refuge in the station, and could hear the rifle firing and revolver firing continue for upwards of twenty minutes. The station was soon filled with panic-stricken people, who, from their own relatings, had undergone terrible experiences. I departed for home on the 9.45 p.m. train.
Official Report of the Superintendent of the City of Cork Fire Brigade (December 15, 1920) Incendiary Fires. Explosives Used. Hose Cut. Firemen Fired Upon. Military Refused Fire Appliances
(Captain Hutson is an Englishman.)
The Right Hon. the Lord Mayor of Cork.
Sir,— In reference to the fires which occurred in the city on Saturday night, December 11, 1920, I beg to report as follows:—
A.— At 10.30 p.m. I received a call to Messrs. A. Grant and Co., Patrick Street, whose extensive premises were on fire. I found that the fire had gained considerable headway and the flames were coming through the roof. I got three lines of hose to work—one in Mutton Lane and two in Market Lane, intersecting passages on either side of these premises. With a good supply of water we were successful in confining the fire to Messrs. Grant’s, Patrick Street premises, and prevented its spread to that portion running to the Grand Parade from Mutton Lane, while we saved, except with slight damage, the adjacent premises of Messrs. Hackett (jeweller) and Haynes (jeweller). The Market—a building mostly of timber—to the rear of Messrs. Grants was found to be in great danger. If this building became involved a conflagration would ensue with which it would be almost impossible to cope. Except for only a few minor outbreaks in the roof we were successful in saving the Market and also other valuable premises in Mutton Lane.
B.— During the above operations I received word from the Town Clerk that the Munster Arcade was on fire. This was about 11.30 p.m. I sent all the men and appliances available to contend with it. Shortly after I got word that Messrs. Cash’s premises were on fire. I shortened down hose at Mutton Lane and sent all available stand-pipes, hose, &c., and men to contend with this fire. I found both the Munster Arcade and Messrs. Cash’s well alight from end to end, with no prospect of saving either, and the fire spreading rapidly to the adjoining property. The area involved in these two fires was very large and embraced many valuable and extensive premises.
C.— All the hydrants and mains that we could possibly use were brought to bear upon the flames and points were selected where the fire may be possibly checked and our efforts concentrated there. The General Post Office fire appliances were brought out and did good service in and around Winthrop Street, Robert Street, &c. I regret to state that I found this new hose had been cut in several places whilst in the streets and was of no further use. It was not until about 8 a.m. when I may state that the whole of the numerous points to which the flames had reached were partially under control.
D.— About 4 a.m. I was informed that the Municipal Buildings were on fire. Knowing that there was a practical man with half a dozen men under his control there I had some confidence that they would be able to deal effectively with the fire as had already been done on three previous occasions. I very much regret, however, that the incendiaries were successful in driving my men out of the buildings and also from the Carnegie Free Library.
E.— I continued to do my best to confine the fires to the numerous streets off Patrick Street up to 10.30 a.m. no Sunday morning, having been on duty from 7 a.m. on the previous day.
Mr. Delany, city engineer, kindly came to my assistance and supervision of the men at work at the various points required.
F.— In connection with the fires at Dillon’s Cross I wish to say that on receipt of the call for that fire I got in touch with the military at Victoria Barracks and asked them to take their hose reel and stand-pipes at the barrack gate down at once as I had been called to Grant’s fire in Patrick Street, but they took no notice of my request. At the Patrick Street fires it is remarkable that the military never brought any fire appliances whatever—as they had done on nearly all previous occasions up to the last few months. I must say that prior to these incendiary fires the military frequently rendered us valuable assistance not only in keeping the streets clear but also in extinguishing the fires. The statements of the two firemen working at Scully O’Connell’s fire indicate the general position of the military on this occasion.
G.— I have no hesitation in stating I believe all the above fires were incendiary fires and that a considerable amount of petrol or some such inflammable spirit was used in one and all of them. In some cases explosives were also used and persons were seen to go into and come out of the structures after breaking an entrance into same, and in some cases that I have attended the people have been brought out of their houses and detained in by-lanes until the fire had gained great headway. I have some of the petrol tins left behind in my possession.
I remain, Your obedient servant,
ALFRED J. HUTSON.
Statement of Fireman L. (ex-Soldier)
Armed and Uniformed Incendiaries
I, the undersigned, Fireman L., make the following voluntary statement, to the accuracy of which I hereby testify on oath.
A.— At 10 p.m. on Saturday night, December 11, a telephone message came to Grattan Street Fire Station from Captain Hutson that there was a fire at Dillon’s Cross. We at once drove out the ambulance, and in five minutes were at Patrick Street, where we saw Grant’s on fire. It was then well alight and too big to be managed by us, so we decided to go at once to Sullivan’s Quay for assistance. At the corner of Prince’s Street and Patrick Street we stopped on seeing between forty and fifty civilians, well dressed, walking in a body in the middle of the road. They were walking along Patrick Street from the direction of Patrick’s Bridge. They were close to us, marching in step, and had revolvers in their hands. At the side of this body of men were four or five men in khaki uniform coats with Glengarry caps.
B.— I got down, walked towards them and shouted, “We are firemen.” They halted. “Where are you going to?” I was asked. In my opinion the speaker had an English accent. I replied, “To Sullivan’s Quay, to turn out the fire brigade.” A man answered me “All right. Take your time, you’ll have a few more in a minute.” The man who said this was one of the party; he was only four or five feet from me, and had a revolver in his hand.
C.— We then drove to Sullivan’s Quay, where we found the fire brigade ready and their appliances on the road. We all drove—two horse reels, fire escape, and ambulance—to Grant’s, and worked at the fire there. After I was working about half-an-hour near Mutton Lane, at the side of Grant’s, I saw the same crowd of men coming along Patrick Street in the same direction as before. I deliberately observed them. They stopped for a short time and were speaking to police and military. Then they turned about and went down Patrick Street in the direction of Patrick’s Bridge.
D.— After about another half-hour I saw the Munster Arcade ablaze and the same crowd just outside. They were firing with revolvers up and down the street and in the air. I saw them distinctly as the blaze made it like noonday.
E.—These men then went down towards Cash’s, and in about a quarter of an hour Cash’s burst into fire. The men—including the four or five in Glengarry caps—were standing outside and firing revolvers as before.
F.— During all this time there were military and police near me. Some of the military and the old R.I.C. men assisted me in my work.
At about 3.30 a.m. I received a bad burn and had to retire.
Fireman M. sees Uniformed Incendiaries. Fireman and Ambulance Fired On
(The main fire-station is on Sullivan’s Quay. There is another fire-station in Grattan Street. See map.)
I, the undersigned, Fireman M., make the following statement, which I hereby confirm on oath.
A.— I left Grattan Street with four other men on the motor ambulance to go to a fire at Dillon’s Cross. On arriving at Patrick Street we saw Grant’s was on fire. We halted and then decided to proceed to Sullivan’s Quay for help. On reaching the corner of Prince’s Street, I, who was driving, saw a body of forty or fifty men walking in a body in the centre of Patrick Street coming towards us in very mixed dress—some with khaki coats, some with khaki trousers, and some wore Glengarry caps.
B.— I stopped the ambulance and Fireman L. got down and approached them, and shouted, “We’re firemen.” Then they asked him where we were going. He replied to Sullivan’s Quay to notify headquarters. One man, who seemed to be in charge, shouted, “Take your time.” We then proceeded and returned to the fire with the brigade from Sullivan’s Quay.
C.— About 3.30 a.m. I was stationed in Patrick Street near Lester’s, with the ambulance. Fireman L. came over to me, and pointing to a tall man who was talking to a soldier, told me he was dangerous. The tall man soon after came up to me. He was about 5 ft. 11 ins. high, long featured, clean shaven, with bushy fringe; he wore a blue-belted mackintosh and no head-dress; he had a small attache case in one hand and a revolver in the other. He said that his brother and fourteen more had been ambushed and that he had just received word from the barracks that four were dead. He said he would have revenge. I immediately appealed to him not to interfere with the unfortunate firemen who were out for humanity’s sake. He said he wouldn’t. He then proceeded over to Winthrop Street. I saw him firing in the direction of two firemen playing a hose near Winthrop Lane. He then passed on towards the Post Office. I went up to a military officer and appealed to him to protect the firemen. He sent two men down to put the tall man under arrest. I went down with the men as far as the Post Office. One of them stopped there and the other went on. As I met him going around loose about an hour later, I concluded that he was not arrested.
D.— About 4 a.m. I was stationed in Patrick Street with the ambulance. I was conveying two firemen home to get their clothes changed; I received an escort of four policemen. I crossed Patrick’s Bridge and went along Pope’s Quay; on reaching Mulgrave Road a shot was fired. On inspecting the ambulance in Patrick Street after returning, I discovered a bullet mark just behind where I was sitting. The bullet went right through the hood, just over and behind my head. I inquired from one of the firemen whom I had been carrying and he told me he heard a voice saying, “We’ll have a shot at a lamp,” and instead of firing at the lamp he fired at me.
Fireman K. sees the Armed Uniformed Incendiaries
He is Fired on by the Police
(Lester’s pharmacy is marked No. 16 on the map.)
A.— I, the undersigned, Fireman K., left Grattan Street Fire Station about 10.10 p.m. on Saturday night, December 11, 1920, with four other men to put out a fire at Dillon’s Cross. We found Grant’s on fire, and being unable to deal with it we decided to proceed to Sullivan’s Quay for help. We halted at the comer of Prince’s Street and Patrick Street. We all got out. I saw about forty men marching along the road on Patrick Street, going towards the fire at Grant’s. They all had revolvers in their hands. I did not notice their head dress except four or five on the outskirts of the crowd, these had Glengarry caps on. The rest seemed to be dressed as civilians, but the majority had long coats and belts.
B.— I heard Fireman L. saying “We’re firemen,” but did not hear the answer as I was back a little.
C.— I helped in bringing the fire escape from Sullivan’s Quay and worked at Grant’s till about 2 a.m. I then went to Maylor Street. I was there playing a hose when three fairly tall police, not local, came up Merchant Street towards Patrick Street. They fired up the street towards me. I saw the flashing of their rifles, and had stooped when I saw them cocking their rifles. Some military near Lester’s went over and spoke to the police. The police then went towards the right along Patrick Street, and I heard some more shots in their direction shortly after.
D.— About an hour after that a tall chap came up to me. He was clean shaven, well-built, had a fuzzy fringe, wore a dark mackintosh, had no cap, carried a small bag, and also a revolver. He asked me what I was here for. I said, “Doing my duty.” He said his brother was killed in the ambush and somebody would go down for it. He then went over and spoke to the soldiers outside Lester’s. After a little while I went over to the group
of soldiers, about six of them, and asked if I would be safe in staying there. They said they didn’t think there was any fear. Later on M., who was with me, saw the same man firing again, and I requested him to appeal to the military to arrest him. I stopped at the fire till about 7.30 a.m.
Statement of Fireman O. Military Refuse use of their Fire Appliances
Firemen Fired on by Police and Auxiliaries
I, the undersigned, Fireman O., make the following voluntary declaration and confirm the same on oath.
A.— I was in Sullivan’s Quay on the evening of Saturday, December 11. About 10 p.m., three telephone messages came. The first was from Union Quay Police Barracks to say that there was a big fire in town. The second was from the Police Barracks in Empress Place to say that there was a fire in the Ballyhooly Road. The third was from Cork Barracks to say that there was a fire in Ballyhooly Road. I requested them to use their own fire appliances there as we would have enough to do. I was told to go to blazes, and I told them I was going there hard.
B.— About 11 p.m., I and Fireman S. left the station in order to join in the work. We were only just left the station when we were fired at point-blank from the Grand Parade, on the opposite side of the river. We returned to the station, and then saw that it was police and Auxiliaries who fired. Shortly after, the ambulance came and brought us over to the fire.
Fireman S. is Fired on by Auxiliaries and Police
I, the undersigned, temporary Fireman S., make the following voluntary declaration and confirm the same on oath.
A.— About 11 p.m. on the night of Saturday, December 11, Fireman O. and myself left the fire station and went along Sullivan’s Quay. We had only just gone a short distance when shots were fired across the river at us, from the Grand Parade. We rushed back to the station and from there saw that it was Auxiliaries and police who had fired.
B.— The motor ambulance afterwards took us to the fire. About 1 a.m. I was at the Patrick Street corner of Winthrop Street, working a line of hose, when a lorry of Auxiliaries—I knew them by their caps—came along from Patrick’s Bridge and turned into Winthrop Street. They halted and made me put up my hands. But after a little while they left me alone and went on. I then went over to Lester’s and got three soldiers to come with me. I brought my fire-reel into Winthrop Street, and as we were coming round five or six Auxiliaries with tasselled caps at the corner of the Post Office fired a volley towards us. I saw the flashes distinctly. A bullet grazed my leg and made a slight wound. One of the soldiers who was with me was shot in the leg, and the other two took him away back into Patrick Street.
C.— While I was working in Winthrop Street, I saw on the opposite side of the street a very tall fellow with a black overcoat and no cap talking to some policeman. He said he was out for revenge to-night, and would blow up Patrick Street by himself.
Fireman P. is Fired on and Wounded
I, the undersigned, Fireman P., make the following voluntary statement to the accuracy of which I hereby testify on oath.
After the call came to Sullivan’s Quay Fire Station, I went out with the other men and worked at the fire in Grant’s. About 10.30 (on Saturday evening, December 11), I was working a line of hose in Patrick’s Street. There was firing all round me as I was working at the fire. I did not notice whether the firing came from military or men in civilian attire. I was hit in the right hand and left ear by bullets and had to be taken in the ambulance to the North Infirmary. The military must have been quite near, for an escort of two inside the ambulance and one outside with the driver was immediately procured.
Fireman R. (ex-Soldier) is Fired on by Drunken Officer
I, the undersigned, Auxiliary Fireman R., ex-soldier, give the following entirely voluntary testimony, which I hereby confirm on oath.
I started work about 1.80 a.m. on Sunday. I was helping the firemen at Grant’s, and went up the escape with Captain Hutson. About 2 a.m. as I was going up the escape with the hose in my hand, an officer—he was an officer of the Gordon’s, and quite young—came out of Market Lane, he was very drunk. He fired twice at me and I threw myself on the ground, and while I was there he discharged the other four chambers of his revolver. He then shouted out, “I am a—Englishman.” A District Inspector stepped out from the other side of the street, took a revolver from a policeman, and handed it to the officer. He told him he was an Irishman, asked him to walk six paces, and the best man would fall. The officer did not accept the challenge. When I got up, I said to him, “I am an ex-soldier, do not kill me.” I then succeeded in escaping, and went away.
Fireman N. is Fired on
(The Lee Boot Company is marked No. 18, and Burton’s No. 13, on the map.)
I, the undersigned, N., make the following voluntary declaration and testify to it on oath.
A.— I was acting as temporary Auxiliary Fireman at the fire on the night of December 11-12, 1920. About 12.30 a.m. I was at Cash’s helping Fireman K. On his orders I broke in the door of the Lee Boot Co., as the back was catching fire. When I was just inside, three shots were fired towards me. I saw three soldiers running across Patrick Street from the opposite side.
B.— About 2 a.m. I was hosing Burton’s drapery shop, and near me was a woman who lived over the shop. A tall man came up to me from the Winthrop Street direction; he was clean-shaven and wore a black mackintosh, but no cap or hat, and had a bag and also a revolver. He asked me why I was hosing Burton’s. I said in order to save the property of the woman behind him. He said, “Damn the woman, we’ll show no mercy here.” He then spoke to the woman and she seemed to be pleading with him. I heard him saying to her that his brother was killed in the ambush, and that four were dead and ten wounded. He added, that he would have revenge before the night was out. He then passed across to the other side of the street.
Statement by Fireman Q.
I, the undersigned, Fireman Q., make the following voluntary statement, and confirm the same by oath.
I was working at Grant’s fire until about 4.30 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, December 12. Shortly after that I was stopped at the corner of Cook Street and Patrick Street by a tall man, nearly six feet high. He had long features and bushy hair, wore a dark belted coat, and carried a small hand-bag and also a revolver. I had previously got the tip from some firemen that this dangerous man was going about. He told me to get a dozen men as fast as I could and bring them to Flanagan’s Hotel. I said I would look myself first. I went down with him, went up the escape, and played the hose until he went away. I then came back and when I met him I told him I had sent a dozen men there.
Report of Fireman J. Fired on by “Black and Tans”
I, Auxiliary Fireman J., was in Winthrop Lane when called to Merchant Street by military, who were escorting me, when “Black and Tans” fired on us, and wounded one of the military escort, and I got a graze on my right hip and was told to clear away. I saw they had petrol in a black motor-car and they were putting petrol into Roche’s Stores from Merchant Street. I had to clear out, and two military took the wounded soldier around to Merchant’s Quay. I then made the best of my way back to you (Capt. Hutson) in Patrick Street.
Fireman T. is Fired on and Wounded
I, the undersigned, Fireman T., made the following voluntary declaration, and testify to it on my oath.
During most of Sunday, December 12, I was working the fire engine on Merchant’s Quay. I was also with my engine there on Sunday night, keeping the steam up. At about 1.30 a.m. on Monday morning just as I was feeding the boiler, a bullet was fired at me from the direction of Patrick’s Bridge, and injured my nose. I was taken in the ambulance to the South Infirmary.
Fireman U. is Threatened by Policeman
A.— I, the undersigned, Auxiliary Fireman U., was working at the fire all day on Sunday, December 12. At about 1.30 a.m. on Monday morning I found Fireman T. bleeding profusely through the nose. I took him in the ambulance to the South Infirmary.
B.— At about 11 a.m. on Monday morning, a fresh outbreak of fire was reported in Oliver Plunkett Street. I was going down Winthrop Street in my uniform, of course, and put my hand in my pocket to get a cigarette.
A policeman, not local, was just coming up the street. He presented a revolver at me and told me I would get an ounce of lead in me if I did not take my hand out of my pocket.
Statement of Firemen V., W., X., Y., Z. Incendiaries at the City Hall
Police Turn Off the Hose
We, the undersigned, Firemen V., W., X., Y., Z., make the following statement. We jointly testify on oath to the accuracy of what stands in our joint names, and we individually swear that what appears under our individual names is, to the best of our belief and opinion, accurate.
A.— In view of possible further attempts to burn the City Hall, we had been stationed nightly on the premises, remaining there from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
About 10.45 p.m. on the night of Saturday, December 11, we noticed that the whole city was illuminated, and telephoned to the fire brigade and were told that Grant’s, Cash’s, and the Munster Arcade were on fire.
B.— About 1.40 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, December 12, we heard a volley on Albert Quay, and after three or four minutes, a loud knocking at the front doors. We retired through the rear to Cornmarket Yard. When there we saw three or four men in civilian clothes coming over the library wall. Fireman X. noticed that one man had a sledge or an axe. These men burst in the back corridor of the City Hall and thus effected an entrance into the building. We waked up the Superintendent of the Cornmarket, but he refused to allow us to use the telephone. We then went over to the Bandon Railway Station, and from there telephoned to the fire station. We were told that nothing could be done as the city was on fire.
C.— About 2.45 a.m. three of us (Firemen V., X., Z.) went out to Albert Quay and saw two men carrying petrol tins coming from the direction of Union Quay. These men went into the City Hall. We again retired to the station. Shortly after that we perceived that Mrs. Cassidy’s room was on fire. About 4.30 a.m. we heard a man shout, “stand clear,” and an explosion occurred in the City Hall; this was followed by ten or twelve intermittent explosions during the next half-hour.
D.— After 5 a.m., the same three of us went out again on to the quay. We saw three men walking towards Union Quay. We crossed over Clontarf Bridge and verified that these men had not crossed Parnell Bridge.
E.— Fireman Z. went to work at the fires in Patrick Street. There he saw military and police, apparently drunk, firing indiscriminately. About 6 a.m., when passing through Winthrop Street, he saw soldiers outside Tyler’s boot shop, and also women and civilians, apparently looting. About 8.30, while working near Roche’s Stores, in Patrick Street, he heard a volley in the direction of Patrick’s Bridge.
F.— Firemen V. and X. found the horse hose reel in Oliver Plunkett Street and they took it down Cook Street towards the City Hall. On the way they met the second horse hose reel at the comer of Anglesea Street being driven along by two soldiers. Shortly after 6 a.m.—the clock tower in the City Hall was still standing—they fixed the hose to the hydrant in Albert Quay and played it on the Library. About thirty policemen, including a head constable and three sergeants, came along from Union Quay. The police had rifles. They lined up along the quay opposite the City Hall and also around the hydrant. For the next half-hour they turned off the water four or five times from the hose; each time Fireman V. came back and turned it on again. He spoke to the head constable, who said he would give every assistance. The fireman replied that if he kept his men away it would be much better. The head constable replied that he had no control over them.
After about half-an-hour, seeing that the police kept turning the water off, the two firemen gave up, and took the horse and hose back to Oliver Plunkett Street. On their way they saw the same two soldiers with the other horse hose in the South Mall.
G.— Fireman Y. remained in the railway station until 7 a.m.
H.— About 6.30 a.m. Fireman W. came out and walked along Albert Quay. As he came to Parnell Bridge he noticed the R.I.C. lined up along the quay, and he also noticed the head constable. As he passed about three of the police fired up in the air.
Police incendiary Leaves His Cap in the City Hall
(This cap is now safely stored, and is available for inspection.)
I, the undersigned, do hereby make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly affirm that it is the truth to the best of my knowledge and ability.
On Monday evening, December 18, 1920, I went into the “pipe and coal yard” adjoining the fitter’s shop (in Commarket, situate at the rear of the City Hall) to get some coal. I found an R.I.C. cap lying loosely on some pipes near the library wall. This cap could not have been there on Saturday, 11th, up to 12.30 p.m., when we stop work, without my knowledge. The adjoining wall where the cap was found was invariably used as one means of getting into the back of the City Hall when the military raided the place on former occasions.
The cap referred to above is of the usual R.I.C. type. It bears the usual badge, the harp surmounted by the Crown. It is of the loose type, such as is worn by the motor drivers of the R.I.C. Initials and numbers are marked on the inside of same.
Statement of an Ex-Officer. The Loot of Mangan’s and Cash’s. Auxiliaries in Mufti. Undertaking not to Identify
A.— About 9.15 p.m. on the night of Saturday, December 11, 1920, I went into O’Grady’s cigarette shop, having come over from the Opera House. Just after entering shots rang out in the street, and I proceeded to the lounge bar upstairs. There I encountered three men in mufti, with revolvers in their hands. I spoke to them in a friendly manner and a general conversation ensued, during which I observed that two of them were more or less intoxicated and one was fairly sober. Two had English accents, and I couldn’t quite make out the other, but he told me that he was a North of Ireland man. As intermittent firing was going on in the street I thought it unsafe to venture out, so remained on. At about 10.10 p.m. a tram was set on fire in the street in front of the bar, and shortly afterwards a bomb exploded quite near. (I was subsequently informed by Auxiliaries that the bomb was thrown at Mangan’s in order to effect an entrance.)
B.— As I feared that the three men inside might turn “nasty” when they had taken more drink, or that those outside might come in, I asked the proprietor to telephone to the military for protection. He, apparently, knew some of the officers personally and tried to get on to them, but was informed by one mess that there were no officers at all in at that time (about 10.30 p.m.).
C.— At about eleven o’clock Auxiliaries in uniform—led by a man in mufti, whose face was partly disguised with marks of black paint, and accompanied by other men in mufti—came into the bar. They treated us all in a friendly manner, and I explained to the one who appeared to be the leader that, owing to the firing in the street, I had been unable to get home before ten; that a telephone message had been sent to the military barracks for protection, but that no promise of assistance had been given.
D.— The leader (?) then offered to provide an escort of Auxiliaries for any who wished to go home. He inquired where each of us lived, and appeared to know the city thoroughly. We had a drink and then proceeded outside. The leader (?) suggested that we should stand with a few Auxiliaries near the burning tram, as we should run less risk there of being shot by the “Black and Tans,” while he collected an escort. He remarked to us that it was a stupid thing to loot Mangan’s as he knew they were loyalists. He then went over with one Auxiliary and tried to get the “Black and Tans” out of Mangan’s. He shouted to them, “You are in the wrong shop, that man is a loyalist,” and they replied that they didn’t give a damn as that was the shop that had been pointed to them.
E.— While we were waiting men in various uniforms (khaki trousers and police coats with either khaki or police hats) but all or nearly all having police great coats, which were loaded with loot, were coming out of Mangan’s and proceeding towards Roche’s Stores and Cash’s where a party were loitering.
F.— We were then asked to give an undertaking not to identify any one of the party in the event of any subsequent inquiry. We gave the undertaking.
G.— Next, we were asked to accompany them to the Bridewell as some of them had to get into uniform and some to get their uniform hats, so that they wouldn’t be shot in mistake for civilians by some other party. Those in “mufti” subsequently came out in uniform.
H.— While waiting outside the Bridewell an Auxiliary Cadet—who told me he had been in the ambush that evening—mentioned that as Cash’s had been so badly looted they were going to set it on fire in order to cover up the loot. I told him that I believed that some girls lived over the building and that they should warn them in time. He replied that they didn’t wish to burn any girls alive, and said that they would detail a party to warn the people in the houses.
I.— At the Bridewell they obtained a military lorry and, having again reminded us of our promise not to identify any of them, they drove me to the South Gate Bridge, where I said good-night to them at about 12.30, having their assurance that there were no troops or “Black and Tans” in the College Road direction that night.
N.B.— By “mufti” I mean dressed in a mackintosh overcoat, scarf, and ordinary civilian cap.
Dated this 18th day of December, 1920.
Resident of Patrick Street sees Uniformed Men Loot Mangan’s.
Officer and Military are Powerless
I, the undersigned, make the following statement voluntarily, and solemnly affirm and swear on oath that same is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920. At 8.55 p.m., hearing some shouting and shots in the direction of Patrick’s Bridge, I looked out through my window overlooking Patrick Street, and saw a Crossley car filled with men, two of whom I could see; they were Auxiliaries with tasselled caps. The shouting and commotion led me to believe that they were holding up citizens on the bridge.
The lorry drove away and I saw seven or nine men dressed in civilian clothes come from the bridge and proceed along Patrick Street. They halted three other civilians at Evans’s (bookseller, Patrick Street), seemingly questioning them as to their identity. I saw one of the seven civilians go over to Evans’s window and deliberately smash it with something heavy which he held in his hand. During this time the three civilians were allowed to proceed on their way, and one of the seven civilians was shouting to the others on the bridge to “Come on.” I thought the accent was an Irish one. Three more civilians joined them in response, and firing indiscriminately around the street they disappeared along Patrick Street in the direction of mid-Patrick Street. The street was empty of all people at this time.
B.— At about 9.40 p.m. I heard a crackling noise, and at 10 p.m. I noticed a flame of fire in the street, and looking out I saw a tramcar in flames near Father Matthew Statue. No one was in view between the bridge and Cash’s (which was about the length of my view in Patrick Street). A little after I heard a motor lorry pass in the direction of Patrick’s Bridge, and passing the tram on fire, the occupants indulged in various shouts and yells of delight, with unmistakable English accents.
C.— Near 10.30 p.m. I heard loud banging on woodwork on the opposite side of the street, and again looking out of the window I saw six or seven men in uniform at Mangan’s. Some of the roll shutters were half up and I could see into the shop. A voice said, “Open up, open up quick,” in a stiff tone and English accent. I then heard the smashing of heavy glass, and noise as if it was being walked on. Looking out again I saw a large number moving about inside Mangan’s, with the aid of electric torch lamps. One man, dressed in complete policeman’s uniform, was running to and fro outside in a very nervous manner, as if on watch for those inside. There were times during the occurrence at Mangan’s when he did go in and come out again. The party were inside for upwards of three-quarters of an hour, the lights inside going here and there, and loud noise of the smashing of glass. They then came out. Some dressed in civilian clothes, with light trench coats, some in complete policemen’s uniforms, numbering about five, and totalling in all about a dozen men. They had large suit cases, a few had small ones in their hands, and appeared heavily laden. They proceeded calmly in the direction of Cash’s. There was no one else within my view on the street at the time.
D.— One of the last of the above men had a light coloured tin of petrol in each hand, and he also proceeded in the direction of Cash’s. The last man of the above-mentioned men had something like a taper in his hand. It was lighting. He was low-sized, in civilian attire, dark, with something across his nose and mouth. He conversed with two other civilian-attired men at the Tivoli Restaurant; the thing like a taper burning still. After a few seconds, during which he was watching the taper, he ran in the direction of the corner of Drawbridge Street, throwing something in the air which exploded with tremendous violence.
E.— Immediately afterwards I saw a body of men, in three lots of two each, dressed in civilian attire, come from the direction of Cash’s and re-enter Mangan’s with white bundles under their arms. While these were inside I saw a Crossley car come from the direction of Patrick’s Bridge, and containing about eight soldiers and an officer, all in military uniform.
F.— They passed Mangan’s on the off side of the street and could not have gone further than Cash’s, when I saw the soldiers and officer march back and halt exactly opposite Mangan’s. The officer gave the order “About turn,” and they retraced their steps for four or five yards. What I thought peculiar was that the order did not seem such as would be given by an officer to trained men. It was weak, for they moved slowly over to Mangan’s door. They stood looking in at the looters, and some of the latter came outside, taking no notice whatsoever of the soldiers.
G.— After about five minutes the looters came out and went in the direction of Patrick’s Bridge with their parcels, and with pockets bulging. Two of the soldiers then remained on guard up and down outside Mangan’s, the remainder moved towards Cash’s, including the officer. I saw the taller of these two soldiers walk to the middle of the street and kick something white, which I could see was some silver article, in the shape of a cup or bowl.
The lamp in the middle of the street was lighting. When he looked at it he picked it up and threw it into the burning tram.
Later when I looked Mangan’s shutters were again in place and it had the appearance of never having been touched.
H.— From that onwards I could only see these two soldiers on the street, even up to 4 a.m., at which time or thereabouts the city lamps were extinguished for some reason. I remarked to my wife that it was an exceptional thing that that night I only saw one armoured car, a Crossley car, and a heavy lorry containing curfew soldiers, going through Patrick Street. I knew there were burnings taking place further up the street but could not see them. I heard several explosions every hour, some loud, some faint, and volley after volley of rifle and revolver shots, from 8.55 p.m. on Saturday night to about 6.30 a.m. on Sunday morning.
An Englishman sees Military and Police Loot a Shop
(In order to conceal the identity of this gentleman and of the shop to which he refers, some omissions have had to be made in this deposition. This witness is a business man in a very responsible position, a Protestant and an Englishman.)
A.— Whilst I was listening to find out what the commotion was about I was told men were looking up at the shop sign and mentioning the name of the house.
B.— I said, “They are in,” and immediately rushed downstairs into the shop and switched on the light. I saw the form of a man in military uniform trying to force open the inner door, the glass of which he had already broken. I shouted out, “All right.” He said, “Open up.” I pushed the broken glass off the mat and got the door open. He entered and I saw that he had a revolver in his right hand. He then said, “Lights up, your keys.” I said, “I will get them.”
C.—I went upstairs and consulted as to a means of escape, but thinking it might lead to the loss of our lives, we decided to remain. We could hear the smashing of glass going on below. At the end of about an hour and a half we heard several footsteps ascending the stairs. I descended, and on the second landing I met the same uniformed man, who again demanded the keys. With him was another man in military uniform, also a man in dark uniform, who had a white handkerchief fastened to the lower portion of his face. This man was rather short.
D.— Seeing resistance was useless I went into the shop and opened the strong room. Whilst there I saw several men in uniforms. They were all taking things and putting them into their pockets. One man in civilian attire had a suit case which he was just closing and which he had filled with valuable articles.
E.— Up to the time of making this statement (January 1, 1921) none of the missing goods have been returned to us, neither have we been asked by the authorities to identify any of our property.
An Ex-Officer sees Crowds of Auxiliaries and Police Taking Loot to the Empress Place Barracks
(This has since been corroborated by other witnesses.)
I, the undersigned, wish to make the following voluntary statement in connection with the recent occurrences which took place in the city on the night of Saturday, December 11, 1920.
A.— Having been to the theatre I was returning home at 9.10 p.m., when three or four shots were fired in the vicinity of Patrick Street. I walked towards the Coliseum to get home by the New Bridges, when another volley was fired. By this time the streets were absolutely deserted, and I thought it was wiser to stay in town at a hotel, I therefore went to the X Hotel knocked, and was admitted.
B.— At 10.10 p.m. I was having supper when the waitress rushed into the dining room and said all Patrick Street was on fire. I finished supper and went upstairs to a window at the top of the hotel and saw a great fire burning in the direction of Patrick Street.
C.— At 10.20 p.m. approximately, thirteen or fourteen men came from Summerhill direction and went down King Street. Two of the number were dressed in Auxiliary R.I.C. uniforms, one man in a grey lounge suit and wearing no cap or hat; the remainder wore the regular uniform of a R.I.C. constable. All except the man in civilian clothes were armed with rifles or revolvers, four or five of the number carried oil tins.
D.— Some time after they had passed a large explosion occurred and the ñres in Patrick Street seemed to extend more. As time went on a series of small explosions could be heard, followed by rifle or revolver shots and an occasional burst of machine gun fire.
E.— From 11 p.m. onwards Auxiliaries and “Black and Tans,” also R.I.C., came up King Street from Bridge Street direction, laden with suit cases, travelling rugs, coats, and hats, and proceeded towards Summerhill. These came and returned in batches. As it got later the majority of the men I saw were drunk and some staggered very much.
During the night the flames seemed to spread to other houses. There was little more to be seen except men of the Auxiliary Force and R.I.C. pass under the window, all laden with loot. So I retired to bed at approximately 2.30 a.m.
Sworn Statement of Mr. P., Fireman, U.S.S. “West Canon.” The Scene from the Victoria Hotel. A Drunken Sergeant
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920. Coming from the South Main Street in company with Messrs. Q., R., S., T., of U.S.S. “West Canon,” and W., of Cork, we proceeded to the Victoria Hotel through Oliver Plunkett Street and up Cook Street.
As we were turning the corner of Oliver Plunkett Street up Cook Street a woman spoke to us and said, “For God’s sake do not go up that way as the ‘Black and Tans’ are at the corner of Robert Street and Patrick Street.” With the exception of a few civilians standing in doorways in Oliver Plunkett Street, she was the only person in sight.
We went down Cook Street to the hotel, and at the corner of Cook Street and Patrick Street one civilian said, “Here they come,” or some such word, and he went down Cook Street to Oliver Plunkett Street as fast as he could. Arriving at Patrick Street I looked down towards Robert Street and noticed from eight to twelve men in uniform, dressed in long dark overcoats and carrying short carbines. They were proceeding in our direction along Patrick Street.
We went to the hotel door which was closed and we rang the bell. At that time these uniformed men had stopped halfway between Robert Street and Cook Street. The door was by this time opened and we were admitted. This was exactly at 9.50 p.m.
B.— We went into the billiard room and I was there until 10.20 p.m., when I retired to bed, and was notified at that time by the porter that Grant’s was on fire. I went up to the top floor and looked out of the window at the fire. I then went to bed, my room (No. 9) overlooking Cook Street, and remained there about half-an-hour; and by that time the fire at the block between Robert Street and Cook Street was well alight.
I stayed in bed until a very violent explosion took place which shook the building. I got out of bed, this was about 11 p.m. or 11.5 p.m. During this time that I was in bed I heard a number of motor lorries pass by, and heard rifle and revolver shots interspersed with explosions.
C.— I went to the window on the top floor overlooking Patrick Street and saw from twenty to thirty soldiers, some dressed in the ordinary khaki uniform, with trench helmets, and others dressed in black overcoats, wearing round khaki caps, around the fire in front of Grant’s. At the same time I saw two motor lorries on the street, opposite the Victoria Hotel, and also a group of officers, numbering up to twelve, dressed in officers’ khaki uniforms with “Sam Brown” belts, some wearing tasselled khaki caps, and others the ordinary military caps. They carried automatic revolvers in their hands, were talking very loudly, and were making much noise; this group were to the right of the lorry. They appeared very excited and intoxicated. This was at 11.5 p.m. I saw the firemen engaging with the flames.
D.— At about 12.30 a.m. the bell of the hotel was ringing. I heard John, the porter, ask, “Who’s there?” I did not hear the answer, but heard banging at the door. John then shouted to us Americans to come down. We did so, and at that time S. was trying to get the Military Barracks on the ‘phone. He failed. Those at the door were admitted and they proceeded into the pantry, where a few drinks were served to them. I heard the sergeant of those men, who were policemen, give his name as T. They were armed with carbines. The manager and one of Woolworth’s staff were present, and Sergeant T. pointed his carbine at the latter and commanded him to sing. He refused although threatened. The sergeant was very intoxicated. He pulled out a box of very expensive cigarettes and distributed them among the men there. They then went out on the street and remained outside the hotel door for some time. After that I saw no one on the streets but military.
I busied myself around the hotel helping wherever I could to prevent the building going on fire. At 5 a.m. I retired to bed.
Sworn Statement of Mr. Q., Boatswain, U.S.S. “West Canon”
I remember the night of December 11, 1920.
A.— Accompanied by Messrs. R., S., T., and P., of U.S.S. “West Canon,” and W.,—Cork, I went into Victoria Hotel, Patrick Street, exactly at 9.50 p.m.
We just got in when we saw about ten or twelve men dressed in long black overcoats and black peak caps, and carrying rifles in their hands, opposite the Munster Arcade. They were coming in mob fashion towards us.
B.— We were inside about half-an-hour when the night porter stated that Grant’s was on fire. I went to the window on the top floor and saw Messrs. Grant’s on fire. I went down again to the billiard room.
About half-an-hour later I left the billiard room and on the second floor I saw through a window that the opposite block of buildings in Cook Street, Messrs. Forrest’s, Egan’s, &c., were in a mass of flames. Soon the whole block was on fire.
C.— About 12 midnight I went to bed on the second floor. I was awakened by a call from Mr. R., and on getting up I saw the portion of the Victoria Hotel adjoining Cook Street, windows, window frames, doors, &c., alight, and preparations being made by laying down hose in the corridors, &c., to save the place from fire.
Downstairs I heard loud banging at the Patrick Street entrance, and great commotion and banging. I heard Mr. S. trying to get the military barracks on the telephone, but he failed to get any answer.
D.— Then John, the hotel porter, called the Americans to come down. We came down; we were met by a sergeant and two policemen dressed in long dark overcoats and black peak caps, armed with short carbines. The sergeant was intoxicated and was swinging his carbine in all directions, and threatening to shoot everyone. In my presence he threatened to shoot the proprietor. I tried to placate him, and succeeded in calming him. He said to me, “My name is T—.”
The two other policemen were sober, and their conduct was quite gentlemanly. They told us they would notify us if the fire in the Victoria became dangerous, and would provide means for our safety. They then left. We kept busy until about 5 a.m., assisting with hose, &c., when I went to bed again. During that time I heard quite a few explosions.
When I got up in the morning I saw the destruction wrought all round the place.
E.— From 9.50 p.m. I had not seen a single citizen on Patrick Street, with the exception of one woman, who advised us not to go up Patrick Street as the “Black and Tans” were everywhere. Just as we entered the Victoria I saw none but Crown Forces.
I solemnly affirm and swear that the foregoing testimony is to the best of my knowledge and ability the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me God.
Sworn Statement of R., Third Assistant Engineer, U.S.S. “West Canon”
I remember the night of December 11, 1920. I was in company with Messrs. Q., S., P., and T., of U.S.S. “West Canon,” and with W., of Cork City. What I witnessed is substantially the same as laid down in the sworn testimonies of P. and Q.
I swear that the above statement is to the best of my knowledge and ability the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
Mr. W. Corroborates. A Drunken Sergeant
“At Your Peril Don’t Turn the Hose on that Fire”
I, the undersigned, do make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly declare that it is the truth, to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920. At 9.40 p.m. I walked down Cook Street from Oliver Plunkett Street and halted at the Victoria Hotel. With me were Messrs. P., T., S., R., Americans, of U.S.S. “Canon,” then lying at South Jetties, Cork. We saw from eight to twelve uniformed men opposite Munster Arcade, coming in a group towards the Victoria Hotel. We hastily asked admittance to the Victoria, and were immediately admitted. We went to the billiard room.
B.— At 10.5 p.m. on going to the door in Patrick Street, I saw Messrs. Grant’s premises well ablaze. On the opposite side of the street to the Victoria, at least five men in R.I.C. uniform were walking up and down. I could see no one else.
C.— It was near 10.30 p.m. when I looked out of one of the hotel windows and saw three R.I.C. uniformed men at the hotel door. Two of them levelled their carbines at me, and I retreated. After loud knocking at the door, they were admitted, one sergeant and two constables, the sergeant being very drunk. They said they came to warn us of the danger the hotel stood in from the adjacent fires.
The sergeant went into a back kitchen, beckoned to me, and I stood drinks (whiskies). After threatening Mr. D., my friend, with his carbine, for not singing, the sergeant turned to me and cross-examined me. I lied plausibly, every chance or loophole I saw, as he was dangerous, even to the extent that my father was a policeman, &c. He thereupon shook hands with me, and pulling me aside, said, “Where’s the b— manager of this place? Don’t you know he’s a—German?” “I don’t know what his nationality is,” said I, “and if he is a German it’s not his fault. He is working hard upstairs.” “By —,” said he, swearing horribly, “I joined the army from the R.I.C., during the war, and I know what the—Germans did.” He put his carbine up, and said determinedly, “I am going to take that —’s life to-night.” I pleaded and remonstrated, but he was mad with determination. I put the carbine down, and diverted his mind from the subject by standing him more drink. (Drink that night cost me £2, very little of which was spent in drink for myself.)
D.— The sergeant and two constables left about 11.15 p.m., and about an hour afterwards they returned to the hotel door. The two constables entered, but I saw them level their carbines at the sergeant and forbade him entering the place, which he did not. The constables remained for a drink or two.
E.— A little after midnight, Egan’s and Forrest’s were well ablaze, and the windows of the Victoria Hotel, in Cook Street, were beginning to catch fire. Mr. D. and I went out to Cook Street, with the hotel hose, and played water on the windows. Swinging round on me, somehow, the hose played on Forrest’s fire for an instant, and an R.I.C. man in uniform shouted to me from the corner of Cook Street and Patrick Street, “At your peril, don’t turn the hose on that fire. Let it blaze.”
F.— While playing water on the Victoria Hotel windows, in Cook Street, a Crossley car full of military came up Cook Street and turned around Forrest’s corner into Patrick Street. As they did we heard shots, as if they had fired into the burning buildings.
G.— Only soldiers and R.I.C. men were on the streets up to five or six a.m. on Sunday, the soldiers helping the people here and there to get their household goods, &c., to a place of safety, from the encroaching flames.
H.— From 10 p.m. on Saturday, until 5 a.m. on Sunday, with the exception of those people who had to leave their homes for safety, and the firemen, I saw only Crown forces on the streets.
The Drunken Sergeant Again. “We’ll Finish—Old Cork”
I, the undersigned, make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly declare that it is the truth, to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A.— I remember the night of December 11. At 9.30 p.m. I entered the Victoria Hotel, Patrick Street; the street was completely deserted.
B.— Shortly after 10 p.m. I saw a large fire in the direction of Grant’s. About 10.30 p.m. a drunken R.I.C. sergeant and two constables came in to warn us about the fires. The sergeant asked me who I was, where I came from, and where I worked, &c., and I told him. Later, in a little back kitchen, where the police and ourselves were having a drink, the sergeant said to me, “You’re the fellow from Dublin?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Do you know the song ‘The Martyr of the Coombe’?” (The Coombe is a celebrated Dublin quarter.) I said, “No.” He put his carbine up, pointing it at me, six inches away from my face. Some civilian put the carbine down, and to the remonstrances of him and the two constables the sergeant again became quiet.
C.— About 11 p.m., I was overlooking Patrick Street from an attic window of the hotel. I could not see the street immediately below, but could see to the left and right. I heard glass smashing, and immediately afterwards a bomb explode to my right in Patrick Street. After a little silence, I heard from the same direction a voice, in a decided English accent, say, “We’ll finish—old Cork,” and immediately afterwards another bomb exploded. We all got to the back of the building for safety, as I could see the Munster Arcade starting to blaze.
D.— After midnight, when Mr. W. and myself were playing the hotel hose from Cook Street on the hotel windows to prevent the Victoria catching fire, a light military lorry came up Cook Street, and I shouted, “Mind out, don’t run over the hose.” They slowed down, while we got the hose out of the way, and as they turned around Forrest’s corner I heard shots fired, presumably by them. Afterwards, a military officer came up to me, and asked me what I was doing with the hose. I replied that I was doing my best to confine the fire, and he left, saying in a genial manner, “Cheerio, and good luck to you.”
E.— Soldiers many times helped people to draw away furniture from their threatened homes. With the exception of these people and the firemen, the only person I saw on the streets from 10 p.m. on Saturday, to 5 or 6 a.m. on Sunday, were Crown forces.
How the Curfew Report was Concocted
(This witness is a responsible professional man.)
A.— I was staying in a hotel in the flat of the city on the night of the fire, December 11, 1920. At 1.30 a.m. I was called out to assist in checking the fires around Patrick Street, and in saving people and property. I was at the Imperial Hotel, at intervals, the remainder of the time I was on the streets, until 8 a.m. on Sunday morning. While on the streets, I noticed the following about 1.45 a.m.: I came in contact with an Auxiliary at the G.P.O. (General Post Office). He was a man of about six feet, well-built, clean-shaven, wearing a brown waterproof coat, khaki riding breeches, long grey stockings and shoes. He held me up and asked me why I was out, &c., and then he turned to make friends with drunken women wearing shawls. He was foolishly drunk, and with a revolver in his hand was threatening every civilian who came in contact with him.
B.— Seeing I was in danger I retired to the Imperial Hotel and stayed in the vestibule for about an hour. I came out with a man dressed in a military uniform, of good build, rather stout, and clean-shaven. In the course of conversation he told me that he was in charge of the Auxiliaries, that some of his men had been ambushed, and that they (the attackers) messed with the wrong men, as most of them were Colonials who had seen too much of this kind of thing. I noticed he was perfectly sober.
C.— Some of the Auxiliaries worked hard and so did some of the “Black and Tans,” but most of them were drunk and were frequently firing revolver shots. One Auxiliary, who worked very hard, was a small chap, wearing civilian clothes. In the course of conversation with him in the morning, he told me he was “dead out” from the hose. While he was asleep I noticed all his clothes were both wet and dirty.
D.— While in a room in the Imperial Hotel I could conclude from the conversation between the Auxiliaries and some lady friends that they (the Auxiliaries) had burned the place. One lady told one of them that it was a shame for them to destroy the fine city. They all seemed to be of the opinion that it deserved its fate, and only treated the whole affair as a joke. One of them remarked that the thing was carried too far, and to use his own words said, “There would be hell to pay over it.”
E.— At about 2.30 or 8 o’clock, while in Winthrop Street, I saw a man who appeared to be a responsible military curfew officer come up to the man who told me he was in charge of the Auxiliaries and say to him, “What report are we going to make about to-night?” And there and then the two of them made up an ordinary curfew report to the effect that the Crown forces had found buildings burning, that the fire brigade had been telephoned for, and that the curfew troops stood by to render what assistance they could.
Auxiliaries Good and Bad
A.— I was staying in a hotel in the flat of the city on the night of the fire (Saturday, December 11, 1920), and was on the streets from about midnight to 5.15 a.m. on Sunday morning, helping at a hose, removing furniture, &c. Whilst at this work I came across several members of the Crown forces. Several Auxiliary policemen and “Black and Tans” were walking about (the majority of them drunk), with revolvers drawn. Their attitude was most threatening, as they on several occasions held up people (including myself) and demanded to know why we were out. Two Auxiliaries deserve special mention in this respect. One was a man of about 5 ft. 10 ins., well-built, clean-shaven, of gentlemanly appearance, and wearing a kind of a brown rubber motoring coat and tam-o’-shanter. I was told (by the big Auxiliary mentioned later on) that he was an ex-major in the army. This man was very drunk, and as he was in the vicinity of the Post Office all night (till about 5 a.m.), he was a constant menace. The other was a man of medium height and build, and, as well as I can remember, was wearing a khaki suit and khaki skull cap (or tam-o’-shanter). I saw him fire a shot into the hall of a house in Caroline Street from which two men were emerging. I saw him put one of the men against the wall, and the man told me afterwards that he had a revolver to his temple ready to shoot, when something else attracted his attention. I saw him then going off with a “shawlie,” and to this I am sure the man owes his life. This man was a very evil-looking type, with a diseased face, receding forehead, and a low-bridged nose.
B.— The ordinary soldiers behaved well, as a rule, and some of them gave great help in removing furniture from houses. The officers also behaved pretty decently. One of them, I believe he was a major in charge, was most anxious to stop the fires. I noticed two Auxiliaries, especially, who worked all night putting out the fires in Old George’s Street. One of them was a small, slight, pale-faced, dark chap. He was wearing civilian clothes and had no hat or cap on. The other was a powerful-looking man, of about six feet, wearing a civilian suit, with a policeman’s great coat and a black tam-o’-shanter. In the course of conversation I ascertained his name. I heard him threatening to shoot two “Black and Tans” who had loot. He was most sympathetic to everybody who came to him for help, and both himself and the small chap were drenched to the skin as the result of their work.
C.— I may mention that in the course of conversation with the Auxiliary in the rubber coat, he admitted that it was the Auxiliaries who burnt the town. As far as I can remember these were the words he used: “‘Tis we have done this and it was right to do it” (or “We know why we have done it”), but damn the houses, we want to save the women and children.”
Auxiliaries and Police Loot Drink and Money and Assault People
“Give Us More Matches and Petrol this Way”
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920. About 10.30 p.m., while undressing at my room in —, I heard motor lorries going up and down Patrick Street. At 11 p.m. I was looking out of one of the top windows, overlooking Winthrop Street, towards the fires in the direction of Grant’s and the Munster Arcade. I heard the tramp of men, and noticed about twenty men come down Winthrop Street from the direction of the Post Office. The majority of them were dressed in the Auxiliary Police uniform with Glengarry caps and khaki tunics, others were R.I.C. men in uniform, not of the regular type, and some were in plain clothes with light mackintosh overcoats. A large number of this party wore masks on their faces, that is, mufflers around their mouths and noses.
When the party came opposite I saw some of them stop, look up at the name of the place, and exclaim, “This is it! This is it!” The accent was strange to me. Some of them rushed for the hall door leading to the restaurant, others rushed to the door of the bar, and commenced hammering with some heavy instruments until they smashed the bar-door. In answer to their cries of “Come down and let us in,” Miss X. and Miss Y. came down and opened the door. I had just come down from the top floor, and met Miss X., Miss Y., and the party coming up.
About six Auxiliaries with Glengarry caps rushed into the bedrooms and sitting-room on the first floor, shouting, “Come down at once.” They each held a revolver in the right hand and a revolver in the left. They went through the whole house in this manner, and all of us, men and women, were ordered out on Winthrop Street; with the exception of two or three of them who were on Winthrop Street, the remainder of the party were inside in the bar, shouting and roaring, drinking and breaking bottles.
I heard the money register in the bar ringing, and immediately knew they were rifling the contents (on my return to the bar a half an hour afterwards, I found the contents, viz., £1 in each of the three registers, small change left each night for convenience the following morning, gone).
B.— After about five minutes on the street, one Auxiliary, who seemed to be an officer and in charge, wearing a Glengarry cap and khaki tunic, about six feet and well built, blew a whistle, and immediately the men in the bar came out on the street, and the men upstairs in the hotel came down. The whole party now gathered were armed with rifles and revolvers. The majority were now intoxicated.
C.— The same officer then ordered the women, numbering, Mrs. Y, her daughter, and the three girls, also Mrs. Y.’s young son, to get inside the hall. He then ordered A, C, and myself, who were the only ones left in the street, to put our backs up against the front door of the house. He spoke with a foreign accent. At this, a very desperate looking Auxiliary, wearing a Glengarry cap, medium sized, clean shaven, khaki tunic, his face looking very disease marked, stepped forward from the party with a revolver in his right hand. He put the revolver touching A’s breast (left breast) and said, “Are you a Sinn Feiner?” He was sober but seemed to be in a terrible passion. His accent was foreign. A said, “I am not. I don’t take any part in politics.” He then asked, “Who are you?” He gave his name and told him he was working in —. He asked him was he belonging to the I.R.A., and he said he was not. He then said, “Be sure you tell me the truth, or I’ll stick one of those through your heart,” at the same time pulling the trigger to and fro with his finger. He plied A with many such questions as to what he knew of Dillon’s Cross ambush, &c., when one of his party shouted, “He’s all right. I know his face.”
He then passed on to me and plied me with the same questions he had put to A. During some of the questions, he pressed his revolver into my left breast, and as we heard the sound of a bomb going off in Patrick’s Street he said to me, “It would be a good job if one of them went off in your pocket and blew you up.”
He then passed on to C, who was so young that someone of the party shouted, “He is too young. Let him off.” He then went back to the party.
D.— The officer in charge (mentioned before) then ordered us down into the Imperial Hotel, including the women. We had all gone as far as the Post Office when some of them shouted to us to come back again. As we were going towards the Imperial Hotel, two of the men dressed in R.I.C. uniform ran after us and attempting to kick me, missed, but kicked A. several times. Coming back in response to their call, we were ordered upstairs, and we remained there until about twelve o’clock.
E.— While inside, I looked out through the top window overlooking Winthrop Street, several times. At about 11.45 p.m. a party of Auxiliaries and Police, which I took to be the same party, numbering up to 20, crossed the end of Winthrop Street from the direction of the Munster Arcade, towards Cash’s. The majority of them wore Glengarry caps with khaki tunics, others wore policemen’s caps, while some were in civilian clothes with light raincoats. As they passed the top of Winthrop Street, I distinctly heard a few of them saying, “Give us more matches and petrol this way.” The accent was foreign to me. I then heard the battering on and pulling down of shutters and the smashing of glass at Cash’s. There was a lot of noise and talking in this direction.
I went to one of the top back windows and saw flames coming from the back portion of Cash’s and smoke enveloping the building.
F.— About twelve midnight I heard heavy knocking at the door, and when the door was opened about five men in Auxiliary uniform told us to get out, and go to the Imperial Hotel for safety. Their accents were foreign. The top of Winthrop Street at Cash’s corner was a mass of flames. While on our way to the Imperial, I turned back and got a bottle of brandy in the bar. While there, two Auxiliaries came to the door and told me to get out quick. The accents were foreign. I then proceeded to the Imperial Hotel.
While going in I was held up and searched by an Auxiliary with the air and appearance of an officer. He was very drunk, and a revolver was dangling from his belt by a cord. While in the vestibule for about forty-five minutes I saw many Auxiliaries come in and go out. They were all armed with revolvers. They were cool and not drunk.
G.— With Mrs. Y. I then left, the time being about 12.45 a.m., and went back. A military officer, tall, clean-shaven, was with us there, and did much good work in saving our block of buildings from the fire. He helped in getting down the fire brigade and assisted at the hose. He told me he was a military captain, and that his brother was killed in the ambush at Dillon’s Cross. He deeply regretted the burnings and assured us of his assistance.
H.— About 2 a.m. Sunday, I saw from the door that there were soldiers on guard on Winthrop Street at both ends and along the street as well. I saw one soldier walk up to Tyler’s boot shop and deliberately break the window with the butt of his rifle. This soldier was dressed in ordinary “Tommy” uniform. I saw him take from the window a number of pairs of boots. While he was there four or five women and one civilian came and looted many pairs of boots. This soldier seemed engrossed with his own loot, and did not interfere. The civilian returned and carried away more boots several times afterwards and was never interfered with by the soldiers who could see all that was going on.
I.— About 3 a.m. I brought some of the firemen into the bar to give them a stimulant. Some Auxiliaries, police, plain-clothes men in light mackintoshes, with strange accents, came into the bar from time to time for drinks. One of these latter told me he was a Scotsman. He had a child’s toy under his arm. One policeman with a Scotch or Northern accent left a large Christmas stocking behind him on the counter, and another policeman with a like accent left a pair of underpants. I still have these articles waiting to return them to their rightful owners. Some of these police, Auxiliaries, and plain-clothes men with strange accents demanded bottles of whiskey. In fear I complied with each demand. I received no money in return.
 These articles have since been identified and restored to the owners, Messrs. Power Bros., drapers and tailors.
J.— About 3.30, while I was trying to gain admittance to the Imperial Hotel, nine in number of Auxiliaries were firing revolver shots indiscriminately in Pembroke Street, there were also about three or four soldiers, and they seemed to be arguing with one another. The firing lasted about three minutes while I was standing at the Imperial door. An Auxiliary, who seemed to be in command, then ordered all the Auxiliaries into the garage in Pembroke Street, at the point of the revolver, saying, “Get in, or I’ll blow your—brains out.” All of them, including himself, were very drunk.
K.— Being refused admittance to the Imperial Hotel, I came back to A.’s and worked at the hose, &c., till morning. At times I gave some of the soldiers on duty in Winthrop Street some stimulants but many more of them demanded it from me.
During the night, shots and explosions were going all the time. I did not notice any Auxiliaries on Winthrop Street after about 3.30 p.m. The majority of the soldiers were drunk about 4 a.m. onwards.
L.— About 7 a.m., after working hard at the hose to the rear of John Daly’s, Caroline Street, I was coming up Winthrop Street when I saw a young soldier in “Tommy” uniform and trench helmet, very drunk and showing his rifle to a youngster. I heard him exclaim as he pushed a bullet home in the rifle breech, “This is one more for the So-and-so’s.” With that he turned round. I was just at the corner of Winthrop Lane, and the rifle rested on my left breast. I said to myself, “If this goes off I’m shot,” and quickly turned it to one side. He pulled the trigger, and a shot immediately rang out.
My arm being in contact with the barrel of the rifle, I got a great shock and fell to the ground. After a few seconds I got to my feet and rushed towards the door where I fell again. I crawled in the hall door and upstairs where several people came in to see was I shot. I swooned for a few minutes, and got all right again, nothing the worse of my experience.
After a cup of tea I remained working in the streets until 10.30 a.m. Nothing exceptional happened during that time.
Auxiliaries Loot, Drink, and Bully
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920. It was a night never to be forgotten. About 11 o’clock a crowd of Auxiliary police came along Winthrop Street and stood outside this house, shouting, “This is it!”
B.— They then knocked violently at the door. X. and Y. went immediately to open it. They still kept shouting to open. During that time some of them had burst in the bar door and started breaking bottles and glasses until they were fully satisfied, leaving it a total wreck. Some of them carried portmanteaus, and filled them with bottles of drink, which they took away with them.
C.— As soon as the girls had opened the door, they were covered with revolvers and told to clear out. About a dozen rushed upstairs and ordered us all out at once, and the boys to stand against the wall. Three or four of those were dressed in plain clothes and scarves pulled over their faces. All spoke with an English accent. Every room in the house was searched.
D.— When we went out there were some more on duty outside the door and standing at the bar door, one of these being a “Black and Tan”; he had a few bottles of whisky under his arm. A., B., and C. were standing against the wall. They were asked their names and if they belonged to the I.R.A. Seeing C. was too young they let him off. The two other boys came in for a hard time. They were treated most cruelly and were told they would be in eternity in a moment.
E.— During this time we were standing outside the door, but were told to clear off quickly. I asked one of the men where would we go to; he answered very roughly, saying he didn’t care where we went to. Another told us to go to the Imperial Hotel. We then started off and were at the G.P.O. when they shouted at us to come back and get into the house again, but the boys were to remain at the wall. After some time they were thrown inside the door and told to clear. Half-an-hour after that all had to pack up and clear for safety as fire was all round us.
F.— It was about one o’clock when we went to the Imperial, and we remained there until morning. During my stay there I noticed that several of those men made frequent visits, and most of them were under the influence of drink. One in particular was swinging a revolver in his hand, and searched several men going into the place.
Police Set Fire to the Munster Arcade
I, X. Y., make the following statement voluntarily, and so solemnly affirm on oath that it is the truth to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920. From 7.30 p.m. until 9 p.m., when I arrived at my home—George’s Street, “Black and Tan” police displayed great activity all round the flat of the city, firing shots, halting people, shouting, &c. At 9.30 p.m. A.B. joined me at my home. From 9.30 p.m. firing in the flat of the city became more intense, and there were many explosions.
B.— Shortly after 10.30 p.m. I noticed about ten women and girls, probably one or two men included, emerge from Cash’s door leading into Maylor Street, and bearing large bundles, some with blankets around them went down Maylor Street towards Parnell Place.
C.— In or about 11 p.m. I saw four uniformed R.I.C. policemen, armed with rifles, and three civilians, come on George’s Street from Robert Street (seemingly after coming from Patrick Street). There was no one else in George’s Street. They fired some shots and several bombs, the shots presumably to frighten away watchers from the adjacent windows, and the bombs to wreck the hoarding around the Munster Arcade. This hoarding they attacked with crowbars or some such instruments like them. I heard at this time the noise of a motor cycle travelling from the South Mall direction and stopping in or around Robert Street. Immediately after, I saw the police and men in civilian attire, throw tins of something (in or about the size of a two-gallon petrol tin) into the Munster Arcade, and a few minutes afterwards the whole place was in a blaze. The police and the men in civilian attire then proceeded up George’s (Oliver Plunkett) Street towards the Grand Parade.
D.— About midnight, I saw people leaving their homes in Caroline Street, and taking with them personal effects, for safety from the encroaching flames. With A. B., I left my house to help as best I could, and we were out until 4.45 a.m. on Sunday morning. During this time we were fired at by “Black and Tans” in uniform, at about 12.15 a.m., and fled for safety. We helped here and there, and saw Auxiliaries, “Black and Tans,” and soldiers nearly always in a drunken condition. Two “Black and Tans” did good work with fire-hose, &c., around FitzGerald’s, Oliver Plunkett Street.
E.— At one time, about 3 a.m., I saw a soldier in uniform and trench helmet, with rifle, at the corner of Caroline Street, showing some girls articles of jewellery, including two gentlemen’s and two ladies’ gold watches, a silver cigarette case, which he was filling with packets of Woodbines (cigarettes), a miniature silver rifle, and also two bottles of wine. He said to the girls that he got them in a shop near Patrick’s Bridge.
F.— Between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., we saw soldiers wearing trench helmets and uniforms loot John Daly’s, wine merchants, Caroline Street, emerging from time to time with pockets and arms full of bottles, threatening to shoot people in their drunken condition, seemingly under no control.
G.— About 8 a.m., near FitzGerald’s, Oliver Plunkett Street, we heard a military officer, in uniform and trench helmet, with a revolver, perfectly sober, state to a number of men and women, “I’d shoot a Shinner every hour, but I wouldn’t burn down his house.”
H.— About 1 a.m., while at the corner of Cash’s, with a lot of civilians, and talking to two soldiers, two “Black and Tans,” in R.I.C. overcoats, khaki trousers, R.I.C. caps, and carbines, crossed over from Lester’s (in Patrick Street) and told us to get home quickly, as the Auxiliaries were in a bad humour, as seven or eight of their fellows had been ambushed at Dillon’s Cross, and they didn’t care whom they’d shoot.
I. A. B., make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly affirm on oath that it is true to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A.— I left Emmett Place, about 8.45 p.m., and on account of the incessant fire in the neighbourhood of the General Post Office, it was only after the third attempt that I managed to get safely home, at 9.15 p.m.
B.— I was with X. Y. (No. 41) all the night of December 11, from 9.20 p.m. on Saturday night till 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, and after hearing the statement read over to me, I corroborate it in every respect and detail, with the following addition.
C.— Shortly before 1 a.m. on Sunday, December 12, we saw an armoured car and two lorries full of soldiers, with trench helmets, &c., halt outside Pulvertaft’s, Lower Oliver Plunkett Street. They broke an entrance into it, and after about eight minutes inside they left again, and drove down Oliver Plunkett Street, turning into Parnell Place in the direction of Parnell’s Bridge.
Auxiliaries and Police Carry their Loot to Union Quay
Auxiliaries Blame the “Black and Tans.” “Hide the Loot”
We, the undersigned, A., B., and C., make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly and sincerely declare on oath that it is the truth to the best of our knowledge and ability.
A.— We remember the night of December 11, 1920. We were putting up the shutters of our premises situate in the centre of the city at 8.45 p.m. We saw a lorry full of Auxiliary police with Glengarry caps pull up in Pembroke Street, opposite Lucy’s shop there. They started searching all passers-by, lining them up against the wall of the General Post Office with their hands over their heads. They were roaring, and firing indiscriminately all round the street. We dropped the shutters on the ground and ran inside for safety of our lives, and bolted the doors.
We went upstairs, and saw through the windows people excitedly fleeing in all directions, and heard the whizzing of shots all round us. The whole place was soon deserted, and after some time things were quiet.
B.— At 9.50 p.m. we made from the shop towards Patrick Street, intending to get to a place of safety close by for the night. As we reached Cash’s corner we saw a young girl coming towards us in a very excited condition. She told us for the love of God not to go any further as they were breaking into Mangan’s jewellery shop and were firing in all directions. No sooner had she spoken than we heard a shot near us. We retreated to the premises again and stayed there for the night. This was at 9.50 p.m.
C.— Just after 10 p.m. we (A. and B.) saw five or six men, some of them wearing Glengarry caps and waterproof coats, others of them wearing R.I.C. caps, come down Winthrop Street and proceed down Pembroke Street to the South Mall. They were laden with large new portmanteaus, so full with stuff that several articles (like woollen scarves) were hanging out of them. They all carried revolvers in their hands. One of them was dressed in civilian attire and had a bundle of stuff under his right arm, a portmanteau in his right hand, and a revolver in his left hand.
D.— About 10.15 p.m. we saw a flare in the sky from the direction, seemingly, of the Munster Arcade or Grant’s. A few minutes later—that is, about 10.20 p.m.—we (A. and B.) saw a body of men, numbering about fourteen or fifteen, come down Pembroke Street from the direction of the South Mall. They were similar to those who had gone up Pembroke Street with the loot just after 10 p.m. They were preceded on this occasion by a man dressed in a mackintosh and light grey cap, and carrying a revolver in his hand. He ran around the corner of the General Post Office sharply and looked up and down Oliver Plunkett Street and up at the windows of the houses near by; he was probably reconnoitring. They went down Winthrop Street.
E.— A taxi came from the direction of the garage in Pembroke Street and followed the party down Winthrop Street. About five or ten minutes afterwards the party returned laden with suit-cases and portmanteaus, some of which appeared heavy, as if containing some goods.
F.— We looked out through the back windows and saw flames in the vicinity of the Munster Arcade. This was just after 10.30 p.m. About 11 p.m. we heard the noise of iron bars being pulled out and glass being smashed in the vicinity of Cash’s. A terrible explosion soon followed, which shook the premises where we were. The explosion appeared to have occurred near Cash’s, and soon afterwards we saw Cash’s in flames, even to the back. We could hear sharp, commanding words being spoken amid the babel of voices, shouting, &c.
G.— Up to one o’clock on Sunday morning we were afraid to venture out, as shots, explosions, &c., were being discharged continuously. At 1 a.m. we left our premises, as we could see that the fire from Cash’s was coming nearer, and we could see people from adjoining premises clearing their premises and leaving them for safety. We were no sooner out than we heard a loud shout: “Get indoors,” spoken in a foreign accent. A shot immediately followed from the direction of the voice (Pembroke Street), and we got indoors again.
H.— It was near 1.30 a.m. when we again went out. We went down Oliver Plunkett Street to look at the Munster Arcade fire. People around were busy withdrawing household effects, &c., from the danger zone. We went into Patrick Street to see the conflagrations. The Munster Arcade, Cash’s, and adjoining property, were a mass of flames. A military lorry was stationed near Luke Burke’s, police were lining the walls opposite Cash’s, and elsewhere, and soldiers were on duty on the streets. We noticed a few Auxiliaries with Glengarry caps, holding revolvers, walking about. A group of girls were speaking to a “Black and Tan” (he was not of the regular type of policeman) on duty, in uniform, opposite Cash’s. Drawing near to him for safety from stray bullets, he said to us: “Clear off the streets, as I don’t know what the Auxiliaries might do; some of their comrades were shot.” He was armed with a rifle. We came down Winthrop Street and remained near the General Post Office for some time, helping here and there.
I.— We again proceeded towards Cash’s, the time being now about 3.30 a.m. We saw Power’s window smashed. Coming back almost immediately we saw a man of an officer type dressed in a sort of leather motoring coat, opposite Power’s. He wore a Glengarry cap, riding breeches, and light grey long hose, revolver in hand. He was very drunk, and shouted: “The first b— I see looting, I’ll shoot him dead.” The accent was English. We (A. and B.) hurried towards the General Post Office. Here we saw an ordinary-sized man, dressed in blue trousers, ordinary civilian coat, and wearing a trench helmet; the time now being about 4.15 a.m., as the mails were coming in. He said to the postman: “Get those mails in quick.” The accent was English. He said to us: “Your place is all right, Mr.—” He said: “I’m soaking wet from the water.” The fellow in the leather coat joined him, and they conversed together for some time. A soldier was playing a hose on the Crystal Bar.
J.— About half an hour later we (C. and B.) were passing Cash’s, and we saw two “Black and Tans” in uniform (one of whom I know to see) and who had loot from Tyler’s, a little under the influence of drink, fire a shot from a revolver into Cash’s, saying: “Still burning.”
K.— Returning to the General Post Office corner, we saw an Auxiliary in khaki tam-o’-shanter and long black overcoat, with a rifle, about 4.30 a.m. Seeing two drunken policemen coming down Winthrop Street laden with boots and shoes, presumably from Tyler’s in Winthrop Street, the Auxiliary said to them: “Hide the loot; don’t let people see it.” They took no notice, but went out of sight. I (B.) heard the Auxiliary then say to a group of civilians near by: “The ‘Black and Tans’ are doing the most of this class of work. We are Auxiliaries, and there might be some black sheep in our crowd, but we are blamed for all this.”
L.— Shortly afterwards, five soldiers came out of Desmond’s Hotel in a very drunken condition. About 5 a.m. the lights around the place extinguished and we came back to our own premises. The Auxiliaries and “Black and Tans” had vanished off the streets and only soldiers remained, presumably on duty, but the majority in a drunken condition. At 7.30 a.m. we came out and made for home.
Police Take Loot to Union Quay. Police Set Fire to the Munster Arcade
I, A. B., do hereby make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly affirm on oath that it is true to the best of my knowledge and ability. I am the proprietor of—Plunkett Street. On the night of December 11 I was in occupation there…. Much shooting and explosions had taken place in the flat of the city from 8.30 p.m. onwards.
A.— At 11.30 p.m. I was looking out of a window overlooking Robert Street and saw two distinct batches of men, numbering five or six in each, come from Patrick Street down Robert Street. They were all dressed in R.I.C. uniform, and from their northern or Scotch accent I knew them not to be the ordinary old R.I.C. Without exception they were all heavily laden with suit-cases, boots, and other articles, and carried revolvers. Just entering Oliver Plunkett Street from Robert Street, the first batch fired a few revolver shots to frighten away onlookers from the windows. Both groups then passed down Morgan Street to the South Mall.
B.— About ten minutes afterwards about twenty-five to thirty men, dressed in R.I.C. uniform, with carbines, came down Oliver Plunkett Street from the direction of Tuckey Street. From their build or walk some of them were old members of the force; but the majority of them were new. They all lined up opposite the Munster Arcade. I saw them rushing across the street into Elbow Lane. I then heard them breaking the door of the Munster Arcade in Elbow Lane. I might mention that when I saw them lined up I saw a large number of them with petrol cans in one hand. After the breaking of the door I heard a bomb explode. Looking out, I saw that the Munster Arcade had been set on fire and that the flames had in fact reached the Robert Street side in the space of a few minutes.
C.— I then told X. that we should leave for safety. The constabulary had moved down Elbow Lane towards Patrick Street. With hardly a sufficiency of clothing X., Y., and myself left the house and got to a place of safety. While leaving, the flames were so great that they singed our hair.
D.— About 1 a.m., Sunday, we made an attempt to come back to try and save some effects, but had only reached Morgan Street when two men in R.I.C. uniform, with revolvers, told us to go back or they would fire on us. The accent was foreign—Scotch. We then went back.
E.— After a short time the cabinet side of the Munster Arcade took fire, and the place where we now were stood in danger. A man dressed in black uniform without belt, and wearing a tam-o’-shanter (black) cap, came and directed us to leave for safety.
F.— We then put up at another place for safety, and remained there. During the whole time, from 1.30 a.m. to about 6 a.m., constabulary were in Oliver Plunkett Street all the time, firing indiscriminately and looting wholesale. Later they appeared to be drunk.
A Resident in the Munster Arcade Tells How it was Set on Fire by R.I.C. Under a Military Officer
(This has since been corroborated.)
I, the undersigned, hereby make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly affirm on oath that it is the truth to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A.— From 9 p.m. onwards, or thereabouts, incessant rifle fire was going on in the flat of the city. About 10 p.m. my attention was drawn by X. to a fire in Patrick Street, in the direction of Grant’s. I went to one of the front windows overlooking Patrick Street, Y. being with me. We noticed Grant’s blazing fiercely, and a tram at the statue also blazing. Opposite Grant’s fire were about fifteen R.I.C. in uniform, carrying rifles; a Crossley tender; and about twelve or fourteen soldiers in khaki and trench helmets. The blaze from the fire enabled us to easily distinguish them. They were merely gazing idly by.
B.— From the group of police opposite Grant’s, police came slowly down Patrick Street in twos and threes. Four or five of them went towards Mangan’s. I heard glass smash soon after in that direction, and a Ford covered-in four-seater motor car came up Winthrop Street and stopped near the statue. The Crossley tender then moved from opposite Grant’s in the direction of Patrick’s Bridge. The police around Mangan’s shouted “cheerio” to the soldiers in the tender, and the soldiers similarly replied. It was simultaneous with the smashing of more glass. People emerged from some houses in or around Mangan’s and went towards Simcox’s, near by, where they were admitted.
C.— I saw a group of police, numbering five or six, in uniform and with rifles, go down Maylor Street from Patrick Street. I do not know whether they came from Mangan’s or not. The time would be roughly after 11 p.m. A few minutes afterwards I heard an explosion in the direction of Maylor Street, and about three minutes afterwards a little bunch of girls and men, carrying handbags and some clothes, came from Maylor Street and went up Patrick Street in the direction of Winthrop Street.
D.— At this time there were three R.I.C., in uniform and with rifles, directly underneath us at the corner of Robert Street, and we could hear the noise of shutters falling and glass breaking, which we judge to be Messrs. Burton’s, tailors. Our view was cut off from the corner of Robert Street to Cash’s corner in Winthrop Street, and we could not see anything in that semi-circle.
E.— There was a shout then from the party that was, as we judged, breaking Burton’s: “The Munster Arcade next!” The accent was foreign, and seemed one of command. All our attention was then concentrated on our own building, and we did not watch elsewhere. Immediately, our shutters underneath were torn down, glass windows smashed, and bombs commenced to explode beneath us in the warehouse.
F.— We went down below to gather the women and men together. When this was done, one girl asked me to go upstairs for a suit of hers, which I did. When I came down they told me that the door in Elbow Lane was after being fired through five or six times. I lifted the window overlooking that door in Elbow Lane, and saw about nine R.I.C., in uniform, with rifles and revolvers, and one man in military officer’s khaki uniform and R.I.C. cap, with a revolver in his hand. I said to them, “There are women in the house.” The officer said, “Hands up!” in an English accent. I told him I had the key of the door, and he said, “Come down and open it.”
G.— I went down, followed by the others, and opened the door in Elbow Lane. There was a burnt smell of powder round the place inside. Rifles and revolvers were presented to us by the men in R.I.C. uniform, and officer. The officer was tall, of medium build, and wore a dark policeman’s cap. The R.I.C. were all of the new recruit type, with the exception of one, who attracted my attention from the start. I looked at him sharply, and he turned his head away. I recognised him as one of the old R.I.C. whom I had often seen in plain clothes, on detective duty at —, and stationed at Union Quay…. To the best of my knowledge I saw no rifle or revolver with him, and I immediately formed the opinion that he was a guide for the remainder.
H.— The officer ordered us twenty-five yards away from the door, up Elbow Lane, and we were halted outside Wood’s gate, half way up Elbow Lane. Two R.I.C., young, with English accents, remained in charge of us, covering us with revolvers. About three or four petrol tins were on the ground opposite Sunner’s door in Elbow Lane. The lamp was lighting over our door, and we could see things plainly. I had also put on the electric light inside. I saw the officer and a R.I.C. man take the petrol tins and go upstairs in the Arcade. They were there about two minutes, and were down only about five steps of the stairs—where we were was directly opposite the door, and with lights on the stairs we could see everything plainly—when the dining-hall and the top of the staircase went in flames. The flames came out through the windows.
I.— While the police below were waiting, they put dark masks on, covering the upper portion of their faces, with openings for the eyes. One of the women asked one of the two R.I.C. guarding us, “What did the Arcade do that ye set it on fire?” He said, “Ye said nothing when our men were getting shot; it’s our turn now.” She asked if we were in any danger, and he said that the women weren’t, but that he didn’t know so much about the men.
J.— When the officer and the R.I.C. man came down, the officer gave the order to let us go. We went in the direction of Oliver Plunkett Street. As we approached Oliver Plunkett Street we noticed a body of men going up Morgan Street, after coming from the direction of Robert Street. We took these to be refugees, as they were loaded with cardboard boxes and other objects. We went up Oliver Plunkett Street towards them, when four or five revolver shots were fired by them in our direction.
K.— We started to run, and turned up Cook Street to get to the Victoria Hotel, when a R.I.C. man, issuing from Elbow Lane into Cook Street, shouted at us to get back. The accent was foreign. We retreated and went towards Marlboro’ Street, where we found refuge.
L.— We were there only about ten minutes when the glass window of our place of refuge was smashed. We heard the windows of every establishment on our side of Marlboro’ Street, including the Y.M.C.A. Hall, being smashed in like manner.
M.— We saw no more that night, but heard explosions, shots, and smashing of glass until 7 a.m. Sunday morning. One of the girls told me that when we were lined up in Elbow Lane it had just struck twelve.
Military on Duty Applaud the Looters: “That’s the Stuff to Give Them”
A.— About 9.10 p.m. a crowd of about twenty-two men, dressed as civilians, passed down Patrick Street from the direction of Patrick’s Bridge; some were masked, at least two wore white rubber shoes, most had revolvers in their hands. About 10 to 10 p.m. (by my watch) there was a bomb explosion near Grant’s, whose premises were not visible from where I was. About 10.15 p.m. I saw flames shooting up from Grant’s.
B.— Then I saw the same men coming back again in twos and threes. About 10.30 p.m. I heard an explosion near Cash’s, and some time later I saw flames in the lower portion of the premises. I saw men smashing the shutters and glass of the Munster Arcade. They looted the windows and put the stuff into big canvas bags; they went down Cook Street and also Bowling Green Street with the bags. I then heard some heavy explosions inside the Munster Arcade and then the fire broke out quickly. While the Munster Arcade was being looted military came along in a lorry, halted, and shouted to the looters: “That’s the stuff to give them; pour it on.” The military were in highland dress.
C.— I saw, later on, similar or identical men looting Nunan’s public-house in Cook Street. They smashed the glass and brought out drink. Some while after I heard the voice of a woman shouting: “I live here,” and a voice with a distinctly English accent replying: “Get inside, get inside.”
I noticed the curious fact that O’Regan’s lit from the top.
D.— About 3.30 a.m. I saw local police clearing away the “Black and Tans” off the street.
Uniformed Looters at Cash’s. Military on Duty Encourage
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920, I was staying in the flat of the city. About 9 p.m. I saw the Auxiliaries hold up pedestrians on Patrick’s Bridge. They used filthy and threatening language to the people and ordered them away, at the same time firing indiscriminately.
B.— About this time a tram-car came into Patrick Street from the direction of Bridge Street. The Auxiliaries stopped same and ordered both driver and conductor away. They broke in the glass of the tram-car and shortly afterwards set it on fire.
C.— I withdrew for a short time after this incident, but, hearing incessant firing, hammering, crashing of glass, &c., I returned to see how things fared. I now saw the Auxiliaries near Evans’s bookshop. I heard the man in charge say: “Break it in, break it in.” The order was obeyed, and then they moved on. About this time a number of civilians came out of a house near by, and these were fired on, and ran for shelter.
D.— I withdrew for a second time, and again returned, my attention being attracted by the breaking of glass. I saw a number of men, most of whom were in uniform of varying descriptions, coming out of Cash’s carrying bags, which seemed to be full. They moved quickly away from the shop, down several of the side streets. After this I heard several explosions, which appeared to come from Cash’s. The whole place burst into flames and soon was burning fiercely. During the course of the fire some of the Auxiliaries came on the scene. They were shouting and dancing on the roadway, and I saw one wearing what appeared to me to be a lady’s jumper.
E.— While the fire was on, a lorry of military came from the direction of Patrick’s Bridge. They were apparently the curfew patrol. They yelled as they passed the burning tram-car, and one of their number shouted, as they passed Cash’s: “That’s the stuff to give them.”
F.— From this onwards, I heard the continuous din of revolver and rifle-firing, explosions, the crashing of falling glass, &c., which appeared to be going on in the neighbourhood.
About 4 a.m., I heard an officer, who was near the corner of Merchant Street, and who seemed to be in charge of a squad of soldiers, say: “Keep it up, men, and good night.”
G.— During the night and early morning, I saw none of the Crown forces giving any help to combat the conflagration which was going on within my view. The majority of the Auxiliaries and “Black and Tans” were drunk, but the soldiers appeared to be sober, and so could have rendered help in combating the flames.
I, the undersigned, do solemnly swear and affirm that the foregoing testimony is the truth to the best of my knowledge and ability.
An Officer Leads a Troop of Window Smashers
I remember the night of December 11-12, 1920, I was residing in the South Mall. About 2 a.m. on Sunday morning I saw a body of about fourteen to sixteen men, in charge of an officer in uniform, go through movements of a military nature on the South Mall. They formed into two files, and the leading man in each file carried what appeared to be an iron bar; the remainder carried rifles. They went through Marlboro’ Street, and began to smash windows on both sides of the street. Later, I saw a similar party resting themselves on the footpaths of the South Mall.
I, the undersigned, do hereby solemnly affirm that the above statement is the truth, to the best of my knowledge and ability.
Police Loot and Bully
A.—I, A. B., of—Cook Street, Cork, do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare that on the night of December 11-12, 1920, I saw three men, carrying rifles, breaking the windows of O’Sullivan’s shop (tobacconist), situated at the corner of Oliver Plunkett Street and Marlboro’ Street. Two were dressed in raincoats and soft hats, and one wore the khaki uniform of the British army.
B.— Later, about 12.80 a.m., two members of what are called the “old R.I.C.” came from Patrick Street, and one—a sergeant—fired three shots from his revolver over the heads of the crowd of about twelve people, mostly women, who had come out of the burning houses. Some time after, the same two came into my lodgings and ordered out several women, with their few belongings, to whom my landlady had given shelter, saying they would be safer on the streets. These men were under the influence of drink.
B.—About 1 a.m., five “Black and Tans” tried to force in the door of O’Callaghan’s public-house, and only desisted when the key was given them by Miss O’Callaghan, who was on the street at the time. They then went inside, and subsequently I saw several of these and the military, who came with the fire brigade, under the influence of drink, so much so that some of the military were quarrelling and fighting between themselves, and one actually attacked his officer.
C.— Re the fire at Forrest’s. Some time after the bomb explosions had ended, and when the streets seemed safe, I went up to Patrick Street to help in salving some of the goods. When the fire brigade came, a man wearing a soft hat and frieze overcoat, and brandishing a revolver, ordered the civilians, who were assisting the brigade, and those who were operating the hose belonging to the Examiner office, to clear. I noticed that this individual had the uniform of the R.I.C. under his overcoat. I saw him speaking to a man in R.I.C. uniform who came on the scene, and who was apparently an officer of some sort, judging by his dress. All this time he had the revolver in his hand. Then I saw him fire six rounds, and after a few minutes upwards of ten men in R.I.C. uniforms, carrying rifles, appeared, some from Cook Street direction, others coming down Patrick Street. I saw this man fraternising with them, and then we were ordered away by these people.
Statement of Members of Auxiliary R.I.C., Dunmanway, December 16, 1920
“We did it.” “Orgies of Murder, Arson, and Looting”
A.— We came on here from Cork and are billeted in a workhouse—filthily dirty. Half the company are down with bronchitis. I am at present in bed … recovering from a severe chill contracted on Saturday night last during the burning and looting of Cork, in all of which I took perforce a reluctant part. We did it all right. Never mind how much the well-intentioned Hamar Greenwood would excuse us.
B.— In all my life and in all the tales of fiction I have read, I have never experienced such orgies of murder, arson, and looting as I have witnessed during the past sixteen days with the R.I.C. Auxiliaries. It baffles description. And we are supposed to be ex-officers and gentlemen. There are quite a number of decent fellows and likewise a lot of ruffians.
C.— On our arrival here from Cork one of our heroes held up a car with a priest and a civilian in it and shot them both through the head without cause or provocation. We were very kindly received by the people; but the consequence of this cold-blooded murder is that no one will come within a mile of us now, and all shops are closed. The brute who did it has been sodden with drink for some time and has been sent to Cork under arrest for examination by experts in lunacy. If certified sane, he will be court-martialled and shot. The poor old priest was sixty-five, and everybody’s friend.
D.— The burning and sacking of Cork followed immediately on the ambush of our men…. Twenty men for a raid … left the barracks in two motor cars…. The party had not got 100 yards from barracks when bombs were thrown at them from over a wall. One dropped in a car and wounded eight men, one of whom has since died.
E.— Very naturally the rest of the company were enraged. The houses in the vicinity of the ambush were set alight, and from there the various parties set out on their mission of destruction. Many who witnessed similar scenes in France and Flanders say that nothing they had experienced was comparable to the punishment meted out to Cork. I got back to barracks at 4 a.m.
F.— Reprisals are necessary, and loyal Irishmen agree. But there is a lot done which should not be done. Of course, it is frequently unavoidable that the innocent suffer with the guilty….
G.— A General Higginson arrived this morning to have a “straight talk” to us about discipline, &c., as he put it. I am afraid we struck terror into him, for the “straight talk” never materialised. He was most amiable.
 Needless to say this man was found to be “insane” by the court martial.
[Owing to difficulties which will doubtless be readily appreciated, it has not been possible up to the time of going to press to secure the signature to this statement. Hence its publication is deferred.]
Police Loot Hilser’s in the Grand Parade
(See Map No. 5.)
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920. I heard a loud report of firing just before 10 p.m. I looked out through my window and noticed a big fire, which I took to be at that portion of Messrs. Grant & Co.’s premises in Patrick Street. The night was naturally bright, and the fire illuminated the whole street such that it was easy to discern any object. The city lamps were also lighting.
B.— Shortly after 10 p.m. I looked out of the window to ascertain the nature of the firing, and distinctly saw two R.I.C. policemen at the Berwick Fountain in the middle of the Grand Parade. They were quite unconcerned about the firing, and made no move whatever. I thought the firing came from the direction of Patrick Street. I saw the two R.I.C. mentioned above, now joined by two or three more who came from the direction of Tuckey Street Police Barracks, run in the direction of Oliver Plunkett (formerly George’s) Street, presumably to get to the scene of the burning. I came away from the window, and returning to it again after a few minutes I saw several R.I.C. policemen at the side of the Grand Parade which contains the back of Grant’s premises. One of them, whom I recognised as a policeman whom I knew, was engaged in knocking at the doors of the house to awaken the inhabitants. He was warning the people to be in readiness lest the back of the premises might catch fire. Several left their houses with various articles in their hands. They were partly dressed, and some carried beds on their heads.
C.— Just as three people were leaving one of the houses, two soldiers, accompanied by a man dressed in a dark civilian coat, appeared on the Parade, having come from the direction of Patrick Street, where the fire was. I was alarmed by a loud shout from the one in the dark coat. “Get inside,” he said. His accent was strange to me. The three people mentioned before seemed to remonstrate, but he again ordered them indoors, and they obeyed. They were barely indoors when the two soldiers and the man in civilian attire fired shots through the shutters on the windows of Messrs. Hilser (jewellers). The shots frightened me, and I drew back from the window. When I looked out again after about five minutes they were gone, but Hilser’s window shutters were down on the footpath.
D.— About eight or ten minutes afterwards I noticed three “Black and Tans” armed with rifles, slung over their shoulders, coming from the direction of either Oliver Plunkett (Old George’s) Street or Tuckey Street. I knew they were “Black and Tans” because they had not the general appearance of the regular R.I.C. Two of them wore heavy overcoats, and the third had none. They were young looking. Two doors beyond Hilser’s they stopped and spoke to someone in a hall. They entered, and the door closed. Two or three minutes afterwards two curfew lorries and an armoured car came round the Parade corner from Patrick Street, and proceeded without halting in the direction of the South Mall. About six or seven minutes afterwards the three “Black and Tans” came out, and turned round the Parade corner into Patrick Street.
E.— The place was deserted until about 11.30 p.m., much shouting taking place in the meantime in the direction of the fire, when from twenty-five to thirty men, walking in a bunch, the majority of them dressed in trench coats and wearing soft hats, none of them in uniform, came from Washington Street and proceeded immediately down Oliver Plunkett Street. They were conversing loudly among themselves, and their accents were strange. Unconsciously I assumed that they were the incendiary party, and I exclaimed to myself: “Surely they are the men who are committing the burnings.”
F.— Shortly after I saw about ten or twelve of the same kind of men cross from Oliver Plunkett Street to the Munster Furnishing Co. in Grand Parade. They may be portion of the large body that had entered Oliver Plunkett Street previously, or a new party. There was noise outside the Munster Furnishing Co. (the proprietor is Mr. Sean Jennings, chairman of the Cork Poor Law Guardians), and after an interval of a few minutes I heard at least three bomb explosions—judging from the noise they made. I also heard the pulling down of shutters and the smashing of glass. I looked far out of the window, and distinctly saw three of the party come from Mr. Jennings’ shop and go in the direction of Messrs. Singer’s at the corner of the Parade and Washington Street. I drew my head in, as I was afraid to look any longer. A few minutes afterwards I heard the pulling down of shutters and the smashing of glass. The noise came from a spot about midway between Jennings’ and Singer’s.
All this took place about 12 midnight. The nearness of the incendiaries compelled me to keep away from the window for some time.
G.— Between about 12.45 a.m. and 1.15 a.m. I heard the tramp of feet again, and, going to the window, I saw about a dozen men, half of the civilian type and half “Black and Tans” (I knew they were “Black and Tans” as the ordinary old R.I.C. build is easy to distinguish), come round the corner of the Parade from Patrick Street. They did not move as a crowd, but followed in twos and threes silently and noiselessly. This party halted at Hilser’s. About half the number entered, making much noise, such as the breaking of more glass to give them further room for entering. I saw two or three flash lamps being moved about inside.
From seven to ten minutes afterwards they came out one after the other, at intervals of about fifteen to thirty seconds. Each one was well laden, civilian type and “Black and Tan.” About five of them carried large white bags like a soldier’s long kit bag. These were full, and must have been heavy, as it gave each of them enough to do to carry his own bag. The few others had dark bags of the same style, and these were also full. They had a few portmanteaus, which appeared heavily laden. They went in the direction of Patrick Street, around the Parade corner.
H.— After an interval of about seven minutes, judging from number, appearance, &c., the same party of men returned to Hilser’s. They were no sooner inside that the noise of lorries was heard. The majority of the looters glided singly from Hilser’s towards Oliver Plunkett Street. The two lorries came round the Parade corner from Patrick Street and halted at the Berwick Fountain. One of the military officers, dressed in khaki, got out and crossed over to the men who had stopped outside Buckley’s corner of Oliver Plunkett Street. He addressed some one of them, and returned to his lorry. The two lorries moved off towards the South Mall. Those men again returned to Hilser’s, their confederates who were left behind in the shop moving their torch-lamps to and fro immediately the lorries left.
After five minutes the party left Hilser’s again, laden as before, and proceeded in the same direction. I did not see this party with rifles, but they may have had revolvers. During the looting at Hilser’s I remarked to my companion : “They must be looting P.D. Buckley’s shop as well.” P. D. Buckley’s is next door to Hilser’s, and had no shutters.
I.— This action filled me with so much disgust that I retired from the window and went to bed at about 1.50 a.m. I could not sleep. There was noise all the time. I heard it several times in Hilser’s direction. I lay awake in bed until about 5.30 a.m. I got up and went to the window on hearing a parodied version of the Soldier’s Song being sung by three drunken men. I could catch the portion of the refrain, “Ireland never will be free.”
I saw the three forms near the Central Boot Stores in the Grand Parade. All the city lights were now out, and it was dark. They hadn’t finished their singing when the noise of the smashing of glass in Washington Street was heard. I exclaimed to my companion, “It’s O’Sullivan and Howard’s.” The three drunken men immediately shouted out in a foreign accent: “It’s all right boys.” They, however, proceeded in the direction of Patrick Street, and I heard no more.
Police and Soldiers Loot Hilser’s
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920; I was staying in a house in the Grand Parade. At about 9.50 p.m. I heard loud reports like shots or bombs. Between 10.5 p.m. and 10.10 p.m. I noticed a big fire, which I concluded was at Grant’s premises. Two or three R.I.C. policemen had been standing by the fountain, smoking. After about twenty minutes, when the fire was making progress, the three went waking the people living on that side of the Parade which runs by the back of Grant’s premises. The people were leaving their houses, partly dressed, with bags and other small things in their hands, when suddenly three soldiers appeared, one of them wearing a civilian overcoat. This one in the black coat gave a loud order in a distinct tone of command: “Get inside.” He spoke with a foreign accent. Some of the people ran, but others, not realising what was happening, remained until, with the giving of the order for the second or third time, he fired shots from his revolver through Hilser’s jeweller’s shop.
B.— They then pulled down the shutters and smashed the glass window. The three then looted a little, being helped by “Black and Tans,” who also appeared on the scene. These latter had rifles strapped over their shoulders. When curfew lorries appeared on the Grand Parade these looters dodged, three going inside Miss O’Driscoll’s door, which is alongside the Central Boot Stores. The lorries went away, and the looters again returned to Hilser’s.
C.— About 11.30 p.m., from twenty to thirty men, wearing trench coats and soft hats, came from the direction of Washington Street and crossed the Parade to Oliver Plunkett Street. They then proceeded to Sean Jennings’ furniture shop (Munster Furnishing Co., owned by Mr. Sean Jennings, chairman of the Cork Poor Law Guardians). could hear the tearing down of shutters, the breaking of glass, and loud reports for a considerable time.
D.—The loot of Hilser’s continued through the night at different periods by police or “Black and Tans.” About 1.30 a.m. a party of them broke every bit of glass in Hilser’s, and with the aid of flash-lamps which they used inside I could see them looting the entire shop. The party consisted of men in civilian attire, “Black and Tans” or R.I.C., and two soldiers in khaki who had their rifles strapped on their shoulders. When they were there about fifteen minutes, right opposite where I was watching, they produced large kit-bags and several large soft bags; these they filled with the loot from Hilser’s. At this juncture a lorry appeared, but I do not know what happened as I was afraid to look out for fear of being seen.
E.— At 5.30 a.m. some of the police or “Black and Tans” appeared at Hilser’s. They were falling drunk, and were singing a parody on the “Soldier’s Song,” called “Ireland never will be free.” At this time I could hear glass being broken in the direction of Washington Street, near St. Augustine’s Church.
During the whole night that the above was going on, shots and loud reports could be heard at all times, and fires were lighting up the whole city.
I solemnly affirm and swear that the foregoing testimony is, to the best of my knowledge and ability, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and that same was given by me voluntarily. So help me God.
Police Loot Hilser’s
I hereby state that, on the night of December 11-12, I observed a party consisting of about twelve or thirteen men, some wearing the R.I.C. uniform, others wearing R.I.C. coats and military caps, approach the premises of Hilser’s, Grand Parade. After a few minutes they proceeded to remove the shutters by the aid of the rifles which they carried, and next broke in the windows. All this time, one of the party played the light of an electric hand torch on the window. By the aid of this light I could plainly see them remove some of the contents of the window. None of the party entered the shop.
Buckley’s, tobacconists, next door, was then broken into, the shutters and glass being broken. I did not see them take anything from this shop. All this occurred between the hours of twelve and one o’clock. Three shots were fired by this party. Having broken Buckley’s they then disappeared.
Attack on Jennings’s Shop
(See Map, No. 3. Note the proximity to Tuckey Street Police Barracks.)
I, the undersigned, do make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly declare that it is the truth to the best of my knowledge and ability.
I remember the night of the 11th; I was in my home at—Grand Parade, having supper about 10 p.m. The first thing I heard was some commotion downstairs. I looked out the window and saw a few policemen in uniform at the fountain, which is almost directly opposite my house. I came downstairs, and saw the light of a fire. I immediately concluded that some building was on fire, but at the time I was unable to say where the fire was. Mr. K., who also lives in the house, was at the door, and he said to me that he believed that it was the Grand Parade Market was on fire. I went upstairs and helped to dress X. and Y., so as to be ready to leave. I then came downstairs, and Mr. K. was still at the door, and he told me that he had been ordered in. So then I went upstairs again, and looked through the window to see if there was any immediate danger. I next saw a group of men in civilian dress tearing down the shutters from Mr. Jennings’s shop opposite me. They smashed the windows with the shutters, and threw two bombs into the shop, and these exploded with a loud noise. Mr. A. (No. 56) came out and spoke to the crowd, which now included some uniformed police from Tuckey Street R.I.C. Barracks close by. The crowd in civilian dress then went off in the direction of the South Mall, and the uniformed police went back to their barracks in Tuckey Street.
Why the Burning of Jennings’s Shop was so Easily Stopped
A.— Attack on 68 Grand Parade (Jennings’s furniture shop) on Saturday night, December 11, 1920. When I saw them first they were in a crowd of thirty, as far as I could judge. I was looking through the window upstairs. Then when passing my place, one of them made a remark, “Come along, lads, here we are.” They broke in the place, and in a few minutes after there was a loud explosion. Some of the attacking party were in uniform. Shortly after, the lorries came from the direction of the South Mall and the crowd disappeared.
B.— I came downstairs and saw a friend coming across the street for shelter. She went back with X., and on coming back to my house they met an officer, who accompanied them to my house. He asked them what was the matter. X. told him that she was taking the old lady to a place of shelter. He took some bedding to her. While crossing the road a shot was fired at the Market Gate, presumably into the market.
C.— I went out when I saw the officer, and asked were they going to burn that house (No. 63); if they do, I said, “my house and—will go.” He replied that he didn’t know. A policeman who had come on the scene remarked that if they did the barrack, which contained a lot of explosives, would be in danger. The military officer replied, “We must try and prevent that.” The attacking parties did not come back any more.
D.— The looting at Hilser’s went on practically all night, the crowd coming and going all during curfew, disappearing when the lorries appeared.
The parties whom I had taken in remained until seven next morning.
Attempt to Set Fire to Shop, Priory, and Church
Police Looters. “That’s for His Young Lady”
(See Map, No. 6 (a), for Murphy Bros, (drapers and tailors), S. Augustine’s Priory and Church.)
I remember the night of December 11, 1920. I did not go to bed that night consequent on the happenings near by us in Patrick Street.
A.— About 6 a.m. I heard a noise of the smashing of glass on the street beneath us. I went to the top rooms of the Priory and, looking out of a window overlooking Washington Street, I saw by the light of the city lamp outside the church door what seemed to be a bundle of clothes on the pavement outside Murphy Bros.’ I saw a man dressed in policeman’s uniform, between the clothes and Murphy’s window, in a stooping position. He had something in his hand—some drapery article. Somebody shouted “robbers!” from a window on the opposite side, and I drew my head in and looked no more.
B.— I immediately ‘phoned Union Quay Police Barracks for police protection, telling them that three policemen were looting Murphy Bros.’, Washington Street, and that we feared they would break into our church. (I mentioned three, as I had heard one of the Community mention that that number of them were there.) They referred me to the Bridewell, and I got what I thought was a giggle from them for my pains. They promised to send assistance. I also ‘phoned the fire brigade, and they sent along a man. Before this man arrived, Bro. M., Fr. R., Dr. M., Fr. O., and myself extinguished the fires in Murphy Bros.’ with buckets of water. We had received warning of this fire from Mrs. C. across the street, about a quarter of an hour after I had come away from the window, as mentioned above. The fire was extinguished about 6.30 a.m., and I went back to the Priory and had some tea.
C.— Hearing footsteps outside about 7 a.m., I went out, thinking it was looters. The firemen had departed to call the owners of Murphy Bros.’ I saw two men in police uniforms, with plain tunics without belts, one carrying a revolver in his hand, outside Murphys’. Thinking they had come from the Bridewell in answer to my ‘phone call, I went over to them and said: “I’m glad you have come.”
One of them asked me for a pencil to take down the name of the shop. He spoke with a decided English accent. I went back to the Priory and brought him a pencil, and he noted something in his note-book. I still stopped there after he had handed me back the pencil, when a third man, wearing a heavy dark policeman’s overcoat and policeman’s cap and brown boots, came out through Murphys’ broken window. He was carrying a black kit-bag, with the sleeve of a pink golf coat hanging out of one side. He calmly stopped and put the sleeve in. The other two policemen said something to him, and he proceeded towards Keane’s comer, where he met another policeman. They went down the South Main Street.
As the policeman with the bag was moving away, the policeman that asked me for the pencil said to me: “That’s for his young lady,” meaning, of course, the golf coat and other articles he had. His accent was a Cockney one. With that, he and his companion placed the shutters loosely against the hole in the window, said good morning, and left. I then went in to Mass at 7.30 a.m.
I swear and affirm that the foregoing testimony is, to the best of my knowledge and ability, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and that the same was given by me voluntarily, so help me God.
Corroboration. An Officer Joins in the Loot.
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920. I heard the noise of explosions and firing throughout the entire night in the direction of Patrick’s Street and Grand Parade, from my house in Washington Street. I heard bodies of men tramping up and down Washington Street at various periods in the early hours of Sunday morning, December 12.
B.— At 5.45 a.m. (by my watch), as I was lying in bed, I was awakened by the crash of glass near by. I got up and went to the window overlooking Washington Street. I saw six men—three of them dressed in policeman’s heavy overcoats and caps—and an officer in khahi [khaki] uniform breeches and ordinary military cap, outside Murphy Bros.’, Washington Street. The city lamp opposite St. Augustine’s Church, near by, was lighting. I saw the five men go through the broken window and enter the shop. The officer remained outside. He walked down to the corner of Washington Street and the Parade.
C.— I saw those inside the shop light something, which continued lighting for about five minutes and then went out. Two or three of them came out in the street with overcoats and put them on over their own. I again saw something lighting inside, which continued for another five or six minutes. The remainder of them then came out on the street. They threw a lot of clothes on the street. Loading themselves with a plentiful supply of clothes, three of them went up Washington Street, and two of them and the officer went towards the Parade. Two of the first three went up the North Main Street, and the other the South Main Street. One returned from the Parade dressed in khaki overcoat, having divested himself of the new overcoat and the other goods at the Parade. He went in through the window, and I saw a fire immediately start inside for the third time. He came out, having some small things in his hand that he took off the fancy counter. He went towards Grand Parade.
D.— Four women came from the Parade about 6.15 a.m. and took what clothes had been left behind on the street. They immediately decamped through the North Main Street.
E.— The fire was assuming larger proportions, and, fearing to go out myself on account of the shooting going on all round, I called aloud for Fr. O., at the Augustinian Presbytery, saying: “Murphy Bros.’ is on fire.” I told the person who came to the Priory window to bring down a bucket of water at once, which they did after a while. They went into Murphy Bros.’ and outed the fire.
After that I retired to bed and saw no more.
Narrow Escape of the Church
I do make the following statement voluntarily, and solemnly affirm on oath that it is the truth to the best of my knowledge and ability.
I remember the night of December 11, 1920. My premises at 47 Washington Street, Cork, were checked carefully, shuttered, and locked at 8.45 p.m. I proceeded homewards.
I received a call from my charge-hand at 8.30 a.m., Sunday, December 12, who acquainted me that my premises in Washington Street had been broken into and an attempt made to burn them.
I proceeded to Washington Street, and arrived there at 8.50 a.m. I found the shutters of my premises taken down, the recess or rest for them hacked and broken, and one of the large plate-glass windows broken through. A large quantity of goods were missing from the window and also from fixtures inside. The floor of the shop was petrolled, and an attempt made to burn the place by burning woollen scarves, which increase in flame slowly. Part of the counter got burned before the fire was extinguished. One coat was partly burned and some small silk hose goods.
If the scarves had been cotton they would be much more inflammable, and the flames from them would have probably destroyed the premises before assistance could be obtained. If my premises once got well alight nothing could have saved the adjoining church and overhead presbytery and houses near by. The presbytery and church are the property of the Augustinian Order.
Two Boys Murdered in their Aged Father’s Presence
“Are You a Sinn Feiner?” Strong English Accent
I, Daniel Delany, of Dublin Hill, Cork, do solemnly declare and affirm that the following statement is true to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A.— I remember the morning of December 12 (Sunday). About 2 a.m. a number of men came to my door and demanded admission in a loud voice, and beat the door harshly. I opened the door, and they called me out. The man who seemed to be in command asked if I was a Sinn Feiner. I answered, “I don’t understand you.” He then said, “Are you interested in politics?” I answered, “I am an old man and not interested in anything.” He then asked, “Who is inside?” I said, “Nobody but my family.” “Can I see them?” said he. “Certainly,” I said. “They are in bed.” He asked me to show them up.
B.— At least eight men entered the house and went upstairs. A large number remained outside, as I could hear them moving and see them in the yard. The men who went upstairs entered my sons’ bedroom, and said, in a harsh voice, “Get up out of that.” I was in the room with them. My sons got up and stood at the bedside. They asked them if their name was Delany. My sons answered, “Yes.” At that moment I heard distinctly two or more shots, and my two boys fell immediately.
C.— Immediately after, my brother-in-law, William Dunlea, who was sleeping in the same room in another bed, was fired on by the same party, and wounded in two places. My brother-in-law is over sixty years of age. As far as I could see, they wore long overcoats, and spoke with a strong English accent.
Murderer “in Soldier’s Uniform.” “Why Bother About a Priest?”
(The sisters of the murdered Delanys will be called V, X, Y, and Z in these depositions.)
I, V. Delany, of Dublin Hill, Cork, do solemnly declare and affirm that the following is a true statement to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A.— On the morning of December 12, 1920, at about 2 a.m., I was awakened by a loud knocking at the door and shouting outside demanding the door to be opened. My father answered he was coming. He came downstairs and opened the door leading into the yard. At the same time another party kept shouting at the front door. Not hearing my father’s voice, I came to the landing. There were a number of men at the foot of the stairs. They called on me to procure a light. I got a light and came down towards them. They rushed up the stairs, and asked me where the boys slept. I pointed out the door to them. They rushed me into the room before them. They looked at my uncle (Mr. Dunlea), who slept in the same room, and seemed surprised. They turned immediately and looked at the bed where my brothers slept. I distinctly saw a man in soldier’s uniform push his way in front of me, and shouted at my brothers to get up. They did so, and stood side by side. He asked each his name, pointing a revolver at each at the same time. The names were hardly uttered when he fired first at Jeremiah and then at Con, who received two bullets. He turned to go, pushing me before him.
B.— I was terrified. I came downstairs and shut the door they had left the house by (front door). I came back to shut the door leading to the yard, and saw a number of men in long black overcoats, some of them having their faces disguised by handkerchiefs. I remained waiting for them to go. They heard walking upstairs, and asked me who was up there. I answered, “My father and sisters, and the dead boys.” They repeated the question, and made an attempt to go upstairs. I gave the same answer, adding “the men you murdered.” The man who asked the question dashed past me, with a revolver in one hand and a torchlight in the other. He met my sister, Y., on the stairs, and I could hear her beseeching him not to go up, as the boys were dead.
C.— While this conversation was going on I heard a motor car moving off, making a great noise. The party mentioned above remained in the house after this motor leaving for about a quarter of an hour. One of the party then said, “We had better go now”; and they left.
D.—While I was in the kitchen my sister asked permission to go for a priest, and she was refused by this party of men. She asked again, and was again refused. She then tried to force her way, but was prevented, one of the men saying, “If the house is all right, why bother about a priest?”
“In Military Uniform”
I, X. Delany, of Dublin Hill, Cork, do solemnly swear and affirm that the following statement is true to the best of my knowledge and ability.
I remember the morning of December 12, 1920. My sister Y. called me at about 2 a.m. I got up and dressed; then entered my brothers’ bedroom and saw the condition of things there.
I ran down the stairs with the intention of going for the priest. I went to the kitchen door, but was prevented from leaving the house by men dressed in long overcoats. I persisted in going out, and one man said to me, “If the house is all right there is no need for a priest.”
I returned to the kitchen, and saw a man rush over to my sister V. with a revolver in his hand. I looked towards the door, and distinctly saw a man in military uniform lean forward as if to look into the kitchen.
I wish to corroborate my sister Y.’s statement in general.
I asked my brother Con (now deceased), whilst in hospital, if he knew who shot him, and he said it was the “Black and Tans.”
A.— I remember the morning of December 12, 1920. At about 2 a.m. I was awakened by a loud knocking at the door. I arose, and went towards my brothers’ bedroom. I saw a number of men going downstairs, their backs towards me. I entered my brothers’ room, and saw my brother, Jeremiah, lying on the floor; he was not then dead, his lips were moving. My brother Con was lying in the bed in a pool of blood. I ran out and got the Crucifix. I asked my brother to kiss the Crucifix. He did so, and put up his hand to keep silent. I then presented the Crucifix to Jeremiah, and asked him to kiss it. As I did so, he turned his head towards me and I put the Crucifix to his lips. He died immediately. I left the room to get bandages. I got some, and left them in the room.
B.— As I was going downstairs to go for a priest and doctor, I met a man coming towards me with a revolver and torchlight. I asked him where he was going, or was he going to kill more of us? I do not know the reply he made. He tried to push past me. I put my two hands to his chest and besought him, for God’s sake, not to go up as they were all dead. He persisted in his efforts, and said, “Is there anybody belonging to me up there,” in a foreign accent. My father answered, “Nobody but dead men.”
C.— He then left. I followed him to the door. He said something to a number of men who were downstairs, and they left the house. As I was crossing the road, just outside the house, going for a nurse, I saw a motor car on the road, about 150 yards away. The lights of the car were facing me, in the direction of my father’s house. Before I got out of bed I heard a motor car stopping outside the gate leading to the yard.
D.— I went to the nearest telephone office and rang up the fire station, and asked to send an ambulance. I got a reply stating that there was no ambulance available, that there were a number of houses on fire in Patrick Street, and that the men were afraid to go out as there was considerable firing in Patrick Street. It was then about 3.30 a.m. We procured a priest from the Presbytery (North Cathedral) at 4 a.m. He advised me to telephone again for the ambulance. We did so at 8 p.m., and the Union ambulance arrived and took my brother Con to the Mercy Hospital. He died on Saturday, December 18.
“We May Get £40 or £50 Out of This.”
I, Z. Delany, of Dublin Hill, Cork, do solemnly declare and affirm that the following statement is true.
I wish to corroborate my sister Y.’s statement, with the following addition. When the man who tried to push his way past my sister upstairs, and shouted to them, “Anybody belonging to me up there?” my father answering them said, “Nobody but dead men.” He then returned, and said to his comrades, “We may get £40 or £50 out of this.”
A Fraudulent Military Inquiry. Report Censored. Verdict Faked
(This statement is signed by the parties concerned and by several witnesses who were present at the sitting of the British Labour Commission in Cork. As the full evidence was laid before the Commission, it is unnecessary to reproduce here all the details. Mr. Coleman’s house is marked 27 on the map.)
James Coleman, licensed vintner and mineral water manufacturer, 18 North Mall, Cork, was murdered at 3.15 a.m. on the morning of November 18, 1920. In the Press of November 19, there was published an official account from Dublin Castle, which stated that he had been on friendly terms with the police and had been shot by four civilians. Mrs. Coleman demanded a public inquiry, especially in view of this deliberate false official report. The Court of Inquiry opened on November 22. Mrs. Coleman, her representative, and the Press were present. The court informed them that the inquiry was public. The court adjourned until November 25. At the adjourned sitting Mrs. Coleman gave her evidence. She denied that any civilians came near the house on the occasion. The authorities refused to produce or call a “Black and Tan” from the neighbouring Shandon Barracks (about seventy or eighty yards from Mr. Coleman’s house), who called on Mrs. Coleman five minutes after her husband’s murder. They also refused to produce the bullets found in the house, which Mrs. Coleman had handed to the police. The court also refused to receive the evidence of herself and the barmaid concerning the visit, six weeks prior to the murder, of a “Black and Tan” from the neighbouring barracks who had threatened her husband with a revolver and actually fired a shot in the shop; Mr. Coleman had sought protection from General Strickland against this man, but received no reply to his appeal.
At the subsequent visit of the British Labour Commission to Cork, Mrs. Coleman repeated her evidence in detail; additional evidence was also laid before the Commissioners. Mrs. Coleman swore that the murderer was a tall well-built man, wearing a Royal Irish Constabulary cap and a large grey frieze coat, similiar [similar] in build and voice (with a non-Irish accent) to the man who had threatened her husband; his cap, coat, and revolver were exactly like those of the man who called five minutes later, and whom she and the barmaid identified as a “Black and Tan” stationed at Shandon Barracks; she was unable to see the murderer’s face for his cap was pulled down and his coat collar was turned up.
Mrs. Coleman also swore before the Labour Commission that at the conclusion of the “public” military inquiry she saw a military officer take the reporter’s copy and make deletions, and that the Press report of the proceedings was consequently entirely inaccurate and misleading; in particular all references to her refutation of the Dublin Castle libel were deleted.
The verdict of the military inquiry was that James Coleman was “murdered by some person or persons unknown.”
CITY HALL AS IT WAS
The photo shows the queue waiting to view the dead body of Terence MacSwiney which is lying in state. Some of the windows on the right can be seen to be boarded up, owing to the damage caused by previous attempts to bomb and burn the building.
CORK CITY HALL AFTER FIRE
Source: Warwick Digital Collections