WS1741_PART_1

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  • ROINN COSANTA. BUREAU OF MILITARY HISTORY, 1913-21. STATEMENT BY WITNESS. DOCUMENT No. W.S. 1,741. I Pages1-185 Witness Day Michael V. O'Donoghue, Lismore, Co. Waterford. Identity. Engineer Officer, 2nd Battalion, Cork No. Subject. I.R.A. ac Aties Counties Waterford, and Donegal. Conditions, if any, Stipulated by Witness. tiv Nil. File No S.2,676. FormB.S.M.2 STATEMENT BY MICHEAL U. î DONNCHADHA (Michael Vincent O'Donoghue) An Mesh Theaa0 floe M—r Mothuda. Co. Portl‡irge. I was born in Portumna, Co. Galway, on May 18th, 1900 and baptised Michael Vincent O'Donoghue by Monsignor Joyce, Catholic Dean of Portumna in the local church. My father, James O'Donoghue, was an itR.I.C. sergeant of 20 years service at the time. He had served as R.I.C. constable in Mid-Tipp. (Thurles, Holycross and Littleton) between 1881 and 1896, and had been transferred (after marriage to a Moycarkey girl) across the Shannon to South Galway. My mother, Johanna O'Donoghue,. nŽe Mackey, was the daughter of Michael Mackey1 a small but thrifty farmer of Curraheen, Thurles. Her mother, Mary McCormack, came from. the Cashel district and, claimed to be a second cousin of the McCormack brothers hung on faked evidence for an agrarian murder, whose innocence vas publicly established years after their judicial murder, and whose mortal remains now rest in tough more graveyard outside Thurles. My grandmother, Mary Mackey, nŽe McCormack, remembered the famine and '48 and Smith O'Brien and the Fenians, and told me many a tale of then before she died at a ripe old age of 90 or so in 1921. My grandfather, James O'Donoghue of Glencairn (then Castlerichard), Lismore, had been evicted from a 60-acre farm in 1879 during the last phase of the great land olaarancee0 During the same week, fifteen farming household had been levelled and dispersed in the townland of Ahaneboy adjoining Glencairn. Most of the evicted families made for the emigrant ship at Cove (Queenstown) and sailed to America at 30/- a head. But my grandfather was married with a large 2. young family of twelve at the time - seven boys and five girls, His wife (my grandmother, Mary Brigid Boyle of Dungarvan) was a member of one of the oldest and most national famines in Mid-Water ford - the Boyles of Dungarvan. James O'Donoghue clung fast to his old. home and. holding at Glencairn Cross Where generations of O'Donoghues had lived before him. Shortly after his eviction from the 60-acre Ahaneboy holding, his old home at Glencairn was burnt accidentally, but he promptly built a new one at the Cross of Castlerichard (Glencairn), got a publican's licence for it and carried, on there the mixed. trading of a country shop. My father (also James) was the second eldest boy and joined the, R.I.C. in his 18th year. Incidentally he was the only one of the seven sons in the family to stay at home in Ireland. His brothers all went to U.S.A. one by one according as they reached man's estate, and died or disappeared there, swallowed up in the vast human melting pot which is the U.S.A. My father, emerging from the R.I.C. depot though not yet 190 was sent to Thurles (his first station). He was might proud of his educational prowess - he was a first-class writer speller and statement composer in the turgid stilted polysyllabic English of those days; he had spent a few years going to the newly-opened C.B.S. in Lismore in the mid- seventies, and considered himself highly educated accordingly. He was a tall, powerful man, very athletic in the sprints, and especially with the weights, and a tough footballer of the old rough-and-tumble school. He participated with distinction in all these activities (though an R.I.C. man) in the Thurles area, and became very popular. miring all his time in Mid-Tipp. he was 'one of the boys', welcome at every crossroads and. farmhouse. 3. Two incidents during his sojourn in Thuries he spoke of to me many years afterwards and he invested both with an air of mystery which I could never fathom. The first was the arrival of the mortal remains of Charles Joseph Kickham at Thurles rail station9 and the refusal of Dean Contrail. (between whose family and Kickham's there existed a life-long fued) to allow the patriot's corpse into Thurles Cathedral. My father boasted to ma that, in plain clothes, he attended Kickham's wale In Kerwick's publichouse in the company of some of his sporting and athletic friends among the young man of Mid-Tipp. The other incident was an obscure sequel to the Phoenix Park killings and the activities of the "Invincibles". there suet have been a unit of this secret society in Thurles. Order came from R.I.C. Hors. in Dublin, a few days after the Phoenix Park Tragedy. to Thurles R.I.C. to arrest cone young man in Thurles. My father pus detailed for this duty with one R.I.C. Party. On the list for, earn warrants were out was one Dwyer, a Thurles friend of his. O'Donoghue tipped off somehow his "wanted" friend, and when the R.I.C. searched, their ten was missing. Dwyer fled the country, after warning his Immediate associates. of their danger, and reached haven in Australia, never to return. The R.I.C. seized three or four suspect' Invincibles but they were only very minor fry and, as far as I know, were never charged. My father, normally a talkative man, was very secretive and mysterious on this affair. He seemed to fear always that his R.I.C. masters would come to hear of his association with Dwyer, After some years in Thurlee, O'Donoghue was transferred out to Holycross. There, his bosom friend was Jim Cahill, the father of Phil Cahill, the famous Tipperary hurler of 1920/1935 or so, who died young some years ago. Cahill, as well as hurling sad athletics, was interested in greyhounds; so was my father. Cahill also made a 'book'. The two ware inseparable and frequented every sports meeting and coursing in Tipperary 4. and East Limerick. Many a modest coup they brought off with hound and man. Those were the days of the infant and the R.I.C. as a body were. anything but popular in the Irish countryside. My father continued his athletic activities, though on many occasions under assumed names. On transfer to Littleton, Co. Tipperary, he came in contact with the O'Keeffes of the Horse and Jockey (Tom, Dick, Jim and Jack), one of the mast famous hurling families in Tipperary - All-Ireland hurlers all, and members of the famous Tubberadora team of the late nineties. He and Dick O'Keeffe became fast life-long friends. and when each, in time, married, the other 'stood Up' with him as his best man, Here at the 'Jockey' my father met his wife-to-be (through the kind offices of Dick O'Keeffe) - Johanna Mackey of Curraheen, and they were married in Moycarkey Parish Church by Dr. Fennelly, afterwards Archbishop of Cashel. With his newly-wed bride, O'Donoghue was sent on transfer to Portumna, Co. Galway, on the fringe of the Clanrickard Estate, at that time a great storm centre or agrarian activity in Ireland. After our birth in May 1900, my' elder twin brother (by a few hours) was sent to Thurles, to be reared by his aunt, Ellen Mackey. I, the younger and weaker twin, was reared by my mother. Being somewhat delicate as a child, I contracted a variety of infant diseases including scarlet fever and, somewhat unexpectedly in most cases, survived them all. I am afraid that this resulted in my growing up something of a pet. In 1903, my father was sent on promotion as sergeant in charge of the R.I.C. Barracks in Peterswell. There we lived in the barracks and I and my twin brother - James Ernest - went to our first school, the national school in the village. There; too, I remember haring Irish Spoken for the first time, in the village shop of Mrs. Hayes. Vividly I can still recall the evening in the field outside the barracks with the R.I.C. men 5. practising weight-throwing (favourite pastime for men in those days). I and my twin brother - about four years old then - were hurling close by when the ball was struck by me across the weight-throwers. My brother ran to retrieve the bail, all oblivious of his danger; so, too, were the R.I.C. shout1 a sickening thud). and James K. O'Donoghue my brother, lay stretched on the ground - still - with his forehead crushed in. My father was away in Gort; my mother distracted. Dr. Foley was brought over poste-haste from Ardrahan by horse and trap, no motors in those days. The injury was almost mortal, but not quite - a wide Jagged fracture of the Centre forehead and deep concussion. By a miracle of surgery and medicine (15 stitches were put in his forehead) my brother was restored to health and strength in six months, thanks to the genius and tender care of Dr. Foley. He carried throughout his short life, however, huge seven-pointed red star on his forehead as the mark of his amazing escape from death. Shortly afterwards, Sergeant James O'Donoghue was moved to Loosecaun near Woodford, Co. Galway, not on promotion this time, but rather as an expression of disapproval by his R.I.C. superiors for his scarcely-concealed sympathy with the local farmers in their struggle with Clanrickard, and for his lack of zeal in upholding law and order within the meaning of the various Coercion Acts then in force; but the days of O'Donoghue's service in the R.I.C. wore drawing to a. close. In 1905, after the minimum 25 years service for pension purposes, lie retired with station-sergeant's rank and went to Jive near his old home at Glencairn, Co. Waterford. He was then only 43 years of age, still a strong athlete and a comparatively young man He returned to his home district with a view to buying back at a public auction part of the 6farm from which his father had been evicted 26 years earlier. Much of the evicted lands in this area! had been planted with hardwood forest trees after the tenants had been banished My father's bid to purchase the former O'Donoghue land failed and the holding was Knocked down to a local grabber, a blacksmith blacksmithnamed Cashin. Foiled in is bid to purchase land, father rated some grazing land in Glencairn on the newly instituted 11 months system, got the tenancy of a one-storey thatched house at the "Level" near Glencairn schoolhouse and settled down as a retired R.I.C. pensioner in August 1905 with his wife and three young sons. At the tender age of four I was fascinated by the martial atmosphere of R.I.C. Barracks and I remember that I was allowed to accompany my father and the 'men' when they went ball-firing. That was target and shooting practice with their carbines at a 'natural' range (usually a large sandpit. I can recollect, too, how I was allowed to lie down, hold the carbine and actually fire a shot from it. This indeed was a rare privilege for a four-year-old and made a profound impression on me. My father indulged nr childish craze for firearms by giving me a present of an air rifle (then a very modern. weapon) on his return from a trip home to Glenoairn prior to his quitting the B.I.C. I can still recall the pride I felt at possessing a real air rifle of my very own on the occasion of my fifth birthday. Four years we lived in the thatched cabin on the 'Level'. Then, in 1909, we moved to Dungarvan. My. father bad got a Job as a supervisor (Gaffer) in the Brewery arid Jam factory of his second cousin Thomas Power, the Industrialist a14 first Chairman of the Waterford Co. Council We lived in Dungarvan until 1913. I attended the Christian Brothers School. where I had, as school companions 'Pax' Whelan, George 7. Lennon and others who were later to figure prominently in the national resurgence. I was rated a good a cholar0 though out of school I was as tough as the toughest of the fish hawking ("fish-jowlters" as we called them) youngsters from Boithrin-na-Tra, or the 'Buttery'9 the two toughest slum. areas of Dungarvan, now cleared for ever. I hurled and played Gaelic football in the 'Marsh' behind Power's jam factory and was also useful at handball - at that time there was a fine ball-alley at Dungarvan C.B.S. There were many juvenile street and district teams, both hurling and football. Rivalry between them was intense and competition was fierce and bitter. The teams were more like juvenile gangs and ninny inter-district matches ended in faction fights with hurloys. stones, bottles and what-have-you. There was no adult direction or patronage in. those savage juvenile fueds. I rose to be a much-admired 'hero' in this juvenile underworld. Two deeds of daring led to this. In one, I 'fecked' (to use the clang term of the time) a couple of men's hockey sticks from the temporary dressing quarters beside a fence during a match between the Dungarvan mixed hooker team and a visiting team (from Lismore, I think). I cut the handles of the sticks down short and sold them to two students of St. Augustine's College -. one of whom, a namesake of my own, afterwards became an ecclesiastic of international fame in the Augustinian Order. My other achievement was to get 'captured' while raiding an orchard. for gooseberries while two companions escaped. I was hauled before the it R.M.and admitted the 'crime'9 but refused to divulge the names of z chums. I was fined 12s. 6d., a pretty hefty sum at the time. But for n rather being an ex-sergeant of R.I.C. the magistrate, a pompous bloated English Protestant named Orr, would have cent me to a reformatory. I can still recall his comment when it was pleaded in my favour that I was a clever boy at school and usually at the head of the class. 8. 'Yes', said he, 'clever in school and lawless outside where property is concerned, and all the more likely to become a dangerous citizen'. At the height of my fame(7) after my conviction, I was sent by my mother to her old home at Curraheen, Thurles, for my summer holidays in 1913. Really, it was a form of banishment to got me away from Dungarvan for a while and from my fellow delinquents. As it happened, I was never again to return to my home in Dungarvan. At Curraheen I helped my uncle at the farm work and in the bog. I became an expert turf-catcher, root-thinner and pike-man (with a hay pike). I haunted Dick O'Keeffe's ball alley at the Jockey every Sunday all day and every evening from 6 to 8.30 p.m. I had to be indoors by nine to say the family Rosary, always given out by my grandmother, then well in her seventies and getting Lloyd George's Old Age pension of 5/- a week. She regarded me as a grown man and told me many stories and confided in me secrets and scandals, too, of Moycarkey and district in the years gone by. I was regaled with poor Parnell's amatory affairs with Kitty O'Shea in vast detail. But I was only 13 and in no way precocious in sex affairs or the facts of lire. Consequently, Parnell's 'carryings-on' aroused in me little interest or enthusiasm or even curiosity. I wanted to hear about the Fenians and the Moonlighters and the men of '48 above in Ballingarry at the collieries, and Smith O'Brien's arrest in Thurlea, and the famine times. Her most enthralling story to me was her vivid account of that unforgettable morning in March 1867. Having raked out and rebuilt the turf fire after rising as usual at 6 a.m. to prepare breakfast for her husband and young family (her eldest was then 8 years, she said), she opened the one door going out to the yard and saw a blanket of deep 9. snow an around Out on the road, she looked down towards the 'Jockey'. There, a quarter of a mils away, she san a squadron of soldiers on horseback. Frightened, she turned to Fun back in. Inside the gate she heard the shrill call of a bugle in the distance and then nearer the muffled thud of many galloping hooves. The Lancers, for such they wore, pulled up on the roadside outside, and a gorgeous officer dismounted and entered the yard. "Any the in the house?" said he, "What, sir", she asked - abs did not understand his tine speech. He rppeated the question: "Only husband and the children", says she. Re looked closely round the house on the outside and, then satisfied from his examination of the untrodden snow around, he moved up the yard and searched stables and outhouses. Finding nothing suspicious, he returned to the door where my grandmother had remained all the time as it rooted0 bade her "good morning", mounted and rode on up the road towards Ballinure with the root. of the troop.! Meanwhile, my father had been left a legacy of a shop and dwelling-housa in Cappoquin by an old friend of his ohildhood who had been fostered in the O'Donoghue home in Castlerichard. Mary Hennesay as a comely girl of twenty bad been courted by Peter O'Neill Crowley of Ba1lymacoda, the Fonian leader who died fighting in Kilclooney Wood., After Crowley's a death she went to Amarica, returned after 20 years or so, married another old Irish-American and settled down in Cappoquin, and built a house and shop there. She was a wonderful lace-maker, and her fine lace exhibits won first prizes at the Dublin and Cork Exhibitions in the early days of this century, In her old age she ma something of a recluse, but my father often called to see her. In July 1913 she died leaving her property to my father, He, at first, tried to sell the house. Then. quitting his Job and his home in Dungarvan, ho moved to Cappoquin in August 1913. So, on my return from 10. my Tipperary banishment, I found myself in entirely new surroundings in our new home. But things happened fast in 1913. My twin brother and myself went to Cappoquin N.S. where I stayed three weeks before changing to C.B.S. Lismore to do the 'Intermediate'. My brother stayed in Cappoquin N.S. And then the National Volunteers were founded. Cappoquin boasted about 80 men enrolled in local branch all full of fighting for Home Rule. and proud of their wooden dummy guns. We youngsters gaped in admiration as they formed and reformed at close order drill at the local G.A.A. playing field. the instructors were hefty ex-members of England's army and militia, reservists all. The most striking of the National Volunteers here was a small, thin, hardy, wizened man or uncertain age wearing a bowler hat, black swallow tail coat, knee breeches and black leggings. He was the only warrior carrying a real gun, a long single-barreled fowling piece which he, a veteran poacher on land and water, named "The Child Coople" (real name Crowley), was reputed to bring to bed with him. A big review of the National Volunteers was held in Cappoquin G.A.A. field in the early summer of 1914 and many very important persona including Colonel Moore, O/C. Volunteers, were present. I was present at the parade with about 20 other juveniles gaily attired with green sashes, and each shouldering an imitation croppy pike - wooden handle and blade of tin. We were the Boy Scouts, the new child warriors of Erin. But Sarajevo flashed across a startled. Europein June and with it the Great War in August 1914. Bewildering changes at home in rapid confusing succession. Reservists called up by British war Office: gone to the Colours are the National Volunteers instructors: Irish Parliamentary Party pledge every support to British War effort. Leader John Redmond offers 11. National Volunteers as cannon fodder to Britain and tell the Volunteers themselves - at a great demonstration in Bally broken, Waterford - that their duty is to fight for King and Country against Germany. National Volunteers break up completely; thousands join Britain's khaki ranks, duped by Redmond end the Irish Parliamentary Party and their recruiting propaganda. Minor remnants here and there reorganise as Irish Volunteers pledged to Ireland only. No Volunteers or Volunteer units survived as such in Cappoquin or in the Barony of Coshmore and Coshbride. The recruiting campaign carried on by the Irish Party politicians swept the young men into the British army in thousands and even youths in their early teens flocked into the recruiting offices which were opened in all the towns to attest the brave and loyal Irish subjects of His Majesty into the new Kitchener's army. The craze to be in khaki swept like a plague through Ireland in 1914 and. 1915: From the first day of the war, I was a rabid pro-German. At home, I engaged in heated arguments usually developing into violent quarrels with my father on the merits of the Germans and the foul treachery of the British. In school, where tile Brothers were discreetly neutral or quietly anti-British, I assembled a number of kindred spirits into a sort of Irish German friendship group. We. gloated over the initial German victories an land and sea, and gleefully prophesied the day when our heroes, the Germans, would invade Ireland. Many a night at home, two old friends dropped in to discuss with my father local and Irish and world affairs. Both were evicted tenants, victims of the Land War, and that was their common bond with my father. One, Matt Coffey, sworn in a Fenian at 18, had to fly to U.S.A. after the "Erin's Hope" fiasco in '67; returned to Ireland late in life married, 12. and was now, in 1914,. still in the I.R.B., the only one of such secret body in the Cappoquin area, as far as I know. From August until Christmas 1914. many were. the rumours of impending German invasion of Ireland. Armed R.I.C. sentries were posted on guard night and day on the Cappoquin railway bridge,. an important communication link on the Mallow-Rosslare line serving the two great military centres of Fermoy and Buttevant, The British authorities were nervous, as they imagined German spies everywhere. The arrest of a few actual spies, their removal to London, and their execution in the Tower, added to official nervousness. Then, one morning early, the story reached Gappoquin and spread like wildfire that the Germand had. landed at Waterford. The local R.I.C. chief Head Constable, Patrick cahill, actually went around notifying licensed traders to close up and be ready to evacuate. There was panic in the town until the arrival of the morning train from Waterford - with no German troops - and the rumour was scotched. In the autumn of 1914, there was much propaganda in Co Waterford about the "appalling atrocities" of the Germans it "poor little" Belgium. Local Unionists wept with compassion and the mere natives were duly impressed - 40 or 50 Belgian "refugees" found a haven of refuge in Cappoquin, brought there by the local landlord, Sir John Keane, and housed in a row of hovels in the town.. These victims of German brutality spoke no English, only their native Flemish and some French. Thee wan a rush to brush up a few words of French by the local champions of little Belgium, including the R.I.C. One R.I.C. Sergeant - O'Neill - a zealous middle-aged Protestant, rejoicing in the nicknames cit "Other Lips", and "Dogs' Enemy", the latter for his zeal in pursuit of unlicensed canines, and the former by reason of the negroid lavishness of his lips, the upper 13. one of which carried a neatly trimmed array of light brown bristles; went so tar as to acquire a vest pocket 4se English-Wrench dictionary, and sought through the medium of my father to enlist my services as tutor. At the time, I wee doing Junior Grade at Lismore C.B.S. walking to and from my home in Cappoquin each day a total journey of 8 miles. As it happened, I was studying French and, while I could read a novel or a newspaper in that language readily enough, speaking it and that to natives was a different proposition. However. Sergeant "Lips" rust me often on my way back from school in Lismore and walked beside me pushing a bicycle and his little French book open. These running lessons dragged on for some weeks until the poor sergeant gave up in despair at his failure to get beyond the "parlez-vous" stage. Nor was he entirely preoccupied with French. He used to try to pump me, crudely enough I thought, about my fellow schoolboys and their views on the war, and the Christian Brothers and their attitudes and teachings. I was amused as I parried his obvious "feelers". Sometimes I felt a bit of a hypocrite as I piled it on about the admiration both I end each and all or the Brothers felt for British martial deeds and British rule. He swallowed it all, but could not manage to absorb any French. Then, one day, my own exalted status as a French scholar was threatened badly. I Called up to my father, at that time weigh-master for Sir J. Keane at the Market-house, and there with him were three or four of the Belgian refugees. My father proudly enlisted me promptly as interpreter. But, alas! After a few "oui", "Oui", "merci, and "Je ne sais pas" the interchange ceased and there was silence. My father looked at me sadly, the Belgians curiously, then I had a brain wave. "Any French paper or letter?" I asked. "Oui", "Oui". One produced part of an old French daily paper and handed it to me. I read loudly and assuredly, then reverted to English 14. for my father's benefit. My! what a change! I felt like a French Academician: Early in 1915, our Belgians disappeared quietly; gone to munition work in England, it was said. Old Matt Coffey, the Fenian, was almost nightly in my home during 1915 and 1916. He was a man of many parts. When in good form, his favourite method of celebrating was to dance a horn-pipe, humming his own accompaniment. He had known many Germans, Russians and Italians during his long years in U.S.A. The latter he despised, while he regarded the Russians as barbarians. The news of Hindenburg's great victory at Tannenberg filled him with joy and he danced his hornpipe that night with the gusto of twenty. He had a great tongue of Irish, rich, and, voluble, which I much envied. My Irish at that time was book-Irish, Junior Grade category, which he professed not to understand. But I could read and write a little Gaelic, while he could do neither. He used to produce now and then; copies of strange new papers and pamphlets: the "United Irishman", "the Spark", "Scissors and Paste" and others. He gave them to me as a great favour to read and return. I was puzzled at first. The literature served up to me by The Intermediate Commissioners of Education bore such seductive titles as "Clive in India", "With Buller in South Africa", "The Road to Cabal", etc., etc. As 1916 dawned, pro-Genan views were more emphatic than ever. But now, I began to realise that there was a deeper meaning to Old. Coffey's robust nationality and to his repeated slogan: "England's difficulty is Irelands opportunity".. It dawned on me that pro-German. support was not enough as partiotic endeavour from. your true Irishman. That something more positive and more effective was demanded than mere wishful thinking. Within a mile of Cappoquin lived the Fitzstuart family, 15. - a brother of Villiers Stuart of Dromana - The Stuarts of Decies whose head Gerald Villiers Stuart was at this time a colonel of the British army in Prance. His son, "Fitz" Stuart we called him, a youth of my own age, spent his summer holidays from an English College at home in Cappoqula He was 'mad' on guns of all sorts and he amassed a varied collection. Manys the shooting 'expedition'we planned during vacations in 1914. and 1915, he, I and, an older youth from Cappoquin, Jim O'Brien. The latter, seduced by the intense recruiting propaganda ant the glories of military life, ran away from his widower father to join the Leinster Regiment in Dublin. After a few weeks soldiering he was bought out by his father as he was a few years under age, and returned somewhat crestfallen and shame-raced to Cappoquin. When "Pitz" returned to England in the New Year of 1916 he left some of his firearms to O'Brien. Occasionally, O'Brien and I had. a little secret target practice with the weapons. Then came Easter 1916. First intimation was non-arrival of the Dublin and English papers on Easter Tuesday. All during the war; l914-l8, the "Irish Independent", "The Preeman's Journal", the "Irish rinse", the "Daily Mall, and the "Daily Sketch" arrived sally in Cappoquin in the early afternoon Thai the "Cork Examiner" of Tuesday carried the momentous headlines of a "Stun Fein Rebellion" in Dublin, as well as confused accounts of the arrest of a German spy in Kerry (Casement) and his transfer to London, and the sinking by scuttling of a strange German vessel near Cove. and the Capture or her Germ crew (The Mid and Karl Spindler). Then the rumours flew thick and wild - "Cork and Kerry" were out"; "Hublin was in rebel hands"; "Fierce righting in Belfast and the North"; "Everywhere the rebels were winning and Connaught and Leinster were entirely theirs". 16. Every day during that sunny week brought stranger and stranger news. At first we believed that the rebels in Dublin were in complete control of that city; that the English garrisons there were smashed, and that the Irish forces were sure to win. Then the absence of any military activity locally ado us doubt and we felt at times that the whole wonderful story of Irish insurrection was only a dream. But suddenly the stark reality of war in Ireland vise brought home to us in quiet Cappoquin. On Easter Thursday a long troop train from Fermoy en route to Wexford. was halted a mile or so trout Cappoquin west of the big railway viaduct over the Blackwater. All through that evening the train with its hundreds of Khaki warriors armed to the teeth remained stationary. All the local young fry gathered to gawk at the troops, amongst them O'Brien and and myself. Then the thought struck us that these same troops were on their way to attack the insurgents fighting for Irish Freedom in Enniscorthy. Why not strike a blow ourselves? We did. Back to O'Brien's house to get "Fitz Stuart's" Winchester repeater and another rifle. of small bore for which we had stuffs We stole quietly across the Glenshalane River to the Blackwater which via crossed it Jacky Foley's flat-bottomed punt to reach the "Rook" at Drumrue. Up across the fields there to swing round north to Kilbree where the troop train stood. As we approached the last fence near the railway we hoard the puff-puff-puff of a locomotive starting. From the fence we saw our troop train moving slowly towards the viaduct about 300 yards away. "We'll hate a shot at them anyway" said O'Brien. We fired a few rounds at the disappearing troop-train with what result we never knew. At that range and with our weappons it was no more than a token act of defiance, a sort of 17. flag-waving heroism; but we both felt highly elated at having done a deed which we regarded as a great blow for Ireland. But, alas The weekend brought the bitter news of the surrender in Dublin and, later in Enniscorthy. The Easter Rising was over. Then the stories and the details of the fighting, We devoured every scrap of printed reference and description. The attempt to seize Dublin Castle gate where the D.M.P. Guard, Big John McGrath from Modeligo, Cappoquin, though receiving four or five bullets in the body yet managed to keep the gate shut, and so saved the Castle from surprise. McGrath, recovered from his wounds, was invalided home from the D.M.P. and became later a rabid Sinn Feiner. During the War of Independence he sheltered and supported the men on the rim and always expressed admiration for the daring courage of the men who shot him. The Mount Street Bridge battle and the Sherwood Foresters. The mass-murders of Dublin people in their hones in North King Street by British khaki troops. A photo of some of the victims in a Dublin paper startled me. I recognised the faces of father and son butchered by English soldiers in their King St. tome - William Mickey and his only eon, Tommy. William Mickey had managed a meat store in Cappoquin it 1913 and 1914 for a Cork firm of butchers which traded largely in Australian frozen meat. My rather let part of his premises to this firm as the "City Meat Market". His son Tommy cycled with me daily to the C.B.S. in Lismore where we were both in Junior Grade, Then came the Great War and the supply of Australian frozen moat retailed at from 4d to 6d per lb. dried up. The Meat Store closed and the Hickey family returned to their native Dublin, A few letters from Tommy later (we were great friends), but the correspondence faded out as juvenile letters will. And then the stark tragedy of the massacre of 18. the two Hickeys in their own Dublin home, the mother alone surviving to mourn her awful lose. this brutal atrocity tilled me with a sort of personal loss and aroused in me a fierce hate for English soldiery. In general, the people at first denounced the rebels in round terms - stabbing England in the back; aiding the "Horrible Hun (the descriptive epithet applied to Germany by all British and Irish journals of the time). "Why did they do such treachery?". "Weren't they getting Home Rule when the war ended?'. "Why did they not wait and then strike if England again defaulted. My Lather was louder than moat in his condemnation. But the cold-blooded executions of the rebel leaders by Sir John Maxwell in daily batches of three and four horrified the people. Disgusted with the ghoulish blood-lust of G.O.C. Maxwell, and numb with shook at first, they maintained a discreet silence. Then Eishop O'Dwyer of Limerick spoke: The first public expression of approval for the insurrection of Easter Week. His words re-echoed through Ireland,. rousing fierce emotions of long-latent patriotism and admiration for the executed leaders in many an Irish heart. Already the Rising had succeeded ideologically. A new unquenchable spirit swept Ireland. Even my father forgot his antipathy to the rebels to such an extent that he now lauded their actions. This, I think, was more by way Of revuisio4 to British atrocities in Dublin than to positive national convictions. He really did not believe that British soldiers could be such savages, but the Hickey Murders and the wholesale executions shocked and shamed him. His Anglophile war outlook altered considerably, as I was soon to find out. In school during the summer and autumn. of 1916, things changed rapidly. Most of the boys in my class (Middle Grade) were pro-rebel and pro-German. How we envied two of the senior l9 boys who had been to Dublin at Easter for a C.S0 & W.R. Exam. and had seen caught up spectators with a close-up view daring all that Laster Week in a Dublin lodging house. How raptly we listened to the accounts of their experiences! They, too, were able to give us odd lines and verses of the new rebel songs These we copied carefully and surreptitiously under the desks and exchanged from hand to hand or swopped as juveniles do nowadays with 'Comics'. By July we knew every word of "Easter Week", the "Foggy Dow" and "The Felons of Our Land". We whistled and sang them on our way to and from school, During the late autumn nights, we youngsters of 15 and 16 marched out in fives and sixes, parading the country roads around Cappoquin singing our rebel songs lustily sometimes to the accompaniment of a mouth organ. Then, round Christmas 1916, word vas whispered that drilling was going on in the mountain glens of Hnockmealdown. R.I.C. country patrols were reinforced, cspecially on Sundays. Around New Year's Day, a party of young men drilling were surprised near Wount Melleray by an R.I.C. patrol and barely escaped by scattering and disappearing in all. directions. I learnt that the leader of the reorganised Volunteers here was Jack O'Brien, an older brother of Jim's, my comrade in the Easter Week exploit of the troop train. Meeting O'Brien, I asked to join the Volunteers, but lie said I was. too young He consoled me by the assurance that if four or five other youngsters wore to be had locally, then he would arrange to organise an unit of the Boy Scouts (Fianna Eireann) to be attached to the Volunteers. By this tine, a Slim Fein Club had been formed in Cappoquin by a travelling organiser named "T.F. Walsh", a mysterious individual who liked liquor and 'big talk' of the sunburstry type. Walsh stayed hereabouts for a month or so, lodged in a licensed hotel in Cappoquin and 20. addressed some public meetings in the locality. The R.I.C. took no notice of him, though he seemed to challenge police notice and then he disappeared as quietly and mysteriously as he came and we never heard of him after. My father was convinced that he was an "Agent Provocateur" and warned me against him. I was suspicious of him and believed him to be a 'chancer'. However, the newly-founded Sinn FŽin Club rented a club room in a big unoccupied house opposite the C.I. Church. The Sinn FŽin Club officers were Miss Molly Johnson, a spinster shopkeeper almost next door to the club, Matt Coffey - my; oil Fenian friend - and John Flanagan a G.S.R. porter in Cappoquin station. At 8 p.m. on a February night in 191?, I was notified to attend a meeting in Shin Fein Club.. Jack O'Brien, M.J. Walsh ('Jody') and Willie Kennedy were the men present as well as. six youths of about 16 years or so. O'Brien lined up us youths and told us briefly that a boy scout arm of the Volunteers was being formed. He explained its aims and objects and possible duties and then ordered us to elect a leader.: who was to be captain to take over drill and train the scouts; In the election I was the unanimous choice - my 'college' train. ing and previous activities (since 1913) influenced my youthful comrades. There and then my election was ratified by the Volunteer officer (Captain J. O'Brien) and I was invested as captain of the boy scouts in Cappoquin district. Now began a course of training and secret drilling - quietly on week nights in the seclusion of the large basement room in the Sinn Fein club, and on Sundays in the woods and hills of the Mount Melleray area. We trained with the Volunteers on Sundays, acting as scouts and a entries and lookouts. Then, about Easter 1917, we paraded in public for the first time. I well remember the occasion. We mobilised 21. at the 'Big Tree', a mile east of Cappoquin, formed Up in two columns. The scouts, seven in number, under my command, leading the march, and the Volunteer company, 17 strong, under Jack O'Brien, with Limit. Walsh (Jody) and Lieut. (2nd) Cosgrave. No arms or equipment was carried except haversacks of many varieties containing food rations (a little bit of lunch). We marched east by a byroad for four miles, then turned south and reached the main CappoquinDungarva road at Backfield. Here we halted, rested and lunched on the roadside. We then formed up on the roadside, did quite a programme of close-order drill watched by the curious eyes of a large country crowd which bad collected. The older people and the women onlookers appeared to sneer at us as in pitying fashion as if saying "God give the poor simple knock-kneed gains a bit of sense". "What are they up to anyway" As we moved off on the return march we were accompanied by a young man in khaki uniform named Jacky McGrath, a local ex-National Volunteer who had joined Kitchener's army and was now convalescing at home from wounds received in the trenches in France. McGrath, playing Irish airs on a melodeon which he carried (he used to play at country dances and threshings) brought up the rear until Cappoquin was almost reached - he then turned off a byroad to his own home at Affane. His music helped greatly to ease the hardship of the route marsh though it mystified the gaping casual onlookers we met, more then ever. "What new Force is this?", they thought, as they viewed the martial ranks in 'civies' being kept in form step by a khaki-clad soldier of England playing rousing Irish marches on a melodeon. We matched to the square in Cappoquin where, before the astonished eyes of Head-Constable Cahill, Sergeant 'Lips' O'Neill and a few other R.I.C. we performed various military 22. evolutions in close order. I gave the orders, inreal sergeant major. fashion, to my seven scouts and they, to my great joy, executed them smartly. I was intoxicated with importance and flattered myself that the scouts were better drilled and better officered than were the adult Volunteers. under Captain O'Brien. A big crowd of sightseers had now gathered which gazed inquiringly now at the Volunteers and scouts drilling, now at the apparently indifferent R.I.C., wondering what it was all about and what was going to happen next. Nothing happened. We dismissed and returned to our homes unmolested. I went to Lismore C.B.S. as usual next day. later that week, my father called mea side and spoke to me agitatedly but without anger: "had" Cahill had come along to him, told him of my prominent association with illegal drilling and tra1nlng even in public, and advised him to persuade me to quit those activities. I would only get myself into great trouble and endanger my father's R.I.C. pension. My Lather was worried about, this latter veiled threat naturally. He told Cahill, though, that he could not be expected to control. my opinions or activities or politics - that I was a youngster of almost seventeen and had a mind and an outlook of my own and that he, my father, could not be held responsible for any activities of mine of which he knew nothing. I was torn between two emotions - vanity at the prominence and the importance I had achieved, and anxiety that my deeds would reflect in injurious fashion on my Lather. I told my father that, without in any way reducing my national activities, I would take care in future to avoid exciting the attention of the R.I.C. Afterwards, the only occasions when we paraded openly in Caqqoquin were on the nights of the Sinn FŽin Election Victory celebrations. The first of these was the success of Count Plunkett in North Roscommon in the March 23. snows of 1917. He was the first Stun Loin H.P. to be elected to the Imperial Parliament of Westminster. The celebrations took the form of a Victory March through the streets. At the head of the procession a Flag Party carrying the carrying, then motley array of musicians playing rousing marches,! then the Volunteers followed by Boy Scouts and Slain Fein Club members with the general public in fair to middling array bringing up the rear. These victory celebrations, with one exception, passed off without incident as the R.I.C. usually kept in their barracks. On the night of W.T. Cosgrave's election to Kilkenny, a procession larger and louder and more exultant, paraded: Cappoquin. As the marching Volunteers passed the R.I.C. barrack door, a loud thud and the crack of splintering wood was heard. A huge stone had been hurled at the barrack entrance door. For a moment there was alarm; then the sharp command: "Cover off and keep step" steadied the wavering ranks and the march continued. The stone-thrower had been a youngster named Boylan, a Dubliner employed as a junior gardener at Sir John Keane' s house "Bellemont" - a particularly daring practical joker, but a good reliable Volunteer. The R.I.C. reacted as if the barrack was empty and ignored the provocative assault on the door. A subsequent Volunteer inquiry failed to expose Boylan as the culprit - he was as smart and slick as an expert card-sharper and was a genius at assuming a poker face. By Christmas 1917, the Volunteer strength had declined to 14, while the scouts had increased to 9. We continued to drill at country rendezvous. The only excitement during autumn 1917 occurred when Sinn Fain flags were flown from, varion points (usually high and somewhat inaccessible) in and around 24. the town. The R.I.C. took a. serious view of this activity. They gathered in force, fully armed, and removed the rebel flags where possible. Where they could not reach the offending flags, they burnt them by means of flaming oil-soaked cloth on long poles. The crowds who gathered to watch the proceedings cheered derisively the efforts of the po1ice but the latter kept their heads and their tempers despite the taunts and the jeers. Then, as 1918 dawned, the great conscription crisis loomed up. The Allied armies of France and England were cracking up in France under German onslaughts; U.S.A. aid in troops had not yet come. Lloye George, Premier of England, saw no solution to the problem of replenishing England's shrinking armies except the conscription of Irishmen. A Bill to press Irishmen between 18 and 45 into England' a khaki was read in the House of Commons. Ireland's reaction was instantaneous. Redmondites, O'Brienites, all the constitutional parties and elements, as well as the extremists - Sinn Fein, Labour and the Volunteers. united in one solid phalanx against this new arid frighful English threat, The Irish Hierarchy met and with one voice proclaimed their deliberate opposition to conscription. Passive resistance was organised among the people generally, while the Volunteers, whose ranks were now vastly swollen by thousands of men alarmed at the prospect of being drafted into the English army, prepared for active. resistance. The access of numerical strength to the Volunteers made many companies unwieldy and also lowered the morale and general military standard of the Volunteers. The new Volunteers were poor quality, mostly actuated by selfish motives of saving their skins, and did little if anything to make the Volunteers an effective military force. 25 In July 1917, I had sat for University scholarship; examinations at University College Cork. I did not get a scholarship as I failed to attend for the examination in history through a blunder of my own and so lost my chance. During my week's sojourn in cork I witnessed a baton charge by the R.I.C. on the Grand Parade. A recruiting meeting was in progress with the usual accompaniments - a platform occupied; by some British army Brass-hats, a few elderly civilian loyalists, an Irish Khaki-clad soldier or two back from the trenches to say his little piece urging his fellow countrymen to join up before being forced into khaki, an army band beside the platform around which were gathered some women (Separation Allowances) and children and a few older men - around this motley assembly was a strong cordon of police outside of whom congregated the general public. The speakers were continuously heckled and interrupted by the outer audience who jeered and yelled without cease. When the din became worse, missiles of many typos, rotten fruit and vegetables and even aging bones from the nearby market, were showered on the platform. Pandemonium broker loose when the R.I.C. drew their batons and charged the jeering mob, flailing savagely to right and From a safe distance on the pavement at Old George's St. corner (now Oliver Plunkett St.) I saw the whole riotous scene. I fled up George's St. with the rest when the police charged. During the autumn and late winter of 1917, the local Volunteer Company in the Cappoqujn area did a little bit of searching for weapons. A few big houses in the locality were quietly ransacked at night and some guns and ammunition got. A few others, owned by the 'gentry' were raided by masked Volunteers and more stuff was got. These operations were carried out by the officers of the company with the aid 26. of a few men with intimate local knowledge and the inside co-operation of a servant on occasion. Though upwards of a dozen big houses were raided, only one was reported to the R.I.C. and they did no more than make a few cursory inquiries. It looked as if the people raided and were sympathetic or, at least, wished not to be involved in any way. They kept silent. During the Christmas holidays of 1917, my father, who had returned from Liverpool where he was doing duty as a Special on the docks - that was how he served His Majesty for a while in 1916 and 1917 - enlisted my aid to do a bit of stocktaking in the Foundry Store and premises of Sir John Keane where he was employed as storekeeper and weighmaster. I did not miss the chance of doing a thorough search of the huge store, In the course of my stocktaking activities I discovered quite a store of gelignite as well as shotgun cartridges, but no guns or arms of any description. I checked over this stuff with my father and duly entered amounts in stock book. Thrilled at my discovery, I duly reported to Captain Jack O'Brien and company quartermaster Willie Kennedy, We laid. our plans to secure this stuff, but decided to delay action until I had been back at school for a fortnight Meantime, I made a Careful map of store interior, indicating clearly where gelignite and cartridges were kept and marked clearly the nearest point of entrance - a large skylight in the store roof about eight feet from floor. On a Saturday night the job was to be done. Earlier that evenihg I had c ailed to see my father at the foundry and found an excuse to send him out for a few moments to see P. Walsh, a local merchant, about the weighing of some corn. Left alone inside the foundry, I opened back the catch bolt, securing the skylight on the inside, leaving the window its1elf 27. closed down. I was sitting inside innocently, reading a nwspaper by the fire in his office on my father's return and I waited to accompany him home from his work. That night, I made certain to stay in at home and to go to bed before my father. I slept little as I could not keep my mind off the little drama that was taking place that night under my remote control. Next morning, 20 minutes before first Mass time (I was never so early before) I was waiting on the stairs of the organ gallery. Along comes Kennedy and 'Jody' Walsh. Kennedy stayed beside me, Walsh moving on to sing in the choir. I Knew by the look on Kennedy's face that he was bursting with news. Yes, 120 sticks of gelignite and 200 cartridges approx. - a fine haul. Everything carried out with only one hitch. They climbed on the roof, entered by the skylight, using a rope ladder to drop down and re-ascend. Retreating after the job down by the railway station, a black figure showed up suddenly in their path. Captain O'Brien, whose sight was none too good - he was known as "Boogie-Bog" among the awn - was startled and raised his gun, calling out a challenge. There was no reply, but a laugh from Joe Kelleher by his side, who recognised the shadow as a mule, reassured him. For long after, mention of a mule on duty was enough to rile the poor short-sighted captain. Among those who took part in that operation were Jack and Jim O'Brien., Walsh, Kennedy and Kelliher. Strangely enough, the loss of the gelignite and ammunition was not discovered for a long time afterwards until the next stocktaking, I believe This was a tribute to the slickness with which the job was carried out. By March 1918, the Cappoquin Company numbered 120. Its 28. officers now were: Jack O'Brien, captain; N.J. Walsh, 1st Lieutenant; Jim O'Brien, 2nd Lieutenant, and William Kennedy, quartermaster. I had transferred from Boy Scouts to Volunteers in January, being now l71/2 years of age and old enough for soldiering (within the meaning of the Conscription Act). I brought along with me an assorted armoury - a Winchester sporting rifle, an old pin-tire revolver, bullets of man calibres of heavy lead type and a sword bayonet. The latter was presented to me when I was Boy Scout captain, by one of my Boy Scouts - Declan Fitzgerald, a young brother of Jim Fitzgerald, the reservist who trained the National Volunteers pre 1914. The latter brought it home from France as a souvenit Declan stole it from Mm and bestowed it. on me. Later in 1918, this same Declan deserted from the Scouts and joined the English army as a drummer boy. I suppose he could not help the bugle in the blood of the militia breed. Incidentally, four or five of our "conscript" Volunteers, including two brothers named McGrath, also deserted about this time and joined the English army. It was August 1918 when the German armies were weakening and the Yanks were coming and an Allied Victory was in sight. Significantly enough those who leaped on the band-wagon like this were all employees in some form or another of the local 'gentry'. Early in 1918, too, a branch of Cumann na mBan was formed in Cappoquin. It was almost as strong as the Volunteer Company. Its officers were:- Mary Kerfoot, Fanny Lincoln (R.I.P.), Bridle Pigott. They, too, had a room in the Slim Fein Hail where they trained, learned first aid, made and repaired outfits and equipment for themselves and the Volunteers. Social activities were not neglected either, Irish dancing was practised in the Sinn Fein Hall a few times weekly by the Volunteers and Cumann na mBen arid an odd scout. Concerts and 29.. sing-songs were of almost nightly occurrence after drill and training. There were several large rooms in the Hall and each body bad its own quarters - Sinn Fain Club, Volunteers, Scouts and Cumann na mBan. Gaelic League classes were held in the convent school and. wore largely attended, the travelling teacher at this time being Tomas de Bhial (R.I.P.) There was a hurling team of sorts. I had introduce4 the game into Cappoquin in 1913, but no progress was mad here Until 1917 whenwe formed a club, affiliated and rented a swan scrubby 'inch' beside Glenshalane River about 11/2mi1es from ton as a playing pitch from Sir John Keane. All the hurlers were Volunteers and the tricolour flew over the pitch entrance whenever a game was played there. In neighbouring Mount Melleray, a strong hurling team had grown up, all. Volunteers too, A match was arranged between Melleray and Lismore in support of the National Aid Association (the Fund assisting the dependants and families of the imprisoned rebels) The match was played in Matt Coffey's land at Carrigeen and was the first hurling match ever played in Cappoquin. Witnessed by a large crowd, it was exciting and bloody affair, Pulling was wild and reckless but honest, and casualties were numerous, especially in the Lismore team owing to the unsuitable pitch (the grass was thick and high) and the awkwardness of the players. Lismore was captained by Jim Madden, who was also the O/C. of the Volunteer company there. A Nenagh man, he had come from University College, Dublin, In 1917, to become a lay Secondary Teacher at the C.B.S. where he tutored me in Latin, English and Irish. He was a zealous Volunteer officer and kind for him as a Tipperary man a fine hurling full-back. He was the first Volunteer officer whom I saw wearing uniform. In Nay 1918, there was a big mobilisation of the West 30. Waterford Battalion Volunteers. Cappoquin Company marc1ed out from Cappoquin on Saturday night early, moving east to Modeligo where they halted. An R.I.C. patrol of three followed them later on bicycles. I had delayed in Cappoquin after the main body. Noting R.I.C. move, I got my bike, rode rapidly by roundabout way, reached Volunteer Company and warned the officers that the R.I.C. were on their tracks. Shortly after, police came up, rested awhile, chatting to the Volunteers near them. It was a bizarre situation. Finally, the captain fell-in the company, four abreast, officers In the lead and marched off southwards. I cycling behind accompanied by the three R.I.C., pushing their bicycles. After crossing the main Dungarvan road, we headed for the Drom Hills at Ballintaylor. It was now about I a.m. A Volunteer (J. Olden, R.I.P.) came back to me, saying that the captain had instructed him to get my bike and return to Cappoquin. Off he cycled and then the R.I.C. jumped heir bikes and off after him - for what reason God alone knows. I took Olden's place in the ranks and continued on the long, long, weary march. Reaching Ballintaylor Wood (after a 14-mile march) we rested wider the trees. All the others had brought large rations; I had none. However, Jim Brien and Joe Kelliher shared with me hard-boiled eggs cold, with bread and butter and bully beef. While others dozed and slept, we lit a small wood fire and stretched around It yarning and singing. We wore very young. Dawn about 5 a.m. brought cold and weariness. Sentries had been1 posted round the camp and the sight of the short Lee Enfield rifles which they carried thrilled me to the core. This was the real thing, military exercises under war conditions. At 6 a.m. a bugle sounded and then we fell-in company by company - Lismore under Captain Jim Madden, Appendix 6 National Archives Act, 1986, Regulations, 1988 ABSTRACTION OF PART(S) PURSUANT TO REGULATION 8 Form to be completed and inserted in the original record in place of each part abstracted (I) Reference number of the separate cover under which the abstracted part has been filed: Ws 1741/s (ii) How many documents have been abstracted: 2pp (iii) The date of each such document: 19 August 1958 (iv) The description of each document: Ws 1741 Michael V O'Donghue Named individual P31-P32 (Where appropriate, a composite description may be entered in respect of two or more related documents). (v) Reason(s) why the part has been abstracted for retention: (c)Would or might cause distress or danger to living persons on the ground that they contain information about individuals, or would or might be likely to lead to an action for damages for defamation. (These will be the reasons given on the certificate under Section 8(4).) Moloney Name: (J. Moloney.) Grade: Col. Department/ Office/Court: Date: 7 March 2003. 31. Tallow under Hourigan, Cappoquin under O'Brien, Duogarvan, Clashmore and Ardmore and Ballinameala - almost 1000 Men, an told. We practised extended order drill with attack and. defence tactics on the gre4t bare moor, nearby known as Toor. Later we marched off to early Mass. I well remember the way we croe1ded the little gallery of the country church at Thor and the wide-open wonder of the local people as they gazed on the rifles and equipment. Some of the officers wore. uniform and carried revolvers in holsters and some of the riflemen noisily brought their guns with them into the little church. The priest, a tail heavy old man, looked on with obvious disapproval on this strange military congregation of his, but said nothing. There was no sermon and the Mass, I remember, was surprisingly short. Possibly the priest, as well as ourselves, felt it was dangerous to tarry in such circumstances. After Mass, back again to manoeuvres and battle drill on the moor until about I p.m. when we dismissed for another meal (our second in camp). After dinner, such as it was, each company formed up and headed off in various directions each to its own home. The Tallow, Lismore and Cappoquin companies were together as far as Geosh Bridge. Hero an incident occurred that gave a rude shock to my sense of discipline. We halted for a brief rest here. Some Volunteers sought admission to 'Kate Kenna's', the pub at the Bridge. There was no response. of Tallow Company thereupon drew his revolver, kicked the door and threatened to shoot up the place if he was not admitted. His bullying display disgusted me. The intervention of some Volunteer officers from Lismore and Cappoquin prevented from disgracing himself and the Volunteers We resumed our march and the last I sati of the Tallow Company off over the hills north vest to the River Blackwater. Shortly after, was arrested and charged with attempt- 32. ing to shoot an invalided Tallow ex-soldier named Ponder in a drunken brawl in a pub yard, and got a term in gaol. A year later, he was expelled from the Volunteers for thefts and robberies which he carried out under the guise oft aids for arms In the Strancally and Ballinatray districts on the west bank of the Blackwater. Banished from West Waterford, he took refuge with relatives near Skibbereen. Arrested there by British troops for having some military uniform or something stolen, he ms tried at the Cork Assizes. He recognised the Court, publicly recanted his Sinn Fein associations and pledged himself to be henceforth a loyal British subject. Even the stern British Judge commented on the abject figure he cut in the dock as he sentenced him to twelve months in gaol. Years later turned up as a dangerous criminal and he got 20 years penal servitude under Free State regime for armed robbery.. He reappeared in the Tallow district during World War II Emergency. Incredible though it may seem, he served in the L.S.F. and L.D.F. during that period and tried to wipe out his criminal past, living alone in a lonely cottage in Here he died of T.B. sometime after the war and was buried by the charity of the local Defence Force. In this autumn of 1918, I was myself tried before a Volunteer courtmartia3. for an offence against good order and discipline.. The Boy Scouts bad put in a stock of good things in preparation for a party in their quarters in Sinn Fein Hall. With the scouts were associated some of the Cumann na mBan. Being somewhat peeved at not being asked to the scouts soiree a few of us - Jim O'Brien, Joe Kelliher and I - broke Into the scouts' locked quarters late the night before the party and looted their stuff. Not content with that destruction, we got a large blackboard from Cumann na mBan quarters (used for instruction purposes), erected it in centre of scouts' quarters and piled their property around it in a confused heap. On the board we traced uncomplimentary likenesses of a boy 33. scout and a Cumann na mBan member, and beneath some lascivious limericks¥ reflecting on both bodies. It was a bit of vandalism all right and a disgraceful display of blackguardism by young Volunteers. Next evening, the discovery of the ransacked Scout Hall caused a sensation and the bawdy writings on the board roused. fierce anger. At fmrst, there was a suspicion that pro-British rift-raft from the lanes locally had broken it and cased the mess.. But Tom Lincoln (afterwards company intelligence officer) whose sister, Fanny, was a Cumann na mBan officer, never let up in his investigations until he discovered the men responsible. Reporting his findings to the company captain, we were duly notified to attend important mobilisation of whole company. We had no idea that we were for it. The company paraded in the basement of Sinn Fein Hall at 9 p.m., about 60 strong, standing to attention in double ranks facing each other across a large room., The captain and 1st Lieut., very regimental, occupied the middle of the floor. The O/C. then announced that the company had been mobilised to hear a serious charge of indiscipline and misconduct against three Volunteers -James O'Brien (Lieut.), Joseph Kelliher and Vincent O'Donoghue. I felt cold and weak; my head swam, and I am sure my legs shook. The captain ordered the three of us out of the ranks.. We stood in an agony of suspense before him. He said that from evidence supplied him, he charged us with blackguardly conduct unbefitting Volunteers and with grossly insulting the Cumann ma mBan. He then set out our delinquencies and called on Vol. Thomas Lincoln to stand forth as Prosecutor. It was a peculiar courtmartial. The air was charged with tension and drama. Then the O/C., turning to his culprit brother (Jim O'Brien), asked him had: he anything to say. He shock his head. Kelliher did likevise. Then the O/C. directed the question to me. "I have" said I. 34. "The charge is true, I did it". There was a gasp from my two comrades and a low murmur through the ranks "You admit it", said the captain. "I do", said I. Then Jim Brien spoke up; "I made him do it, I was the leader". Another murmur from the ranks at this confession of their 2nd Lieutenant. "I was in it, too" admitted Kelliher. "That ends the case, I suppose", says the O/C., "except to sentence the guilty". "It does not", interrupted Lincoln. "Who wrote the ditty lines about the Cumann na mBan?' Lincoln was very bitter and wanted the most drastic action. "I wrote them", said I. "But I dictated them and made him do it" said Jim Brien. Lincoln looked at me in pained surprise and angry disgust - "so I was the low ruffian that insulted his sister". It was obvious that he ad not expected that. "They should not be kept, in the Volunteers any longer", said Lincoln, A murmur of disapproval here and there in the ranks gave me; the first gleam of hope. "Well, men, what do you say?" asked the O/C. A tan young Volunteer, M.J. Sargent, spoke up: "Give thei0 a chance", said he, "they did not intend any harm" "and though they did a nasty bit of blackguarding, they have admitted it honestly, Besides, too, the three of them are men who have given great service as active Volunteers already and ye know that well too" says Sargent, addressing the officers.' His words were received with general approval, as Sargent was held in great esteem as an older Volunteer and athlete and, moreover, it was known that he and Fanny Lincoln were "great" with each other. After the three of us (culprits) had expressed abject sorrow for our misconduct, we were sharply reprimanded by the O/C. in the presence of the whole company. The judgment was that each or us be reduced to the lowest rank (J. O'Brien was a 2nd Lieutenant, and Kelliher and I N.C.Os.) and we were forbidden to enter. the Scouts. and 35. Cumann na aBan quarters at any time. I felt in disgrace for a while,' but shortly after that, my active association with the Cappoquin Volunteer Company came to an end. In July 1918, I again sat for scholarship examinations in University College, Cork. This time I was awarded a Waterford Co, Council University scholarship, having got first place in the examination. I was elated beyond measure. I moved to Cork In October and signed on at University College, Cork, for engineering. All along, I bad intended studying medicine and bad even made up Latin specially for th