Col. Commandant Peadar O'Loghlen

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Raids and Ambushes - Attack on Shooting Party

I have already said that our battalion was very short of ammunition for whatever guns we had. The shot gun was a weapon which, at the end of 1919, had not yet lost its value in guerilla fighting, and any chance of getting that type of gun or suitable ammunition was taken. The Battalion Commandant, Peadar O'Loghlen, received advance information that H.V. McNamara, a local landlord very much disliked by the people, had invited some of his Unionist friends and some British army officers to a shoot on his preserves in Carron. The commandant gathered a party of seven men for the purpose of disarming Mr. McNamara and his friends. Though I was not in this party, I heard a good deal about it afterwards from the commandant himself and from the men who took part. All accounts were unanimous in saying that, as the men were being instructed for the attack, the commandant insisted that everything possible should be done to avoid inflicting injury on the members of the shooting party. The attack was arranged to take place on 2nd December, 1919, at a cross-roads in Sessiaghmore through which it was known the party would be travelling in two motor cars. In order to halt the cars, a barricade was erected across the road. At about 9 a.m. the cars reached the cross-roads and stopped when in front of the barricade. The occupants were ordered to put up their hands and surrender their guns. The reply was a volley of shots which our men answered. The shooting went on for about twenty minutes. By that time, McNamara’s party managed to get out of the cars and make their way to a nearby house in which they barricaded themselves. Our men were not in a position to press home the attack further. The commandant had been wounded near the eye, and two of his men were also wounded, Paddy Ward, in the back of the head, and Austin Geraghty, in the shoulder and arm. Besides their supply of ammunition was almost exhausted. Every member of Mr. McNamara’s party was wounded.

This affair got a considerable amount of publicity in the British and Irish daily papers. For weeks after, military and police searched the countryside and interrogated dozens of people. One man was charged in connection with the shooting. He was not in the attack, but he was a Volunteer. Most, if not all, of those who had been ambushed identified him as having been one of the attackers. Ultimately, he was acquitted.

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