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The change in the nature of the war became apparent less than three weeks after Barry's execution. On Sunday, 21st November, 1920, Volunteers from the Dublin Brigade, supported by Michael Collins' "Squad" entered various Dublin addresses and in a pre-emptive strike, shot dead 14 British secret service agents and regimental officers. Numerous arrests were made in the wake of the killings and some 500
Patrick "Paddy" Moran, from Crossna, Co. Roscommon, was a veteran of the Easter Week fighting at Jacob's Biscuit Factory and had been imprisoned at Knutsford and Wormwood Scrubs in England, before being sent
Thomas Whelan, from Galway, was charged with the murder of Captain G. T. Bagally, who had been shot at 119 Lower Baggot Street. Bagally was a prosecutor under the Restoration of Order in Ireland Regulations but had been targeted for assassination due to his role in the "Cairo Gang" murder of Kilmallock solicitor, John Lynch, who had been mistaken for IRA commander Liam Lynch. Although there were no witnesses to the death of Bagally, Whelan
O'Malley described Whelan as "... smooth-faced, quiet and brown eyed with wavy hair; he smiled quietly and steadily. His voice was soft and when he laughed with the others one knew that the fibre was not as hard and that there was a shade of wistfulness about him." It emerged later that while under torture, a prisoner named Barnett had made a false statement which, he feared, had incriminated Whelan. When Barnett eventually heard of Whelan's execution, he became hopelessly insane and was transferred to Richmond Asylum.
In the early days of February 1921, "Murderers' Gallery" received five new inmates who had been arrested after the failure of an IRA ambush in Drumcondra;
Patrick Doyle lived at St. Mary's Place, Dublin with his wife and four children. He was a carpenter.
Bernard Ryan had recently married his childhood sweetheart, having finally gained financial security through his job as an apprentice tailor. He was also a member of the ASU.
Frank Flood lived at 30 Summerhill Parade, in Dublin. He was a brilliant engineering student in his second year at University College Dublin, where he had become firm friends with Kevin Barry. Frank had served in the same "H" Company as his friend but had recently been promoted to 1st Lieutenant of the Active Service Unit. Frank was one of eight boys, most of whom were involved in the Volunteers. The eldest brother, Sean, served five years in Peterhead Prison, Scotland, for his participation in an attempt to rescue men under sentence of death in Derry. He died shortly after his release.
Another brother, Commandant Peter Flood, lead the National Army into what is now Collins barracks during the take over from the British after the Treaty. Thomas Flood was arrested during the attack on the Custom House and with five comrades was charged with treason. The night before the trial, he awoke with appendicitis and was operated on in the King George V Hospital, causing the trial to be put back to a later date. On the day before the Court Martial the Truce was declared, thus saving all six Volunteers and sparing Thomas from suffering the same fate as Frank.
The last member of the Drumcondra prisoners was 17-year-old Dermot O'Sullivan.
The Volunteers loop-holed a brick wall and a fence near the bridge and constructed a trench inside the wall. Their movements, however, attracted suspicion, the authorities were informed, and a large number of Auxiliaries were despatched to the scene. In the meantime, the ambushers had commenced an attack upon two lorry-loads of RIC constables, who returned fire until the vehicles were able to accelerate out of range. It was now, as the Volunteers were dispersing, that the Auxiliaries arrived at the rear of the Volunteers and cut off their escape. Some managed to dash across fields to safety but others were arrested as they attempted to seek refuge in houses in the vicinity. All of the prisoners were found in possession of revolvers and ammunition, while Frank Flood was also found to have a grenade in his pocket.
Look for Part 5 -- "A New Life That Will Last Forever" -- soon.
This page was produced by Joe Gannon and Gerry Regan.
Copyright © 2001,GAR Media.