Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Photo of the Day

While driving yesterday from Ballinalee to Granard (in Co Longford) I passed this memorial marking the spot of the Clonfin ambush in February 1921. On that day two vehicles carrying ten British Auxiliaries was ambushed at this site by a column of 21 IRA men led by the Great Sean MacEoin (future army Chief of staff and Fine Gael Minister for Justice and Defence). Four Auxiliaries were killed, the remaining six were captured, treated for their wounds and released. One month later MacEoin would be captured after a shootout in Mullingar train station in which he was severely wounded. He was taken to Dublin, put on trial and sentenced to death. However, two of the surviving auxiliaries from the Clonfin ambush made statements attesting to his treatment of them as prisoners. This caused enough of a delay of his execution for the truce to come into being in July 1921, thus saving his life. MacEoin died in 1973. I have a very busy week ahead of me folks so I do not expect to be doing much blogging.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good story!
Jenny

Anonymous said...

The Irish example is a good lesson in the legitimacy of resistence, the Palestinians and all other oppressed Muslims should take heart that victory may cost but it is assured.

Liam said...

He was generally known as "The Blacksmith of Ballinalee".

Ted Leddy said...

Thanks Jenny

Ted Leddy said...

Anonymous

The comparison has some logic. Unfortunately some Palestinian resistance groups such as Hamas have no regard for the rules of war, such as their tactic of targeting innocent civilians with suicide bombs. As for the Al Quaedas, Hezbollahs and endless amount of fanatical terrorist organisations that will never lay down their arms until they have butchered every non Muslim in the world, the comparison is absurd.

Ted Leddy said...

Liam
That is correct. He was from the small Longford village of Ballinalee. It almost proved his downfall. He was captured in Mullingar train station in March 1921. He was traveling under a false identity but he was searched by a detective and soldiers who were suspicious. They forced him to roll up his sleeves, exposing the distinctive marks on his arms, that only a blacksmith has.

Anonymous said...

Ted, I abhor all forms of terrorism but surely you will agree that in terms of body count the Jews in Occupied Palestine are far more guilty of terrorism than all the so-called terrorist resistence groups. So what if the Jews say they don't target civilians, words are cheap - actions count!

Michael Heslin said...

My great uncle JJ Brady was on the same train as MacEoin when he was arrested. James got away and was able to inform the Longford Brigade about what happened. His sister Lizzie later married my grandad Michael Heslin who was adjutant/Intelligence Officer of the Brigade and after whom I am named.
When the truce was up for offers, the Irish insinuated that there might be no truce unless Sean MacEoin was released. MacEoin was released!