Secretary of State for War
The position of Secretary of State for War called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position, first held by Henry Dundas. In 1801 the post became that of Secretary of State for War and the Colonies; the position was re-instated in 1854. On 1 April 1964, with the creation of the new cabinet-level position of Secretary of State for Defence, in charge of a new united Ministry of Defence, the Secretary of State for War was abolished; the Secretary of State headed the War Office and was assisted by a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, a Parliamentary Private Secretary, a Member of Parliament, a Military Secretary, a general. For 1801–1854 see Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. Secretary at War
The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve personnel; the modern British Army traces back to 1707, with an antecedent in the English Army, created during the Restoration in 1660. The term British Army was adopted in 1707 after the Acts of Union between Scotland. Although all members of the British Army are expected to swear allegiance to Elizabeth II as their commander-in-chief, the Bill of Rights of 1689 requires parliamentary consent for the Crown to maintain a peacetime standing army. Therefore, Parliament approves the army by passing an Armed Forces Act at least once every five years; the army is commanded by the Chief of the General Staff. The British Army has seen action in major wars between the world's great powers, including the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and the First and Second World Wars.
Britain's victories in these decisive wars allowed it to influence world events and establish itself as one of the world's leading military and economic powers. Since the end of the Cold War, the British Army has been deployed to a number of conflict zones as part of an expeditionary force, a coalition force or part of a United Nations peacekeeping operation; until the English Civil War, England never had a standing army with professional officers and careerist corporals and sergeants. It relied on militia organized by local officials, or private forces mobilized by the nobility, or on hired mercenaries from Europe. From the Middle Ages until the English Civil War, when a foreign expeditionary force was needed, such as the one that Henry V of England took to France and that fought at the Battle of Agincourt, the army, a professional one, was raised for the duration of the expedition. During the English Civil War, the members of the Long Parliament realised that the use of county militia organised into regional associations commanded by local members of parliament, while more than able to hold their own in the regions which Parliamentarians controlled, were unlikely to win the war.
So Parliament initiated two actions. The Self-denying Ordinance, with the notable exception of Oliver Cromwell, forbade members of parliament from serving as officers in the Parliamentary armies; this created a distinction between the civilians in Parliament, who tended to be Presbyterian and conciliatory to the Royalists in nature, a corps of professional officers, who tended to Independent politics, to whom they reported. The second action was legislation for the creation of a Parliamentary-funded army, commanded by Lord General Thomas Fairfax, which became known as the New Model Army. While this proved to be a war winning formula, the New Model Army, being organized and politically active, went on to dominate the politics of the Interregnum and by 1660 was disliked; the New Model Army was paid off and disbanded at the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660. For many decades the excesses of the New Model Army under the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell was a horror story and the Whig element recoiled from allowing a standing army.
The militia acts of 1661 and 1662 prevented local authorities from calling up militia and oppressing their own local opponents. Calling up the militia was possible only if the king and local elites agreed to do so. Charles II and his Cavalier supporters favoured a new army under royal control; the first English Army regiments, including elements of the disbanded New Model Army, were formed between November 1660 and January 1661 and became a standing military force for Britain. The Royal Scots and Irish Armies were financed by the parliaments of Ireland. Parliamentary control was established by the Bill of Rights 1689 and Claim of Right Act 1689, although the monarch continued to influence aspects of army administration until at least the end of the nineteenth century. After the Restoration Charles II pulled together four regiments of infantry and cavalry, calling them his guards, at a cost of £122,000 from his general budget; this became the foundation of the permanent English Army. By 1685 it had grown to 7,500 soldiers in marching regiments, 1,400 men permanently stationed in garrisons.
A rebellion in 1685 allowed James II to raise the forces to 20,000 men. There were 37,000 in 1678. After William and Mary's accession to the throne England involved itself in the War of the Grand Alliance to prevent a French invasion restoring James II. In 1689, William III expanded the army to 74,000, to 94,000 in 1694. Parliament was nervous, reduced the cadre to 7000 in 1697. Scotland and Ireland had theoretically separate military establishments, but they were unofficially merged with the English force. By the time of the 1707 Acts of Union, many regiments of the English and Scottish armies were combined under one operational command and stationed in the Netherlands for the War of the Spanish Succession. Although all the regiments were now part of the new British military establishment, they remained under the old operational-command structure and retained much of the institutional ethos and traditions of the standing armies created shortly after the restoration of the monarchy 47 years earlier.
The order of seniority of the most-senior British Army line regiments is based on that of the English army
The Military Medal was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other arms of the armed forces, to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land. The award was established in 1916, with retrospective application to 1914, was awarded to other ranks for "acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire"; the award was discontinued in 1993 when it was replaced by the Military Cross, extended to all ranks, while other Commonwealth nations instituted their own award systems in the post war period. The Military Medal was established on 25 March 1916, it was awarded to other ranks including non-commissioned officers and warrant officers, ranked below the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Awards to British and Commonwealth forces were announced in the London Gazette, but not honorary awards to allied forces; when the medal was first introduced, it was unpopular among regular soldiers wrote MM and DCM recipient Frank Richards who stated "the Military Medal, which without a shadow of a doubt had been introduced to save awarding too many DCMs.
… The old regular soldiers thought little of the new decoration". Both the DCM and the MM attracted a gratuity and the decoration allowance of an extra sixpence a day to veterans with a disability pension. However, the allowance was only awarded once if the recipient was awarded more than one gallantry award; the ratio in the First World War was five MMs awarded for every DCM. From September 1916 members of the Royal Naval Division, serving on Western Front alongside the Army, were made eligible for military decorations, including the Military Medal, for the war's duration, it could be awarded to members of the Royal Air Force for gallant service on the ground. Eligibility for the MM was extended, by a Royal Warrant dated 21 June 1916, to women whether British subjects or foreign, with the first awards gazetted on 1 September 1916. Although nurses of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service and the Territorial Force Nursing Service and other women serving with the British Army had the social status of officers, they did not hold an officer's commission and were therefore ineligible for the Military Cross, but could and were awarded the MM.
Louisa Nolan, a civilian during the Easter Rising in Dublin, was awarded the Military Medal for her courage under fire in providing humanitarian aid to the wounded. Since 1918 recipients of the Military Medal have been entitled to the post-nominal letters "MM". Eligibility was extended to soldiers of the Indian Army in 1944; the Military Medal was discontinued in 1993, as part of the review of the British honours system, which recommended removing distinctions of rank in respect of awards for bravery. Since the Military Cross only open to Commissioned and Warrant Officers, has been awarded to all ranks; the MM had been awarded by Commonwealth countries but by 1990's most, including Canada and New Zealand, were establishing their own honours systems and no longer recommended British honours. The medal and ribbon had the following features: A circular silver medal of 36 mm diameter; the obverse bears the effigy of an appropriate inscription. The reverse has the inscription "FOR BRAVERY IN THE FIELD" in four lines, surrounded by a laurel wreath, surmounted by the Royal Cypher and Imperial Crown.
The suspender is of an ornate scroll type. The ribbon is dark blue, 1.25 inches wide with five equal centre stripes of white, white and white, each 0.125 inches wide. The name and service details of the recipient were impressed on the rim of the medal, although honorary awards to foreign recipients were issued unnamed. Silver, laurelled bars were authorised for subsequent awards, with a silver rosette worn on the ribbon bar to indicate the award of each bar; the medal was awarded with one of six obverse designs: Between 1916 and 1993 138,517 medals and 6,167 bars were awarded. The dates below reflect the relevant London Gazette entries: The above figures include awards to the Dominions:In all, 13,654 Military Medals were awarded to those serving with Canadian forces, including 848 first bars and 38 second bars.11,038 were awarded to Australian Army and 14 to Air Force personnel. 478 first bars were awarded, one third bar. Over 2,500 were awarded to New Zealanders, the last being for the Vietnam War.
The honorary MM awards were made to servicemen from eleven allied countries in the First World War, nine in the Second World War. During the First World War, 127 Military Medals were awarded to women, plus about a dozen honorary awards to foreign women. There was one instance of a third bar being awarded, to Private Ernest Albert Corey, who served on the Western Front as a stretcher bearer in the 55th Australian Infantry Battalion; the only recipient to receive two bars during the Second World War was Sergeant Fred Kite, Royal Tank Regiment. Nearly 140,000 people have been awarded the Military Medal. Among the more notable recipients are: British comedian. Joe Cassidy, Scottish footballer. Phoebe Chapple, Australian medical practitioner, first female doctor awarded the Military Medal Mairi Chisholm, British volunteer ambulance driver. Douglas Clark, British rugby league footballer and wrestler. Jack Clough, British footballer. Jack Cock, British footballer. William Coltman, awarded the Victoria Cross, was the most decorated NCO of the First World War.
Ernest Albert Corey, the only person to be awarded the MM four times. Dorothie Feilding, first woman to be awarded the MM. Elsie Knocker, British volunt
The Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for gallantry "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces, it may be awarded posthumously. It was awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours, it may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command although no civilian has received the award since 1879. Since the first awards were presented by Queen Victoria in 1857, two-thirds of all awards have been presented by the British monarch; these investitures are held at Buckingham Palace. The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since the medal has been awarded 1,358 times to 1,355 individual recipients. Only 15 medals, 11 to members of the British Army, four to the Australian Army, have been awarded since the Second World War.
The traditional explanation of the source of the metal from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon captured at the Siege of Sevastopol. However, research has suggested another origin for the material. Historian John Glanfield has established that the metal for most of the medals made since December 1914 came from two Chinese cannon, that there is no evidence of Russian origin. Owing to its rarity, the VC is prized and the medal has fetched over £400,000 at auction. A number of public and private collections are devoted to the Victoria Cross; the private collection of Lord Ashcroft, amassed since 1986, contains over one-tenth of all VCs awarded. Following a 2008 donation to the Imperial War Museum, the Ashcroft collection went on public display alongside the museum's Victoria and George Cross collection in November 2010. Beginning with the Centennial of Confederation in 1967, followed in 1975 by Australia and New Zealand, developed their own national honours systems, separate from and independent of the British or Imperial honours system.
As each country's system evolved, operational gallantry awards were developed with the premier award of each system—the Victoria Cross for Australia, the Canadian Victoria Cross and the Victoria Cross for New Zealand—being created and named in honour of the Victoria Cross. These are unique awards of each honours system, assessed and presented by each country. In 1854, after 39 years of peace, Britain found itself fighting a major war against Russia; the Crimean War was one of the first wars with modern reporting, the dispatches of William Howard Russell described many acts of bravery and valour by British servicemen that went unrewarded. Before the Crimean War, there was no official standardised system for recognition of gallantry within the British armed forces. Officers were eligible for an award of one of the junior grades of the Order of the Bath and brevet promotions while a Mention in Despatches existed as an alternative award for acts of lesser gallantry; this structure was limited. Brevet promotions or Mentions in Despatches were confined to those who were under the immediate notice of the commanders in the field members of the commander's own staff.
Other European countries had awards that did not discriminate against rank. There was a growing feeling among the public and in the Royal Court that a new award was needed to recognise incidents of gallantry that were unconnected with the length or merit of a man's service. Queen Victoria issued a Warrant under the Royal sign-manual on 29 January 1856 that constituted the VC; the order was backdated to 1854 to recognise acts of valour during the Crimean War. Queen Victoria had instructed the War Office to strike a new medal that would not recognise birth or class; the medal was meant to be a simple decoration that would be prized and eagerly sought after by those in the military services. To maintain its simplicity, Queen Victoria, under the guidance of Prince Albert, vetoed the suggestion that the award be called The Military Order of Victoria and instead suggested the name Victoria Cross; the original warrant stated that the Victoria Cross would only be awarded to officers and men who had served in the presence of the enemy and had performed some signal act of valour or devotion.
The first ceremony was held on 26 June 1857 at which Queen Victoria invested 62 of the 111 Crimean recipients in a ceremony in Hyde Park, London. A single company of jewellers, Hancocks of London, has been responsible for the production of every VC awarded since its inception, it has long been believed that all the VCs were cast from the cascabels of two cannon that were captured from the Russians at the siege of Sevastopol. However, in 1990 Creagh and Ashton conducted a metallurgical examination of the VCs in the custody of the Australian War Memorial, the historian John Glanfield wrote that, through the use of X-ray studies of older Victoria Crosses, it was determined that the metal used for all VCs since December 1914 is taken from antique Chinese guns, replacing an earlier gun. Creagh noted the existence of Chinese inscriptions on the cannon, which are now legible due to corrosion. A explanation is that these cannon were taken as trophies during the First Opium War and held in the Woolwich repository.
It was thought that some medals made during the First World War were composed of metal captured from different Chinese guns during the Boxer Rebellion. This is not so
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces, awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries. The MC is granted in recognition of "an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land" to all members of the British Armed Forces of any rank. In 1979, the Queen approved a proposal that a number of awards, including the Military Cross, could be recommended posthumously; the award was created on 28 December 1914 for commissioned officers of the substantive rank of Captain or below and for Warrant Officers. The first 98 awards were gazetted on 1 January 1915, to 71 officers including one jamadar and three subadars, 27 warrant officers. Although posthumous recommendations for the Military Cross would be unavailable until 1979, the first awards included seven posthumous awards, with the word ‘deceased’ after the name of the recipient, from recommendations, raised before the recipients died of wounds or lost their lives from other causes.
Awards are announced in the London Gazette, apart from most honorary awards to allied forces in keeping with the usual practice not to gazette awards to foreigners. From August 1916, recipients of the Cross were entitled to use the post-nominal letters MC, bars could be awarded for further acts of gallantry meriting the award, with a silver rosette worn on the ribbon when worn alone to denote the award of each bar. From September 1916, members of the Royal Naval Division, who served alongside the army on the Western Front, were made eligible for military decorations, including the Military Cross, for the war's duration. Naval officers serving with the division received eight second award bars. In June 1917, eligibility was extended to temporary majors, not above the substantive rank of captain. Substantive majors were made eligible in 1953. In 1931, the award was extended to equivalent ranks in the Royal Air Force for actions on the ground. After the Second World War, most Commonwealth countries created their own honours system and no longer recommended British awards.
The last Military Cross awards for the Canadian Army were for Korea. The last four Australian Army Military Cross awards were promulgated in the London Gazette on 1 September 1972 for Vietnam as was the last New Zealand Army Military Cross award, promulgated on 25 September 1970. Canada and New Zealand have now created their own gallantry awards under their own honours systems. Since the 1993 review of the honours system, as part of the drive to remove distinctions of rank in awards for bravery, the Military Medal the third-level decoration for other ranks, has been discontinued; the MC now serves as the third-level award for all ranks of the British Armed Forces for gallantry on land, not to the standard required to receive the Victoria Cross or the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. The Military Cross has the following design: 44 mm maximum width. Ornamental silver cross with straight arms terminating in broad finials, suspended from a plain suspension bar. Obverse decorated with the Royal Cypher in centre.
Reverse is plain. From 1938 until 1957 the year of award was engraved on lower limb of cross, since 1984 it has been awarded named to the recipient; the ribbon width is 32 mm and consists of three equal vertical moire stripes of white and white. Ribbon bar denoting a further award is plain silver, with a crown in the centre. Since 1914 over 52,000 Military Crosses and 3,717 bars have been awarded; the dates below reflect the relevant London Gazette entries: In addition 375 MCs have been awarded since 1979, including awards for Northern Ireland, the Falklands and the wars in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. The above table includes awards to the Dominions:In all, 3,727 Military Crosses have been awarded to those serving with Canadian forces, including 324 first bars and 18 second bars. A total of 2,930 were awarded to Australians, in addition to four second bars. Of these, 2,403 MCs, 170 first Bars and four second Bars were for World War I. Over 500 MCs were awarded to New Zealanders during World War I and over 250 in World War II.
The most recent awards were for service in Vietnam. The honorary MC awards were made to servicemen from fifteen Allied countries in World War I, nine in World War II. During World War I, Acting Captain Francis Wallington of the Royal Field Artillery was the first person to be awarded the MC and three bars when he was invested with his third bar on 10 July 1918. Three other officers were subsequently awarded a third bar, Percy Bentley, Humphrey Arthur Gilkes and Charles Gordon Timms, all of whose awards appeared in a supplement to the London Gazette on 31 January 1919. For their key roles during World War I, the cities of Verdun and Ypres were awarded the Military Cross, in September 1916 and February 1920 respectively. In May 1920, Field Marshall French presented the decoration to Ypres in a special ceremony in the city. During World War II Captain Sam Manekshaw, Indian Army, was leading a counter-offensive operation against the invading Japanese Army in Burma. During the course of the offensive, he was hit by a burst of machine-gun fire and wounded in the stomach.
Major General D. T. Cowan spotted Manekshaw holding on to life and was aware of his valour in face of stiff resistance from the Japanese. Fearing the worst, Major General Cowan pinned his own Military Cross ribbon on to Manekshaw saying, "A dead person cannot be awarded a Military Cross." The first posthumous Military Cross was that awarded to Captain H
Royal Irish Constabulary
The Royal Irish Constabulary was the police force in Ireland from the early nineteenth century until 1922. A separate civic police force, the unarmed Dublin Metropolitan Police, patrolled the capital, the cities of Derry and Belfast with their own police forces had special divisions within the RIC. About 75 % of the RIC were about 25 % were of various Protestant denominations; the RIC's successful system of policing influenced the armed Canadian North-West Mounted Police, the armed Victoria Police force in Australia, the armed Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in Newfoundland. In consequence of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the RIC was disbanded in 1922 and was replaced by the Garda Síochána in the Irish Free State and the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland; the first organised police forces in Ireland came about through the Peace Preservation Act in 1814 for which Sir Robert Peel was responsible, the Irish Constabulary Act in 1822 formed the provincial constabularies. The 1822 Act established a force in each province with chief constables and inspectors general under the UK civil administration for Ireland controlled by the Dublin Castle administration.
By 1841 this force numbered over 8,600 men. The original force had been reorganised under The Act of 1836, the first constabulary code of regulations was published in 1837; the discipline was the pay low. The police faced civil unrest among the Irish rural poor, was involved in bloody confrontations during the period of the Tithe War. Other deployments were against organisations like the Ribbonmen, which attacked landlords, their property and stock; the new constabulary first demonstrated its efficiency against civil agitation and Irish separatism during Daniel O'Connell's 1843 "monster meetings" to urge repeal of the Act of Parliamentary Union, the Young Ireland campaign led by William Smith O'Brien in 1848, although it failed to contain violence at the so-called "Battle of Dolly's Brae" in 1849. This was followed by a period of relative calm; the advent of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, founded in 1858, brought a plan for an armed uprising. Direct action began with the Fenian Rising of 1867.
Fenians attacked on smaller stations. This rebellion was put down with ruthless efficiency; the police had infiltrated the Fenians with informers. The success of the Irish Constabulary during the outbreak was rewarded by Queen Victoria who granted the force the prefix'Royal' in 1867 and the right to use the insignia of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick in their motif; the RIC presided over a marked decline in general crime around the country. The unstable rural unrest of the early nineteenth century characterised by secret organisations and unlawful armed assembly was controlled. Policing became a routine of controlling misdemeanours such as moonshine distilling, public drunkenness, minor theft, wilful property crimes. A Land War broke out in the 1879 -- 82 Depression period. In Belfast, with its industrial boom, the working population mushroomed, growing fivefold in fifty years. Much of the increase arose from Catholic migration and there were serious sectarian riots in 1857, 1864, 1872 and 1886.
As a result, the small Belfast Town Police civic force was disbanded and responsibility for policing passed to the RIC. In 1870, the RIC took over the duties of the Londonderry Borough Police. During the 1907 Belfast Dock strike, called by trade union leader Jim Larkin, a portion of the RIC went on strike after Constable William Barrett was suspended for his refusal to escort a traction engine driven by a blackleg carter. About 70% of the police force in Belfast declared their support of the strikers and were encouraged by Larkin to carry out their own strike for higher wages and a better pension, it never came to fruition, however, as dissident policemen were transferred out of Belfast four days before the strike was to begin. Barrett and six other constables were dismissed and extra British Army troops were deployed to Belfast; the dock strike ended on 28 August 1907. The RIC's existence was troubled by the rise of the Home Rule campaign in the early twentieth century period prior to World War I.
Sir Neville Chamberlain was appointed Inspector-General in 1900. His years in the RIC coincided with the rise of a number of political and sporting organisations with the common aim of asserting Ireland's separateness from England; the potential success of the third Home Rule Bill in 1912 introduced serious tensions: opponents of the Bill organised the Ulster Volunteer Force in January 1913 while supporters formed the Irish Volunteers in response. These two groups had over 250,000 members, organised as effective private armies. In reports to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Augustine Birrell, the Under-Secretary, Sir Matthew Nathan, Chamberlain warned that the Irish Volunteers were preparing to stage an insurrection and proclaim Irish independence. However, in April 1916 when Nathan showed him a letter from the army commander in the south of Ireland telling of an expected landing of arms on the southwest coast and a rising planned for Easter, they were both'doubtful whether there was any foundation for the rumour'.
The Easter Rising began on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916 and lasted for six days, ending only when much of O'Connell Street had been destroyed by artillery fire. Although the Royal Commission on the 1916 Rebellion clea
Burning of Cork
The Burning of Cork by British forces took place on the night of 11–12 December 1920, during the Irish War of Independence. It followed an Irish Republican Army ambush of a British Auxiliary patrol in the city, which wounded twelve Auxiliaries, one fatally. In retaliation, the Auxiliaries and Tans and British soldiers looted and burnt numerous buildings in Cork city centre. Many civilians reported being beaten, shot at, robbed by British forces. Firefighters testified that British forces hindered their attempts to tackle the blazes through intimidation, cutting their hoses and shooting at them. More than 40 business premises, 300 residential properties, the City Hall and Carnegie Library were destroyed by the fire; the economic loss was estimated as including over £3 million worth of damage, while 2,000 were left jobless and many more became homeless. Two unarmed. British forces carried out other reprisals on Irish civilians during the war, but the burning of Cork was one of the most significant.
The British government at first denied that its forces had started the fires, blamed the IRA. A British Army inquiry concluded that a company of Auxiliaries were responsible; the Irish War of Independence began in 1919, following the declaration of an Irish Republic and its parliament, Dáil Éireann. The army of the new republic, the Irish Republican Army, waged guerrilla warfare against British forces: the British Army and the Royal Irish Constabulary. In response, the Royal Irish Constabulary Special Reserve was formed, a paramilitary unit composed of ex-soldiers, which became known as the Black and Tans, the Auxiliary Division formed of ex-army officers, which specialised in counter-insurgency. IRA intelligence officer Florence O'Donoghue claimed the subsequent burning and looting of Cork was "not an isolated incident, but rather the large-scale application of a policy initiated and approved, implicitly or explicitly, by the British government". County Cork was an epicenter of the war. On 23 November 1920, a "Black and Tan" in civilian dress threw a grenade into a group of IRA volunteers who had just left a brigade meeting on St Patrick Street in Cork.
Three IRA volunteers of the 1st Cork Brigade were killed: Paddy Trahey, Patrick Donohue and Seamus Mehigan. The New York Times reported. On 28 November 1920, the IRA's 3rd Cork Brigade ambushed an Auxiliary patrol at Kilmichael, killing 17 Auxiliaries. On 10 December, British forces declared martial law in counties Cork, Kerry and Tipperary, it imposed a military curfew on Cork city. IRA volunteer Seán Healy recalled that "at least 1,000 troops would pour out of Victoria Barracks at this hour and take over complete control of the city". IRA intelligence established that an Auxiliary patrol left Victoria Barracks each night at 8PM and made its way to the city centre via Dillon's Cross. On 11 December, IRA commander Seán O'Donoghue received intelligence that two lorries of Auxiliaries would be leaving the barracks that night and travelling with them would be British Army Intelligence Corps Captain James Kelly; that evening, a unit of six IRA volunteers commanded by O'Donoghue took up position between the barracks and Dillon's Cross.
Their goal was to capture or kill Captain Kelly. Five of the volunteers hid behind a stone wall while one, Michael Kenny, stood across the road dressed as an off-duty British officer; when the lorries neared he was to beckon the driver of the first lorry to stop. The neighbourhood was close of a military barracks. At 8PM, two lorries each carrying 13 Auxiliaries emerged from the barracks; the first lorry slowed when the driver spotted Kenny and, as it did so, the IRA unit attacked with grenades and revolvers. The official British report said that 12 members of the Auxiliary Division were wounded and that one, Temporary Cadet Spencer Chapman, a former Officer in the 4th Battalion London Regiment, died from his wounds shortly after; as the IRA unit made its escape, some of the Auxiliaries managed to fire their rifles in the direction of the volunteers while others dragged the wounded to the nearest cover: O'Sullivan's pub. The Auxiliaries broke into the pub with weapons drawn, they ordered everyone to put their hands over their heads to be searched.
Backup and an ambulance were sent from the nearby barracks. One witness described a number of young men being forced to lie on the ground; the Auxiliaries dragged one of them to the middle of the crossroads, stripped him naked and forced him to sing "God Save the King" until he collapsed on the road. Angered by an attack so near their headquarters and seeking retribution for the deaths of their colleagues at Kilmichael, the Auxiliaries gathered to wreak their revenge. Charles Schulze, a member of the Auxiliaries and a former British Army Captain in the Dorsetshire Regiment during World War I, organized a group of Auxiliaries to burn the centre of Cork. At 9:30PM, lorries of Auxiliaries and British soldiers left the barracks and alighted at Dillon's Cross, where they broke into a number of houses and herded the occupants on to the street, they set the houses on fire and stood guard as they were razed to the ground. Those who tried to intervene were fired upon and some were badly beaten. Seven buildings were set alight at the crossroads.
When one was found to be owned by Protestants, the Auxiliaries doused the fire. At about the same time, a group of armed and uniformed Auxiliaries surrounded a tram at Summerhill, smashed its windows, force