Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : History             Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

Maurice Meade and the Ambush at Dromkeen

Irish War of Independence

As the following email illustrates, Maurice Meade was a crucial figure in the Dromkeen ambush in February 1921:

Dear Phil,

I came across your article, titled, Blowing Up A Storm ( Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper 3 October 2006 and in the history section of this website). In it you make reference to the 1921 Dromkeen Ambush. I am e-mailing you, as an attachment, an extract from the memoirs of Maurice Meade, who was born in Ballinavanna, Elton, Co. Limerick on 11 May 1893. He joined the British army at 17 years of age, fought in the trenches of Flanders during World War 1, was captured and suffered the horrors of German prisoner of war camps, joined the ill-fated Casement Brigade, later fought with the Germans against the British in Egypt, returned to Ireland and joined the East Limerick Flying Column under the command of Donncadh Oh Annagain. He was a huge addition to the column because of his experience of warfare and took an active part in almost all of their major engagements. He died, aged 79 years, on 19 April 1972, and is interred in Emly cemetery…

Patrick Creamer

Meade in old age. A ruthless veteran of the Great War.

 

The Memoirs

Meade describes shooting a Tan who had placed his hands on his head and surrendered but whose ‘actions had been treacherous.’ After OhAnnagain found two Tans alive among the dead he ordered that they be court-martialled. The decision was made that they be executed. The vote of five officers included two votes against the execution. Although Meade makes no reference to who opposed the execution I understand that Ned Tobin, whose brother David was killed by the Tans near Ballylanders on News Year’s Day 1921, was opposed to the shooting of the men.

Meade writes: ‘O’Hannigan (sic) called me and said “Hey Maurice will you shoot one of them?” I agreed to do so. He gave Stapleton the job of executing the other. I took my man down the road and shot him. Then I went down to see how Stapleton was getting on and found that he disliked the job and did not want to do it, so I took the fellow over and executed him…O’Hannigan had an order G.H.C in Dublin…(he) definitely produced this order at the trial of the tans and we knew of the existence of such an order before that'..

Local Gossip

Ballylanders publican and Limerick councillor John Gallahue relates a story about a local person being told to remove Meade from a house where he was doing some work. ‘I won’t guarantee his safety,’ he told the householder. Meade’s association with the Free State cause – he joined the Free State Army – made him many enemies locally, where he was a guard at the local jail. According to John, he was known to spit in the face of imprisoned anti-treaty Volunteers.

Patrick Creamer takes up the story

Maurice Meade did indeed go Free-State. He was attested on 30 March 1922 and assigned the rank of Company Sergeant. He was posted to the 18th Battalion (Limerick) for duty with its Machine Gun Company. He served in the Tipperary area during the Civil War, with 18th Battalion. He was promoted to commissioned rank of 2nd Lt. on Mar 3rd 1923 and transferred to the Army School of Instruction, Curragh Camp, in April 1924.

He was discharged from the army as medically unfit on 30 Sept 1924. There is no mention of the Civil War in Meade's memoirs. I am sure that he was just as ruthless in his Free State duties. He was certainly despised by a lot of people in his locality but I doubt if he was alone in that. The Civil War virtually turned brother against brother - as you are well aware of - considering your interest and research on the matter.

 

Patrick Maher and Ned Foley - hanged in July 1921 for their alleged role in the rescue of Sean Hogan from Knocklong Station.

 

Dan Breen - of Knockong Station fame - and Maurice Crowe, circa 1917.

 

 

 

 
 

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