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On Saturday the 4th of February 1922 Colonel Buxton Smith who was R. I. C. District Inspector in charge of the 16 Cadets killed in the ambush at Kilmichael, Macroom in November 1920. His body was found on Clapham Common London, he died from a bullet wound to the head. The inquest into his death found he had committed suicide while of unsound mind. Buxton Smith was 46 years old and had served as a Colonel in the Royal Field Artillery during WW1. In 1917he was gassed in France and after about 6 months recovery he was sent to Egypt and Palestine where he caught malaria. He returned to England around Christmas 1919 and was demobilised in 1920 he unsuccessfully sought employment until in June 1920 he joined the R.I.C. went to Ireland where he was appointed District Inspector. His wife told the inquest that the loss of the sixteen men at Macroom always preyed on his mind.

He left the R.I.C. in February 1921and had been unsuccessful in gaining employment and had no pension. His wife also told the inquest that he had a narrow escape in the Macroom ambush and often talked about it which seemed to distress him. His wife said he always carried a service revolver and had left the house at his usual time to get the newspaper. He had received a letter about a memorial service for the sixteen victims of the Macroom ambush which, his wife said, greatly upset him.


On Saturday 11 February 1922 a gun battle at Clones Railway Station, County Monaghan, resulted in the deaths of four Ulster Special Constables, the local IRA commandant. A group of I.R.A. Volunteers attempted to ambush a party of Special Constabulary policemen, the I.R.A. entered the carriage and ordered the Specials to put their hand up, a shot rang out and I.R.A. Commandant Matthew Fitzpatrick fell dead. In the ensuing gun battle 4 of the Specials were killed, the four were,

  • Special Sergeant William James Dougherty aged 23.

  • Special Constable James Lewis

  • Special Constable William James McFarland.

  • Special Constable Robert William McMahon.


On Thursday the 2nd of March 1922 RIC Sergeant John Cotter aged 37 was shot and mortally wounded in Dublin. Sergeant Cotter who was stationed at the Depot in the Phoenix Park was shot at Phibsborough shortly after 3pm, he died in the Mater Hospital at 7.20pm the same evening. Sergeant Cotter was walking along a laneway which connects Cabra Park, where he lived, with St. Peter’s Road, he had been followed by three men, when he reached the corner of St. Peter’s Road he was fired on after which his assailants fled. Sergeant Cotter had served 17 years in the Police Force and was married with two children.

Sergeant Cotter had served in North Tipperary and was in charge of Roscrea Barracks when it was attacked about two years ago. The defenders of the Barracks put up a strong defense and it was alleged that three of the attackers had been killed.


On the 3rd of March 1922 a party of Police leaving Tipperary Town in a Crossley Tender and another vehicle were attack resulting in the instant death of one policeman and another policeman being mortally wounded. The two Policemen were:

  • Head Constable Christopher Davis aged 41 died on the 3rd of March.

  • Constable William Cummings aged 25 died from wounds on the 7th of March


Two police Constables were shot dead in the Falls Road District as they returned from patrol, they were attacked by several men who ran away after firing shots.

  • Constable James Cullen aged 23, mortally wounded in the stomach, he was taken to hospital but died a short time after admission.

  • Constable Patrick J. O’Connor aged 35 died at the scene. O’Connor was a native of Belfast and the son of a Police Sergeant. He served during the War and was taken prisoner after the battle of Mons.

On Sunday the 12th of March 1922 Special Constable Charles Vokes of 89 Upper Meadow Street Belfast was shot dead by the military, Vokes was wearing civilian clothes. Vokes was stopped and searched in Royal Avenue, he first denied he was armed but when searched a fully loaded revolver and six spare rounds of ammunition were found in his overcoat pocket. He was arrested and the military attempted to bring him to Musgrave Street Police Barracks on foot. A large crowd gathered and followed the Military as they attempted to take Vokes to the Barracks, in Victoria Street the crowd impeded the movement and Vokes attempted to escape, he was warned by a soldier of the consequences of his actions but again attempted to escape and was shot in the back as he attempted to flee. Witnesses at the inquiry claimed Vokes was shot by an officer who had pressed a revolver into Vokes back but evidence was given that there were no singe marks around the entry point on the overcoat Vokes was wearing so the bullet must have been fired from at least a couple of yards away.


On the 13th of March 1922 RIC Sergeant Christopher Clarke was shot dead in Belfast. Sergeant Clarke was returning from the funeral of two RIC Constables, Constables Collins and O’Connor, who had been shot dead in Belfast when he was attacked. Sergeant Clarke knew his life was in danger and at the time of his death he was wearing a bullet-proof jacket. Constable Clarke was struck by five bullets and was wounded in the thighs, the shoulder and the forehead, one bullet hit the jacket without penetrating it.


On the 15th of March 1922 two RIC Sergeants were shot dead as they lay in their sick beds in St. Brigid’s Home Galway. Both Sergeants were suffering from serious illnesses and unable to offer any defence to their attackers.

Sergeant Tobias Gibbons aged 43, unmarried, from The Fair Green Westport County Mayo.

Sergeant John Gilmartin aged 48, from Camp Street Oughterard, County Galway.

On Sunday the 19th of March Special Constable Alexander Kirkpatrick was shot dead when ambushed by a group of Sinn Feiners near Upperlands Maghera County Derry. Kirkpatrick, who was off duty at the time, cycled passed several men laying explosives at the side of the road. The Sinn Feiners called on him to stop, when he died not they opened fire on him.

On Tuesday the 21st of March 1922 William Laird, a Special Constable or ‘B’ Special was shot dead when a large group of armed men surrounded the residence of his employed Mr John Allingham at Glengeen Lodge near Trillick County Tyrone. The armed men had surrounded the residence and fired shots, Mr Allingham returned fire and the raiders retreated, some time later Allingham went out to see if any damage had been done, it was then he discovered Laird’s body, Laird was employed as a groom.


On Thursday the 23rd of March 1922 two Special Constables were gunned down on May Street Belfast. The two Constables were approached by four gunmen who fired six or seven shots at them before fleeing down Seymour Street. The two Constables were:

  • Special Constable William Chermside aged 21 who died at the scene.
  • Special Thomas Cunningham aged 22 who died minutes after arriving at the hospital.


On Wednesday the 29th of March Sergeant Patrick Joseph Early aged 30 was shot while on duty in Lurgan County Armagh.


On Friday the 31st of March 1922 Special Constable Thomas Hall died as a result of wounds he received on the 30th of March when he was attacked near the Short Strand Belfast. Hall was beaten and shot on his way back to Barracks.


Constable George Turner R.I.C. shot dead on the Old Lodge Road Belfast. Six civilians were murdered by Policemen from Brown Square Belfast in reprisal for the shooting of Turner. Turner was from Mountcharles County Donegal, born 1881, RIC number 61297.


On Tuesday the 2nd of May 1922 Constable John Harvey was shot dead during a raid by four armed men at Bellaghy Barracks Londonderry. Three men entered the Barracks and another stood guarding the door at 11.45pm. Harvey was sitting in the Barrack dayroom opposite the door. The four men were armed with revolvers and shouted hands up when they entered the Barrack. One of the raiders fired in the direction of Harvey, another policeman returned fire and in the ensuing exchange of fire the lamp was shot out. The raiders withdrew from the Barrack and when the lamp was lit again Constable Harvey was found lying on the floor.


On Wednesday the 3rd of May 1922 tow members of the ‘B’ Special Constabulary were shot dead at Annaghmore North Antrim. The house of William J. McClung was attacked by a group of armed man at 3.30am. McClung, who was member of the ‘B’ Special Constabulary, exchanged fire with the raider until his house was set alight he escaped through the back window. The exchange of fire was heard by a Patrol of the Ballykelly Special Constabulary, the Patrol hastened to the scene and as they approached they were ambushed.

The Patrol was met with a murderous volley of gunfire from both sides of the road and Special Constable Robert J. Cardwell was shot through the head. Some weeks earlier McClung had been visited by armed men who searched his property for arms, McClung later gave evidence in a firearms prosecution at Dungannon and has since received threatening letters.


On Wednesday the 3rd of May 1922 Special Constable McKnight and Sergeant Frizelle died in Victoria Hospital Belfast from wound. McKnight had been wounded at Corranaghan Road Derry and Frizelle at Loop, Moneymore Derry.


On the 8th of May 1922 eight of nine men called to the house of Samuel J. Milligan aged 18, a member of the “B” Specials. Milligan lived with his father near Castleecauifield County Tyrone. At 3am the armed men demanded entry to the house, Milligan exchanged shots with them and they retreated, Milligan received a wound in the thigh and bleed to death.


On the 14th of May 1922 Special Constable Nathaniel McCoo was fatally injured in an ambush on Joy Street Belfast. McCoo was patrolling with Head Constable McMahon, the driver and about six other Constables in a Lancia car when they were ambushed. McCoo was 27 years old and had joined the Special Constabulary in February, he had served in the British Army for three years during the War.


On Wednesday the 31st of May 1922 two RUC Special Constables were attacked in Millfield Belfast. The two Constables were surprised by gunmen who opened fire on them at point blank range. Special Constable Andrew Roulston from Smithfield Barracks died as a result of wounds received. Two men charged with his murder, John McMullan and Peter Ward were found not guilty of his murder. Special Constable Roulston was hit four times in the body and once in the head, although a blood transfusion was administered Roulston succumbed to his injuries. The other Special Constable, Special Constable Campbell who was also injured in the attack stated that at about 4.25pm both men were patrolling near the corner of Peter’s Hill when fire was opened on them by two men, both Constables were hit and had their rifles taken.


On Tuesday the 20th of June 1922 two special constables or ‘B’ Specials were killed when ambushed by a party of I.R.A. Volunteers near Keady County Armagh. Both constables were returning from Keady on their bicycles with some goods when they came under fire from hedges on both sides of the road. Both men attempted to cycle away but were hit and died from their wounds within minutes. The two constables were:

  • Special Constable William Mitchell
  • Special Constable Samuel Young


On Thursday the 25th of May 1922 Special Constable Robert McDowell was shot dead at the home of a relative at Windgates Bray County Wicklow. McDowell was recovering from an illness. Several unknown men took him from his lodging and shot him dead in a near by lane. McDowell was a Special Constable in Belfast.