#OTD in 1921 – While the War of Independence was supported (actively or passively) by the majority of Irish, the Catholic church railed against the violence.

A letter from the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr. Thomas P Gilmartin is read at masses, following an ambush on English forces near Kilroe, Co Galway where members involving ‘D’ company, the ‘Auxiliary’ company in Galway had been ambushed: ‘The misguided criminals who fired a few shots from behind a wall and then decamped to a safe distance are guilty of a triple crime. They have broken the truce of God, they have incurred the guilt of murder… they have come from outside to do a could and craven deed and then, having fired their few cowardly shots, they beat a hasty retreat, leaving the unprotected and innocent people at the mercy of uniformed forces.’

Kilroe Ambush, Co Galway, 19 Jan 1921

Eleven Auxiliaries in a Crossley under 3DI T Simmonds were ambushed while driving from Galway to Headford, Co Galway. They were about 4 miles from Headford when the ambush was sprung at Kilroe. Forty to Forty-five IRA men were hidden behind walls and trees at the wood. The Auxiliaries were hit by gunfire and bombs from both sides of the road. The radiator of the tender was punctured by a bullet, forcing it to stop. 4 Auxiliaries were badly wounded and 6 more slightly wounded. However the remaining Auxiliaries were able to fire back and force the IRA to retreat. An Auxiliary, Harold Dawkins, who had been wounded, rode off on a horse to get help, the rest waited for a passing truck to carry the wounded off to Galway.

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