Dripsey Ambush - 28 Jan 1921

Frank Busteed, the IRA Flying Column commander, had learnt from the IRA IO In Coachford that two tenders of ADRIC from Macroom passed through the village every Friday morning between 10 and 11 on their way to Victoria Barracks in Cork to collect pay for the Auxiliaries in Macroom. In order to ambush them, an ambush position was chosen near Godfrey's Cross

The north side ground rose steeply from the road, and a high ditch gave good cover.

There were about 30 in the Column . To the south of the road the ground fell away, with a small roadside fence the only cover. Busteed put some of his men with Lee Enfield rifles in pits above the road to cover the fence and try to prevent the Auxiliaries using it as cover

The 24 men with shotguns, and the remaining riflemen lined the ditch to the north of the road.

Two roadside trees had been sawn through and were held up with ropes. The idea being to cut the ropes, the trees would fall over the road in front of and behind the tenders, and this would force the tenders to stop, at which point they would be shot up from the ambush positions. The shotgunners would take out as many Auxiliaries as possible with their first volley. Busteed had 6 mills bombs which would be thrown as the Auxiliaries exited their tenders. The riflemen would only have time to fire one round, before the IRA would move in with bayonet and rifle butt. They did not intend to take prisoners

The IRA Flying Column was waiting to Ambush an Auxiliary patrol. Its movements were unpredictable, which meant lying for may hours and often many days in ambush positions

The IRA under Frank Busteed were already in position at 1.30 for the ambush, when a messenger (a man called Buckley) from Father Shinnick, the priest at Coachford, arrived to inform Busteed that the message from Father Shinnick was to get away quickly as the military from Ballincollig had been informed and were on their way because the ambush position had been given away.

At 4.15 they suddenly spotted a British officer walking along the road from the "wrong" direction, the East. The Auxiliaries had been expected from the West. They spotted a great number of British soldiers at this point, and. Busteed decided to withdraw his men.

C Company of the Manchesters was dispatched in 5 lorries at 3,30 to Dripsey Cross. 70 men under Lt. Col Gareth Evans with Lts Sykes, Orgill, Todd and Vining. They were escorted by 2 armoured cars. When they got near the ambush area, the British troops divided into 5 groups and set about surrounding the IRA

By 2.30 am on 29th Jan they had finished their operation and departed with 10 prisoners to Ballincollig. 5 of their prisoners were shot on 28th Feb 1921 by the British.

Busteed eventually found out, after threatening to shoot Father Shinnick, that Shinnick told Busteed what he knew. Mrs Landsay had heard about the ambush in the village shop. She had stopped he car when she saw Father Shinnick and told him about the ambush. They agreed that she warned her people and he warned his, hence his messenger to Busteed at the site of the ambush, Mrs Lindsay meanwhile drove to Ballincollig and inform the military

Busteed then arrested Mrs Lindsay and her chauffeur, and in the end held them hostage against the execution of the prisoners condemned to death following the ambush. When the men were executed by the British, he executed Mrs Lindsay and her driver.

 

Execution by Sean O'Callaghan

ADRIC Incidents