1921 Jan 27. M L Cope appears to be the first P Coy Commander (He was in ADRIC from 27 Jan 1921 till 3 Feb 1921, so was hardly in the job)
1921 Feb 3 ML Cope "Permitted to resign" I cannot read the reason in the register - he was only there a few days. Either way there were no members of P Coy until the bulk of the men were recruited from 2 Mar to 30 Mar 1921.
1921 Mar 9. EW Johnston promoted Company Commander of P Coy
1921 Mar 12. C Pope and A J Purchase arrive as DI3s
1921 Mar 26. J E Leach VC Posted to P Coy. 2nd in Command
1921 Apr 1. JE Leach VC ceases to be 2nd in command and is posted to H Coy as 2nd in Command
1921 April . P Coy came to Tubbercurry, Co Sligo. They took over a business premises close to the RIC barracks - Howley's Drapery Store. A full front page advertisement in the April 30th and May 7th issues of the Sligo Champion announced a "Clearance Sale of Large Drapery Stock" in a hotel in Tubbercurry starting on May 9th. The stock was from Howley's -"Commandeered by Crown Forces".
One local IRA leader, Martin. Brennan, later described them as being a "damn decent crowd". A lot of the Auxiliaries were" decent men" according to Michael Walsh who recounted the story of the Auxiliary officer who at the fair of Tubbercurry saw a fine horse for sale. "Would you let me ride him?" he asked the vendor. "Why wouldn't I?" replied the farmer and the Auxiliary took the horse for a ride. When he returned he bought the horse on the spot and had it sent back to his home in England. From "Sligo 1914-1921 A chronicle of conflict - by Michael Farry"
1921 Apr 21 Bolam and Bales had travelled to Belfast on escort duty, they were among a party of 12 from Sligo on this duty that day. They were ambushed in Belfast at 9pm at the junction of Donegal Place and Fountain Lane. Bolam died at the scene and Bales in hospital the next day
1921 May 1. J Somers appointed Paymaster
1921 May 6. The Dublin to Sligo train was ambushed at Seefin level crossing between Kilfree Junction and Ballymote at 7.30 pm to raid the mails. A man with a red flag stopped the train. There were 30 to 40 volunteers armed with 10/15 rifles and various other firearms. Marren and McGowan stood on the line and stopped the train. IRA men came out behind the train and began to go through the carriages. However there were a number of Auxiliary police on board and they opened fire on the attackers. The IRA claim that 11 Auxiliaries and 2 police surrendered and arms, ammunition and dispatches were taken. The County Inspector's report says 5 temporary cadets returning to Tubbercurry and one Ballymote constable were deprived of their arms. The Freeman's Journal reported "It is stated that the Auxiliaries thanked the Republicans on parting for the courteous treatment they received and that the latter expressed a wish to meet them in an open fight soon".
1921 May 6. R B Bettson promoted 2nd in Command of P Coy
1921 May 15. E W Johnston was fired on by the IRA at Gleneask when he was on his way from Easkey to Tubbercurry. His car was hit five times but he escaped injury.
1921 May 17. After a failed attempt to ambush a military car, involving the use of a train to try to stop the car, the IRA men involved abandoned the engine and retreated into the hills. They stopped at the pub in Mullaghroe, and five minutes later the house was surrounded by a group of around 20 police and Auxiliaries. The IRA report says that the Crown Forces were led by a man called Little (this is probably TB Little who was a Section Leader in P Coy). Two IRA men, Hunt and McGeogh were captured. Some of the Auxiliaries made to ill treat Hunt but Little prevented them. Hunt and McGeogh were taken on foot to Ballaghaderreen and from there to Boyle Barracks
1921 May 24. Rev. Michael Henry, "The Doc Henry" was said to be very friendly with the IRA. His house was raided by the Tubbercurry Auxiliaries on a number of occasions. However the second in command of the Auxiliaries in Tubbercurry, a man nicknamed "Tiny" because of his great height, had served with "The Doc' in Salonica during the war and had become good friends. As a result Fr Henry was made an honorary member of the Auxiliaries Mess in Tubbercurry and often joined the Auxiliaries there for a drink. After such a night Captain E W Johnston often drove him to his home. From "Sligo 1914-1921 A chronicle of conflict - by Michael Farry" The Company 2 I.C. who was present on a raid, during which Fr. Henry's home was visited, upon seeing Fr. Henry he recognised him at once, as they had served together in Salonika during the late War and had become good friends. The "P" Company 2 I.C. was Lt. R.B. Bettson, and he served in the East Surrey Regt.
1921 May 23 Monday was Market Day in Tubbercurry. About four o'clock a number of Auxiliaries arrived and arrested a number of young men, who were lined up in front of Howley's premises then occupied by the Auxiliaries. Auxiliaries operating in the Curry area often raided the house of John Durcan who was active in the IRA.
1921 May 23. A small group of IRA men under Thomas Brehony of Keash took up ambush position in a small wood near the caves of Keash. Four men armed with rifles were supported by others who were to signal the approach of the enemy. At around 3.30 pm a Ford car and three Crossley tenders were seen from a distance as they came down the hills raising dust as they came. There were 13 Auxiliaries and 13 RIC in the convoy. As the last lorry passed the ambush position fire was opened on it. Because of the heavy dust the other vehicles went on a considerable distance before realising that their comrades were being attacked. One constable was shot in the leg and another sustained severe wounds
1921 Jun 1. The IRA carried out a robbery at Tuffy's shop in Cullens in order to draw the police to the place and ambush them. The desired result ensued and the a fire fight between the IRA and the police was curtailed by the arrival of British forces from Ballina by way of Carns and Auxiliaries from Tubbercurry came in by the Glenreagh road. Four lorries of police and Auxiliaries pursued the retreating IRA up the bog road towards Lough Easkey
1921 Jun 4. On Monday June 4th a large scale action by the British took place in south Sligo. Military from Tubbercurry, Sligo and Boyle were involved. "There were oceans of soldiers on foot", said Tom Deignan, Commandant of the Riverstown battalion of the IRA. The search started at 2 pm and at about 9 pm Deignan and John Kennedy, the Brigade engineer, were in a bog at Culfadda where they were arrested and Deignan was recognised as a wanted man.
1921 Jul. The day after the truce came into effect, MJ Marren the commandant of the Gurteen Battalion of the IRA was swept out to sea while swimming at Strandhill beach. In the evening a group of Auxiliaries arrived, and two of them, good swimmers, searched for, but could not find, the body. The local paper The Champion, remarked "In all the sadness of the scene, one could not fail to contrast the picture which only a few days previous was so different. Volunteers mingling as ordinary citizens"
1921 Oct 31. A letter from Michael Collins to an IRA Brigade Intelligence Officer in the autumn of 1921 "Information has been received that the strength of' P' Coy Auxiliary Division stationed at Tubbercurry. in your area. is 68 Temporary Cadets and 13 Temporary Constables"IMA, Collins Papers A/0747/XXXV -
1921 Nov 11. P Coy were guarding Mountjoy Prison when there was an IRA escape of Wing. The seven who escaped were Leo Fitzgerald, Liam Troy, Gerry Davis, Paddy Rigney, Paddy O'Brien, Tom Keegan and Christy Smith. WS1361 ".... Paddy Rigney approached me and three other prisoners - O'Brien, Smith and Keegan - and we agreed to chance it. Fitzgerald said that only a limited number could try it ......We now started making arrangements to escape. We were allowed visitors at the time, and on those visits it was arranged that a few guns would be smuggled into us by women. The women called to visit us and, as there was only a warder on duty with us during visits, we succeeded in getting in a few guns. I got one gun on a visit and Fitzgerald hid this for me. The Auxiliary Company who were guarding the prison at the time wore "Tam-o-Shanter" caps with a badge made of cloth, half green and half yellow. The women made five of these caps for us..... On the night of 11th November 1921, the Auxiliaries were pretty well all drunk, as they were celebrating Armistice Day, and Fitzgerald sent word to us that this was our chance. "
1921 Dec 8. EW Johnston Struck of strength as a deserter.
1921 Dec 9 . Reginald Bernard Bettson appointed Commander of P Coy
1922 Mar. The Treasury receives a report saying that P Company's accounts were short more than £535: its commander, Captain EW Johnston , had received this money as a temporary advance from the commander of Depot Company. Although Johnstone told the company paymaster that he repaid this advance, "it has now been ascertained that this is not the case