Thomas Darrell Huckerby

Huckerby from his seaman's card in 1919

1901 Jan 5 Born (from RIC records and from Seaman's card, showing it to be the same man) . Born in St Vincent in West Indies (though he put Somerset on RIC entry). His RIC entry described him as "mixed race". His father Thomas Huckerby was born in 1869 in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, the son of Francis and Mary Huckerby. He became a Wesleyan Minister in 1894 and went out to the Caribbean as a Missionary.. His mother was Mildred Darrell who was the daughter of Rev James Horne Darrell, Chairman of the St Vincent District. Thomas was an amateur archaeologist and anthropologist. He documented several prehistoric rock carving sites in St Vincent and Grenada and published his work. He collected various artefacts which are now held at the Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation ( part of the Smithsonian Institution) along with 61 glass plate negatives of views of the petroglyphs he studied and images of objects he had collected. Thomas died on 11th November 1927 and is buried at Kingstowm Methodist Church in St Vincent.

1918 Aug 30 Arrives New York from Grenada with his father, Thomas a Wesleyan Minister. Their address is Grenada, and they are in transit to England. .

1918 Sep 21. Arrives UK from New York. He is now Thomas D Huckerby "soldier" travels still with his father. His RAF service record says he spent 3 years with BWI Volunteers as a Cadet.

1919 Mar Takes out Seaman's card as a Cadet. And sails on SS Raranga. From the records Raranga sail to Australia on 8 Sep 1919. However his RAF record states that he left RNR on 6 Mar 1919 after 2 years service. This does not all tie up. The probability is that he was in RNR from about Oct 1918, to Mar 1919, when he became a Cadet on Raranga.

1919 Sep 2. Enlists in RAF

1919 Dec 13. Discharged physically unfit from RAF.

1920 Apr 30 Joined the RIC

1920 Jul 7. Posted as a Black and Tan Constable to Co Limerick. He may have shot a man called Reidy in Shanagolden - I cannot verify that.

1920 Aug 26. He was posted to Foynes. Huckerby and Const William Hall were at Dr Con Nolan's dispensery in Shanagolden where they were captured by 8 armed volunteers under Captain Timothy Madigan, who were hoping to relieve them of their weapons. The two RIC men stripped of their uniforms (which were burnt by the volunteers) and marched through the village and told to walk back to Foynes without uniforms

The result of this was 2 lorries of Black and Tans returned to the village that night, burnt the creamery and other buildings. A number of men found playing cards in a house were driven some miles out of the village, stripped of their boots and clothing and forced to walk home in a manner similar to the policemen that morning. Additionally, a 60-year-old man, John Hynes, was fired on and killed. The shooting of John Hynes was blamed on Thomas Huckerby, who was immediately transferred to Abbeyfeale


1920 Sep 19. The IRA set an ambush for the curfew patrol on the outskirts of Abbeyfeale. The purpose of the ambush was to shoot Thomas Huckerby. Two policemen, Constables James O’Donoghue and O’Mahoney, were killed in the ambush; Huckerby, the target of the action, escaped because he had not been rostered for the patrol.

1920 Sep 19 . A detachment of Green Howards and a group of ADRIC under OWRG Latimer were rushed to Abbeyfeale from Newcastle West

1920 Sep 21. Huckerby shot two young men, named Healy and Hartnett, on their way home from work at about 7pm. He told the British inquiry that he saluted them and they failed to respond, so he thought they were up to no good. He followed them and when they looked back , he says they started to run and he shot them. Firing only 3 shots to do so. He the told Latimer what he had done. There is no doubt that he accepted that he had shot the two me. Neither of them had any involvement with the IRA. The death certificates were issued by a military court of inquiry, the cause of death was put down as ‘Shot by revolver shots fired by T.D. Huckerby’ instead of the usual terms used in police shootings: ‘justifiable homicide’, ‘shot while trying to escape’, etc. Regan’s reaction was to transfer Huckerby to Limerick City ‘in order that he would be under our eye’.

1920 Nov 27. Two ex-British soldiers named Michael Blake and James O’Neill were stopped and shot dead while travelling from Dublin to Limerick. James O’Neill and Patrick Blake, Michael Blake’s brother, had earlier been found not guilty of the shooting of Constable Walter Oakley at a court martial in Dublin. They had been released following their trial but they were stopped and murdered at the Cross of Grange about six miles from Limerick City. Again, neither Blake nor O’Neill had any involvement with the IRA. They came from families that, between them, had contributed ten sons to the Munster Fusiliers. Both men had ‘recognised the court’ and they had stayed apart from IRA prisoners while on remand. From the evidence at the court of inquiry, much of it given by British soldiers, it emerged that a group of about eight masked men had carried out the killings. The leader of the party was a very tall man who spoke with a distinctly English accent. While there is no definite evidence to tie Huckerby to the shootings at the Cross of Grange, it is surely significant that it was on the Thursday following these shootings that Regan saw fit to transfer Huckerby to Limerick City. Regan does not refer to these shootings in his memoirs but he was the RIC county inspector for Limerick at the time. He refers to Huckerby, or ‘Wellarly’ as he calls him, as ‘undoubtedly the most extraordinary man I had met’, very laudatory terms for describing a man who appears to have murdered at a whim.

1920 Dec 26. Constable Thomas Huckerby resigned from the RIC on 26 December 1920 because disciplinary charges were pending against him. The record does not state the nature of these charges.

1921 Oct 12. He died of jaundice, while living in a police hostal in London, he was a "former constable RIC"



Abbeyfeale murders