Shooting at Parkwood, Moate on 22 Oct 1921 of Michael Burke

1920 Oct 22. A convoy of 3 lorries carrying mainly Black & Tans was ambushed at Parkwood Commandant James Tormey of the Athlone Brigade IRA led the ambush along with his Flying Column company commanders Seamus O'Meara and David Daly. They had 13 rifles, a shotgun and grenades and opened a volley fire on the first lorry but then withdrew straight away, suffering no casualties. However RIC Constable Harry Biggs 73983 , who was born in London aged 23, died while driving one of these lorries. He had been in the police for only 2 weeks. Tormey was himself to die later at Cornafulla, Athlone, on February 2nd 1921. Tormey's brother, Joseph, died on January 17th 1921 at Ballykinlar camp.

A contingent of 2 lorries appears to have left Athlone to assist the casualties. They were a mixed bunch of RIC and ADRIC, and included 5 ADRIC, who were fingered by the RIC as the men that fired the shots as they returned to bse in Athlone

WS1500 The Column assembled at Faheran and, after a few days and, I would say, before they were ready staged an ambush at Parkwood on the main Dublin-Athlone road. They had hoped to contact a lorry of enemy of some sort, but instead they met up with a whole convoy of Black and Tans who were proceeding from Gormanston to the west of Ireland. After a short fight the column were luc1 in being able to extricate themselves from a nasty position without suffering casualties. That day, the Tans shot a man named Michael Burke as they passed through Athlone.

WS1308 We were in the position until about 1 p.m. keeping low and resting, but alert for a whistle blast, when, to our amazement, a lorry load of police (Tans) drove through and were put of range before we could do anything about it. We had not heard any warning whistle from our lookout men. We were just in the act of leaving oar positions to find out why our lookout men had not warned us when we heard the whistles being sounded and, almost immediately, another lorry of police drove into our position. We opened fire on this, killing the driver and bringing the vehicle to a standstill on the side of the road into which it had run. The lorry, when it ran off the road, had turned into the grass margin underneath our position and was now hidden 12. from our view. Almost immediately two more lorries crowded with police drove up and halted. The police jumped from the lorries and began firing wildly, mostly in the air. We realised quickly that we had hit up against something that we had not bargained for and that we were very much outnumbered, so we pulled out and retreated towards Tobber. Here we commandeered a lorry belonging to Goodbody's of Clara, which was stopped at a house, and we all parked ourselves on this and drove to Doon. At Doon we dismounted and proceeded on foot to the Shannon where we got boats and crossed over to the Roscommon side arriving at Clonown which is some miles south of Athlone. We went into billets there. We had no one wounded or injured in the affair. We afterwards learned that the driver of the police lorry was killed outright and that two or three more were wounded. What we had hit up against was actually a convoy of Tans who were being posted out from Gormanston Camp, Co. Meath, their headquarters, to centres in Co. Galway. Had we been prepared for such an eventuality, and had sufficient force, I am sure we could have captured or wiped out the lot, as they seemed to be of a very poor fighting quality. When they ran into the bit of trouble they jumped wildly from the lorries and seemed utterly confused and scattered around the place, firing their rifles wildly as they did so. On hearing the firing, a large number of cattle which where in a field stampeded towards the noise and this, lam sure, added to the Tans' confusion, as they would be mostly town and city men from England. Had they kept cool and had some good leaders, it is very doubtful if we could have got away and, certainly, not without a good few casualties. They made no attempt to pursue us as they were too disorganised to do so.

1921 Oct 22. Michael Burke, aged 51, was killed at Moate when Auxiliaries fired wildly on a reprisal spree and he was unfortunate enough to be hit by one of these bullets

Later compensation was paid.

Incidents involving ADRIC