Trim on 28 Sep 1920

It appears that DI1 G V Dudley was in Trim that night with a group of men from E Coy. E Coy was formed on 18 Sep 1920 with Dudley as Company Commander, and deployed to Sligo on 14 Oct 1920. They were undergoing training while still barracked in Dublin. Dudley had been reported involved in a skirmish outside Dublin with a group of 30 "RIC Sergeants". These will be ADRIC Cadets who held the rank of Sergeant in RIC, and the press had yet to come to terms with reporting on the Auxiliaries. E Company had a strength of about 60 men at this time, and of these 60 half had only been in Ireland a few days. So Dudley was presumably leading the 30 men who had been in E company a few days longer. By the burning of Trim he would have had 60 men under his command, but there is no indication how many of them were at Trim

From "The Burning of Trim Barracks and the Sack of Trim "By Noel French in 2019

F C O’Reilly met a man in the uniform of a District Inspector of the Police, Major Dudley, and said “This is a terrible thing.” The officer replied “I assure you Sir, it is disgraceful; no one is more sorry that I am that anyone should have been shot; they had not orders to fire.” Griffin was picked up and taken to hospital. Another young man, James Kelly, was in the act of mounting his bicycle when he was shot in the leg. Aged 25 and living at Fosterstown about a mile outside the town, Kelly described how eight lorries from the direction of Navan arrived at the Fair Green and as the last lorry passed he mounted his bicycle to head in the opposite direction. He had not gone more than twenty yards when he heard a shot and fell off his bicycle. He was taken in to the home of Nurse Sherry and from there to hospital. Kelly had just returned home from working in Clifden, Co. Galway as a hotel boots.

Fr. Caffrey and Fr. Murphy, Catholic curates, arrived at the scene of the shooting while Mr. O’Reilly and Major Dudley were speaking. They all asked what could be done to ensure no further bloodshed would take place and the curates undertook to guarantee that the people of the town would remain absolutely quiet. Major Dudley replied “If a guarantee is given that the people remain indoors and that no further attack will take place, I will assure you that the men under my control here will do nothing to terrorise or frighten anyone.” The guarantee was given and the two priests along with Fr. Walshe from Maynooth, Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. J.J. Reilly, chairman of the Trim Urban Council went around the town urging people to remain within their homes. As they went around the town they met a man in a policeman’s uniform who said he was searching for petrol. This caused concern so the men went back to Major Dudley who told them he was taking away his men. The local I.R.A. men on hearing of the guarantee re-considered and decided that the pre-arranged plans for the guarding of their supporter’s' houses need not now be carried out.

The police observed the barracks until the roof fell in. They then walked about the streets in groups without molestation and took tea and refreshments locally. Several young men were searched but no arrest was made. The curate, Fr. Caffrey, went out in the town advising people to go home and stay inside. Fr. Murphy C.C. called to the Lalor home and told Mrs. Lalor that everything was alright and everyone was safe. The three Lalor brothers came out and passed their mother and the priest. Mrs. Lalor asked where they were going and said “Don’t go up against the priest.” Joe replied “Well, mother, we’re not going to be here so you can see us shot before your eyes.”

About 6.30 a deputation of leading citizens and Mr. Foley D.I. R.I.C. met Major Dudley who asked for a guarantee that every person would be off the street after dark. Major Dudley having been given a guarantee said the people had no need to fear anything from the military. The troops withdrew about 8.00 p.m. and left the town and returned to Navan. Residents were afraid and the whole town was deserted before nightfall.

At about 2.45 a.m. people were startled to hear the noise of heavy lorries and the voices of cheering boisterous men. About 200 Auxiliaries and Black and Tans from Gormanston arrived and stopped briefly at the burning barracks and then there was sustained gunfire and deafening explosions on the three main streets of the town – Castle Street, Market Street and High Street. Market Street rang to the sound of machine gunfire.


The Times, Tuesday, Sep 28, 1920; pg. 10; Issue 42527; col A

More Irish Reprisals. Armed Raiders At Trim., Many Houses Burned., Further Threats. (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.).

Early this morning in the town of Trim where the police barracks was burned yesterday and a head constable was shot, was partially wrecked by armed men.

Some hours after the burning o the barrack a party of soldiers took possession of the town and remained on duty until 11' o clock at night, when they were withdrawn. The town was then quiet and it remained so until 3 o' clock this morning when a number of armed men who are said to have been Auxiliary Policemen arrived in motor lorries and went through the streets shouting and firing their rifles.

The occupants of Higgins Hotel got three minutes to leave and soon afterwards it was said to be on fire. A number of business houses in the main street were soon blazing and this afternoon it is reported that most of the houses on both sides of Market Street, the principal thoroughfare are burning. Two lads named Kelly and Griffin have been taken to hospital suffering from gunshot wounds.
The damage to house property is estimated at £50,000. Trim is the Assize town for county Meath is within 30 miles of Dublin and the Midland and Great Western Railway and has a population of 15,000.

It was ascertained to-night at Dublin Castle that a report will be issued regarding the outbreak at Trim. Full details of the occurrence have been telegraphed for and special officers have been sent to the town to make enquiries. The whole question of reprisals has been engaging the earnest attention of the Chief Secretary since his return from London. Conferences have been held and definite steps are under consideration for dealing with the matter expeditiously and effectively.
The Standing Committee of the Irish Peace Conference has passed a resolution recording its:
'solemn conviction that the reprisals practiced by the armed forces of the government and especially the new Auxiliary Police, including wanton and willful destruction of human life and property for which no accountability has been enforced and no redress given constitute an almost insuperable barrier to the success of its efforts in the cause of peace.'

a Navan correspondent telegraphed yesterday:

Two hundred of the "Black and Tans" entered the little town of Trim early this morning, singled out the shops and business establishments of those residents alleged to be in sympathy with Sinn Fein and ransacked, pillaged and burned all. At noon today when I visited the town it had all the appearance of a bombarded town in the war zone of France. Furniture is piled on the main street, houses still smoldering and the people are panic stricken. Two young men are lying in the local hospital having been shot by the military. Head Constable White who was also wounded is not yet out of danger.

It appears that on Sunday evening military motor-cars full of armed men dashed into Trim on the way to the police barracks which had been burned by raiders that morning. Shots were discharged at a group of boys playing hurley on the green and one lad of 16, George Griffin was shot through the groin, while another lad named James Kelly was shot in the leg. The priests sought some of the officers, gave them assurance that the town would be quiet and that all would be indoors by 8 o' clock. The military then departed.
At 3 o' clock this morning a force of "Black and Tans" entered the town. They visited the town hall in Castle Street, a licensed premises in Market Street, a drapery establishment in High Street and a mineral water factory and premises in Market-Street. The doors were smashed in. Petrol was commandeered and poured over the shops and soon all were on fire. Today nothing remains but the charred walls.

The proprietor of the mineral water factory, who is chairman of the Urban Council estimates his loss at £20,000. He added that at 3.45 the door was broken in. His assistants heard the noise and fled. The uniformed men called for the chairman of the Sinn Fein council and he hid in the kitchen. Then the " Black and Tans" went through the place setting the premises on fire. In the drapery establishment £8,000 worth of damaged goods and property is the measure of the appraisals. One of the two brothers owning the business is a member of the Urban Council.

In Castle Street the residents slept in the gardens. in this street is the town hall. A tailor living opposite whose family were in bed, was taken into the street and asked where his Sinn Fein sons were. He replied he did not know. A bayonet it is stated was placed against his breast and a "Black and Tan" is alleged to have said 'put it through the beggar.' A postman appealed to the men to spare the old man. They then smashed the door of his house, went through every room and destroyed every article in the place. All the residents in the street fled from their houses. The town hall was afterwards completely destroyed and all the town records destroyed. At 5 o' clock the "Black and Tans" left, threatening to return tonight to complete their work.


ADRIC Incidents