2nd Lt John Charles Reynolds, S Staffs Regt

pres coverage of arson

The spy who gave Collins information for money is usually just referred to as "Reynolds" of varying rank in F Coy ADRIC. Thornton's Witness statement said Major Reynolds "procured quite a lot of very valuable information in the form of photographs of the murder gang - F Company, Q Company and various other companies of the auxiliaries". And note that Thornton later gave Reynolds a reference in "praiseworthy terms". There is a photo of Reynolds in the Beaslai collection. Dalton's WS says that Reynolds supplied the information via his friend Brigid Foley whom he first met during a raid

J C Reynolds of F Company was quite happy to sell intelligence information to Michael Collin's squad in Dublin and the IRA in Clare, See T.Ryle Dwyers book "The Squad" . Reynolds was transferred from Dublin to Clare. And the IRA in Clare say Major Reynolds a member of F. Company of the Auxiliaries originally stationed in Dublin Castle before his transfer to Clare was supplying detailed and accurate intelligence information to I.R.A. Headquarters in Dublin in return for payment.

His Pension Application file conforms his pecuniary role, and he was paid £6 to £8 per week - roughly as much as his ADRIC pay

1898 Oct 9. Born. There is a John Charles Reynolds born Dudley Oct/Dec 1898, which included Rowley Regis.

1901 census

1901 census gives him as son of Thomas B Reynolds and Mary R Reynolds. Living at Radnor Cottage, Hawkes Lane, Rowley Regis, Staffs. John Charles Reynolds then aged 2 is the man born Dudley Oct/Dec 1898 (Rowley Regis is part of Dudley registration district and the census gives him born at Rowley Regis, Staff. His father is a police constable and his elder brother a labourer, so the family is not wealthy by any means.

1911 census reynolds

1911 census. The family have moved to 84 High Street, Blackheath, Birmingham and his father has retired from the police to run a Pub - The Royal Exchange Inn - in Blackheath. J C Reynolds himself is a 12 year old schoolboy.

1914 Sep 1. He enlists in Army 6th Royal Berks, D Coy. Service No 12525 Service Record . He lies about his age, but the father, address and place of birth (Rowley Regis) are correct, and it is certainly him. He gives his age as 19 years and 9 months, while he was in fact 16 years and 9 months.He gives his trade as "??Lift Attendant"

1914 Oct 19. Discharged as Medically unfit (bad eyesight, really bad eyesight 6/19 in each eye))

1915 May 16. Lands in France. By now has rejoined as a Driver in RE, service number 74255

1918 May 1. The undermentioned, from Officer Cadet Units, to be 2nd Lts. S. Staff. Regt, John Charles Reynolds.

1918 Nov 28 Army List . The South Staffordshire Regiment. 3rd Battalion. 2nd Lieutenant Reynolds J C 1 May 18. 3rd Battalion was at Forest Hall (Newcastle) part of the Tyne Garrison.

1919 Sep 18. The undermentioned to be temp. Capts. (without the pay or allces. of that rank): 2nd Lt. J. C. Reynolds, 3rd S. Staff. R., Spec. Res., whilst employed as a Brig. Physical Training Supervising Officer.

1919 Nov 16. 2nd Lt. J. C. Reynolds, 3rd S. Staff. R., Spec. R., Relinquishes rank of Capt on vacating appointment. as Brig. Physical Training. Supervising Officer.

1919 Nov 27 Army List 27 Nov 1919. The South Staffordshire Regiment. 3rd Battalion. 2nd Lieutenant Reynolds J C. 1 May 18 (Brig. Phys. Trng. Supervising Offr.)

1920 Jul/Sept 1920. Jane Winifred Appleton married J C. Reynolds at W Derby. This ties in with her father's farm at Little Crosby, which is part of W Derby. Reynolds met his wife whilst he was stationed with the South Staffordshire Regiment at Sniggery Camp, Hightown.

His marriage to Jane Appleton failed, allegedly due to her indiscretions.   Apparently the marriage was out of necessity, as she was already pregnant with Thomas when they married.    Thomas was registered Jan/Mar 1921

IRA photo of F Coy, identified as Reynolds

1920 Jul. He claims in his penion application, to have commenced to give information to the IRA

1920 Sep 17. Joined ADRIC. No. 584. R.I.C.no 73542. RIC registers give a John C Reynolds, b1898 in Staffordshire who joined in 1920.

Ryle Dwyer in The Squad suggests that Dick Foley had put forward Reynold's name as being a man prepared to sell information to the IRA. Dalton's WS says that Reynolds supplied the information via his friend Brigid Foley whom he first met during a raid. Frank Thornton sounded Reynolds out and gave him "trial" jobs to do. Gradually they got to trust Reynolds and believed that he secured for them much "valuable" information.

1920 Dec 1 Took part in raid on Edward O'Connor's house (see under T/Cadet Frecker)

1920 Dec 25 promoted section leader in F Coy.

1921 Jan 21. He was involved in the failed Drumcondra Ambush by the IRA An excerpt from the trial of 5 IRA men says that John C. Reynolds, section leader of the Auxiliaries, testified: "One of the party [the ADRIC men] fired at one {of the IRA men} and he fell; he got up again and the party fired; this time he got up and the party fired again and he fell again."

1921 Jan 30 . Patrol leader in a raid on Mary Rigney's house

1921 Mar 11. Article in the Times about the IRA threats he was being subjected to and the burning of his father in law's farm

The men sentenced for the arson attack were:-

In this book In the Legion of the Vanguard by John A. Pinkman edited by Francis E. Maguire (Paperback; 9.99 IRP / 15.00 USD) John Pinkman was born of Irish parents in Liverpool in 1902. In this dramatic and passionate memoir, he tells of his childhood and youth in a close-knit, strongly nationalistic Irish Catholic community in Liverpool. Gifted with a remarkable memory, he provides a vivid depiction of his schooling and his subsequent apprenticeship in Liverpool's docklands. He joined a Sinn Fein club at the age of 16 and the Liverpool Company of the Irish Volunteers two years later. Pinkman gives a gripping account of the activities of the Liverpool Company prior to the Truce. Arrested and sentenced to five years' penal servitude in Dartmoor Prison for 'Sinn Fein activities,' he describes the life he and others endured in England's most dreaded prison. On his release following the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, he joined the elite Dublin Guards Brigade of the Irish National Army under Michael Collins on its formation early in 1922. He presents an eyewitness account of the fighting during the Civil War in Kilkenny, Dublin and Munster, supplying new and controversial information on the death of Cathal Brugha, the assassination of Michael Collins, and the role of Ersine Childres, challenging the received wisdom of these and other events of the Civil War. His gripping account, told with candour, honesty, and humour, provides new and startling insights on this key period of Irish history. This account is a valuable contribution to source material for the War of Independence and Civil War. The author of the book must be John Andrew Pinkman b Jan/Mar 1902 at W Derby, Lancs vol8b p363

Runcorn And Widnes Weekly News on Feb 26, 2009

Ian McKeane, a recognised authority on Ireland and its troubled past, gave Runcorn Historical Society members an insight into The IRA and Liverpool at their February meeting. A lecturer in Irish studies at Liverpool University, the speaker's specialist knowledge attracts post graduate students from all over the world.

He concentrated his latest talk on the growth of the IRA in Liverpool and the sequence of events between 1919 and 1923, including the rescue of De Valera from Lincoln Jail in February 1919 and the role of Michael Collins in Liverpool. In 1920 there were plans to attack Liverpool Docks but these were thwarted, the plans being captured and published by the police.

The next year there were arson attacks on a Cheshire farm and also lodging house raids. The same year, telephone lines were cut in Wirral and Liverpool, there were 13 farm attacks in Liverpool and Wirral districts and attacks on relatives of Black and Tans or police auxiliaries. Thompson sub machine guns were discovered and in 1922 Lancashire coal mines were raided for explosives.

In one earlier incident, in 1920, some 19 warehouses were burned in Liverpool. Liverpool's role in the IRA came to a close when the Irish civil war ended in 1923. "But," the speaker concluded, "Liverpool's activity had been as high as that in London."

1921 Feb/Mar. Birth registered in West Derby of Reynolds, Thomas W Reynolds with mother's maiden name of Appleton.

1921 Apr 11. IRA attack LNWR Hotel. Reynolds is standing against the wall to the right of the photo

1921 Jun 15. He was transferred to "G" Company with a promotion to Platoon Commander. 'G' Company was headquartered  at the Lakeside Hotel in Killaloe, County Clare; and later also at Corofin. It was reported in the Irish Times 7 July 1921 that Corofin Union Workhouse 8 miles from Ennis had been taken over as a temporary barracks by Auxiliary Police, and the inmates moved to Ballyvaughan Workhouse.

John Minihan of Corofin applied for a military service pension on account of his IRA work, among other tasks he says he carried out were " I located Fitzgerald (one hand) & his murder gang he was next in command to Tuder His H.Q. were at Corofin also Iogo who was also in Corofin but under cover. I was ordered to get in touch with Commander Reynolds of the auxiliaries in Corofin & received from him the enemy’s secret code which I did." "Commander Reynolds of the auxiliaries who was about to be removed to Corofin" "had plans laid to effect the escape of Commander Reynolds who was in detention by the auxiliaries as a machine gun had been stolen by unauthorised personnel on the night of a dance that Commander Reynolds was in command of the guarding arrangements."

1921 Jul 11. Truce comes into effect. Reynolds says he was in jail at this time awaiting a trial for treason.

After Reynolds transfer, the IRA recruited Temp Cadet McCarthy with money for information. He was introduced by an IRA man called Paddy Morressey. The IRA ceased to use him after they suspected that he had betrayed some high ranking IRA men (Tobin, Cullen and McDonnell)

On the other hand Charlie Browne of 7th Bn Cork 1 Brigade, says that the informant was Cadet O'Carroll at Dublin Castle in late May 1921

1921 Nov 1. There is a note in the ADRIC Registers, that Reynolds was reduced to a Temp. Cadet and suspended on the 1st November 1921.

29 & 30 Nov 1921 in the Irish Times

1921 Nov 29. It is unclear whether Reynolds is involved here or not.As he was suspended, he should not have been

1922 Jan 23. Another note on ADRIC registers states that he was dismissed on 23rd January 1922, which would suggest that he was in custody as the Auxiliary Division had already been disbanded by this date. Perhaps the disbandment saved him from a Court Martial, if indeed his treachery had been discovered at this time.

1922 March 16. Present at a lunch given by Mayor of Limerick with rank of Colonel Commandant in Free State Army. He said later that he joined the Free State army in Ennis after the disbandment of the Auxiliaries.

1922 July 5. Battle of Dublin and the Fourcourts ended

1922 Jul 19 During the battle for Limerick, Republicans in the city had launched a major attack to rescue the Strand Barracks which had been captured by the Free State army. Their advance up O'Connell Street, however, was caught in a cross fire of machine gun bullets coming from Free State positions at the ends of Thomas and Williams Streets and from across the Shannon. Back at the Strand Barracks Gen. O'Duffy ordered forward a storming party of twelve soldiers led by Col. David Reynolds and Capt. Con O'Halloran. Hurling grenades before them, they were met by intense fire as they entered the breach. Col. Reynolds was severely wounded, while Capt. O'Halloran was struck by Thompson submachine gun fire in the chest. Nevertheless, government troops pressed forward. While some Republicans were captured, the majority made their escape through the neighbouring hospital.

1922 July 24: Colonel Commandant Reynolds is in hospital wounded, but on the way to recovery.

1922 July 31 Released from captivity after he had been captured by irregulars. Commandant Reynolds had been attached to North West Command and held at Rosmoney. The Old Coastguard Station, Westport, lies 8 km north west of Westport Town. It housed 12 coastguard families from 1879 to 1921, after which the buildings were handed over to the Free State government. Coastguard Station.

According to his own testimony, he must have left the Free State army around this time.

1922 He enters the "film business" in England and Ireland.

The family remember that In the early 20's, JC Reynolds returned back to Blackheath/Rowley Regis "in some trouble".   He spent time living in the attic of his sister Julie's house, and on one occasion some Irish men came to call for him, and the family hid him in a cupboard in their back bedroom.

There is a family story of the trunk that JC Reynolds left. They lived in a row of old terraced houses.  One feature of each house was a small, dank cellar.   The trunk was left in the cellar of John's brother's house (Thomas F Reynolds).   When he died, his son John William (Jack) moved his family in.  Frightened of his uncle's involvement with "the Irish",   Jack broke the trunk apart, burned the wood and buried the contents at the bottom of the garden.   The insinuation is that there were guns or something incriminating but noncombustible in the trunk

He must have returned to Ireland as he reappears in Irish Army. In fact this is not Cadet John Reynolds but is a David Reynolds in the IFS Army in the 1920s. The bits 1926 to 1929 below do not appear to be our man

1926 Sep 8. National Army Review, Eastern Command Officer In Charge Major General D Hoagn, GOC Eastern Command Staff: Colonel Reynolds, Major McNally, Major King, Captain Trayer

1927 Aug 2. Colonel Reynolds at the Horse Show at Ballsbridge

1927 Mar. St Patrick's Day Parade, Mass at the Esplanade in front of Collins Barracks. Lieutenant General D Hogan, Chief of Staff, Major General Brennan Adjutant General, Major General MacEoin Quarter Master General, Colonel Reynolds in Command of the parade. occupied positions in front of the Alter.

1928 Nov 30. Colonel Reynolds at the Peamount Care Dance, Plaza Ballroom, Dublin

1929 Jul 4. Played for the Army in a golf match at Newlands

1933 His film business closes and he goes into the detective branch of the Garda


1933 An article in Irish Times, which is our man. There was only one Reynolds in ADRIC, and he was awaiting tried for treason in 1921



1939 Dec 15, The original hearing which was not defended for divorce sought by his wife in London.

1940 Mar He submits further information to further his penson appeal from an address in Dublin

1940 Jun 24. Decree absolute of J W Reynolds and J C Reynolds

1940 She re-marries a John W Collins in Wallasey soon after getting the decree absolute.

1941 Mar. JC Reynolds married a spinster, Dorothy Downing, in March 1941.   Dorothy was local to Rowley Regis, and their marriage was registered in Birmingham.  He appears that he came back to live in the Midlands.    

JC Reynolds had a number of illnesses - the family believes they were strokes - and was quite disabled in his later years (there is a memory of him as an old man on sticks).   He is believed to have lived with, and was looked after by, his sister Julie (who was once a trained nurse).  But when Julie could no longer cope, he was moved to a nursing home "somewhere on the east coast", and that's where he died. 

1943 Awarded 3 and 5/18 years service for pension purposes in 1943 at Grade D under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1934. Irish Pension Records . But Irish Government attempts to contact him failed

1971. Members of the family believe that he died 1971 in West Bromwich. The family think "he died penniless". I cannot find a death

1979. His wife Dorothy died in 1979, her death was registered in Birmingham.


Auxiliary Division RIC

Possible photos of Reynolds

Q Coy under attack

Custom House