Auxiliaries at Killaloe – R.C.Grey
R.C. Grey a retited Civil Servant from England was living in Killaloe in 1920. He published a pamphlet condemning the brutal killings of Egan, Mac Mahon, Rodgers and Gildea by G. Company of the R.I.C. Auxiliaries in November 1920. He subsequently recieved death threaths from the British forces in East Clare and was forced to leave the area.
“On the Monday afternoon I was walking across the bridge from Killaloe to Ballina – once it was a beautiful spot, it now seems to wear an ominous and sinister aspect – accompanied by my wife and another lady. All was quiet, but we saw a number of the Auxiliary Police coming down from the Lakeside Hotel towards the village of Ballina. They carried rifles and other arms and were lead by their C.O. an officer who is distinguished by the title of colonel. He carried a revolver and walked in a strikingly determined manner. Orders were suddenly shouted, the troops spread out through the village, and there was a general hold-up. The men within sight were ordered to stop and put up their hands. No notice was taken of me presumably because I wore rather better clothes than the others and looked, perhaps, even less offensive ; but two men who had passed me on the bridge, both well known in Killaloe, were ordered back and compelled to stand facing the wall of this ill-omened bridge with their hands up. A small boy beside me, finding himself in the war-zone began to cry. To the credit of the officer who guarded these two men as they stood with their hands up, let me record that he remarked to them : “I am sorry but it is only a matter of form,” though even allowing this it appeared to me that the formality was an unnecessarily offensive and terrifying item of the programme. There was no shooting on that occasion, but if anybody but the police had been armed there might well have been. It did not strike one as an effective way of lifting the terror of the pistol, and looked rather as though on receipt of the news from Dublin these members of the police or perhaps their C.O. , were seeing red.
That night there was a good deal of shooting in Killaloe, and though nobody was hurt the inhabitants were given a realistic object-lesson of what was liable to take place in certain circumstances ; of what did habitually take place elsewhere. On the following night machine-guns were brought out and a demonstration made which continued for many hours and which was highly successful in terrifying nervous people and disturbing the old and the sick. I am told nobody went to bed that night.
The colonel of these Auxiliary Police himself went through the town on the Monday night, pushing his revolver against men whom he met, threatening to shoot, and insisting that all shops should be closed at seven o’clock. He gave out that if a shot was fired in Killaloe he would have the whole place burned down. He did not however have to be alarmed. There are no firearms now in Killaloe except those in the possession of the police, and they are therefore at liberty to amuse themselves without fear of risk. Danger to the lives of the inhabitants, however, still continues. A friend of mine, walking down the street to his house after dark some days ago, had four revolver shots fired in front of him. This was done by some Black and Tans, but though these men go through the town an night singing Irish songs and jeering, shouting “God Save Ireland,” and doing all they can to excite the people to retaliation, there is no response. The Irish are wonderfully patient and I much fear their spirit is being broken. The odds are too great.”