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Member Since: 11-Apr-2004
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The following is taken from Richard Abbott's 'Police Casualties in Ireland 1919-1922'; p216.
'The IRA attacked Rosscarbery RIC Barracks, which stood on a hill near the village, with explosives causing the death of Sgt Ambrose Shea 57356 and Constable Charles H. Bowles 72058. Nine other Constables were wounded, one of them, Constable Kinsella, seriously.
The Flying Column of No. 3 (West Cork) Brigade led by Tom Barry entered the village at 1.10 a.m. The IRA took up a main position at the Post Office corner about thirty yards from the Barracks. Others occupied upper windows of the building opposite the Barracks and covered the rear of the building. A small party of IRA men then removed their boots and carried a bomb, which had been constructed by an ex-Royal Engineer who had fought during the First World War, to the front door of the Barracks.
When this device exploded most of the blast went backwards and did not cause the breach in the doorway that had been expected by the IRA. A fiercely fought battle then began to rage between the police and their attackers, with both sides using rifles and Mills bombs.
After two hours the police had been forced out of the front ground floor rooms into those at the back but were forced to give these up. The police then moved to the top story and continued their defence of the Barracks. The IRA exploded two smaller bombs in the ground floor rooms of the Barracks in an attempt to bring down the floors but this failed. They next set fire to the stairway which soon had the ground floor fiercely burning. This forced the police garrison into a single back room and soon they had no alternative but to surrender. Before doing so, they threw their weapons and ammunition into the flames so that they would not fall into the hands of the IRA.
The police party then lowered their more seriously wounded members through a back window before leaving the Barracks by the same route. The bodies of Sgt Shea and Constable Bowles could not be reached as they lay on the ground floor of the burning barracks where they had been killed early in the attack. The surviving RIC men took shelter in some nearby houses and the Convent of Mercy.'
Sgt Shea was a married man from Co. Wicklow, Constable Bowles was 22 years old and from Kent.
This photograph was taken only 6 hours after that attack, and shows Capt J.A.M. Faraday, 2nd in Command of 'O' Company, ADRIC; standing in the smouldering ruins.(Photo courtesy of Ballyroughan and the Irish Guards)
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