On the 28th November 1920 a patrol of 17 Auxiliary police and one temporary Constable was ambushed at Kilmichael, not far from Macroom in County Cork. By that evening 16 were lying dead in the road, one was in a coma and the remaining survivor was being interrogated by the IRA.
The Macroom Ambush, as it was called, caused a sensation at the time. It was the greatest loss of life suffered by Crown Forces in 1919-1921, and was to be surpassed only by the murder of 18 British paratroopers in an explosion at Warrenpoint, County Down in September 1979.
A useful synposis of the ambush and events can be found in Wikipedia:
Of the two Cadets survived the initial ambush one (Frederick Henry Forde) was badly wounded with severe fractures to the skull apparently caused by an axe or rifle butt. The other, Cecil Guthrie, had managed to escape and had nearly returned to Macroom when he was captured by the IRA. After being held for 2 days he was either shot, or died of wounds, and was buried secretly in a bog. His pregnant wife was in Macroom at the time, she did not recover his body until years later. She never re-married.
What follows here are photographs of the gravestones of those who were killed.
1. Temporary Cadet Cecil Guthrie
Temporary Cadet Cecil Guthrie; C Company ADRIC; Lieutenant RAF. Aged 29 years. Captured at the Macroom Ambush 28 November 1920 and killed then or shortly after. His body was buried secretly until 1926 when it was disinterred and buried at Inchigeelagh Churchyard.
The stone reads:
"In Memory Of / Lieut. Cecil J. Guthrie / November 28 1920"
His pregnant wife gave birth at Macroom prematurely following the ambush, she never remarried.
The flowers shown above were placed on the grave by an unknown person on All Souls Day, 2007.
Lt Guthrie, RAF
2. Temporary Cadet Leonard Douglas Bradshaw
"Lieut. Leonard Douglas Bradshaw R.F.A / Auxiliary Force R.I.C. / Dearly beloved elder son of / E. Champion and Edith Bradshaw / Killed in Macroom, Ireland, November 28th 1920 / Aged 22 Years / A Brave Life Nobly Lived "
He had joined the Royal Field Artillery at only 16 and was commissioned as an officer at 18. He had been gassed and wounded in France. His mother was on the eve of departure to visit her son in Ireland when he was killed.
His father, Ernest Champion Bradshaw, was to become a noted artist in Springfield, Ohio.
3. Temporary Cadet Cyril Dunstan Wakefield Bayley
"CYRIL / In Loving Memory of / CYRIL DUNSTAN WAKEFIELD BAYLEY / LIEUT. R.A.F. AUX. FORCE R.I.C. / The dear eldest son of / GEORGE ALBERT & MAY BAYLEY / of Chorlton-cum-Hardy / Killed in ambush at Kilmichael, / Nr. Macroom, Co. Cork, Ireland. / November 28 1920, Aged 22 Years / 'One crowded hour of glorious life / is worth an age without a name' "
Bayley had joined the Artists Rifles in 1914 and was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps, piloting in France and Germany. At one time the youngest officer in the RAF he had also been wounded in the war.
4. Temporary Cadet William Hooper Jones
The headstone of Temporary Cadet William Hooper-Jones, Auxiliary Division RIC, in Ramsbottom.
The inscription at the very bottom has weathered away almost completely but once read:
"Lieut. William Hooper Jones / (Northumberland Fusiliers) / Who was killed in the Macroom Ambush / County Cork Nov 28 1920 / Age 24 Years / 'Peace, Perfect Peace' "
Hooper Jones had previously served in the Dardanelles campaign where he was promoted from the ranks. He was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre in 1918.
THE (BURY) TIMES, SATURDAY DECEMBER 11, 1920
THE MACROOM MASSACRE
FUNERAL OF THE HAWKSHAW VICTIM
The church at Holcombe was the scene of a very impressive ceremony last Saturday afternoon, when the body of Wm Hooper Jones, of the R. I. C., one of the casualties of the Macroom massacre, was laid in everlasting peace. The deceased cadet was awarded the honour of a military funeral, the coffin containing the remains being conveyed from the residence of the deceased's parents, Mr. & Mrs. Albert Hooper Jones, Mount -----, Hawkshaw, on a 15 pounder field gun carriage, drawn by six horses, escorted by -----. Numerous groups of people assembled at the side of the route and at the church there was a large number of persons. The funeral cortege was headed by troops from the depot, Lancashire Fusiliers, Wellington Barracks, with rifles reversed, under the command of Lieutenant ---- B. E. M., followed by the band of the depot under Sergeant Drummer Cannon, who on the march played Chopin's "Funeral March".
The cortege also comprised Colonel G. S. Lockwood, M.C., Commanding Officer, Captain J. Digby Wyatt, M.C., Adjutant, Captain F. C. Glover; Lieutenant L. Potter, Quartermaster, Lieutenant A. W. Brookes, Regimental Sergeant-Major Wainwright, Quartermaster-Sergeant Waring, C. S-M. Instructor of Musketry Rogers, Staff-Sergeant Instructor Gardner, Sergeant G. Pearce, Sergeant T. Mooney, Sergeant Plews, Sergeant Geddes, D.C.M. and a number of privates of 5th Batt. Lancashire Fusiliers; Lieutenants Burns and Clarke also of the Lancashire Fusiliers; Captain G. D. Little and Captain A. N. Oulton of the 23rd Cheshire Regiment; Temporary Cadets T. D. Mabey and W. A. Campbell, R. I. C. (who had been deputed as special mourners), between 50 and 60 ex-Service men from the Hawkshaw district; and three carriages containing the principal mourners, namely Mr. Albert Hooper Jones, father; Mr. Wm Hooper Jones, grandfather; Mr. Herbert Hooper Jones, brother; Miss Violet Jones, sister; Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Haslam, brother and sister-in-law; Mr. H. Knight, Bury; Mr. Jas. Lester; Mr. Thos. Beckett, the deceased's former schoolmaster.
As the cortege wound its way along the country road the scene was most impressive. Near the church the troops and ex-servicemen, many of whom carried floral tributes, lined the road, and the male portion of the spectators bared their heads as the coffin, covered with a Union Jack, was carried into the church; the band meanwhile playing the "Funeral March". Among those in the church were Lieut. R. W. Butcher, Lieut. W. Brierley and Lance-Corporal J. Whitlam of the Lancashire Fusiliers. The service was conducted by the Rev. R. G. Stanley, Rector of Holcombe, assisted by the Rev. J. Edmondson, vicar of Hawkshaw, who also officiated at the graveside. After the service at the graveside a firing party comprising a corporal and 14 men, under Sergeant Maddings, fired three volleys over the grave and the buglers from the depot sounded the "Last Post". The coffin, which bore a breastplate with the inscription "William Hooper Jones, Aux. Div. R. I. C. Killed Nov. 20th., 1920" was allowed to rest on the side of the grave while the spectators filed past.
Floral tributes were sent by: Father, mother, Bert and Polly, Sister Violet and Jim Lester; ---- and Florrie; Mr. and Mrs. David Greenwood and Robert, Ramsbottom; Mr. and Mrs. ?Hulme and family; L. Waterhouse and W.J., Blackpool; Mr. and Mrs. Tom Taylor, Tottington; Colonel G. S. Lockwood and officers of the 5th Batt. Lancashire Fusiliers, "In memory of an old comrade"; the N.C.O.'s, 5th Batt. Lancashire Fusiliers; Commanding Officer and fellow officers of the 23rd Batt. Cheshire Regt, "with whom Lieut W. Hooper Jones served in France"; from his old pal Lieut. Clarke, 1st/5th B. L.F.; Hawkshaw ex-Servicemen; Ramsbottom Branch of Comrades of the Great War; scholars and teachers of Hawkshaw Church day school; a few friends, Bury; and there was one without name.
A service in memory of the deceased cadet was held at Hawkshaw Church on Sunday evening. There was a congregation of over 500, practically every house in the village being represented. The vicar, the Rev J. Edmundson, preached on the parable of the wheat and the tares from the 13th chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. He contrasted the human and natural way of treating an enemy, to pluck up and destroy, and the Divine way, as God said, "Let both grow until the harvest".
The Bible lessons were read by Mr. W. H. Rigg and Mr. Fred Whowell; Mr. T. Beckett assisting in the service. The hymns sung were "O God our help in ages past", "I think when I read that sweet story of old" (this being the favourite hymn of the deceased), "On the resurrection evening" and "Abide with me". Four buglers from the Bury Barracks sounded the "Last Post". Mr. C. Chanson was the organist.
A further wreath was sent from the Hawkshaw ex-Service men and this was later hung upon the church gates.
William in 1914, Lancashire Fusiliers.
William as an officer, 1917, Northumberland Fusiliers
(both above photographs courtesy of a family member)
For more information on Cadet Hooper-Jones' early life, see "Our Boys: The Great War in a Lancashire Village"; Jonathan Ali 2007
5. Temporary Cadet James Chubb Gleave
The grave of Temporary Cadet J.C Gleave, Auxiliary Division R.I.C., in SS Gregory and Martin Graveyard, Wye, Ashford, Kent.
The stone reads: "In / Loving Memory / of / James C. Gleave Lieut. R.A.F. / Killed in Kilmichael Ambush. / Nov 28th 1920. Aged 21 Years. / Also of Fergus Gleave. Lieut 10 Glosters / Killed on the Somme / July 22nd 1916. Aged 26 Years. / His Name Liveth for Evermore."
Cadet 72825 James Chubb GLEAVE DFC. Formerly Lieutenant, Royal Air Force. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) during the Great War for bravery in the air. He was an Observer and later a Pilot in the Royal Air Force
2nd Lt Fergus Gleave is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, The Somme, France. Panel reference 5A and 5B. He held a BSc from London University and was married.