CONSCRIPTION RESISTANCE. VOLUNTEER PLANS CAPTURED

by ehistoryadmin on August 20, 2016

An tÓglach  Autumn, 1966

CONSCRIPTION RESISTANCE

VOLUNTEER PLANS CAPTURED

By Col. Éamon Broy

 

Eamon Broy in 1918 was a member of G Division, the Detective Force, in Dublin.  In that position he gave inestimable aid to the Volunteer Intelligence Squad.

During the Conscription Crisis in 1918 the R.I.C. (Royal Irish Constabulary) claimed to have captured from the Irish Volunteers attaché, “Measures for combating Conscription”.

The R.I.C. sent a copy to the Commissioner of the D.M.P. which force policed the Dublin Metropolitan district.  The Commissioner sent the document to the G Division or Detective Force and so it reached me.

I at once forwarded a copy to the Irish Volunteers Headquarters in order to let them know that the document had been captured by the enemy.  I forwarded it per a go-between to Harry O’Hanrahan, who with his sisters ran a shop on North Circular Road and ran a sort of Irish Volunteer clearing house there.

O’Hanrahan sent me back word that the Volunteer H.Q. were alarmed to ascertain that the enemy had obtained possession of the document.

I am not aware of what steps, if any, were taken afterwards, as when I got into direct touch with Volunteer Headquarters in 1919 we had more pressing and serious matters to concern us.

The British Intelligence officer, “I.O.” published a copy of the document in his “administration of Ireland 1920.”

MEASURES FOR COMBATING CONSCRIPTION

  1. – Preventative Measures

“The only preventative measure is the working up of all public opinion against Conscription, unifying that public opinion and giving it the greatest possible amount of publicity both national and international.  The greater uproar and publicity created and the more the international character of the matter is emphasised, the less likely is the Government to try to enforce it.

The following means of arousing public opinion and securing publicity should be resorted to. (1) Pronouncements against Conscription by the Clergy, (2) resolutions by public bodies, Trade Unions, and public meetings against Conscription (3) securing the support of the daily press and of the Local Press through the country, (4) insisting on Members of Parliament opposing it, (5) letters in the Press and pronouncement by public men, (6) circulation of anti-conscription leaflets in various ways.

  1. – Evasive Measures

Only in towns would enforcement of Conscription be at all feasible; consequently all men of military age should as far as possible leave the towns.  Shop assistants and others should make provision to return to their homes in the country.  It should be made quite clear to employers that the enforcement of Conscription would entail the dislocation of their business, and they should be compelled to agitate against it as a body.  Similarly dues might be withheld from Clergymen who did not protest against it.

  1. – Militant Measures

The Irish Volunteers afford the only unified basis of resistance of conscription.  The rest of the population should set about co-operation with then in the most effective way, (1) all men of military age should at once join the Volunteers, (2) all householders and others in a similar position should render the Volunteers all material assistance in their power.  Those who do not do so voluntarily should be compelled, (3) women should be used for carrying information, cooking etc.  In general the method of opposition to conscription in any district would be determined by the local circumstances, and in particular by the extent to which the district was organised for such purposes.

  1. – Tactical Measures

“To attack troops or police would be a mistaken policy.  The method adopted should be to act in small numbers in suitable localities, thus compelling the authorities to disperse in search of them.  The English Conscripts who would be employed to enforce the measure are all town bred and would be at great disadvantage in such cases.

“Destruction of communications should be carried out as systematically as possible.

“Telegraphs and Telephones can be destroyed by (a) removing the instruments in County Post Offices (b) throwing a stone at the end of a rope across the wires near pole, and hawling [sic] them down, (c) quietly cutting wires in obscure places.

“Railways can be rendered useless for a time by (a) rolling down boulders or felling trees in a cutting or tunnel, (b) lifting a section of line – which should be done at a curve, (c) jamming points at quiet spots and wrecking Signal Boxes, (d) removing vital parts of locomotives, (e) inducing Railway employees to go on strike.

“Roads can be made useless by (a) barricades of different kinds, (b) systematically destroying motor-cars, bicycles, and store of petrol.  All these demolitions should be done as often and in as many places as possible.  Any considerable gain in time from these causes would be of extreme value.

“Always when possible fighting by day should be avoided.  Fighting by night in familiar locations would offer advantages.

“No kind of weapon should be despised; certain farming implements can be turned into formidable weapons.  Thus (a) a hay fork is quite as good as a rifle and bayonet in hand-to-hand fighting, (b) a billhook, axe, graip, spade, or sledge-hammer, though inferior to a hay-fork may be formidable in close fighting at night, a sythe-blade securely lashed with wire to a pole is as equal to a hay fork.

“Sometimes it will be possible to destroy a body of troops by a stone shot, from which a concentrated shower of great stones would be discharged from a height.

“Every firearm should be utilised; a volley of bird-shot in the face of a motor driver will wreck his car and stop any cars following it; so, too, will rook rifles and revolvers.  Good rifles should be given to the best shots.

Supplies of Materials, etc.

“Additional strong boots, warn enough overcoats and the like should be laid in.  Bicycles accessories should be procured in the largest possible quantities.  Preserved foods should be procured in as large quantities as possible.  Any not able to be secured should be destroyed – the same rule applies to arms of all kinds.

“Of other materials supplies of barbed and plain wire, nails and staples, hammers, saws, and axes would be useful for many purposes and stores of these should be laid in”.

Re-typed by Jennifer O’Connor

 

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