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Osprey - Essential Histories 065 - The Anglo-Irish War 1913-1922

Warring

Warring sides The combatants The Crown forces The seat of British administration in Ireland was Dublin Castle ('the Castle'), where the Chief Secretary headed an Irish civil administration renowned for its incompetence and inefficiency. Unlike Wales or Scotland, however, Ireland had a Lord Lieutenant or Viceroy to represent the monarch. The Crown relied upon both the police and the army to enforce the rule of law and, despite efforts to show otherwise, the vast majority of civil servants, policemen and soldiers who made British rule possible were Irish Catholics. In 1914 over 22,000 Irishmen were in the Regular Army, with 33,000 listed as reservists, and by 1918 over 200,000 had fought for King and Country. Ireland was divided into three military districts: Northern (Belfast), Midland (Curragh) and Southern (Cork), whilst Dublin was a separate sub-district, and between 1914 and 1918 thousands of men were trained there. By November 1919 there were 34 infantry battalions stationed in Ireland undergoing a process of demobilization, training and reorganization. Six battalions were disbanded, and the old districts were reorganized into the 5th Division, commanded by MajGen Sir Hugh Jeudwine based in the Curragh, and the 6th Division, under MajGen Sir Peter Strickland based in Cork. Dublin remained an independent command. By July 1921 over A British Army patrol on the streets of an Irish town, 1920. (Courtesy of National Library of Ireland. Photographic Archive)

Warring sides 19 50,000 troops were scattered across Ireland to support the police. It is worth noting that in August 1920 14 infantry battalions (about 14,000 men) fulfilled the same role in mainland Britain. With the exception of the fighting during Easter Week 1916, the army conducted few conventional military operations during the Troubles. Only 25 per cent of Ireland was ever under martial law and most of its activities were centred on Dublin and Munster. Unsurprisingly, its officers tended to be rather conservative and harboured Unionist sympathies. The army that emerged from the First World War was in many ways different from the one that had marched off in 1914. It was war-weary, battle-hardened and utterly

A history of Protestant Irish speakers
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