Living History, — May 24, 2010 22:34 — 0 Comments

1921 Creggan Ambush

One Special Constable was killed and three others wounded in an ambush in the village of Creggan near Crossmaglen on Sunday last 7 April 1921.

The assailants numbered about sixteen and arrived on bicycles and held up all the people going to Church at Creggan and put them under guard in a public-house while they prepared the ambush.


Constables Samuel Dougald, Hans Leeman, Edward Linton, John Fluke and WQilliam Irwin, all stationed at Crossmaglen, left that village to cycle to service at Creggan Parish Church at 12.00. Nearing Creggan they observed three men standing by the bridge. As they pulled up these men disappeared.


Constable Fluke, who was leading the party turned the corner of McConville’s public-house and saw a man dart to the rear of the shop. The police, armed with revolvers, decided to search the premises. 


The door had been partially opened to their knocking when a hand-grenade, thrown from behind a wall outside the pub exploded near the police inflicting minor injuries on three of them. Immediately the constables opened fire on the men behind the wall and were answered with a volley of rifle and revolver fire and the throwing of more hand-grenades. 


Constable Fluke was shot dead – about nine bullets entering his chest and stomach. Constable Linton was hit by two bullets in the right leg and the ankle of the same foot was injured by an exploding grenade. Hew fell but rose again to return the fire of his assailants. 


Douglas was hit in the right hip as was Leeman as he was creeping around the public-house for shelter. Constable Irwin escaped uninjured.


No attempt was made to dispossess the police of their arms and the four survivors, although three were wounded anfd bleeding profusely, proceeded to walk back to their station. 


After they had proceeded more than a mile a passing motor conveyed them to their destination. 


Later enquiries proved that the ambush had been well-organised. Those going to Mass as well as the Protestant worshippers were rounded up and held in the licensed premises which belonged to Patrick McConville, Chairman of the local Rural Council. An armed guard was placed over them while the rebels took up positions behind a nearby 5 foot wall. 


The three men injured in the ambush were removed to Dundalk hospital where they are progressing favourably. 


Newry Reporter, 12 April 1921



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