Sunday, August 7, 2016


The first edition  of  this  now expanded  book  contained  the fact  that  the Northern Territory's  first Commissioner of Police, Major George Vernon Dudley, who had received the Military Cross and DSO during WWl,  had  deserted    from  the  force  in 1922 ; he  eventually  came   to  Australia  after serving  in the British South African Police Force   and  even the Royal  Canadian Mounties .

He had  been involved in   "Bloody Sunday "  at Dublin's  Croke  Park on November  21 ,1920  where  police opened  fire on   a crowd   of  5000  at  a  Gaelic football match between  Tipperary  and   Dublin. Seven were  shot dead , one a footballer, five were  fatally wounded  and  two were trampled to  death. 
The terrible event , during the Irish War of  Independence , began when the Irish Republican Army (IRA)set out to assassinate the  Cairo Gang , a team of British undercover agents  working and living in Dublin. Most were  British Army officers ,one a member of the   Royal Irish Constabulary. In the raids , 13 were  killed  and six wounded.

Later that afternoon  a  convoy of  British  security forces ,police and auxiliaries approached the  park  with  orders  to  surround  the  grounds , guard the exits and search  everyone   for  weapons .

However . when the police arrived  it was said  they had been fired  on first by  IRA sentries , a claim not proven. Police kept shooting for  90 seconds  and their commander , Major Mills, later admitted his men were " excited and out of hand."
At a court of inquiry, there were  two, the findings  kept secret for many years ,  it  was said by the time major Dudley reached the ground  the worst of  the incident had passed . One account said  Dudley was directing traffic in the police convoy . Black and Tans   from the leading vehicles rushed down the  passage at the Canal End exit , forced their way through the turnstiles onto the  field  and started firing rapidly. Major Dudley  gave a business like account  of what happened at the inquiry, saying that he went into thee grounds  and told everyone  within hearing  to put up their hands  and keep still . From that time  there had been no shooting  from his side of the ground .

On February 2, 1922,  at Londonderry Prison, he was charged with embezzledment   of 347 pounds  16 shillings  and eightpence ; he  subsequently deserted and  in  his absence was dismissed  from the force by  the  Chief of  Police .

On January 10, 1923, Dudley , in Fiji,  wrote seeking a  job in the Northern Territory Police Force , stating he had  been  in the Royal Irish Constabulary until "the demobilisation."
During his time as the NT Commissioner of Police  he travelled far and  wide, got along well with officers, but had a drinking problem and  became hopelessly in debt to various people , including  Chinese  shopkeepers and  publicans . 

In 1926, the Administrator , Fredrick Charles Urquhart, a former Queensland Police Commissioner, expressed concern about Major Dudley over his "want of discretion" in respect of  visiting hotels and "occasional indulgences" in  liquor, which had  given "rise to remarks." His appointment as  Commissioner was terminated  from  December 31,1927.

Following  this, he served  in the Victorian Police Force , enrolled for WWll and served as a drill sergeant in the Royal Australian Air Force, became a court attendant in the High Court of Australian and the Supreme Court of  NSW , a commissionaire at the Rural Bank of NSW and  was  crushed to death  by a ferry at  Sydney's  Neutral Bay wharf  in  1949. 

Author  Herlihy's   comprehensive   book ,  with further  information on  Major Dudley ,  tells how in  the period 1816 to 1922 some 85,000 men served in the Royal Irish Constabulary and its predecessor forces. It tells how to  find  information on these policemen, providing an excellent resource for those interested in the history of the RIC, and the revolutionary period generally.

Chapters on the history of policing in Ireland (to illustrate the type of men in the force, their backgrounds and their lifestyles etc.), are followed by a section on tracing ancestors in the RIC.
This new edition details members of the RIC who were rewarded for their service during the Young Ireland Rising, 1848, the Fenian Rising, 1867, the Easter Rising, 1916 and the War of Independence, 1919–21. Also identified are members of the RIC who were killed in the line of duty from 1916 to 1922, members who volunteered for service in the Mounted Staff Corps or the Commissariat during the Crimean War, members who served as drivers or orderlies on secondment to the Irish Hospital Corps in the Boer War in 1900, as well as members who volunteered and served in the British Army in the First World War. RIC recipients of the Constabulary Medal (Ireland), the King’s Police Medal or the King George V, Coronation (Police) Medal, 1911, are also listed, as are ex-RIC men who transferred to the Garda Síochána or the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1922 and received bravery medals.Paperback. 336 pages. Ills. €24.95.

 (The writer of  this  post assisted Herlihy and an Irish newspaper reporter in their research  into  Major Dudley.)