Info sought on truck burned in War of Independence, 101 years ago today – any motoring historians out there?

Members of Annascaul Heritage Society are seeking information and restoration advice on an axle of lorry that featured in the August, 18 1920 Ambush.

The story of the ambush is told below – in italics – but information is sought on the remains of the lorry. It is believed to be a Crossley Tender but that is open to correction.

Members of the society would like to hear from anyone who can help.

They are in the process of building a remembrance garden in the village and the remains of the truck will form a centre piece of the display. They also want to restore the axle as best as possible.

“We need someone that is into sand blasting,” said society member John Harnett.

From a motorsport point of view, the ambush interrupted the first motor racing trials on Inch beach – as told in our previous story here.

If you can help – please contact John Harnett on 086 257 2095

The Story of the Ambush by Annascaul Heritage Society

By mid-August 1920 the War of Independence was well underway. Crown forces had been forced out of the Dingle Peninsula with the sole exception of a strongly fortified base in Dingle town.

This outpost had to be serviced from Tralee. A plan was devised by members of the 4th and 5th Battalions of the Kerry No.1 Brigade of the IRA to attack the lorry carrying supplies. An ambush was planned to take place at Ballinclare, half a mile west of Annascaul village. The armed supply lorry was attacked and after an exchange of gunfire the British surrendered. The captured soldiers of the East Lancashire Regiment were well treated and eventually set free. A substantial supply of rifles and equipment was captured and the lorry set on fire (THIS IS THE TRUCK MENTIONED IN THE OPENING LINES).

Reprisals were expected in the locality after the ambush. Two days later a large contingent of troops and an armoured car arrived in Annascaul. Among them were members of the RIC Special Reserve – the ‘Black and Tans’, notorious for their violence against civilians. There was shooting and looting in the village. At the end of the day, one man, Paddy Kennedy, lay dead at the side of the hill in Gurteens. His funeral two days later was attended by enormous crowds.

An inquest into Kennedy’s death was held at Annascaul Courthouse and the jury found that he had been ‘foully murdered’ and demanded the arrest and trial of the soldier who fired the fatal shot. The verdict was not officially accepted and the death instead was classified as ‘unjustifiable homicide’ and no proceedings were taken against the killer.

Although this was a dramatic and tragic incident at a pivotal time in Irish history, there is a risk that it will be forgotten. To this end Annascaul Historical Society is carrying out research and plans to commemorate these events.

Intentions to run an event last year were disrupted by the pandemic but it is intended to erect a memorial in the village to commemorate it.

Donations can be made by EFT bank transfer to Annascaul Historical Society IBAN IE71 AIBK 9362 8610 7660 38 BIC AIBKIE2D.


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2 thoughts on “Info sought on truck burned in War of Independence, 101 years ago today – any motoring historians out there?

  1. Nothing to do with Crossley,which had 2 separate rear wheels and pneumatic tyres !That’s off a much heavier truck, with final drive to back axle being by chain.It may have been a steam powered truck or 1 of American origin as some USA makers stayed with chain drive into the 1930’s whereas the British tended to use a drive shaft from gearbox to back axle.A study of WW1 vehicle photos is likely called for !!


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