Commemoration for Anglo-Irish War dead

William Clarke from Edward Street in Lurgan.
William Clarke from Edward Street in Lurgan.

The Ancre Somme Association is hosting a commemoration of the Anglo-Irish War in Brownlow House, Lurgan, on Monday, January 21, at 7.30pm.

The purpose of this event is to remember the 714 members of the British Security Forces, who were killed in Ireland, during the war of 1919 to 1922.

A spokesman said: “ We will remember brave young men like William Clarke from Edward Street in Lurgan. William was a District Inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary.

“William had previously served as a Sergeant in the Canadian Mounted Infantry and as Lieutenant in the 15th Royal Irish Rifles as part of the Ulster Division.

“He was killed in an IRA ambush in County Clare on Thursday, 20th January 1921, aged 28.”

A statement by Mr George Sievwright, driver of the police car at the time of the ambush: January 1921 read: “Thursday’s affray was the fourth ambush which I have experienced in three days.

“The car, containing ten men, was nearing Glenwood, when, on rounding a bend in the road, about 100 men suddenly appeared from behind a hedge. A volley of shots was heard, and bullets hit the car from all directions. D.I. Clarke, was the first man to be hit. He was sitting by my side when a bullet entered his left shoulder.

“He shouted: ‘Drive on, Sievright; I am hit.’ A terrific and uninterrupted rain of rifle bullets followed. I opened the throttle, and tried to race through, but just as I reached mid-way between the fire the car stopped, and a bullet grazed my hands at the wheel. D.I. Clarke fell out of the car on to the road and crawled by the roadside for several yards. The men behind the hedge turned their attention to him, and made him the target for the whole of their fire. He was riddled with bullets and killed outright.”

The Ancre Somme Association spokesman said: “We are confident that you will share in our belief that it is important that the members of the British Security Forces, killed in Ireland, are remembered, just as those who died in foreign lands are remembered. The sacrifice made by our gallant son’s during this period of time in history ensured that German guns were silence not just on the Western Front but also the Home Front.”

Speakers at this event will include David Martin, Honorary President, Ancre Somme Association, Lt Col Ant Maher, Patron, Ancre Somme Association and Richard Edgar, historian, author and Honorary member of the Ancre Somme Association.

Anyone wishing to attend is asked to email info@ancresommeassociation.co.uk as seating numbers in Brownlow House are limited.