\"Thirty-three

Thirty-three year old William Mitchell was a temporary constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary, the only member of the British Crown Forces to be hanged for murder during that bitter struggle for Ireland’s freedom Photo by: FeedARead Publishing & PublishNation

New details on an Irish-born Black and Tan who was executed by British

\"Thirty-three

Thirty-three year old William Mitchell was a temporary constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary, the only member of the British Crown Forces to be hanged for murder during that bitter struggle for Ireland’s freedom Photo by: FeedARead Publishing & PublishNation

WHY HAS THIS STORY NEVER BEEN TOLD UNTIL NOW?

Mitchell’s elusive case file, unopened since the 1920s, showed signs of cursory attempts to weed it during the hasty departure from Dublin Castle of the outgoing British bureaucrats in the dying days of the old regime. Certain papers, annotated with blue pencil highlighting their importance, contained clues as to why, when no auxiliary was executed for the non-judicial killing of Irish citizens, Constable Mitchell was executed for a murder he may not have committed. The political imperative behind the verdict in the Mitchell case is deducible from those papers.

IS THIS THE END OF THE STORY?

As Dublin commemorates a decade of centenaries marking the ‘Irish Revolution’ [1913-1923], it will be patriots who will be remembered, not anti-heroes like Mitchell. History had forgotten him. Few of his living descendants were aware of his fate. His remains lie within Mountjoy, alongside those of forty other common criminals, all denied the Christian burial and flag-draped coffin of the exhumed Republican heroes. However, Mitchell’s impending ‘resurrection’ for a proposed redevelopment of Mountjoy may cause some controversy. Dublin authorities are confident no-one would protest were an executed Black and Tan to be subsumed into the concrete of a retail park. Indeed, mine may be the only dissenting voice.

* DJ Kelly’s latest novel, ‘Running with Crows – The Life and Death of a Black and Tan’ [ISBN: 978-1-78299-154-0 FeedARead Publishing & PublishNation] is available in paperback from Amazon and all good bookshops and also in kindle edition.

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