Kilmichael Ambush

Around 4.05pm, on this wet and cold evening, the tired and hungry volunteers got the signal. Two Crossley tenders carrying eighteen Auxiliaries commanded by Colonel Crake were approaching the ambuscade. Tom Barry wearing a military officer´s tunic stood on the road facing the first lorry. As it slowed down, he blew his whistle and threw The Mills bomb in the cab of the open lorry, killing the driver. No.1 section fired and soon all occupants were dead. No.2 section attacked the second lorry, the Auxiliaries jumped on to the road, and as is widely believed, shouted surrender. Most historians agree that in response, three inexperienced volunteers stood up to take the surrender and were treacherously shot. The three volunteers, Michael Mc Carthy, Jim O´Sullivan, Rossmore and Pat Deasy, who died later, regarded as martyrs ever since were temporarily buried in Gortroe, but were later interred in Castletownkenneigh. In reaction to this, Barry ordered his men, to open fire again on the Auxiliaries, and in the ensuing exchange, all but two Auxiliaries were killed. Of the survivors Lieutenant Cecil Guthrie was captured near Dromcarra and executed. He was buried in Anahala bog, and years later reinterred in Inchigeela cemetery. The other Lieutenant (Cadet) H.F.Forde was rescued the following day at the Ambush site, and taken to Macroom for medical aid, and subsequently to England. It is believed that Lieutenant Forde lived into the 1980´s though paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.