Collins hid in mortuary coffin: What happened in the news 100 years ago

What was in the news 100 years ago today. Richard Forrest of Cork City Library tells us in this new weekly column
Collins hid in mortuary coffin: What happened in the news 100 years ago

Michael Collins, left, who reportedly hid in a mortuary coffin.

Saturday, January 22, 1921

Dublin is overflowing with stories of the elusive Michael Collins, reported the Evening Echo, on whose head a big price has been placed. In a recent search of a hospital, one story went, he was missed as he was in the mortuary in a coffin.

Meanwhile, last night marked the second anniversary of the first meeting of Dáil Éireann, and Éamon de Valera declared: “Fellow Citizens, I am glad to greet and congratulate you on this anniversary of our nation’s undying desire for its ancient independence. Your acts will make our nation shine out as long as human records endure as a glorious exception in this period of abandonment of ideals and conscienceless betrayals. Great have been your sufferings.”

He referred to the case of a boy condemned to the scaffold who would not betray his comrades, and added: “Thank God, you have faced the armed bully in your street and they will not be in vain. Let us face the New Year of the Republic ready to endure whatever yet may be necessary.”

The Mind of Cork

The English press was closely scrutinising events in Cork and the mood of the people. The Daily News deplored how Lieutenant-General Peter Strickland’s report into the burning of the city was handled. “It gibbets us (the UK) before civilised nations as a country that destroys a great city by fire, attributes its own action to the enemy and suppresses the verdict of its own official inquiry.

“A time will come when Sir Hamar Greenwood is forgotten and the government he represents will be repudiated but the truth about Cork is known to the world. We must make a clean breast of it publicly and officially.”

The Manchester Guardian said the effect of reprisals was catastrophic. “People were having to put up with uncontrolled violence yet they had as little part in the work of outrage as General Strickland himself. The IRA was the most secret Irish organisation ever and the average citizen of Cork probably had as little foreknowledge of its activities as the stranger within the city gates.”

Auxies at Beggar’s Bush

The Chief Secretary, Sir Hamar Greenwood reviewed troops of the Auxiliary force of the RIC at Beggar’s Bush Barracks, Dublin at noon today. In his address, he echoed the sense of profound regret at the loss of the men’s colleagues and reassured them His Majesty’s Government was determined to crush the conspiracy that had for its object the smashing up of the UK.

A stolen bicycle

Corneilius Keogh, of Youghal, appeared before Court Martial at Victoria Barracks, stated he was a soldier of the Irish Republic and declined to recognise the court. The sole charge he answered to was that he was a member of Sinn Féin. 

Keogh was said to have stolen a government pedal cycle from a lance corporal of the Cameron Highlanders and was also accused of chasing and attacking a sergeant of the Hampshires on South Main Street, Youghal.

Internment Camp claims

Lieutenant-Colonel Little, in charge of Ballykinlar Internment Camp, Co. Down, defended conditions there after they were queried by a ‘Corkman’.

The prisoners, he said, receive fuel at a larger scale than the troops and had the same bedding. 

Visits were not allowed and post was censored but there was free choice in newspapers.

Electric light was in every hut from 4pm to 10.15pm and again from 7.30am to 9.30am.

The Cunard liner Lusitania, carrying 1,918 passangers before its ill-fated journey.
The Cunard liner Lusitania, carrying 1,918 passangers before its ill-fated journey.

The Lusitania Recalled

A response to the infamous German Lusitania medal was issued by the Paris mint. The German one showed the ship sinking and death handing out passports to eternity to the passengers. The French engraver, M. de Bandichon, also depicted the ship sinking but with an overturned lifeboat and an illustration of a child struggling in the water. On the reverse was the upper part of the Statue of Liberty.

Lost & Found

A black and white harrier dog had been found and was being held by the secretary of the Mayfield Harrier Club.

A gold Tara Brooch had been lost between the Bandon Road and the Washington Cinema. There was a reward for finder, apply 128 Barrack Street.

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