The War Of Independence 1919 - 1921

The War of Independence was initiated in January 1919 by a number of young, determined Volunteer leaders. They were convinced that a republic could only be gained by force. By necessity, they adopted a guerrilla campaign. They were organised initially into small independent units which launched frequent low-level surprise attacks.

Michael Collins played a pivotal role. He provided the Volunteers with funds, arms and equipment. His most critical contribution lay in the provision of intelligence. However, given the nature of guerrilla warfare, it was the individual Volunteer units who made the greatest contribution.

During the war 15,000 Volunteers were actively involved, with around 3,000 in service at any given time. From the autumn of 1919 the force had sufficient strength to attempt more spectacular actions and now became known as the Irish Republican Army. The best known of these took place on 21 November 1919, ‘Bloody Sunday’, during which 19 suspected British Army intelligence officers were shot.

By late 1920 the force had been organised into ‘flying columns’ — mobile units of about 100 men, based in remote camps or safe houses. By the middle of 1921 the British government became amenable to a political settlement and on 21 July a truce came into operation.

 

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The Badge Design

The Badge design (common to all Corps and Services and all orders of dress) is derived from the badge of the Irish Volunteers and was designed by Professor Eoin MacNeill, Chairman of the National Executive of the Irish Volunteers. This badge was originally adopted by the Irish Volunteers in October 1914. [Read more]