Irish War of Independence - Screams in Downpatrick - 14.May.1920

 Irish War of Independence Down Patrick

During the morning of 13 May 1920 an incident in Downpatrick, county Down created a sensation across Ireland following the raid on an excise office in the town.


Aroused by the screams of the caretaker, Mrs McBride, the nearby Revd T.G. Wilkinson, Minor Canon of Down Cathedral was shot by armed raiders as he went to try and follow the raiders. Armed with revolvers and disguised, about ten men described by many newspapers simply as ‘Sinn Feiners’ were there to take revenue papers and other documents. Commencing just after three o’clock in the morning, the raiders were disturbed by the screams of McBride who was in the building with her five young children. Wilkinson, the son of the pro-chancellor of the Queen’s University, Belfast was wounded by a gunshot to the leg as he pursued the raiders from the building. The attack was widely condemned in county Down and throughout the north of the country. Praised for his bravery in pursuing the raiders, Wilkinson was lucky to survive having lost a large amount of blood. There was little trace of the raiders who had effectively cut all the communication lines in Downpatrick prior to the raid on the excise office. On the same night two RIC barracks in the county were destroyed- at Strangford and at Clough, where a previous attempt at Easter had partially damaged the building.


Download Source: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 14.05.1920, page 7


BELFAST Newslaetter_14_may_1920