Four Mile Ambush - October 1920


While the statistics quoted earlier this month about the success of IRA ambushes and attacks on the police barracks highlighted the failure of some, occasionally the IRA managed to inflict heavy casualty rates on the police and military.

Three policemen were killed and two others wounded during an ambush near Roscommon town on 12 October 1920. A patrol having left Roscommon was ambushed at Four Mile with shots coming from both sides of the road. Almost instantly Constable Michael Kenny, a native of Mayo, and Constable John Crawford, from the north of Ireland were shot dead. Three others Sergeant Martin O’Connor of Roscommon; Constable Gallaher and Constable O’Rahilly were wounded. Some hours later O’Connor died of his wounds. The police were fired upon by men placed at a number of holes in the stone walls. Surprisingly the driver of the motor lorry escape uninjured. The dead were conveyed to Strokestown and from there the military in Roscommon town were sent for. Once again, locals in the Four Mile district braced themselves for reprisals. Some even abandoned their homes fearing the wrath of the military. That Four Mile ambush was carried out by the 3rd Battalion, South Roscommon Brigade IRA led by Pat Madden and included over seventy volunteers. There are conflicting accounts of the dead with some historians listing that Constable Gallaher also died of his wounds and others were injured.


Source: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 13.10.1920, page 6

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