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Cairo Gang (Part 2)

cairo gang

Meanwhile, an IRA unit led by Tom Keogh entered 22 Lower Mount Street to kill Lieutenant Angliss, real name McMahon, and Lieutenant Peel. The two intelligence specialists in the Gang, McMahon and Peel had been recalled from Russia to organise British Intelligence in the South Dublin area. McMahon survived a previous assassination attempt when shot at a billiard hall. He was targeted for killing Sinn Féin fundraiser John Lynch, mistaken for Liam Lynch, Divisional Commandant of the 1st Southern Division. McMahon was shot as he reached for his gun.

Peel, hearing the shots, managed to block his bedroom door and survived even though more than a dozen bullets were fired into his room. When members of Fianna Eireann on lookout reported that Auxiliary Division were approaching the house, the unit of eleven men split up into two groups, the first leaving by the front door, the second leaving through the laneway at the back of the house.

At 119 Baggot Street, Captain G.T. Baggalley , who had been a member of military courts that sentenced IRA volunteers to death, was killed by a three-man IRA unit, one of whom was a future Fianna F?il Taoiseach, Se?n Lemass.

Some members had decided that they would be safer residing in hotels. Captains McCormack and Wilde were in the Gresham Hotel. The IRA unit gained access to their rooms by pretending to be British soldiers with important dispatches. When the men opened their doors they were shot and killed. A Times listing for McCormack and Wilde doesn"t list any rank for the latter, however.

Captain Crawford narrowly escaped death after the IRA entered a guesthouse in Fitzwilliam Square where he was staying, looking for a Major Callaghan. On not finding their target, they debated whether or not to shoot Crawford. They decided not to shoot him as he was not on the hit list; instead they gave him 24 hours to leave Ireland, which he promptly did.

In the Eastwood Hotel the IRA failed to find their target, a Colonel Jennings, as he, along with Major Callaghan, had spent the night in a local brothel. Other targets who escaped were a Major Hardy, as well as a "Major King, a colleague of Hardy [who] was missing when he [assassin Joe Dolan] burst into his [King"s] room that he [Dolan] took revenge by giving his [King"s] half-naked mistress "a right scourging with a sword scabbard", and setting fire to the room afterwards".

Two members of the Black and Tans, Cadets Garniss and Morris, were also killed.

A Times listing of killed and wounded reports that in addition to Caldow, Captain Keenlyside, Colonel Montgomery, Major Woodcock, and a Lt. Murray were wounded, but not killed. {note: Montgomery died 10 December 1920.

FatalitiesThe above indicates that 12 men died: eight of whom were members of the Gang, one a military tribunalist, the two Black and Tan cadets and a civilian informer.

AftermathThe remaining Cairo Gang members, along with many other spies, fled to either Dublin Castle or England, fearing they were next on the IRA"s "hit list". This dealt a severe blow to British intelligence-gathering in Ireland.

A mixed group of RIC, Dublin Metropolitan Police, and Temporary Cadets from Depot Company, commanded by officers from the Auxiliaries, took revenge on the local population, opening fire on the crowd during the football match between Dublin and Tipperary at Croke Park.(see also Bloody Sunday (1920))

Igoe GangEventually another group of intelligence operatives led by Constable Eugene Igoe from County Mayo would take the fight to the IRA. The Igoe Gang consisted of RIC personnel drawn from different parts of Ireland, and patrolled the streets of Dublin in plain clothes, looking for wanted men. The Igoe Gang, apparently less vulnerable to internal espionage ("moles"), would proceed to eliminate some of the Republican movement"s most active members in Dublin and was more effective than the Cairo Gang was in combatting the IRA. Reportedly, Igoe was expelled from Ireland after the Anglo Irish War.

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com


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