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War Of Independence Survivors Medals

Framed Replica Set

Framed replica medals - War of Independence medal issued in 1941 and the 1971 medal issued on the 50th anniversary of the Truce which lead to the Irish Free State. Beautifully presented with informative text box.


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Irish War of Independence Survivors Medals

Framed Replica set

The Service Medal 1917-1921

These medals wer issued by the Irish governmentin 1941 to those who were politically or militarily involved in the "War of Independence" between the years of 1917-1921. Also known as the 'Black and Tan' medal, these were bronze in colour and depicted an Irish irregular flanked by the four provinces coat of arms. These were issued to qualifying members of the original republican army, Irish Citizen Army, Boys Auxiliary and the Women's Auxiliary.

* These are replica mouldings of a genuine medal

The Truce Commemorative Medal 1971

These medals were issued in 1971 to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the "Treaty". They were issued to surviviing veterans of the "War of Independence". The difference to the "Service Medal" is that these were issued in coloured Bronze and were reduced in size to the standard medal size of 34mm. There were far fewer of these medals issued due to deaths of original qualifying recipients.

* These are replica mouldings of a genuine medal


24cm x 34cm, (9.5in x 13.3in approx)


Attractive mahogany style frame with gold trim and informative text box


Precision cut double mount


High quality backing card

Irish War of Independence

The Anglo-Irish War (also known as the Irish War of Independence) was a guerrilla campaign mounted against the British government in Ireland by the Irish Republicans under the proclaimed legitimacy of the First Dáil, the extra-legal Irish parliament created in 1918 by a majority of Irish MPs. It lasted from January 1919 until the truce in July 1921.



The 1916 Proclamation
One of the major symbols of the independence movement.

To purist Irish Republicans, the Anglo-Irish war had begun with the Proclamation of the Irish Republic during the Easter Rising of 1916. Republicans argued that the conflict of 1919-21 (and indeed the subsequent Irish Civil War) was the defence of this Republic against attempts to destroy it. More directly, the Anglo-Irish War had its origins in the formation of an unilaterally declared independent Irish parliament, called Dáil Éireann, formed by the majority of MPs elected in Irish constituencies in the Irish (UK) general election, 1918. This parliament, known as the First Dáil, and its ministry, called the Aireacht, declared Irish independence. The 'army of the Irish Republic', was perceived by members of Dáil Éireann to have a mandate to wage war on the Dublin Castle British administration headed by the Lord Lieutenant running Ireland.

On 21 January, volunteers under Dan Breen, killed two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary when they refused to surrender a consignment of gelignite they were guarding, in Soloheadbeg, County Tipperary.

First Dáil: Michael Collins (second from left, front row), Arthur Griffith(fourth from left, front row) Eamon de Valera(centre, front row), W.T. Cosgrave(second from right, front row).

This is widely regarded as the beginning of the War of Independence, although the men acted on their own initiative. Martial law was declared in South Tipperary three days later. On the same day as the shooting started, the First Dáil convened in the Mansion House in Dublin where it ratified the 1916 Proclamation of Independence, called for the evacuation of the British military garrison, and called on the 'free nations of the world' to recognise Ireland's independence.

Violence Spreads

Volunteers began to attack British government property, carried out raids for arms and funds and targeted and killed prominent members of the British administration. The first was Resident Magistrate John Milling, who was shot dead in Westport, County Mayo, for having sent Volunteers to prison for unlawful assembly and drilling. They mimicked the successful tactics of the Boers, fast violent raids without uniform. Although some republican leaders, notably Éamon de Valera, favoured classic conventional warfare in order to legitimise the new republic in the eyes of the world, the more practically experienced Michael Collins and the broader republican leadership opposed these tactics, which had led to the military débacle of 1916. The violence used was at first deeply unpopular with the broader Irish population, but most were won around when faced with the terror of the British government's campaign of widespread brutality, destruction of property, random arrests and unprovoked shootings. Events began slowly, but by 1920 widespread violence was the rule.

In early 1920, Dublin dockers refused to handle any war matériel, and were soon joined by the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, despite hundreds of sackings. Train drivers were brought over from England after Irish drivers refused to carry British troops.

In March 1920, the first man killed by therepublicans for spying was found in West Limerick. In early April, 150 abandoned RIC barracks were burned to the ground to prevent them being used again, along with almost 100 income tax offices. Days later, prisoners in Mountjoy Jail begin a hunger strike for political status. The strikes led to large demonstrations in Dublin in support, followed by a one-day general strike. Due to a mix-up, all of the men were released (it was only intended to release those who had not been convicted). A joint patrol of RIC and Highland Light Infantry fired into an unarmed crowd in Miltown Malbay who were celebrating the men's release, killing three Volunteers and wounding nine others. The County Coroner found nine soldiers and policemen guilty of murder and served warrants on them, but no disciplinary action was taken.

In September 1920, Resident Magistrate Lendrum was kidnapped at a level crossing near Doonbeg, County Clare. He was buried in sand up to his neck at a nearby beach and left for the incoming tide. Following this, and the death of six of their comrades in an ambush earlier in the day, the Black and Tans ran amok, killing six civilians in Miltown Malbay, Lahinch and Ennistymon, and burned twenty-six buildings, including the town halls in Lahinch and Ennistymon.

In November, four volunteer officers were captured by the Auxiliaries in Durris, County Cork. Only the intervention of a colonel of The King's Liverpool Regiment prevented the men from being summarily executed. This regiment was noted for its chivalry when compared with others, and this had saved the lives of some of its soldiers.

Arthur Griffith estimated that in the first 18 months of the conflict, Crown forces carried out 38,720 raids on private homes, arrested 4,982 suspects, committed 1,604 armed assaults, sacked and shot up 102 towns and killed 77 unarmed republicans or other civilians. Griffith was responsible for setting up the 'Dáil Courts', a legal system that operated in parallel with the British one, and eventually came to supersede it as the moral authority and its territorial control increased.

The republican's main target throughout the conflict was the mainly Catholic Irish police force, the RIC, which were seen by them as the British government's eyes and ears in Ireland. Its members and barracks (especially the more isolated ones) were vulnerable and they were a source of much-needed arms. They numbered 9,700 men, stationed in 1,500 barracks throughout Ireland. A policy of ostracism of RIC men was announced by the Dáil in April 1919. This proved successful in demoralising the force as the war went on, as people turned their faces more and more from a force increasingly compromised by association with government repression. The rate of resignation went up and recruitment dropped off dramatically. Often they were reduced to buying food at gunpoint as shops and other businesses refused to deal with them. Some RIC men cooperated with therepublicans through fear or sympathy, supplying the organisation with valuable information. 165 RIC men were killed in the war, with 251 wounded.

Michael Collins and the Republican Movement

Michael Collins, as Commander-in-Chief of the National Army, at President Griffith's funeral in August 1922, one week before his own death.

Michael Collins was the main driving force behind the independence movement. Nominally the Minister of Finance in the Republic's government, he was actively involved in providing funds and arms to the units that needed them, and in the selection of officers. Collins' natural intelligence, organisational capability and sheer drive galvanised many who came in contact with him. He established what proved an effective network of spies among sympathetic members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police's (DMP) 'G division' and other important branches of the British administration. The G division men were detested by therepublicans as often they were used to identify volunteers who would have been unknown to British soldiers or the later Black and Tans. Collins set up the 'Squad', a group of men whose sole duty was to seek out and kill 'G-men', members of the DMP's relatively small political division active in subverting the republican movement, and other British spies and agents. Many G-men were offered a chance to resign or leave Ireland by, and some took these options.

While the paper membership, carried over from the Irish Volunteers was over 100,000 men, Michael Collins estimated that only 15,000 men actively served during the course of the war, with about 3,000 on active service at any time. There were also support organisations for the -Cumann na mBan (the women's group) and Fianna Eireann (youth movement), who carried weapons and intelligence forvolunteers and secured food and lodgings for them.

Therebels benefited from the widespread help given to them by the general Irish population, who generally refused to pass information to the RIC and the British military and who often provided 'safe houses' and provisions to units 'on the run'. Much of their popularity was due to the excessive reaction of the Crown forces torebel activity. An unofficial government policy of reprisals began in September 1919 in Fermoy, County Cork, when 200 British soldiers looted and burned the main businesses of the town, after one of their number had been killed when he had refused to surrender his weapon to the local republicans. Actions such as these, repeated in Limerick and Balbriggan, increased local support for therepublicans and international support for Irish independence.

In April, after severalrebel raids, the Inland Revenue ceased to operate in most of Ireland. People were encouraged to subscribe to Collins' National Loan, set up to raise funds for the young government and its army. Resident Magistrate Alan Bell, from Banagher, had been tasked by the British to track down the money. By the 26th of March 1920, he had successfully confiscated over £71,000 from Sinn Féin's HQ and, by investigating banks throughout the country, was set to seize much more. On that day he was pulled off a tram in south Dublin and shot three times in the head. By the end of the year the loan had reached £357,000. Rates were still paid to local councils, as these were controlled by Sinn Féin members, who naturally refused to pass them on to the British government.

When Éamon de Valera returned from the United States, he demanded in the Dáil that the volunteers desist from the ambushes and assassinations that were allowing the British to successfully portray it as a terrorist group, and to take on the British forces with conventional military methods. This unrealistic proposal was immediately shot down, but illustrated how many in the Sinn Féin leadership were out of touch with the nature of the conflict.

British Response



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