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Ambush At The Pike
14.

The Struggle For Freedom In West Waterford

14. Ambush At The Pike
Pike Ambush
About this time the enemy adopted a policy of making hurried, quick dashes or sorties into the county on the hope of surprising the Volunteers. One such party composed of ten Black and Tans, and two R.I.C. men left Dungarvan Barracks in a Crossley tender and dashed at break neck speed up O'Connell St., and into the open country in the Cappoquin direction. At Brown's Pike where the Master McGrath monument now divides the Cappoquin and Clonmel roads, the Volunteers lay in waiting. They had very little arms or ammunition. Their chief weapons being one modern Lee-Enfield rifle, which had been taken from a British soldier at home on leave during the war. No. 2 was a long Lee-Enfield, which had seen service in the Boer War. No. 3 was a single loading Police Carbine, and No. 4 was an old German Mauser. They had also had 4 revolvers of various makes and calibres, and 100 rounds of ammunition, as well as a few home made bombs of the Cocoa Can variety. When the lorry reached the division of the Clonmel and Cappoquin roads, the 4 riflemen opened fire but because the tender was moving so fast, no damage was done, other than perforating the bodywork of the vehicle. Some revolver shots were also fired, but the bombers were a little more successful. One bomb landed into the tender and blew away a portion of the bottom and sides of it, as well as inflicting some injuries to the occupants. The lorry continued on its way and the Volunteers withdrew.

This attack was typical of the many which occurred all over the country. Another method used was to hinder the progress of the enemy through the countryside. Roads were trenched, bridges demolished, trees felled, etc. No great victory could be claimed in any particular instances, but they were of tremendous nuisance value, it kept the enemy uneasy, and made life generally uncomfortable for them. In one area, for instance, there were numerous "attacks", all carried out by one man with his rifle, and the enemy never knew how many men were involved in the "attack" or "ambush".

Author: Domnall O'Faoláin

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