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Ballylynch, Villierstown & Cappagh
20.

The Struggle For Freedom In West Waterford

20. Ballylynch, Villierstown & Cappagh
Ballylynch (29th April 1921)
On the 29th April 1921, two members of A.S.U. were returning from East Waterford,when they received information that a train load of troops would be travelling on the 11 a.m. train from Waterford to Fermoy. They decided to have a crack at this train and mobilised as many of the local Company Volunteers as quickly as they could. They took up their positions near the Railway line at Ballyvoile. When the train approached rapid fire was opened, but the train passed through without stopping. It was usual for this party of military to return with their supplies on the 4.30 p.m. train of that day. It was decided to wait in ambush for this train to return with their supplies at Ballylynch level crossing. In the meantime some more members of the local Company had reported for duty. The Crossing Gates were closed and a red flag placed on it. The men lay concealed on either side of the embankment. When the train came to the gates it stopped, and this was the signal for the Volunteers to open fire. A fierce burst of rifle and shotgun fire surprised the enemy. They returned the fire with rifles and machine guns. Two of the enemy were killed and six wounded.

A man who had been ploughing in a field nearby, when he heard the shots, left his horses and moved nearer the scene of the fight. On his way down he came across a Volunteer who had been wounded in the neck, and he was, but his own brother. He [hurriedly] attended the wounded man, and then took up his brother's rifle and continued to fight. Firing lasted for about an hour, and then the Volunteers withdrew due to lack of ammunition.

Villierstown
The usual attacks and snipings continued all over the county. In the month of May in Villierstown two lorries of Black and Tans were attacked in Dromana Estate as they proceeded from Cappoquin to Villierstown. The Volunteers positioned themselves on the hill overlooking the road, and attacked for about half an hour with rifle fire at about 200 yards range. No casualties were reported.

Another attack took place on the military at Windgap, on the sweep near Dungarvan. Some civilians got into the line of fire, the attackers had to withdraw. From May to the Truce in July the Marines in Ardmore were being continuously sniped.

As a result of a raid on the mails, another engagement took place at Piltown. The Ardmore Marines surrounded the area, and opened fire on a party of Volunteers who were in the district at the time. Volunteer Quaine from the Youghal Company was killed. The fight lasted about half an hour and the Marines moved on into Youghal. The Volunteers took up positions and waited for the Marines to return, but instead they (the Marines) returned by sea to Ardmore. Sometime afterwards the Volunteers burned the Military Storehouses in Ardmore, and on at least two occasions, a British cruiser was sniped in the Bay.

Cappagh (June 1921)
In June 1921, information was received that a train load of military would be travelling from Fermoy to Waterford on a certain day. It was decided to ambush this train at Cappagh, and for this purpose the A.S.U. and local Volunteers were brought into position. It was intended to remove some of the rails, but a Pilot Engine came earlier and this prevented the operation. When the Engine had passed the Crossing Gates and signals were put against the oncoming train. It slowed down as it approached the closed gates, and the Volunteers immediately opened fire on the two coaches which contained about 100 military. Some of the military got on to the engine and compelled the driver to crash through the gates and continued on it's way.

Author: Domnall O'Faoláin

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