ROINN COSANTA, BUREAU OF MILITARY HISTORY, 1913-21

STATEMENT BY WITNESS

DOCUMENT NO. W.S. 858

Witness: Seamus Finn, Athboy, Co. Meath.

Identity: Adjutant, Meath Brigade, I.R.A.

Subject: Capture of Trim R.I.C. Barracks, Co. Meath, 30 Sept 1920

STATEMENT BY SEAMUS FINN: Athboy, County Meath.

A garrison of Auxiliaries and Black & Tans subsequently posted in Trim gave real hell to the townsfolk. As a result of the conduct of that particular group of Auxiliaries, Brigadier General Crozier who was head of the Force resigned his command following the looting and burning of Chandler's public house in the hamlet of Robinstown on the night of 9th February, 1921. They were in no mood for pleasantries. Having questioned Bob Chandler as to whether he had any arms and ammunition, and having been informed that he had none, they beat him and kicked him downstairs. They then set about looting his hostelery, a task that was after their own hearts and for which they were well equipped. Necks were broken off bottles and drink was consumed to the value of more than a hundred pounds. Fittings and stock were wantonly smashed and destroyed. They ill-treated Chandler's invalid mother, a very old lady, stole many valuables and made a bonfire of clothing and furniture before they left the place. Bob Chandler gave details of the damage to the I.R.A. and subsequently he had to go on the 'run' from the British. Two Auxiliaries who had been in the looting of Chandlers went urgently to Dublin and reported what had taken place to General Crozier, "at the peril of their lives", wrote the General, "as their comrades would undoubtedly have killed them had they known". A number of the Auxiliaries were immediately suspended. "By the middle of February, 1921" continued Crozier, "conditions had become so impossible that I resigned. "The occasion of my resignation was the Trim incident connected with the dismissal of the policemen, their reinstatement and the condemnation of their offences by the Government". In reality there were dozens of "occasions", many more grave than the Trim incident. "I returned to Dublin after I had resigned at the request of the Chief Secretary in order to help to solve the Trim question" states Crozier. He added, "The inquiry which was held by the police was a pure farce. The Courtmartial Department of G.H.Q. told them so, and told me also".

Balbray House.

Located on the road to Trim from Robinstown in 1901 Balbray House was the home of George A. Tisdall, land agent. William Tisdall is recorded as a landowner in the 1850s. William Tisdall of Balbrigh is listed as owning 152 acres in County Meath in 1876. In 1911 Balbray or Balbrigh House was home to Mrs. Frances Izod Tisdall aged 91 and her four daughters. In July 1921 the house described as the residence of G.A. Tisdall was burned during the troubled times. It is said that is owner hid in the shrubbery when the house was burned and caught pneumonia from which he died. George Tisdall was the owner at the time and he did escape the burning house through his plantation. He moved to Tullyard, Trim after his house was burned and he died in 1922. His health had failed. It was said that he had reported the activities of the attack by police forces on the Chandlner property at Robinstown and had insisted that it be investigated.