Eamonn Duggan concludes part a three-part feature on the role Oscar Traynor played in the struggle for Irish freedom, as outlined by the participant himself in written statements to the Bureau of Military History.
The final section of Oscar Traynor’s statement to the Bureau of Military History begins with his recollection of the aftermath of ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1920.
The funerals of the British agents eliminated on that fateful day were held in Dublin and people lined the Quays for the cortege processions. The Black and Tans provided the guard of honour for the funerals and demanded that every man present on the Quays should remove his hat as a mark of respect for the deceased.
Those who refused to do so were badly beaten and had their hats thrown into the Liffey. Traynor also claimed that one or two men were actually thrown into the river because of their ‘disrespectful’ attitude as the corteges passed by.
Following the ‘Bloody Sunday’ funerals, the British military, Black and Tans and local police, carried out intensive raiding of houses whose occupants were regarded as being sympathetic to the Republican ideals. Traynor recalled numerous arrests being made, but mostly they were of people who were of little consequence in the Volunteer movement.
He also made the point that almost all Volunteers in the city were living away from home at that stage because of the intensity of the enemy activities. Traynor maintained the impact of the Bloody Sunday operation was to completely paralyse the British Military Intelligence system in Dublin. The police quickly succumbed to the fear of further attacks and after the executions of Detective’s Hoey and Smith, the infamous ‘G’ Division retreated back into Dublin Castle in an effort to stay out of harm’s way.
Traynor recalled the case of Frank Teeling a “grand fighting Volunteer” who was the only one captured on the morning of Bloody Sunday. Teeling was taken prisoner and after a lengthy period in hospital because of the wounds he sustained during the raid he was transferred to Kilmainham Jail.
Teeling was put on trial, found guilty and sentenced to death and once that news became public knowledge the leadership of the Dublin Brigade decided it should make some effort to rescue him.
In his statement, Traynor went into great detail about the plan which was put in place to rescue his valued comrade in one of the most amazing jail escapes of the independence conflict.