2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment - 1920-1921

The years 1920 and 1921, so far as the troops were concerned, were a period of boredom rather than action, of many guards and picquets and of occasional military activity; but the operations against the rebels were mostly conducted by the Constabulary. The training of the re-formed Battalion was somewhat hampered by continual patrols and sentries, and all ranks had to be on their guard against possible assassination by the lurking gunmen; but actually casualties were few and for a long time there were no incidents worthy of note.

The Irish troubles were ending in a final splutter of murder and arson. The British troops were being allowed to take a more active part than before in countering the activities of the gun-men, and the 2nd Battalion in Dublin took part in some minor operations. The only definite fight was was on April 6th when a party of gun-men attacked an armoured lorry commanded by Lieutenants S. E. Gregory and E. F. Twining and were dispersed with a loss of five killed and several wounded - Lieutenant Gregory, slightly wounded in the foot, was our only casualty. Feeling was running high, and there was general indignation when on the 19th July an unarmed subaltern of the Battalion, 2/Lieut. A. D. H. Breeze, was kidnapped and afterwards deliberately murdered in cold blood by masked gun-men. Three days later a well-planned raid on a suspected house (carried out by Captain E. C. Barton M.C., and Lieut. E. F. Twining. Lieut. Twining was afterwards awarded the M.B.E.) secured, among others, the self-styled "President of the Irish Republic," de Valera, together with the whole of his "Presidential" Headquarters; and it says much for the discipline and restraint of our soldiers that the life of the Irish ringleader was spared, his sufferings being limited to a night in the Battalion Guard Room.

During that last phase of the trouble fresh re-inforcements were brought in, including the 4th Battalion from Glasgow. The 4th Battalion, temporarily commanded by Major J. O. Nelson O.B.E., landed in Ireland on July 7th, was played through Dublin by the Drums of the 2nd Battalion (The drums of the 4th Battalion and all surplus personnel of the Battalion had been left in Cologne) and camped that night in Phoenix Park.

The 4th Worcestershire were under orders for Galway, and next day the Battalion marched westwards in lovely weather. The march right across the centre of Ireland was made under active service conditions and with all due precautions, but no opposition was encountered, and quarters in Galway were reached without incident.

By that time the troubles were at an end. A truce had been proclaimed, and the Battalion stayed pleasantly in Galway for several months; during which time the command was taken over by Lieutenant-Colonel H. Needham, C.M.G., D.S.O., and all ranks received much hospitality from the surrounding country-folk.

Lieut. A. D. H. Breeze

2nd Lieut. A. D. H. Breeze