Important Irish Gallantry Medal Pair to Royal Irish Constabulary, Anglo-Irish War of Independence.
1920 Irish Constabulary Medal (2nd Type) and 1903 Visit to Ireland Medal to Constable Jonathan Holmes 56108 1920 (C. J. Holmes R.I.C. on Visit) very small edge knock on Constabulary, large edge knock on C of RIC on Visit, otherwise good very fine to extremely fine, Constabulary with buckle mounting bar, Visit with the correct Shamrock top bar.
On the night of 27th/28th May 1920, approximately 70 IRA volunteers were involved in the operation to attack the Kilmallock Barracks in Limerick, which was defended by approximately 15 policemen. The barracks was a substantial single floor structure in the centre of the town with steel shuttered windows with firing slits. Its weakness was that it was overlooked by several 2 story buildings, Clery's Hotel, a bank and a grocers. The IRA occupied these 2 storey buildings with 30 men detailed with the actual assault before any firing had commenced. The attack commenced with the IRA throwing several 56lb weights from the higher buildings to crash through the barracks roof, immediately followed by a torrent of incendiary and petrol bombs. By this action they eventually succeeded in setting the barracks roof ablaze in the hope it would force the Police to surrender. After 6 hours continuation fighting the barracks was a blazing furnace but the Police managed to withdraw to a small strongly protected building at the rear of the barracks where they continued to hold out. With the likely arrival of police reinforcements, the IRA called off their attack which has succeeded in completely destroying the main barracks and killing 2 policemen and wounding several others, for the loss of 1 man, Liam Scully. It is almost certain that the Constabulary Medal was issued for Constable Holmes's bravery in this action. Sold with 1918 named Sugar Registration Ration card for Jonathan Holmes, Kilmallock. Various copied research including a copy of a photo showing 5 RIC survivors of the attack including a Constable Holmes. Jonathan Holmes was born in Sligo in 1874, enlisted in the RIC 1893, in the 1911 Census he, his wife and 5 children were living at 27 Wolfe Tone Street, Kilmallock with his occupation listed as RIC. Only 315 Constabulary Medals issued, so a scarce award for a major action.