Auxiliaries, not Black and Tans

Published in Issue 6 (November/December 2015), Letters, Volume 23

Sir,—I may be your only subscriber in Norway, but I enjoy every issue of History Ireland. As a mathematician, I particularly enjoyed the article about Hamilton (HI 23.5, Sept./Oct. 2016). I have a comment about the cover, however. The men on the cover are not Black and Tans, they are Auxiliary Cadets! The Auxies, and only the Auxies, wore tam-o’-shanter hats. The Tans initially wore a mixture of police and military uniforms, which gave them the name Black and Tans, but eventually they wore standard RIC uniforms. At no stage, however, did they wear tam-o’-shanter hats. Unfortunately, Irish history books are filled with pictures of Auxies who are labelled as Tans.—Yours etc.,


Above: Joseph Plunkett—the primary planner of the Rising. (Kilmainham Jail)

Above: As several eagle-eyed readers have pointed out, this is not Joseph Plunkett but his younger brother, Jack, a foot-soldier in the Rising. Your editor noticed the ‘J. Plunkett’ at the bottom but not the date, ‘10-5-16’ (10 May 1916), six days after Joseph’s execution on 4 May. (Kilmainham Jail)


Black and Tans posing by Mick O’Dea.


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