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Gen Collins ambush badge for auction

THE badge on the cap believed to have been worn by Michael Collins when he was shot dead is being offered for sale.

The badge is believed to have fallen off his cap during the notorious ambush at Beal na mBlath, Co Cork, on August 22, 1922, in which General Collins was fatally wounded.

The cap badge is being auctioned next month by Mealy's Auctioneers in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny.

The badge is accompanied by a handwritten note of authentication signed by Collins' personal friend General Sean Mac Eoin who later became Chief of Staff of the Irish Army.

Auctioneer George Mealy said: "The badge was kept in safe keeping over the years by Kathleen McKenna, who was private secretary to Collins."

The estimate for the badge in the auction scheduled for April 20 is €3,000.

The badge was reported to have been removed from the vehicle which Collins was using on that fateful day.

Collins, who was Director of Intelligence for the Irish Volunteers during the War of Independence, was aged just 31 when he was killed in the Civil War ambush in his native Cork by a group of anti-Treaty IRA men.

Collins was both Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army after independence.

Up until 1919 at least, he was also President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

The badge is inscribed with the words "Oglaigh na hEireann".