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The War of Independence in Kerry: Tans target the people

In mid-1920 British forces began a revenge campaign designed to hurt communities. Here Simon Brouder examines the early days of 'Tan Terrorism' in Kerry

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British Chief Secretary for Ireland Sir Hamar Greenwood inspects Auxiliary ‘Black and Tan’ troops in Dublin in January 1921

British Chief Secretary for Ireland Sir Hamar Greenwood inspects Auxiliary ‘Black and Tan’ troops in Dublin in January 1921

Locals inspect the ruins of Ballmacelligott Creamery after it was burned out by the Black and Tans in October 1920. This image is published courtesy of University College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Dublin. Copyright and reproduction rights for all items in this collection are held by University College Dublin and administered by UCD Archives, UCD School of History and Archives, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

Locals inspect the ruins of Ballmacelligott Creamery after it was burned out by the Black and Tans in October 1920. This image is published courtesy of University College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Dublin. Copyright and reproduction rights for all items in this collection are held by University College Dublin and administered by UCD Archives, UCD School of History and Archives, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

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British Chief Secretary for Ireland Sir Hamar Greenwood inspects Auxiliary ‘Black and Tan’ troops in Dublin in January 1921

First deployed in the spring of 1920 the 'Black and Tans' and their RIC Auxiliary counterparts quickly earned a reputation for aggression and ruthlessness.

Already hated by the people it was the events of late summer and autumn 1920 that would begin to cement the 'Tans' status as arguably the most reviled group in Irish history.

Oliver Cromwell's murderous forces and the profiteers and soup dealers of the famine are still cursed by many but none are as loathed as the Black and Tans whose name, to this day, can spark bitter anger in the most mild mannered of Irish people.