Leary’s Cross ambush recalled

Geraldine O'Donovan, whose grandfather, James O'Donovan, was one of the IRA Flying Column members, involved in the Leary's Cross ambush, laying a wreath at last Thursday morning's commemoration - the ambush took place on 10th December 1920. (Picture: John Ahern)

The Leary’s Cross ambush, which actually took place at nearby Kirby’s Cross on 10th December 1920, was typical of engagements between British forces and the IRA – a small, lightly armed group of volunteers taking on professional soldiers in a location that suited the attackers.

Of short duration and unlikely to tip the balance of power in a conflict the British were anxious to downplay, the ambush was still a bloody affair, that claimed the life of teenager, Gunner Robert Charles Cambridge of The Royal Field Artillery. 


A dilemma for those organising events which recall the events of 1919, 1920 and 1921 in Ireland is attempting to strike a balance between acknowledging what happened, while at the same time, not promoting violence or anti-British feeling.

In the absence of any named organising committee, it fell to Bartlemy native, John Arnold, to do the balancing act. 

Coverage in this week’s Print & Digital Edition