slowburner Moderator

RTE have a podcast here on this commander of the infamous Black & Tans

Major General Hugh Tudor: friend of Winston Churchill, and a World War One commander who originated the smokescreen and the artillery box barrage. Strangely, the decorated general spent the last four decades of his life in Newfoundland, shunning photographs and interviews, scrupulously avoiding publicity and living a carefully quiet life in the shadows - far from his country, his wife and children, and very far indeed from the limelight.
But he lived in fear, carrying a Webley revolver and a set of brass knuckles in case of a surprise attack. For he harboured a dark secret - one that would eventually cause an assassin to cross the Atlantic with a mission: to hunt him down.
Or so they say. For Tudor, after his wartime exploits, had become commander of the R.I.C, the Dublin Metropolition Police and the re-enforcements or specials to the RIC such as the notorious Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries, known as 'Tudors Toughs'. As we know now, the British forces in Ireland at that time were directed to "fight fire with fire" against the IRA in Ireland in 1920. Under Tudor's command, the Tans along with the Auxiliaries became notorious for reprisal killings, burning whole villages, setting fire to the city of Cork, and turning guns on the football crowd in Croke Park amongst other actions. After Irish independence in 1922, Tudor was considered to be a marked man, and he escaped across the Atlantic to exile in the island of Newfoundland - then an independent nation.
Years later, two assassins came to the capital city of St. John's to eliminate him. They were ultimately talked out of committing the deed by a local priest. So it is said, and widely believed, in St. John's. But did the near-killing actually happen, or is it the stuff of legend? A desire for the man known in Ireland as "Black Tudor" to get what many felt he deserved, or a convenient fiction to assuage Newfoundlander's consciences for having harboured a war criminal amongst them?

jonniebgood1 Moderator

slowburner said:
RTE have a podcast here on this commander of the infamous Black & Tans

Thanks for the link slowburner. I don't know what to make of that documentary style but Tudor is of interest. Here is some info from a military collector in history ireland that includes comments by respected authors:
In Ireland in 1920 the conduct of affairs was largely taken out of the hands of the Anglo-Irish bureaucracy who had hitherto been kings of the castle. General Tudor was first appointed police adviser to the viceroy, before taking command of both police forces—the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police—and also of the intelligence and secret service. These newcomers suffered from none of the prejudices or inhibitions of the native-born administrator. Like the Black and Tans, they had come to Ireland to do a ‘job’, and when it was finished they would leave. The ‘job’ was twofold: to wear down the IRA by a campaign of attrition and to find someone with whom to negotiate.
Tudor, according to Tim Pat Coogan, believed that he had been given a ‘dirty job’ to do and, unlike some of the other British generals, such as Crozier and Strickland, he pushed dirty war tactics to the limit. Crozier was to resign in protest when he suspended 26 members of the Auxiliaries for their part in the sacking of Trim in February 1921. Tudor reinstated them.
Tudor got his name, ‘Black Tudor’, for his part in the Croke Park Bloody Sunday killings, for which he was blamed. Kevin Barry might also have had his death sentence commuted if Tudor had not threatened to resign unless an example was made of him. The Journal of Irish Studies carries the following statement:

‘Tudor perfectly exemplified the government’s evasive approach to dealing with “official reprisals” and along with his political masters, he contributed substantially to the growing domestic and international political pressures for a settlement in 1921.’

Tudors exile leaves plenty of questions over his life. It would be good to look at his role in Ireland from a neutral point of view, i.e. was he simply fulfilling what he saw as his duties, a 'dirty job' ?

jonniebgood1 Moderator

There is some further information regarding the resignation of General Crozier in the Times reporting of the disagreement with Tudor:

The record of the commons shows the following with questions being openly asked about Tudor:


(by Private Notice) asked the Chief Secretary whether his attention has been called to the letters which appeared in today's Press exchanged between General Crozier and General Tudor: whether he will now definitely state on what grounds General Crozier and his Adjutant, Captain Macfie, resigned; and in view of the fact that he approved their action, why General Tudor accepted the resignation; and whether the right hon. Gentleman approves of the action of General Tudor in accepting the resignation of these officers who were endeavouring to maintain discipline in the Auxiliary Division, Royal Irish Constabulary?


I will answer the three questions together. The hon. Member for Belfast seems to be under a misapprehension as to an answer I gave in the House to a supplementary question yesterday. I did not intend to convey the impression that I had no knowledge of this very serious breach of discipline at Trim, or that the Chief of Police did not mention it. He mentioned it to me on the 15th instant, and I told him it was a matter of discipline, and he must take the steps he thought best for the discipline of the force. I heard nothing of General Crozier's or his 1128 Adjutant's resignation until I saw it in the Press on the 22nd instant. Nor had I until then any knowledge whatsoever of any disagreement between General Tudor and General Crozier in this matter.

As regards the substance of the questions, I again take the opportunity of stating that the sole reason why the cadets in question were ordered to return to Ireland was to enable a thorough investigation to be made of the charges in which they were implicated. It is not the case that they have been returned to duty. There never was, and there is now, no question of condoning looting and the suggestion apparently put forward by General Crozier or on his behalf that his resignation was in any way due to the frustration by higher authority of efforts made by him to secure an improved standard of discipline is one for which there is not the slightest foundation in fact. General Crozier is the officer who, as Commandant, has from the outset been primarily responsible for the maintenance of discipline throughout the Auxiliary Division, and I am informed that he has at no time made any complaint to superior authority in regard to his powers or the means at his disposal for securing an adequate standard of discipline. Having regard to all the circumstances, I fully approve General Tudor's action in accepting the resignation of these officers.


Will the right hon. Gentleman answer my question? He has given a series of statements, but he has not answered my question whether he has called for an explanation from General Tudor why he did not report the dismissal for looting of 26 cadets, and why he did not also report the resignations of General Crozier and his adjutant.


I thought I had dealt fully with the first part of the question. The second part refers to a letter from General Crozier which I think is dated 19th February, and was sent from an address in Somerset to General Tudor in Dublin. I got a telegraphic copy of that letter yesterday for the first time.

It continues over and back for some time with dissatisfaction expressed at the answers received:

Might I ask my right hon. Friend what explanation he gives of the very serious statement in the letter that, in General Crozier's view, crime in this case has been condoned? I would like to know what comment the right hon. Gentleman has to make upon that statement.


I have tried to answer that question. I think it was a totally unwarranted term to use, and it is because it was so unjust and unwarranted 1132 that it makes it very difficult for me to do other than support the Chief of Police.

§ At the end of Questions—

§ Captain REDMOND

Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the right hon. Gentleman's reply, I beg leave to ask to move the Adjournment of the House to call attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, "the lack of control of the Irish Administration, as disclosed by the Chief Secretary in his admission that he had no knowledge of the resignation of General Crozier until yesterday morning, and the grave danger to public peace and order in consequence of the action of General Tudor in accepting the resignation of General Crozier, Commandant of the Auxiliary Division, Royal Irish Constabulary, and the Adjutant, Captain Macfie."

It all suggests that there was open dissent against Tudor at the time which is interesting. If it had followed years later it could be expected but it shows that the actions undertaken in Ireland were being widely reported.

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slowburner Moderator

Brief Pathé clip here of general Crozier (and a few others worth looking at too)

A further development of the Trim case and the shooting of two unarmed prisoners in Drumcondra was that Tudor managed to have 19 of the 26 cadets reinstated.
The case against three cadets implicated in the Drumcondra shooting, was dismissed due to 'lack of evidence'.
Tudor prevented Crozier from investigating any further misdeeds by removing his power of dismissal in November 1920.
Crozier resigned his commission not long after on the 25th of February, 1921.

Mrs. Asquith is reputed to have said to Tudor:

'They tell me you are as much a murderer as any of them, only you like things done in an orderly manner and at Trim, they were disorderly.'

Whatever about Tudor stating his belief that he had been given a dirty job - he certainly seems to have carried it out to the best of his ability.

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