1920 Kilmallock Vicinity.
The place he liked most of all was Johnnie Lynch’s in Tankardstown. John had two spinster sisters whose names may have been Minnie and Maggie and who made the most tasty sweet scones. An integral part of the Lynch household was Billy Boy. Billy Boy, who was about sixteen, was one of those harmless simpletons farmed out by the poorhouses to the farmers, free gratis and for nothing. Billy most industriously performed all his farm chores and had time left over to gape about at a world full of delight and wonder. Everybody loved Billy Boy.
One day when he was sitting in the kitchen with the others codding with Billy Boy, a man rushed in and announced that a cycle patrol of the enemy was coming down the nearby Bruree road. All rushed to arms and dashed across thee intervening fields and there was a sudden and headlong collision. His personal contact was with a tall frightened looking constabulary man; by mutual consent they drew off in opposite directions.
This was one of the rare occasions on which he distinguished himself as he captured two military bicycles under fire. Coming back he twice passed a young tin-hatted soldier lying face downwards on the road an ominous stain was streaming down over the soldiers khaki clad buttocks.
After this event is was necessary to move a long ways off. The tramped very many miles climbing the many ditches in their path. Nurse Sullivan came with them and they helped her over ditches and the barbed wire fences. Skirting the Ballyhoura hills they passed Kilclooney
Wood (“where brave Crowley stood”) and they eventually came into the vicinity of Kildorrery. Outside Kildorrery they ambushed a patrol of Tans and nurse Sullivan attended to the wounded. He supported very youthful Tan while the nurse slashed off the youth’s pants with her surgical scissors and applied a tourniquet. But the boy had lost too much blood and he began to sink. Between sips of water the young Tan told him that he came from Liverpool, where he had a wife and kid - he had been unemployed a long time and then he saw this advertisement for policemen in the newspaper. Noticing his distress and seemingly wishing to console him the young Tan said “it’s all in the game, chum”.
They held clammy hands, the boy gave him a wan smile, and in a moment he was gone.