Hello Peter, came across the following article which I hope you find of interest.It was in the February edition of the Harp paper in Birmingham
It was written by Professor Carl Chinn M.B.E.
Carl has his own radio programme on the BBC WM and is a history professor, he has written a number of books, one - Birmingham Irish - Making Our Mark, his wife, Kay is from Dublin
He beleives passionately that history belongs to everyone and that everyone has made their mark on history.
I have divided the article into two parts
IRISH POLICE OFFICERS
From its earliest years after its formation in 1839, the Borough of Birmingham Police Force included a significant number of Irishmen.There were 36 of them in the 1851 Census, for eight of whom the enumerators noted the place of origin.
They came mostly from counties whose people had a tiny numerical presence in Birmingham; two were from Wicklow with one each from Clare, Donegal and Kings County ( now Offaly ). One more originated in Dublin and the two others in Down.
Three of the men were sergeants. Out of a force of 26 sergeants in 1852, this represented 11.5%, this was the exact proportion of the 33 Irish Constables to the total of Constables in the town.Remarkably this figure was almost four times that of the Irish in the general population.
Irish Police Officers continued to be prominent in Birmingham. Amongst them was Inspector Kelly, who distingushed himself by his attempts to keep the peace during the Murphy Riots and their tense aftermath; and Michael McManus.
He had an outstanding and remarkable career. Brought up in Newfield, Mayo and formerly a labourer, he joined the force in 1873 and retired in 1918 as Deputy Chief Constable. For several years he was attached to the Duke Street Division, which covered mostly English Streets and was " then by far the roughest in the town. "
A tough and determined man, McManus once took on a gang of highway robbers on his own. Kicked, stabbed, and beaten with belt buckles, McManus was mauled severely, but he had some consolation as the ruffians had to accompany him to hospital !
Popular both with the members of the Police Force and the public, McManus did splendid in connection with various hospitals and other charitable institutions. Well known for riding a large white horse around Birmingham, McManus and many other Irish Police Officers passed into local working class folklore - none more so than Charles Haughton Rafter.
He was appointed Chief Constable of Birmingham in 1899. A Belfast man, he had joined the Royal Irish Constabulary as a gentleman cadet and went on to serve as a District Inspector in various parts of Ireland for seventeen years. At the time of CAPTAIN BOYCOTT to " moral Coventry ". Rafter was given charge of the Ballinrobe area, where the Landlord lived.
He was also involved in policing incidents in Athlone, Sligo and Tipperary, where his work earned him the admiration of Count Arthur More, a Home Rule M.P.So high was the feeling locally that it was reported in the Moseley & Kings Heath Journal that 2 any want of tactic or judgement might have precipitated an encounter at a moments notice between the two excited parties.During all that time Mr. Rafter kept a cool, clear head, and got well through the troubles of that eventful period, handling large numbers of armed and excited men with unfailing good temper and tact "
Knighted in 1927, Rafter was an outstanding Chief Constable. When he was appointed, Birmingham was notorious for the Peaky Blinders - gangs of men and youths from different streets who fought slogging battles with their belts, fists, and steel capped boots.
Rafter recruited a large number of Irish Constables to help him stamp out Peaky Blindism and together they made Birmingham a much safer city. He died in 1935, having been Knighted 8 years previously, at his holday home in Galway, aged 77 and still Chief Constable, he was acclaimed as " a great citizen and one of the finest Police Officers this country has ever known "
Peter, the article got me thinking, there must have been many R.I.C.Officers who left Ireland, for any number of reasons, and would have settled in other major cities of the U.K. and the Commonwealth , some would have married, had families and went on to better things, but are not remembered..
Perhaps there might even be relatives of these Officers who are members of your site and they would like to share their stories of these forgotten "IRISH POLICEMEN".
To be Continued