Inspiration from the War of Independence


Sir, – How heartwarming to read the letter (“Kidnap of Brig Gen Lucas: 100 years on”, June 18th) from Ruth Wheeler and the related article by Ronan McCreevy, concerning the kidnapping of Ms Wheeler’s grandfather by the IRA during the War of Independence. It is also gratifying to note that Ms Wheeler is putting the documentation regarding the incident into the public domain, eschewing any profit she could surely make from it.

That war was a dirty one with obscene acts of cruelty committed casually by both sides. Some of those incidents were undoubtedly what Queen Elizabeth was referring to in her Dublin Castle address when she alluded to things which might have been done “differently or not at all”.

The respect and humanity with which the brigadier general was treated and his gracious acknowledgment of same was an example of the beacons of light which can shine in the midst of even the most savage of conflicts (such as the Christmas Day football game played by soldiers of both sides during the first World War).

Ms Wheeler’s story reminds me of a work of fiction Guests of the Nation by Frank O Connor which did not end as happily, but I wonder if Mr O Connor drew inspiration from the event involving Ms Wheeler’s grandfather? – Yours, etc,


Ardee, Co Louth.