A touch of Spike Milligan’s ‘Puckoon”. life as a young RIC recruit (one of 80,000), collecting the Tillage Census in 1910 rounding up the chickens and avoid half acres, keeping an eye on ‘Returned Yanks’, searching for Poteen on Innismurray island, over policing in Cooloney, Co. Sligo from the Memoir of Jeremiah Mee.

Interestingly he describes the career prospects as superior to that of a National Teacher or Bank Clerk. It was attractive to those liking the outdoor life. The pay in 1910 started at £39 per annum to £70.4s 0. for twenty years service. Clothing and footwear were provided and married men (allowed to marry after 7 years service) got a lodging allowance.

He describes the overpoliceing in Cooloney Co. Sligo 1913, District Inspector with Clerk, Head Constable, two Sergeants, ten Constables. He says the work could be done by two. The regulations were stultifying but in country areas a fantasy world existed of adhering to them. There was at the time little or no crime in country areas.

Mee was one of over 80,000 Irishmen, 90% Catholic who served in the RIC from the early 19th century to 1921. After the Treaty all 80,00 personnel files containing family details, health, wife’s details and posting were removed to Ealing in West London and shredded in 1938, only 4 surviving according to Jim Herlihy RIC historian.

Mee’s memoir has been a big hit among retired Gardaí where they have been able to get a copy.

Jeremiah Mee Memoir RIC