The Cairo Gang

In researching the 15 deaths on Bloody Sunday, I realised that many hundreds of Britsh soldiers died in Ireland during the War of Independence. In fact there were over 800 of them, only 25% of these were Killed in Action. The majority of deaths were from illness or accident

My intention was originally to research the operation that Collins planned on Bloody Sunday, 21 November 1920, against British Intelligence. The British agents targeted have been (erroneously) referred to over time as "The Cairo Gang". As my research progressed I discovered that the Cairo Gang never existed. The name "Cairo Gang " is a 1950s invention that has become a myth in Irish History.The Cairo Gang was supposed to be a group of British Intelligence agents in Dublin during the Irish War of Independence with a brief to conduct intelligence operations against members of the Irish Republican Army. The myth says that they were so sucessful at curtailing the activities of the IRA , that Collins planned to remove them all on the Bloody Sunday operation.

The term "Cairo Gang" has not actually been used anywhere prior to 1958, and the first mention in an Irish newspaper is 1962 (using Google ngrams). So unless anyone can find a contemporary reference to it in the War of Independence, the conclusion is that it was never actually used then. Further the photos commonly used and labeled "Cairo Gang" was not actually called that by the IRA, instead they called them the "special gang" (that is actually written on the back of the iconic photo) , and the back of the photo names each man. They are all from F Coy of the Auxiliaries , have nothing to do with British Intelligence, and not one of these men were targetted on Bloody Sunday

So I have created a web site .which covers both Bloody Sunday and British Intelligence operations in Ireland

This web site offers a list of who died while serving in the British Army in Ireland during this period, when and why. I have excluded men who hd been demobbed, even though they had a CWGC grave

  Killed in Action Influenza/Pneumonia Other Natural Causes Accidents-firearms Accidents- others Suicides Murdered by Soldier
1919 Jan/Jun 0 118 55 6 15 4 0
1919 Jul/Dec 1 6 41 7 15 10 0
1920 Jan/Jun 4 23 37 11 14 4 0
1920 Jul/Dec 59 7 28 31 15 3 3
1921 Jan/Jun 103 11 22 30 5 10 1
1921 Jul/Dec 15 (2 of them post Truce) 7 29 13 8 6 0
1922 Jan/Jun 14 4 8 4 4 1 0
1922 Jul/Dec 1 0 2 1 2 3 0
Total 197 176 222 (18% TB) 103 78 41 4

So in the 4 years

And I have included a list of


British Soldiers died in Ireland


Contact me by email Feel free to contact me if you can add to any of the histories or add names I have not included