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Encyclopedia > Ulster Special Constabulary

The Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) was a reserve force of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.


In the 1920s, the Royal Irish Constabulary began recruiting British paramilitary auxiliaries, the Black and Tans and Auxiliary Division. However, these only operated in the south and west of Ireland. In the northeast, the RIC was reinforced from 1 November 1920 by the Ulster Special Constabulary, largely recruited from the Unionist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). It was divided into three sections, all of which were armed:

  • A Specials were full-time and paid, but could not be posted outside their home areas (regular RIC officers could be posted anywhere in the country);
  • B Specials were part-time, usually on duty for one evening per week and serving under their own command structure, and unpaid, although they had a generous system of allowances; and
  • C Specials were unpaid, non-uniformed reservists, usually rather elderly and used for static guard duties near their homes.

It was the USC that was most often responsible for countering IRA attacks in the north, but like its southern counterparts it gained a reputation for brutality and was viewed by most Roman Catholics as a Protestant vigilante force. After partition in 1922 the USC remained in existence to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary, although many of its members joined the new force as regular police officers. After the Boundary Commission was abandoned in 1926 the A and C Specials were disbanded, leaving only the B Specials in existence. In border areas, many Protestants from the border counties of the Free State served with the B-specials. They remained in existence, never losing their reputation amongst Republicans for brutality and partisanship, until 30 April 1970, when they were finally stood down. Many joined the newly-established UDR. This body also became notorious, for the same reasons as its predecessor.


One of the functions of the Ulster Special Constabulary was to provide the Governor's Guard, a detachment responsible for the security of the Governor of Northern Ireland, and stationed at his official residence, Hillsborough Castle, County Down, and his private residence.


External link

  • RUC police federation B-Specials page (http://www.royalulsterconstabulary.org/history3.htm) (note: despite the domain name, this is not the official website of the RUC or its successor, the PSNI)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ulster Special Constabulary - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (583 words)
In the northeast, the RIC was reinforced from 1 November 1920 by the Ulster Special Constabulary, largely recruited from the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force, a separate orginisation from the modern paramilitary UVF.
It was the USC that was most often responsible for countering IRA attacks in the north, and like its southern counterparts it gained a reputation for brutality and was viewed by most Roman Catholics as a Protestant vigilante force.
One of the functions of the Ulster Special Constabulary was to provide the Governor's Guard, a detachment responsible for the security of the Governor of Northern Ireland, and stationed at his official residence, Hillsborough Castle, County Down, and his private residence.
Ulster Society - Ulster's Military History - Ulster's Defence Tradition (1667 words)
However, the Ulster crisis was overtaken by the First World War and the UVF as such never saw action, though volunteers from it formed the 36th (Ulster) Division that fought with such distinction on the Western Front.
The USC was commanded by a Chief Staff Officer, who reported to the Inspector-General of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (from 1922 on).
The USC played a crucial role in defeating this campaign; by the end of 1959 no fewer than 1,594 had been called up to full-time duty, whilst the rest turned out in their spare time for patrols and other security duties.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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