Mass escape from Derry Jail, 2oth March 1943
On the 20thMarch 1943 the IRA staged a mass escape through a tunnel from Derry Jail. The escape was one of a series of high profile actions by the IRA in the north in the first half of 1943. The escape itself is well covered by an episode of the TG4 series, Ealú. This article looks at the wider context of the escape in terms of the 1940s IRA campaign.
Information about the escape was only disclosed to the Chief of Staff McAteer and the Northern Command Adjutant Jimmy Steele at an IRA army convention held in Ballymacarret in February 1943. McAteer and Steele had themselves escaped from Crumlin Road in January 1943. Finance for the Derry escape had already been (unwittingly) procured in a hold-up in Strabane on 2ndFebruary by Jim Toner, O/C Tyrone, and his adjutant, Joe Carlin which netted £1,500…
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