Culprit who led burning of Cork finally identified

The son of a German man who fought against his father’s own country during WWI and who later joined the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary (ADRIC), has been identified as the man who organised the burning of Cork.

By Sean O’Riordan, Irish Examiner


The Burning of Cork

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The Burning of Cork by British forces took place on the night of 11–12 December 1920, during the Irish War of Independence.


Charles Schulze, who had served as a captain in the Dorsetshire Regiment during WWI, led Auxiliaries on a rampage of burning as a reprisal for an IRA ambush which left a colleague dead and 15 injured.


Following five years of research, a historian has disclosed that Schulze organised a group of ADRIC ‘K’ Company men who torched most of Cork city centre, especially St Patrick’s Street. The damage was estimated at the time to be have cost £2,000,000 — equivalent to €94,177,850 today. It also resulted in the loss of 2,000 jobs.


Historian Jim Herlihy has discovered letters written by Schulze to his mother and girlfriend.


In a letter sent to his girlfriend, Edith, Schulze describes what happened.


“You will have read all about Cork. Suffice to say I was there and very actively involved to boot until dawn on Sunday. I just escaped the ambush… but later arrived as a reinforcement. We took sweet revenge,” he told Edith.


In a letter to his mother, Schulze said: “Houses in the vicinity were set alight and from there various parties set out on their mission of destruction. Many who had witnessed scenes in France and Flanders say that nothing they had experienced was comparable with the punishment meted out in Cork.”

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