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Leo Burdock’s attempts to fry Black and Tans revealed in newly released files


Before he found fame through his legendary chipper, Leo Burdock put his life on the line taking part in a number of attacks on the hated Black and Tans in the south inner city.

His fight for Irish freedom was detailed by himself in an unsuccessful application for a military pension which is published online today in the latest release of Military Service Pensions Collection records.

The files relate to 1,576 veterans of the Irish Revolution, covering the period 1916-1923, and is the fourth such release since 2014.

As per the application, he was a member of C company in the Dublin IRA’s 3rd Brigade, and his name appears on a list of company members provided by ex-IRA officers in the 1930s to help verify military service claims.

His parents Bella Burdock and Patrick had opened the first Leo Burdocks in No.2 Werburgh Street, Christchurch (the site where they’re still located) in 1913 and during the War of Independence, he said he took part in a number of attacks on Crown Forces in the city centre.

In an attack on a lorry of Black and Tans in the south inner city in April 1921, he said he was posted near Jacob’s biscuit factory as the lorry came from Camden Street towards Aungier Street.

“I was armed with a bomb and grenade. I fired shots only…I fired four or five shots,” he said in evidence to support his claim. “The lorry did not stop, it slowed down passing a tram as we fired.”

He also told how he was part of a group that fired on “a Tan lorry” going from Stephen’s Green to College Green a few weeks earlier.

“I had a bomb and a Webley [revolver]; I lobbed a bomb into the lorry from Knowles Corner,” he said.

The file is one of the first known references to Leo Burdock in historic records of the War of Independence.

The records also show that following the War of Independence he was an active anti-Treaty IRA member in the Civil War.

The rejection of his claim does not cast any doubt on his involvement as around 80% of the c. 85,000 applicants failed to meet strict legal definitions of active service.