Suzy Snapper
Monday, January 08, 2007

In my continuing fascination with family history and general history, I was going through some old papers the other day. I am so fortunate to be the beneficiary of the many pieces of paper and photographs kept by my family over the years.

This includes many unique artifacts that as time goes by is proving to be more than just a heartwarming link to my ancestors. Recently, I uncovered something quite significant.

This is the armoured vehicle my grandfather drove during his stint in the Royal Irish Constabulary. He served with them during the midst of 'The Troubles' beginning in 1918 and leaving when the disbandment happened in 1922.

It is something we were always raised not to speak of. The Troubles. The Irish story. He left his beloved country in April 1922, during the aftermath of one of most stunning assassinations of our time. Michael Collins.

When he came here, he built a new life and left that one alone. But his home country never truly left.

The picture above has the notation 'Scorpion given over to the Free State Army 1922'. What has always intrigued me about this photo is the obvious historic significance of it. Not to mention the Model-T car in the background.

I've tried to search the internet to find more detail but have not had a lot of luck. It seems quite a few shared my Grandad's quiet resolve to let that time go quietly. Sure, there's a lot about the Sein Fein. The IRA. But not so much about the RIC, or the Royal Irish Constabulary.

This weekend, I found this picture. It is that same tank some time before but was seriously damaged by years of improper storage. The original was so yellowed that I was surprised to discover upon the first few stretches of restoration that there was a name on the tank. At first, I thought it said 'Scorpion' but I am not so sure. Maybe something in Gaelic, perhaps?

My Grandad unfortunately is covered by a nasty stain. I am new at restoration and not at all skilled. I am taking it one pixel at a time.

The most intriguing part though is the response I received from an Irish museum. I casually forwarded these pictures to them to gauge their response. Apparently, only two of these armoured vehicles are still in existence and there are no known photographs of them during their service in Ireland.

It would seem this find is a little more than just an heirloom. It's a piece of the past that has been missing. I am working with the museum now to donate copies of the restored photos for their display.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer trapped in a corporate buyer's body. Steel shopping by day, and freeflowing prose by night. One day I hope to have the nights become my days, but am intimidated by the sheer amount of people who share my dream. So I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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