A ceremony to mark the life of a young Catholic policeman gunned down in the period directly following the partition of Ireland has been held by the Ulster Special Constabulary Association.
Thomas Sheridan was just 35-years-old when he was shot dead by a sniper as he went about his business on patrol with the Ulster Special Constabulary, just a few months after the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty.
Constable Sheridan, who was from County Cavan, had only been in the force eight weeks before he was shot dead by a sniper while on duty in Annaghroe, Caledon, near the border between Armagh and Tyrone.
Sadly, due to the tensions around the newly-established border in the months directly following the signing of the treaty, his family were unable to take his remains home to County Cavan for burial.
Instead, Constable Sheridan was buried with full police honours in the graveyard of St John’s Parish Church, Caledon.
The Ulster Special Constabulary Association (USCA) held a service yesterday afternoon to dedicate a new headstone to the murdered police man.
Richard Scott, General Secretary of the USCA, said: “It was on June 6, 1922 when Thomas Sheridan, a young Roman Catholic man from County Cavan, had just arrived on his bicycle to take over duty at a vehicle checkpoint located approximately fifty yards from the border with the Irish Free State.
“While Special Constable Sheridan was talking to the Head Constable, a single shot was fired from an unknown position. He was fatally wounded.
“He had only joined eight weeks before he was murdered. He was a 35-year-old single man.
“He was buried with full police honours in St John’s Parish Church in Caledon.
“When we came across the story we discovered that his grave has lay unnoticed for a long number of years. We had been looking into a few things to do with the past when we came across this story and we felt it was time he should be remembered.
“There were quite a few Catholics in the police at that time, right up until the split.
“There were quite a few of them who were ex-servicemen and that was quite normal until they began to be threatened by the terrorists and told to leave.
As usual, a lot of propaganda went out after that which tried to claim that it had been a Protestant-only force but that wasn’t the case.
“Law abiding members of the Roman Catholic community, who were marked from the moment they put a uniform on, should be remembered as the men of honour they were.”