Fred Crawford, Carson’s Gun Runner
As anyone who has studied the Home Rule Crisis in the opening decades of the 20th century will be able to tell you, tens of thousands of guns were smuggled into Ireland to arm both the Irish Volunteers and the Ulster Volunteers. Some may even be able to tell you the name of the man who masterminded the gun-running in Ulster – Fred Crawford. But how many can tell you what he was really like?
One who can is Keith Haines who, in his new book Fred Crawford, Carson’s Gunrunner, throws new light on this complex man. Fred Crawford claimed that he was born an Irishman and died an Ulsterman. He was a God-fearing Christian who believed in Divine retribution yet masterminded the largest illegal shipment of arms in the twentieth century. He was a founding member of the Ulster Volunteers who protected his Catholic workers during the Troubles of the 1920s.
Keith Haines has used private and public records to paint a fascinating portrait of a complex and surprisingly cosmopolitan man, at odds with the more usual public perception. The dichotomy at the root of Fred’s character is discussed and analysed in this authorative biography of the God-fearing gunrunner. Keith’s meticulous research allows a man who, until now, has lurked in the shadow of Carson and Craigavon, to take centre stage and step into the light.
Includes never been seen before photographs reproduced from the original glass plate negatives.