The second republican to join the H-Block hunger-strike for political status – a fortnight after Bobby Sands – was twenty-five-year-old Francis Hughes, from Bellaghy in South Derry: a determined, committed and totally fearless IRA Volunteer who organised a spectacularly successful series of military operations before his capture, and was once described by the RUC as their ‘most wanted man’ in the North.
Eluding for several years the relentless efforts of the British army, UDR and RUC to track him down, Francis operated boldly throughout parts of Tyrone and north and south Antrim, but particularly in his native South Derry, with a combination of brilliant organisation and extreme daring – until his capture after a shoot-out with the SAS – which earned him widespread popular renown, and won general support for the republican cause, as well as giving him an undisputed reputation as a natural-born soldier and leader.
Francis Hughes was born on February 28th, 1956, the youngest son amongst ten children, into a staunchly republican family which has been solidly rooted, for most of this century, in the townland of Tamlaghtduff, or Scribe Road, as it is otherwise called.
His parents who married in 1939, are Patrick Joseph Hughes, aged 72, a retired small cattle farmer born in the neighbouring town land of Ballymacpeake, and Margaret, aged 68, whose maiden name is McElwee, and who was born in Tamlaghtduff.
A quarter-of-a-mile away from the Hughes’ bungalow, on the other side of the Scribe Road is the home of Thomas and Benedict McElwee – first cousins of Francis. Benedict is currently serving a sentence in the H-Blocks. Thomas – the eldest – embarked on hunger strike on June 8th, and died sixty-two days later on August 8th.
In Tamlaghtduff, as throughout the rest of Bellaghy, sympathy as well as active support for the republican cause runs at a very high level, a fact testified to by the approximately twenty prisoners-of-war from around Bellaghy alone.
Francis was an extremely popular person, both to his family and to his republican colleagues and supporters.
His father recalls that as a boy he was always whistling, joking and singing: a trait which he carried over into his arduous and perilous days as a republican, when he was able to transmit his enthusiasm and optimism both to Volunteers under his command and to Sympathisers who offered them – at great personal risk, food and shelter
It was qualities like these, of uncomplaining tirelessness, of consideration for the morale of those around him, and his ruling wish to lead by example, that have made Francis Hughes one of the most outstanding Irish revolutionary soldiers this war has produced and a man who was enormously respected in his native countryside.
As a boy, Francis went first to St. Mary’s primary school in Bellaghy, and from there to Clady intermediate school three miles away.
He enjoyed school and was a fairly good student whose favourite subjects were history and woodwork. He was not particularly interested in sport, but was very much a lively, outdoor person, who enjoyed messing around on bikes, and later on, in cars.
He enjoyed dancing and regularly went to ceilidh as a young man, even while ‘on the run’, although after ‘wanted’ posters of him appeared his opportunities became less frequent.
His parents recall that Francis was always extremely helpful around the house, and that he was a “good tractor man”.
Leaving school at sixteen, Francis got a job with his sister Vera’s husband, as an apprentice painter and decorator, completing his apprenticeship shortly before ‘going on the run’.
In later days, Francis would often do a spot of decorating for the people whose house he was staying in
On one occasion, shortly after the ‘wanted’ posters of him had been posted up all over South Derry, Francis was painting window frames at the front of the house he was staying in when two jeep-loads of British soldiers drove past. While the other occupants of the house froze in apprehension, Francis waved and smiled at the curious Brits as they passed by, and continued painting.
It was such utter fearlessness, and the ability to brazen his way through that saved him time and time again during his relatively long career as an active service Volunteer.
On one such occasion, when stopped along with two other Volunteers as they crossed a field, Francis told a Brit patrol that they didn’t feel safe walking the roads, as the IRA were so active in the area. The Brits allowed the trio to walk on, but after a few yards Francis ran back to the enemy patrol to scrounge a cigarette and a match from one of the British soldiers.
A turning point for Francis, in terms of his personal involvement in the struggle, occurred at the age of seventeen, when he and a friend were stopped by British soldiers at Ardboe, in County Tyrone, as they returned from a dance one night.
The pair were taken out of their car and so badly kicked that Francis was bed-ridden for several days. Rejecting advice to make a complaint to the RUC, Francis said it would be a waste of time, but pledged instead to get even with those who had done it, “or with their friends.”
The Song Remains the Same – Different year, the same old bullshit. Obama, our president, already lied and raised taxes on the working man. Anti-gun people are still crying about the Sandy Hook shooting even though a criminal and not a legal gun owner committed the crime. Every slut I know is still a slut. One loser I know is still a criminal and due in court again in 2013.
Over the Hills and Far Away – How I wish I had a pocket full of gold. This past weekend I did a lot of daydreaming. I thought about certain things I did wrong in life. Nothing I can do now but it makes you think. Thought of my ex Ashley who I’ve not seen in years. I came across a CD she had made me and thought of her all day Sunday.
Dancing Days – They say white people can’t dance. Personally, I hate dancing. Don’t let that fool you. I can bust a move or two. I don’t dance to that shitty hip hop or techno shit. On my birthday my friend Stephanie was making me dance. We tore that dance floor up.
The Ocean – I was watching the History Channel a few days ago. They were showing natural disasters. Most were hurricanes, tidal wives and tsunamis. I kept thinking to myself, maybe living on the beach near the ocean isn’t so cool after all. I rather live where I do, hundreds of miles from the ocean. Just saying.
I am so sick of the gun debate. Guns don’t kill people. Criminals kill people. Thousands of people are killed yearly by drunk drivers. Do we ban beer, bourbon and whiskey? Of course we don’t. Hundreds of people yearly are killed by deer while driving. Have we banned deer from this nation? Hundreds of people yearly are killed by tornadoes. Do we not allow people to live in Kansas, Texas and Nebraska which is in the heart of tornado alley? Of course we don’t.
When people bitch and moan about guns, I have a simple concept, I buy more guns and ammunition. I never preach to people about owning guns. Most gun owners could care less if you own one or not. Why is it then that anti-gun people love to preach to me, my dad and my boss why we shouldn’t have a gun? Just because you don’t want to defend yourself, your loved ones or home don’t tell me I can’t. Below is my list dedicated toward guns.
That’s right kids, guns are cool. If you have a gun, hot chicks like this will want you. Guns are great. Police use them to stop bad people. People use them to hunt and feed their families. Our armed-forces use them to free those who are oppressed. People like me use them to defend my property, defend myself if I’m ever attacked by someone with a weapon or defend someone I care about. Guns are so cool, Clint Eastwood has used them in the mass majority of his movies.
Thank you for your service to our nation. You are a true American hero.
Dead and Bloated – The gunman in Sandy Hook committed suicide. Good. Have fun rotting in hell.
Sex Type Thing – There is a bartender at the Highlands Taproom Grill that I find to be beautiful. I call tons of women pretty and hot. I rarely use the term beautiful. I know I blush nearly every time I talk to her. Her smile could melt butter. Her body is smoking. To top it off, she is sweet like an angel. You may ask why I don’t go for it? Simple, I am talking to a girl and she is more than likely way out of my league.
Creep – Once again, the gunman from Sandy Hook is dead. Another asshole made a threat toward a school. These losers make law-abiding gun owners like myself look bad. Anyone that threatens or harms children should be beaten by mobs. After a nice beating these losers should be locked away for life in the smallest prison cell ever built with no Freedom what so ever.
Crackerman – In the past people have emailed me calling this website racist. Really? I make fun off all races of people (mainly my own, the cracker race), gender and sexuality. No one is safe from our rants. The site is mostly satire and comedy. If you take what I say serious you have issues. I will be nice and say this. If I did offend you, I am sorry. My intentions are to make people laugh. This site is not meant to offend anyone, for the most part. We do not hold racist views against anyone.
America has its share of faults. We are from perfect. This nation still has the greatest freedoms in the world. Websites such as mine can exist. TV shows such as “Saturday Night Live” can poke fun at our politicians daily. People like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert make a living poking fun at politics and our elected leaders. In some nations, these men would be arrested and possibly even murdered for this.
People in this nation can even burn our nation’s flag; refuse to sing the National Anthem and refuse to sing the Pledge of Allegiance. Our nation even allows people to join anti-American groups and hate groups. That is how great our freedom in this nation is. As long as you don’t break the law, you can pretty much do anything in the United States of America.
We as a people take way too much for granted. Most people have no idea what our men and women in the armed-forces give up. They are told when and where to be without a say. They eat, sleep and do what they are ordered to do. Many of them are thousands upon thousands of miles away from their families. They give up so much so you and I don’t have to.
Louisville’s Strange Brew wants to say “thank you” to our current men and women who are serving this great nation. We want to thank the veterans who fought or served this great nation. We thank our forefathers who fought and died for our freedoms. America is still the greatest nation on earth and I am proud to be an American.
I am in the middle when it comes to Obama. Naming things he has failed at is easy. I won’t even waste my time. Obama brought our troops home. That ended another winless war. I applaud him for that. Obama so far, has revived the auto industry. I give him credit for that. Osama Bin Laden is dead. That was awesome. Obama has done some good.
I’m a registered Democrat. I have been since age 18 (12 years now). Unlike most, I will vote Republican (or another party) if I feel that candidate is better. For instance, I was a big supporter of Ernie Fletcher, the former Republican governor of Kentucky. He did an excellent job. Kentucky has since taxed tobacco and alcohol since his removal – both major incomes in our state. Our education has also gone downhill since his removal. Fletcher was a good governor who never got the credit he deserved. I wish he was still in office today.
For a while, I was leaning toward Romney. I didn’t like some of the policies that Obama forced on the American people. Then Romney made his comment about working people. That really pissed me off. I am a working man who came from a working family. Romney has no respect for those who work hard to make a living. He is use to a life flying on private jets, taking monthly cruises and sleeping on $100 bills.
Obama may be far from perfect. He has made a few blunders to say the least. One thing that he does seem to understand is that a good middle/working class makes the nation great. Listen, I’m not left-wing by any means. I actually hate how liberalism has taken over the Democratic Party. I have no issue with Romney coming from wealth like most liberals and left-wingers do. He can’t help how smart and successful his father was. There is nothing wrong with wealth or capitalism. I am very, very far from rich. Yet, I support capitalism 100%. I do not support greed. I do not support those who look down on the hard-working people in America. That’s exactly what Romney does.
If Americans really wanted change, it would not be Obama. We would actually vote for that third-party person. Since we don’t have that, Obama is a better choice than Romney. Hopefully Obama’s next four years, if elected, will be much better than his first four years. If Romney does win, hopefully everything I said about him is incorrect. Americans have dug their own hole. It’s our faults more than it is the politicians’ fault. We may be the only country that elects people based on personal appearance, how cool they are or how “hip” they are. No wonder our nation is in the shape it’s in.
I hate politics. Neither side gives a shit about the American people. The right-wing sucks. The left-wing sucks. I am not fan of Romney’s. Obama is no better. He is full of shit just like ole’ Mitt. Last month, mysterious, unemployment finally hit under 8%. Shocking isn’t it? Gas prices have also went down by about 40 cents per gallon. I actually can’t recall the last time I saw gas in the $3.20 range. Also shocking.
This proves that Obama and his fellow Democrats has been ass fucking us Americans for quite some time. Isn’t it amazing that come election time, everything seems to get better? Don’t think this is an anti-Obama attack. If this was George W. Bush, the same would have taken place. My point is simple. But parties – Republican or Democrat both fuck the American people daily without a care in the world.
All year I paid between $3.45 and $3.85 in my area. Now all of a sudden gas is $3.25…… Odd, huh?
I don’t like a thing about Romney. He’s silver spoon born spoiled brat. Yet, what changed has Obama really brought to America? Oil companies are making record profits. Food costs are at all-time highs. College tuition has sky-rocketed all across the USA during his term. Yet, he and his backers claim he cares about the “working” and “common” man. The only change he has brought is the fact that now a black man is ass fucking the American people instead of a white man. What a change!
Change – True, a black man finally had a chance to fuck the American people the way whitey has for quite some time!!