Thomas (Red) Cushing Soldier for Hire, London, 1962, John Calder.

Biographical notes

These are some biographical notes extracted from this book in an attempt to draw together an image of Cushing. The reason I am listing some of these events is that there is a chance that someone may be able to cross reference them, i.e. the funeral of Lacy, to see if this 'autobiography' is a work of fiction or not.

This attempt at a chronology cannot be said to be 100% accurate given the almost total absence of dates in this book.

Articles concerning Red CushingExtract on Spain from a book by Thomas (Red) Cushing
Soldier for Hire, London, 1962, John Calder
Memoirs of Red Cushing - Peter Lunt served with Cushing
The last days of Lieutenant Jakov Stalin Colin Simpson and John Shirley, Sunday Times 24th Jan. 1980

P9 This infers that he was from Carrick-on-Suir, a town in Tipperary. P14 "in 1921, just before my 12th birthday", so presumably born 1909. At this stage he says he'd been in the IRA/republican movement for three years.

P20 [1922] Aged 13 he took the republican side in the Irish Civil War, serving with the 8th Batt. Of the Third Tipperary Brigade.

P23 Aged 14 he was in the guard of honour at the funeral of Brigade commander, Dennis Lacy.

[On Feb. 18th 1923, Dinny Lacey, a leader of the 3rd Tipp. Brigade, was shot dead by Free State troops in the Glen of Aherlow. Source, Calton Younger, Ireland's Civil War, page 494 and others, pub. By Frederick Muller Ltd, London, 1968]

P31 After the death of his father Cushing, with a brother and sister migrated to America, on board the President Harding, to live with an aunt in Brooklyn in 1923.

P33 Joined the US Army just a few months after his 16th birthday [in 1925.]

P55 Sent to Castle William, the 'US Atlantic Branch Disciplinary Barracks' as a guard.

P80- After 18 months he applied to go to China and was sent to Fort Slocum on Long Island, from there to China, via the Panama Canal. Landed at Chinwangtao, 100 miles NE of Tientsin. Reported to the 15th US Infantry.

P89- After 6 months in China he was sent to Fort McDowell on Angel Island, near San Francisco. After 3 days moved with others to Managua, Nicaragua to act as instructors to the Nicaraguan National guard.
He claims that he acted as an instructor in browning machine guns to both sides. Sandino's men paid him. After some time there, he was again sent back to China.
[He says that Sandino allegedly 'had thrown in the sponge' p93, so that may indicate the date. 1933, February 2: Sandino announced at dawn that he has to make peace or he will kill himself. Salvatierra rushed him to Managua. A few minutes before midnight the peace was signed.
Note from :]

That note would seem to confuse Cushings pages 93-5.]

P94 'For the next couple of years, from 1932-1934, I led a more or less routine existence with the 15th US Infantry' in Tientsin.'

P94 Transferred to the 31st US Infantry in Manila, Philippines.

P95-102. Immediately on arrival he was in a boxing fight with Ceferino Garcia, who beat Cushing severely. Cushings' boast is that he stayed on his feet, just, until the end of the fight and that Garcia won on points. Garcia was in fact later a world middleweight champion.

P103 After 11 months he was back in 'Frisco [I presume San Francisco] Deployed as security guard at Alcatraz.

P108 Joined the 18th US Infantry at Fort Hamilton.

P122 Next assignment was to Fort Clayton, on the 'Pacific side of the canal Zone.', in Panama.

P163 Serving with the 16th Infantry in New York.

P186- 1936.
He was out of the US army and was asked to join the 'Lincoln Washington battalion.' [See the chapter, No Castles in Spain.]

P198-9 'I went to see the American Consul…..By participating in a war in which the USA were non-belligerent, I had automatically forfeited my citizenship.' [This would indicate that in the period since 1923 he'd become a US citizen, surely a passport number will exist?]

P202 'in November 1938, I was ordered to report to my chosen regiment, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.' Their depot was in Omagh, Northern Ireland.

P213 Sent to the 2nd batt. [RIF in early 1939.]

P221-2 On the outbreak of WW2 he was allowed to join his troop in the British Expeditionary Force. Quickly captured.

P240 Sent to Stalag V111 (b), just outside the village of Lamsdorf and then a mining detail.

P245-8 On returning to Stalag V111 (b) he was sent to an Irish section where they were addressed by someone pretending to be Frank Ryan. [Of course, TC had meet FR before so knew it was a false ply to recruit Irishmen to fight for Germany!]
P262-3 He was a prisoner for all of WW2, passing through Flossenburg and Dachau where he saw 'walking skeletons'. He was finally liberated by the Americans at Villabassa, Northern Italy.

[Note by C Crossey: I know it's been a while since I checked his book but I am 100% convinced that he does not mention the following story. "The last days of Lieutenant Jakov Stalin" written by Colin Simpson and John Shirley, in the Sunday Times 24th Jan. 1980]

P269 After the war, and some leave back in Ireland, he rejoined the British Army, specifically the 25th Irish Holding Batt. Regimental Police. He married an Irishwoman, a nurse called Nangle, stationed in Dalton-on-Furness.

P272 Sent to Palestine with the army, got drunk on St. Patrick's Day.
[No year, a surprise.]

P294-5 The book ends with him serving with the North Irish Brigade, at Eglinton, Derry. His wife and 2 children were living in East Grimstead.

Ciaran Crossey
Belfast, 23rd July 2001, updatd 21st March 2006