Thomas Billis Beach

Thomas Billis Beach

Birth
Death 1 Apr 1894 (aged 52)
Burial West Norwood, London Borough of Lambeth, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 59214566 · View Source
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A spy, also known as Henri Le Caron. Born in Colchester, England, he moved as a young man to Paris and then to the US where he joined the Union Army – rising to the rank of lieutenant and heading up a scout unit in the Civil War. After the war circumstances caused him to have the opportunity to join and spy on the Fenian Brotherhood, and later the Clan na Gael, another militant Irish revolutionary organization. He was 'commissioned' as a Major and "military organizer" in the IRA on 60 dollars salary a month and $7 per diem expenses. He was subsequently promoted to Colonel and became the Inspector General of the IRA, then Brigadier and Adjutant-General while all the time feeding information back to England and also to the Canadian authorities about Fenian activity including the Fenian "invasions" of Canada in the 1860s and 70s. The invasions failed miserably in part due to the information passed by Le Caron. At one stage every document issued from the Irish Brotherhood organisation was passed by Le Caron to his handler in England, the infamous Mr Anderson. Le Caron's book about his 25 years undercover is available free on-line, here, and gives many still valid tradecraft tips built from his experience. In places it's also highly amusing, and it is remarkable that he was so deep under cover and he lasted so long. His descriptions of the leaders of the "terrorist" group are insightful. Of course, depending on your view of history, Le Caron is either a forgotten hero, or a scoundrel and a traitor. You take your pick, it's long enough ago to be history Le Caron wasn't the only military leader in the Irish republican movement to be a spy feeding information to the British – more about the other guy in future blogs. (before anyone gets twitchy :- ), his name was "General" Frank Millen and his military career started as a Gunner in the British Army in the Crimean war.) Millen's story is even more remarkable, so wait out for that.


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  • Created by: julia&keld
  • Added: 25 Sep 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 59214566
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Billis Beach (26 Sep 1841–1 Apr 1894), Find A Grave Memorial no. 59214566, citing West Norwood Cemetery and Crematorium, West Norwood, London Borough of Lambeth, Greater London, England ; Maintained by julia&keld (contributor 46812479) .