- Dec 29, 2010
The composition of the USC was overwhelmingly Protestant and unionist, for a number of reasons. Several informal unionist "constabulary" groups had already been created, for example, in Belfast, Fermanagh and Antrim. The Ulster Unionist Labour Association had established an "unofficial special constabulary," with members drawn chiefly from the shipyards, tasked with ‘policing’ Protestant areas. In April 1920, Captain Sir Basil Brooke, had set up "Fermanagh Vigilance", a vigilante group to provide defence against incursions by the IRA. In Ballymacarrett, a Protestant rector named John Redmond had helped form a unit of ex-servicemen to keep the peace after the July riots.Off course there were Roman Catholics in the b specials, off course only good decent ones who didn't like terrorists.
There was a willingness to arm or recognise existing Protestant militias. Wilfrid Spender, head of the Ulster Volunteer Force, encouraged his members to join. There was an immediate and illicit supply of arms available; especially from the Ulster Volunteers. Charles Wickham, Chief of Police for the north of Ireland, favoured incorporation of the Ulster Volunteers into "regular military units" instead of having to "face them down". A number of these groups were absorbed into the new Ulster Special Constabulary.