1920 - Fake news – ‘The Battle of Tralee’

In an intensifying propaganda war, the British Army press officers at Dublin Castle contrived what they called the ‘Battle of Tralee’. An early example of photographic ‘fake news’ his was completely staged for newsreel film crews and photographers. Auxiliaries, some dressed as civilians played the role of ‘Sinn Feiners’ in a mock encounter that was loosely based on a real incident that had happened in Ballymacelligott, near Tralee on 12 November 1920. The propagandistic fake battle was held much more conveniently on the Vico Road in the south Dublin suburb of Killiney. Pathé news covered the event, and newsreel footage and photographs were widely published in the British press.
In the London Illustrated News, the photograph is credited to the Topical Agency. It is likely the work of John Warwick Brooke, one of the British Army’s official war photographers who is known to have been associated with Topical at the time.

Further reading: a lively article on this subject by Michael Barry

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