The origin of the phrase Black & Tan still arouses controversy in Ireland. The Black and Tans were mostly former soldiers brought into Ireland by the government in London after 1918 to assist the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) in their work.Once in Ireland it quickly became apparent that there were not enough uniforms for all those who had joined up. Therefore they wore a mixture of uniforms – some military, some RIC. This mixture gave them the appearance of being in khaki and dark police uniform. As a result, these men got the nickname “Black and Tans”, and it stuck.
Unfortunately violence begets violence and many innocent civilians suffered for the killing of B&T members in retaliation.