‘Informer’ was marched from his hospital bed in Cork and shot dead by IRA

What was in the news 100 years ago today. Richard Forrest of Cork City Library tells us in this new weekly column
‘Informer’ was marched from his hospital bed in Cork and shot dead by IRA

Spike Island, where 50 prisoners were moved from Cork Gaol.

Warning to Spies: Beware

At about 7.30pm last night, a gate porter at the Union Hospital, South Douglas Road, answered a knock and was confronted by about a half-dozen armed men with their caps pulled low over their eyes. They told a wardman to show them to St Francis’s Ward and so began a strange procession through the hospital.

When they reached the ward, they ordered Michael Walsh to get out of bed and get dressed. Walsh, a builder’s labourer of 8, Arch’s Lane, off Blarney Street, aged about 40, was ex-army and had fought in the Boer War.

Once through the back gate and off the premises, he was shot six times, in the head, neck, chest and abdomen. A card hung around his neck bore the words “Caught at last. Spies and Informers — Beware. I.R.A.”

It came three days after the body of James Beale was found in a field in Wilton with a similar sign and there were three such cases in all this week.

Deaths after Upton Ambush

This morning, at the South Infirmary, Richard Arthur, a Ticket Collector on the Bandon Railway, succumbed to the wounds he received in the Upton Ambush on Tuesday, making him the tenth victim of the attack.

He had been 20 years employed on the railway and was well known in West Cork.

Another victim had also just been identified, Charles Penrose, a Commercial Traveller from Rathmines, Dublin.

Also at the South Infirmary today, a man in a critical condition was brought in at 3.30pm by the Corporation Hospital. He is reckoned to be aged between 35 and 40 and was found beside the railway wall on the Lower Road with a puncture wound under the right ear and a laceration under the left eye. He was wearing a blue serge suit and black shoes.

Chaos in Charleville

A message to the Echo from Charleville stated that “terror reigned supreme in the early hours”. Some time after midnight, volley after volley of rifle fire resounded in the streets with several houses struck by bullets and windows shattered. Firing continued for a considerable time but no-one was injured and the cause is not known.

This morning, the telegraph wires between the railway station and town were found to be cut and all roads leading into the town were blocked by felled trees.

The military commandeered some 300 civilians — merchants, traders, farmers, carpenters, clerks, shop assistants — and had them clearing the obstructions during the course of the day.

Prisoners for Spike

Also in the early hours, some 50 prisoners were removed from Cork Gaol by military lorry.

It is believed they were put on board a government vessel for transport by sea to Ballykinlar Camp, Co. Down.

Meanwhile, the Echo Cove correspondent ‘phoned today to report that the first batch of prisoners for Spike Island, some 150, arrived this morning. A Governor and other officials had already been appointed and were ready to take charge.

Hit Constable with a Stick

A well-dressed young man appeared before Resident Magistrates Kilbride and Callan at the Police Court. Charles Patrick McKion, a native of Belfast with an address at Hibernian Buildings, Cork, was charged with assaulting Constable Wilkinson in the course of his duty.

Constables Wilkinson and Barrett had been ordered to go to Parnell Bridge to investigate a report of a man writing up notices.

Uniforms were in short supply and Wilkinson was dressed in uniform trousers but in a civilian blue coat.

McKion said he was a stranger in the city and as he was crossing the bridge saw what he took to be two civilian blackguards holding up and searching a man. He had been held up himself recently by two men he believed to be discharged soldiers and robbed of 5s. 8d.

To prevent a repeat, he hit Wilkinson over the head with his stick causing a wound. The court accepted McKion could not have known they were policemen and fined him 40s.

A Home for Auxiliaries

The premises of the Cork Drapers Club was commandeered as a residence for the Auxiliary Police today, the Echo reported on February 19, 1921.

The building stands at the junction of the Grand Parade and Tuckey Street, and the takeover includes the ground floor furniture shop of Sean Jennings, Chairman of the Cork Board of Guardians.

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