Constable shot dead near Macroom, and Major is killed by his own sentry

Echoes of our Past: What was in the Echo on Saturday, April 9, 1921...
Constable shot dead near Macroom, and Major is killed by his own sentry

CONSTABLE Frederick Lord and another policeman were returning from Macroom to Carrigadrohid Barracks yesterday afternoon when they were fired upon from behind a fence, the Echo reported on Saturday, April 9, 1921.

Constable Lord’s companion was driving and upped the horse in an endeavour to escape.

Lord opened fire in retaliation and was hit and fatally wounded while his companion escaped unhurt. Forces of police were quickly dispatched to Mashanaglass and spent a considerable time engaged in searches but made no arrests.

Ballincollig Motorcycle Missing

A case at the Cork Quarter Sessions involved an application by His Majesty’s Secretary for War for compensation for the loss of a motorcycle and equipment.

Mr. A. Carroll, Crown Solicitor, presented evidence that last November a military officer left Ballincollig Barracks on a motor- cycle on duty. His dead body was afterwards found in a field near Bishopstown and no trace of the machine and equipment was ever discovered. Their value was stated as £80 16s. 9 ½d.

The case was adjourned to the next sessions for the production of a witness who saw the officer riding the bike.

Ballymacoda Shooting

William Hoare, of Beanfield, Youghal, was shot by Crown forces in or near Ballymacoda this afternoon. His body was taken to Queenstown.

One version has it that he was cycling and shot on refusing to halt, and was partly dressed in IRA uniform. It appears he was wanted for some time past.

The communiqué from Dublin Castle states the man fired upon Crown forces at Ballymacoda (Martial Law area) and was killed by return of fire”.

Major Barry’s Death

A military court of inquiry was held today at the hospital, Victoria Barracks (now Collins) into the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Major Gerard Thomas Barry, 39, of the South Wales Borderers by his own sentry.

He was Commandant of Detention when he was shot at the barracks on the forenoon of the 8th. A medical officer told the inquiry that Major Barry received a “through and through” gunshot wound in the abdomen. He was unconscious when examined and died at 12.30 from haemorrhage and shock.

A colonel said he had visited the barracks to discuss various matters with Major Barry and they finished up at the main barrack gates. As Major Barry proceeded to unlock the wicket gate, a shot rang out which appeared to have come from the sentry posted in the courtyard. Major Barry said: “I am shot, fetch a stretcher”.

The sentry told the inquiry he was posted at No. 2 Post. At about 11.45 two officers were talking at the wicket gate and, in accordance with orders, he covered them with his rifle. As he did so he noticed the safety catch was in the wrong position. He tried to put it in its right position but the rifle jumped forward and discharged. He had picked up the wrong rifle earlier in the gymnasium as he was going on duty, but had no opportunity to say this to anyone once started.

An Armourer-Sergeant stated he examined the rifle and found the spring was weak and the safety catch essentially defective. It was possible for a soldier to apply the safety catch when loaded and for the catch to slip forward. Witness inspected these rifles in December and this was a common error in them.

Occurrences in Limerick

At 10pm in Limerick last night, curfew hour, a bomb exploded about 50 yards from John Street Barracks, killing an old man named Francis MacMahon and dangerously wounding a boy.

MacMahon had five jagged wounds, the fatal one being in the stomach.

During the disturbance the Constabulary were fired at from a lane and the head constable, two sergeants and one constable were injured, though not seriously. A military patrol arrived on the scene and people were halted and searched.

Later, a number of houses in Bank Place were visited and furniture and effects damaged.

A £400 Haircut

Judge Bodkin awarded £400 to Delia Brown at Ennis Court for the cutting of her hair and violence used towards her.

The applicant was a dressmaker and her house was entered by a party of masked men who demanded money. They wore black pants and grey coats and left an “anti-Sinn Féin Gang” note. She was sure they were police. In all, she had been threatened three times and she and her apprentices had since not been able to attend to business.

Judge Bodkin said it would be a travesty of justice to have ratepayers pay this compensation.

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