Accessibility Statement
Skip to main content
Chat icon Chat with us live


Leo Murphy's razor

This shaving kit was taken from the body of Walter Leo Murphy, Commander of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Cork Brigade, IRA. Murphy was shot dead by members of the 2nd Manchester’s when he refused to surrender to them on 27 June 1921.

The 2nd Battalion Manchester Regiment served in Ireland between 1920 and 1922. During this time three 17-year old Band Boys were killed by the IRA. These Boys were:

  • Charles Arthur Chapman (3513058) of Edge Lane, Droylsden.
  • Mathew Carson (3513560) of 77 Trafford Grove, Stretford.
  • John Cooper (3513044) of 22 Peters Street, Oldham.

If you would like to know the full story of these awful incidents please read below:-

The Following Article is reproduced by kind permission of the author and The Bulletin of the Military Historical Society, in which the article originally appeared in February 2009 (Vol. 59, No. 235)

Ballincollig: three band boys, Marie Lindsay… and others

By Captain Robert Bonner

It’s an unusual headstone, the only one of its kind in this large Lancashire cemetery, and one of only about three or four others elsewhere in the UK. In front is a small headstone showing three names and the words ‘Murdered in Co Cork, Ireland in June 1921’. It all happened so long ago that few realise either that this sad memorial exists or the story behind it.

Headstone of M Carson, C A Chapman and J CooperThroughout the course of the World War 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment had fought in France, in Flanders, in Mesopotamia and in the Holy Land. At the end of the campaign in Palestine the battalion occupied Jijulieh and after a period spent training in the Ramleh area moved to Jerusalem where it stayed throughout the rest of its stay in Palestine.

Demobilisation began in December 1918 and parties of varying strengths left the battalion at short but irregular intervals. During the last half of June a final 37 men left the Regiment and in July 1919 the cadre of the battalion returned to England and re-formed at Blackdown under Lieutenant Colonel E Vaughan CMG, DSO. To bring it back up to strength officers and other ranks from the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the Regiment were transferred and during the next few weeks many officers and men joined from other battalions and locations. On 1 October the battalion moved into Salamanca Barracks, Aldershot.

At the beginning of 1920 there was considerable anxiety concerning Ireland. It had been anticipated that the Home Rule Bill, introduced in Parliament on 25 February, would bring about ‘harmonious action between the parliaments of Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland’, but this was not accepted by the Nationalist Party. There had been a sporadic and to a certain extent spontaneous campaign of murder and intimidation but early in 1920 this received a definite organisation and gradually militant Sinn Fein, although still a minority in Ireland, had become armed and highly organised. Numerous raids by armed men on post offices to seize money and many murderous attacks upon the police had become frequent incidents.

The British Government decided to increase the garrison of Ireland and at the end of March 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment received its movement orders. On 1 April 1920 the battalion moved by train from Aldershot to Holyhead, embarked in the Slieve Gallion and, after what was described as ‘a particularly unpleasant voyage’ arrived the following day at Dublin. The battalion was at once sent by train to Kilworth Camp, seven miles north of Fermoy, with one company at Moore Park, five miles away from the rest of the battalion. During the first few days at Kilworth a number of junior officers of the Royal Garrison Artillery and the Royal Field Artillery joined the battalion for duty.(1)

On 17 July they spent two days on the march to Ballincollig, which had been a small gunpowder manufacturing village (The Royal Gunpowder Mills) (2) in the parish of Carrigrohane, located between Cork and Macroom. The mills had closed in 1903. The battalion was stationed in the cavalry barracks, an extensive range of buildings within 431 acres which included the buildings and canals of the derelict powder mill in the north of the area.

A high stone wall extended along the front of the barracks on the main street separating the military from the cottages and houses of the village that lay on the opposite side. The high stone wall encompassed the whole military establishment including the gunpowder mills between the River Lee and the site. The cavalry barracks, subsequently the principal artillery depot for the county of Cork, then held units of the Army Ordnance Corps and for the time being the majority of the Manchesters were housed in temporary hutments.(3)

The country in County Cork at that time was generally wild with large uncultivated areas. Most of the land was divided up into scattered small farms, with fields which were invariably small and divided by stone walls. In the area of the battalion’s responsibility the country was quite hilly with many bogs. Main roads between towns were reasonably good for most traffic but many of the country roads were unsuitable for heavy vehicles.

Detachments of the Manchesters were immediately established in Macroom, Mill Street, Ballyvourney and Inchigeelagh. Almost at once the troops were made to feel as though they were foreign invaders; at Mill Street the locals were at first reluctant to sell food to the soldiers but that was only a temporary difficulty. At Ballincollig the railway authorities refused to carry two truck-loads of military stores and on the 18th a soldier was held up and searched by armed and masked men, while the road from Ballyvourney to Killarney was blocked and a military lorry belonging to the Hampshire Regiment was stopped and burnt.Map showing the Military Barracks and Gunpowder Mills

The military detachment in Ballyvourney was based in what was known as the doctor’s house. Shortly after the Manchesters arrival in the area the revolutionary 8th (Ballyvourney) Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade knowing that a supply lorry visited the detachment each week with provisions and pay decided to ambush the lorry and lay in wait for three days. Patrick O’Sullivan, commanding the 8th Battalion had thirty members of the Kilnamartyra, Ballyvourney and Coolea Companies under his command. Two were armed with rifles; the remainder with shotguns.

At 6 pm on the 20th the provisions lorry, guarded by Captain J O Airy (4) and eight men of ‘D’ Company (5), left Macroom on its journey to Ballyvourney and passing through rough and hilly country, was ambushed at Gattabaun, Coolavorig. The driver, Private Ball of the RASC, although wounded was able to drive his lorry through the ambush and the men in the lorry returned fire as best they could. Captain Airy, Sergeant Nicholson and Privates McEwen and Barlow were all wounded. Captain Airy later died from his wounds on 22 July and Private Barlow on 1 August at Cork Military Hospital.(6)

Soldiers were approached on two occasions by civilians on 6 August at Inchigeelagh to sell their arms and ammunition. They were offered £5 for a rifle or a revolver. That same day a patrol discovered a trench that had been dug across the Macroom, Garrane, Ballyvourney road. They repaired the damage before returning to barracks. The Macroom Fair was due to be held on the following day but Lieutenant Colonel Dorling ordered its cancellation in retribution for the recent incidents.

On 18 August a patrol of 12 soldiers on bicycles commanded by Lieutenant F C Sharman, one of the artillery officers attached to the battalion, was attacked in the same district as the ambush of 20 July. In the fight that followed Lieutenant Sharman was killed and five soldiers wounded (7). At Millstreet on 24 August an army motor lorry was surrounded by a hostile crowd, which did not disperse until members of the Royal Irish Constabulary fired over their heads. Later when the vehicle was on its way back to Macroom stones were thrown at it and a shot was fired from O’Riordan’s public house. A soldier and a constable were both hit on the face with stones. On 31 August Lieutenant Colonel Vaughan completed his period of command and handed over command to Lieutenant Colonel F H Dorling DSO.

During the afternoon of 1 September a Crossley truck carrying an officer and 7 other ranks was fired at by a party of rebels on the road from Ballincollig to Dripsey. Another Crossley had earlier passed through without incident. When the second vehicle arrived at the ambush an attempt had been made to drop a tree in front but that did not go to plan and the driver got through although the length of the ambush was about one hundred yards and it was estimated that about a hundred rounds had been fired at them. In the follow up that followed the police discovered wrappings for sandwiches bearing the name of Thompsons of Cork and it was assumed that Cork City was where the rebels had come from. It was then suspected that some of the rebels must have later tried to get on the Muskerry train on its journey to Cork as in an attempt to stop it the engine driver had been accidentally wounded.Ballincollig Village scene

On 5 September a rifle and 11 rounds of ammunition were seized from a Manchester soldier in Macroom. The thief had been recognised as J O’Keefe and a patrol was quickly sent to search his house, only to be told that he was ‘away in the country’. However ammunition and a pair of army boots belonging to what at the time was believed to be an absentee soldier of the Manchesters were found in the house. (There is still an unsolved mystery regarding four men of the Regiment; 3514271 Pte George Henry Caen, 3513066 Pte B Pincher, 3513903 Pte Albert Mason and 3514304 Pte Frank Roughley. They had all been declared absent from barracks at various dates in early 1921 and initially were believed to have deserted. Sufficient information concerning Roughley was later received to show on his documents – ‘Death accepted for official purposes’. It is now believed that all four men were abducted by the IRA and killed).

Patrolling in Crossley trucks became a pattern of the soldiers’ daily routine and on 14 August, acting on received information, the house of James Barrett the stationmaster at Firmount was searched although the stationmaster was not present. On 2 October the mail bags for Ballincollig were stolen at Bishopstown from the Cork and Macroom train. Then on the 5th the Ballyvourney mail was seized by masked men near Coolavokig and the postman’s stock of stamps were stolen. Fortunately there was no official mail and all the letters were recovered but marked ‘Censored IRA’.

The battalion diary records on the 5th that ‘Father Breen is very active in Millstreet and has compulsorily enrolled all the young men in his district, which includes Culleen and Rathduvine, in the IRA’. Although it was believed that he had been instrumental in preventing certain rebel outrages, from his position and influence in the local community Father Breen was considered a very dangerous man

The search continued for James Barrett, the Firmount stationmaster, and his house was searched again on the 30th but without result although sufficient information had now been received to confirm that Barrett was the Quartermaster of the local IRA battalion responsible for their equipment and guns. Again on 10 November the house was searched but still no sign of the missing stationmaster.

Conditions continued to deteriorate throughout the remainder of 1920. On 21 November Captain Joseph Thompson, the battalion Intelligence Officer (8), was reported as missing. He had left Ballincollig on his motorcycle during the afternoon with the intention of delivering a parcel to a house in the vicinity of Macroom. Word had probably been sent out that he had left the barracks, for the local IRA battalion (9) operated an intelligence system with volunteers watching all the movements out of the barracks from the cover of the adjacent cottages.

Thompson was ambushed at Carrigrohane by Leo Murphy (10), D O’Mahoney and J Murray near the Model Farm Road where he was shot and killed. As he was the Intelligence Officer not much notice had been taken in barracks by his non-return but by the following morning a search party was sent out and his blindfolded body was found in a turnip field between Carrigrohane and Cork, about four miles from the barracks, with seven wounds in his head and two in his body.

That same day William Eager was arrested at Bishopstown railway station. He was believed to be involved in a rebel organisation encouraging soldiers to desert. A trap was laid for him and two soldiers were used as decoys. He was later sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour. On 23 November John O’Brien was arrested and identified as having attempted to buy weapons from a soldier.

Orders had now been issued for all known IRA officers to be arrested. Father Breen took the hint and left Millstreet and fled to Cork. It was reported that the entire population of Millstreet was in a highly nervous state and the entire population was leaving their homes at night and sleeping in the workhouse. The search continued for the missing stationmaster but despite further searches he had not been found. Martial law was declared in County Cork on 15 December 1920. According to the Manchester Regiment Gazette (11) this materially helped the military in clearing up and taking a definite line in the government of the country; but had also made the rebels more ruthless and dastardly in their actions against both civilians and the forces enforcing law and order.

As was normal in peacetime a large number of the army wives and their children were present with the battalion at Ballincollig. Traditional army social life was carried on within the confines of the barracks as best possible; mainly by the Sergeants and Corporals in the form of weekly dances, whist drives and the occasional concert. Owing to the difficulties and dangers of small parties of military moving in Ireland it was no longer possible to arrange football and other sporting fixtures with other units so the battalion sportsmen had now to be content with playing their neighbours of the RAOC Ballincollig within the barracks, plus inter-company games.

On the morning of 28 January 1921 seventy-year-old Mrs Mary Georgina Lindsay of Lemont House, Coachford, near Dripsey was travelling by car to Ballincollig with James Clarke, her butler/chauffeur, when she stopped in the village of Coachford and went into the shop of Tim Sheehan the local baker and grocer. When she told Sheehan that she was on her way to Ballincollig, he advised her not to go through Dripsey and Inniscarra as he had been told of a planned ambush. Mrs Lindsay completed her shopping then, turning back, drove on an alternative route to Ballincollig.

Marie Georgina Lindsay and her husband John had bought Leemount House in 1901. They had come from Banbridge, Co. Down in the north of Ireland where John Lindsay had been a successful and highly respected linen merchant. John Lindsay had died in 1918 but coincidentally his brother Colonel William Lindsay was currently on a tour of duty at Ballincollig. After leaving Coachford Mrs Lindsay gave a lift to Father Ned Shinnick, a Roman Catholic priest who held anti-IRA views, and told him about the ambush. He went to the Intelligence Officer of the local IRA Company and instructed him to tell the IRA ambushers that the British had been informed of their position. The IRA leaders discussed this news but decided that it was a ruse by Father Shinnick to get them to abandon their ambush.

There were 68 men in the IRA ambush party at Dripsey with at least another seven acting as scouts and road blockers, 24 with shotguns and most of the rest armed with rifles. They formed what was described as an IRA Flying Column and had been in a training camp for the previous two weeks at Kilcullen. Frank Busteed and the local IRA battalion commandant, Jackie O'Leary, had organized the ambush.

Their intention was to ambush two lorries containing Auxiliaries or Black and Tans as they were more commonly known. The Auxiliary convoy was expected in mid-morning but the rebel Flying Column had been in place since much earlier that morning. Whilst preparing the ambush they had moved two families who lived nearby out of their houses. Jack Sweeney who worked for Tim Sheehan the Coachford baker and grocer headed one of these families. But Sweeney had been allowed to go to work where he told his employer about the planned ambush.

Meanwhile Mrs Lindsay had arrived at Ballincollig Barracks and passed her information on to her brother in law who was a senior British Army officer stationed at the barracks. He passed this intelligence to the Manchesters and a party of five officers (12) , 60 non-commissioned officers and men left barracks at 3.30 in the afternoon, found the location of the ambush and in five groups set out to surround it. One of the ambush party saw the approaching troops, alerted his comrades and the rebels began to withdraw.

The ground in this locality consisted of fields separated by high mud and stone banks and hedges, all of which helped the rebels in their escape. In the ensuing fight soldiers surrounded the ambushers capturing ten of them. They were brought to Dripsey Cross then onto Ballincollig Barracks. Two IRA men Timothy O'Riordan and William Lucy had been wounded but managed to escape. A large quantity of weapons were captured including ten shotguns, three rifles, four revolvers, six bombs and 343 rounds of ammunition (13).

The ten men captured were James Barrett of Firmont, Patrick O'Mahoney of Berrings, Timothy McCarthy of Fornaght, Thomas O'Brien of 12 Model Village, Dripsey, Denis Murphy of Glounthaune, Jeremiah O'Callaghan of Knockroe, Daniel O'Callaghan of Dripsey, John Lyons of Aghabulloge, Eugene Langtry of Killarney and Denis Sheehan of Derreen. The first six had been wounded; Barrett was too ill to stand trial and had a leg amputated later dying from his wounds in the Ballincollig military hospital. On 4 February the battalion arrested Timothy Leary from Kilmurry on suspicion of organizing the Dripsey ambush and two days later arrested Jackie O’Leary. Both were later sent on for internment.

On 8 February the trial by Field General Court Martial of the captured IRA men opened in the gymnasium of the Cork military detention barracks. After two days Langtry, O’Callaghan and Sheehan were released. They had not taken part in the ambush and appeared to have wandered into the area by accident. Denis Murphy was sentenced to penal servitude for life and the remaining six sentenced to death. In the meantime Tim Sheehan the person who had given her the information about the ambush betrayed Mrs Lindsay and the IRA decided on a course of action that they hoped would prevent the executions taking place. During the night of the 17th men of the 6th Bn Cork No. 1 Brigade IRA surrounded Lemont House and abducted both Mrs Lindsay and James Clarke. They were then taken twenty miles up into the mountains where they were imprisoned.

An envelope was delivered to General Strickland (14) on 26 February at Victoria Barracks in Cork containing a letter from Mrs Lindsey that read:

Dear Sir Peter,
I have just heard that some of the prisoners taken at Dripsey are to be executed on Monday and I write to get you to use your influence to prevent this taking place and try and reprieve them – I am a prisoner as I am sure you will know and I have been told that it will be a very serious matter for me if these men are executed. I have been told that my life will be forfeited for theirs as they believe that I was the direct cause of their capture. I implore you to spare these men for my sake

A covering letter was attached to that of Mrs Lindsay:

We are holding Mrs Mary Lindsay and her chauffeur, James Clarke as hostages. They have been convicted of spying and are under sentence of death. If the five of our men taken at Dripsey are executed on Monday morning as announced by your office, the two hostages will be shot.

After receiving the letters General Strickland discussed the situation with General Sir Neville Macready, Commander in Chief British Forces in Ireland. Both men doubted that the IRA would go so far as to execute a woman and decided that the executions should go ahead. The convicted IRA men (15) were executed by firing squad early on the morning of 28 February. That night the IRA launched a number of attacks against British forces at different locations throughout Cork City, resulting in six unarmed soldiers being killed and four others wounded.Memorial erected on the site of the ambush at Dripsey

Mrs Lindsay and James Clarke were later executed by an IRA firing squad in March. Cathal Brugha, the Republican Chief of Staff, in a letter published immediately after the Truce, later admitted the fact of the executions in which he expressed in correct official language ‘regret for the necessity’ (16). For people, like the brave Mrs Lindsay, living in isolated country houses presented great problems. Giving information to the authorities meant almost certain death whilst ignorance or silence might mean the destruction of their homes.

A few days earlier on 15 February Major and Quartermaster Patrick O’Brien (17), Lieutenants Orgill and Vining with 24 other ranks of 1st Manchesters were travelling on administrative duty by car to Mallow. At Jordan’s Bridge near Mourne Abbey they came across rebels preparing an ambush by pulling two carts across the road in order to block it. Major O’Brien realised what was happening and immediately divided his men into three groups and engaged the rebels with rifle and Lewis Gun fire. The rebels fled north into the arms of a party of the East Lancashire Regiment and Royal Irish Constabulary co-incidentally operating from another direction and between the two parties the IRA suffered some 19 casualties including seven dead.

Several suspected rebels were captured including Patrick Looney, Thomas Mulcahey of Toureen, Con Mulcahey of Toureen, Patrick Roynane of Greenhill and Batt Riordan of Mourne Abbey. Con Mulcahey and Batt Riordan were later released. Looney died in hospital on 24 February. Thomas Mulcahey and Patrick Roynane were both found guilty after a court martial and were shot by firing squad on 28 April.

The band of the 1st Manchesters was stationed with the battalion at its headquarters in Ballincollig Barracks and had several band boys on the strength. Amongst these were three young 17-year-old boy musicians, Boys 3513560 Mathew Carson of 77 Trafford Grove, Stretford, Manchester, 3513058 Charles Arthur Chapman of Edge Lane, Droylsden, Manchester and 3513044 John Cooper of 22 Peters Street, Oldham. All had enlisted in the Regiment during the last year of WWI in 1918. Although the military situation in Ireland and the consequent heavy duties made educational training difficult Boy Chapman passed his Part One, 1st Class of Army Education Certificate whilst in Ballincollig  (18). Boy Cooper later obtaining his 2nd Class Certificate of Education (19).

A novices boxing competition was held in the barracks on the afternoons and evenings of 1st and 3rd April. In the Boy’s Class 1 competition there were eight competitors with both Carson and Chapman taking part. Carson lost his bout on points but Chapman knocked out one opponent in the first round and knocked his next opponent to the boards three times before the referee stopped the fight and awarded the bout to Chapman.

Under normal conditions all boys of the Battalion were quartered by themselves, under the watchful eye of a non-commissioned officer of the Band and Corps of Drums. They were not allowed to leave barracks after 8.45pm and had to be in bed by 9pm. But these were not normal circumstances and it likely that, whilst in Ireland, they were not encouraged to leave barracks by themselves at any time. However the considerable acreage of the barracks must have provided opportunities for getting away from the restrictions of the military buildings. For healthy young adventurous boys there were many attractions to pursue. Around the derelict buildings of the powder mill was a network of canals and the River Lee. All probably out of bounds but nevertheless a great draw for a boring afternoon away from the bandmaster and music practice.

Also within the area is a succession of natural caves near ‘The Ovens’ a small hamlet in the neighbourhood and it is possible that the three boys had decided to explore these. The caves are about 3 miles west of Ballincollig near the Bridge Bar where the Bride River crosses the main road.

Whatever their reason, on 5 June 1921 the three youngsters somehow managed to leave barracks and were surrounded by an armed band of rebels. According to a statement by Patrick Cronin, Lieutenant of D (Aherla) Company, 3rd (Ovens) Battalion, 1st Cork Brigade, the IRA chased the boys from Ovens and found them hiding in Kilcrea Abbey where the unarmed boys surrendered. They were taken down a country lane about a quarter of a mile from the main road where they were killed and buried under a hedge in Kilcrea.

After the disappearance of the three band boys it was initially assumed in the Regiment that they had deserted and there was no communication from the IRA that anything had taken place. Understandably military life carried on and the Manchesters got on with their job of aiding the civil power. For some months longer the active operations against the rebels were continued and daily and nightly patrols of the battalion went out on foot or by motor, visiting suspected localities, searching the countryside for “wanted” men and combining with mobile columns detailed from other locations – duties which were demanding and tiring.

On 11 July a truce was proclaimed between the British Government and Dail Eireann, all operations against the rebels ceasing on that date. There were a number of difficulties but finally agreement was reached and Southern Ireland was constituted a Free State under the British Crown.

On 7 January 1922 a political settlement was reached with the establishment of the Irish Free State. On the 28th a service was held in the Garrison Church in the barracks at Ballincollig to the memory of Mrs Lindsay who had been murdered the previous year. In his address Lieutenant Colonel Dorling recalled the events of that day and, in reminding the officers and men of the battalion of all that they owed to that brave lady, quoted her words to her brother–in-law “I came at once in the hope of saving some poor fellows’ lives”.

In February 1922 the battalion left Ireland and transferred to the Channel Isles of Guernsey and Alderney. However their stay was short-lived and by 5 June the Manchesters were back in the north of Ireland on internal security duties in Enniskillen, Ballykinlar, Magilligan and Belleek on the boundary between the Free State and Northern Ireland. On 14 September they moved by boat from Derry to Dublin where, on 21 November, a memorial service was held in the Chapel of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham for all ranks killed in Ireland during the recent hostilities; two officers and six other ranks attended from each unit.(20) The battalion returned to Guernsey and Alderney on 18 December and in October 1923 moved to Cologne to become part of the 2nd Rhine Army Brigade.

Following the disappearance of the boys, Robert Carson (21) father of Mathew, himself an Irishman who had served in the Royal Irish Rifles for over eighteen years, travelled to Ireland to try and find out what had happened to his son and the other two boys but life was so unsettled in the Free State that local people were unwilling to talk and he met with little success. It is understood that he eventually managed to enlist the aid of Michael Collins (22) before he was murdered. Months later, during the summer of 1923, as a result of detailed information the Irish Army found the remains of the bodies of the three boy soldiers under the hedge where they had been buried. It was impossible to determine which body was which and their remains were taken to Cork and interred at Bandon in one coffin.

In 1924 negotiations for their return to England were completed, the coffin was exhumed and in early September soldiers of the Irish Free State ceremonially handed the coffin to representatives of soldiers from the Royal Garrison Artillery on board the steamship Moorfowl. As the coffin was placed on board the Free State troops presented arms and buglers sounded the Last Post. After arrival at Fishguard the coffin was brought to Ashton-under-Lyne by men of the Royal Artillery where it was received by an escort from the Manchester Regiment Depot and taken to the Ashton Barracks.

The publication of the news of the funeral resulted in many thousands of people making their way to Hurst Cemetery and the Barracks on the afternoon of Monday 8 September. Crowds lined the route from Ladysmith Barracks to Hurst. The funeral cortege left the Barracks at 2 o’clock led by the firing party with rifles reversed, followed by the band of the 1st Battalion (23). Then the horse drawn hearse bearing the coffin, covered with a Union Flag, several wreaths and a bugle. Three carriages carried the relatives of the boys and behind marched more soldiers from the Depot. In addition to the crowds lining the route via Queen Street, several thousands waited the arrival at Hurst Cemetery where two services were carried out – a Roman Catholic service for Mathew Carson and a Church of England service for John Cooper and Arthur Chapman (24).

A small headstone was erected on their grave showing the three names and the words ’Murdered in Co Cork, Ireland in June 1921. This is still in position and behind it is a triple Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone commemorating the three young lads. Below Carson’s detail are the words ‘Jesus, open wide thy heart and let him rest therein, RIP’ and below Cooper ‘God Rest Thy Soul’. Several plots away from that of the boys is the grave of two other renowned members of the Manchester Regiment – Lieutenant Colonel Michael Connery and his son Lieutenant Colonel William Connery.

Marie Georgina Lindsay has no known grave.

  1. Captain Goldney RGA, Lieutenants Yolland RFA, Vining RFA, Page RFA and Slade RGA.
  2. The mills had been established in 1794 for the production of black powder.                
  3. In 1922 the barracks were formally handed over by the British War Department to the new Irish State. During the ensuing Civil War the barracks were burned and only reopened in 1940 as Murphy Barracks. (See footnote10 re Murphy)
  4. James Osmund Airy. Born Birmingham 18 May 1884. Educated Repton and RMC Sandhurst. Promoted Captain 15 October 1916. Married Gladys Maud Airy on 22 July 1917.
  5. Oldham Chronicle 7 August 1920.
  6. Captain Airy was buried with full military honours in the Military Cemetery, Cork. 64159 Private Ernest F Barlow was taken to England and buried with full military honours in Crompton Cemetery, Oldham. (Grave reference: Church 8418). Son of Mrs Eliza Ann Barlow of 19 Lees Street, Shaw, Oldham.
  7. Lieutenant Sharman’s body was taken to his native town of St Neots where it was buried with full military honours.
  8. Captain Joseph Thompson. Son of J Thompson of Ardnagreena, Knock Road, Belfast.
  9. 3rd (Ovens) Battalion, Cork No 1 Brigade.
  10. Walter Leo Murphy. Commanded the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Cork Brigade. On 28 June 1921 a Court of Enquiry at Ballincollig heard that an eight-man patrol of the Manchesters visited Donovan’s public house in Waterfall at around 22.30 on 27 June 1921. Murphy dashed out, was ordered to halt, refused and was shot dead. Sergeant Denis Twomey told the Court that Murphy had been on the run since 1919. No blame was found to attach to the military in the execution of their duty. The following weapons were found in the pub: two Webley .45 revolvers, one Mauser automatic revolver, two 303 rifles, 62 rounds of 303 ammunition and 45 rounds of .45 ammunition
  11. The Manchester Regiment Gazette Vol II No 1. p70.          
  12. Lieut Colonel Evans, Lieutenants Sykes, Orgill, Tod and Vining
  13. 1st Battalion Incident Book 1921. Manchester Regiment Archives MR1/11/2
  14. General Edward Peter Strickland. 1869 – 1951. Commanded 1st Manchesters in 1914 before promotion to Brigadier General commanding the Jullundur Brigade.
  15. Timothy McCarthy, Thomas O’Brien, Daniel O Callghan, John Lyons and Patrick Mahoney
  16. The Revolution in Ireland 1906-1923. W Alison Phillips.
  17. Major Patrick O’Brien. Served with 3rd Manchesters in the Boer War. Commissioned as Lieutenant (QM) in 1909. During WWI he served in France, Belgium and Mesopotamia. Awarded the ‘Order of the Nile’, Delhi Durbar Medal and twice Mentioned in Despatches
  18. The Manchester Regiment Gazette. Vol II. p21.
  19. ibid. p147.
  20. The Manchester Regiment Gazette Vol III January 1923. p16
  21. Robert Carson and his wife Ellen now in 1924 lived at 45 Hope Road, Sale.
  22. Michael Collins. Director of Intelligence IRA and Secretary of Sinn Fein. Acting President of the Republic during the absence of Mr de Valera. Killed on 22 August 1922 in an ambush by dissident IRA men at Béal na mBláth on the road from Bandon to Macroom.
  23. Ashton Reporter 18 September 1924
  24. Ashton Herald 13 September 1924
  25. Grave reference: M 544

Further reading:

  • Guerrilla Days in Ireland. Barry T. Dublin 1981
  • The Revolution in Ireland 1906-1923. Phillips, W Alison. London 1923
  • Mick. The real Michael Collins. Hart P. Macmillan 2005.
  • British Military Graveyard Ballincollig. Donaldson, Anne
  • The IRA and its enemies. Hart P
  • Guerrilla Days in Ireland. Barry T
  • Execution. O’Callaghan S. London 1974
  • History of The Manchester Regiment. Vol 2. Wylly H C, Forster Groom, London 1925.
  • The Manchester Regiment Gazette. Vol 2 No 1
  • British Voices. Sheehan W. The Collins Press, Cork 2005