Civilian Stephen O’Callaghan

 

Civilian Stephen O’Callaghan (aged 28) of Rutland Street, Cork city (Anderson’s Quay, Cork)

Date of incident: 29 April 1921 (ex-soldier killed as suspected spy by IRA)

Sources: CC, 30 April 1921; CE, 2, 4, 5 May 1921; FJ, 30 April, 2 May 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/156/51 (TNA); Civil Registration of Deaths Index, 1864-1958, Cork District, vol. 5, p. 90 (FHL Film Number 0101608); British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-20 (Ancestry.com); Borgonovo (2007), 67-68, 76, 100 (note 71); Murphy (2010), 41.

 

Note: An ex-soldier, Stephen O’Callaghan was shot and fatally wounded on Anderson’s Quay on Friday night, 29 April 1921, and died from shock and haemorrhage at the South Infirmary. See CE, 5 May 1921. One of the numerous ex-soldiers executed as a spy by the IRA, O’Callaghan (aged 28) does not appear to have had a known association with the police or the military. In August 1918 he had completed some years’ service with the Royal Munster Fusiliers, of which four were spent on active duty. He was an unemployed dock labourer drawing a military disability pension of £1 weekly. Just before his death he had played a street card game and was in the company of a prostitute when he was shot. She screamed for help. One of the witnesses at a subsequent military inquiry described her as both drunk and a member of ‘the unfortunate class’. See CE, 4 May 1921. Another witness described O’Callaghan as ‘a loyal man’. See Military Inquests, WO 35/156/51 (TNA). For O’Callaghan’s death at age 28 (he had been born in about 1893), see Civil Registration of Deaths Index, 1864-1958, Cork District, vol. 5, p. 90 (FHL Film Number 0101608). 

 

During the Great War, O’Callaghan had served with the Worcestershire Regiment and with the Royal Munster Fusiliers (1st, 2nd, and 7th Battalions) in Western Europe and perhaps at Gallipoli. He was a recipient of the British Army Service Medal and the Victory Medal. See British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-20 (Ancestry.com). At the time of the 1901 census Stephen O’Callaghan appears to have been one of the four co-resident children (two daughters and two sons) of the Cork city shopkeeper and vintner Ellen O’Callaghan (a widow aged only 31) residing at house 39 in Bandon Road. Her younger son Stephen was then aged 9. The O’Callaghans were Catholic.


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