Volunteer Lieutenant Cornelius (Con) Murphy

 

Volunteer Lieutenant Cornelius (Con) Murphy of Clashfluck, Timoleague (Cloonderreen near Kilbrittain)

Date of incident: 11 May 1921

Sources: CE, 13 May 1921; Military Reports, WO 35/89 (TNA); Mary Walsh’s WS 556, 7 (BMH); Lieutenant-Colonel John M. McCarthy’s WS 883, Appendix, 11-12 (BMH); John O’Driscoll’s WS 1250, 33, 36 (BMH); Michael Coleman’s WS 1254, 18-19 (BMH); Charles O’Donoghue’s WS 1607, 9 (BMH); Rebel Cork’s FS, 207; Deasy (1973), 271; Last Post (1976), 86. 

 

Note: Described as ‘an excellent officer of the Timoleague Company’, Murphy ‘was shot down at Cloonder[r]een by an Essex raiding party; he had been returning from a meeting of the Bandon Battalion staff at Maryborough, Kilbrittain. His remains lie at Clogagh with those of Charlie Hurley, Paddy Crowley, and several other outstanding Volunteers.’ See Deasy (1973), 271. Murphy was acting captain of the Timoleague Company at the time of his death.

 

Mary Walsh of the Kilbrittain Cumann na mBan recalled clearly how Murphy had died and how his body had been recovered: ‘A brigade meeting took place near our house and scouts were sent out. . . . After the meeting many came along for their horses and got away in the early morning, including Con Murphy of Timoleague Company. While [he was] awaiting a message from the scouts, a military party came along to the house of call in Cloundreen [Cloonderreen]; some got away but Con was shot dead. The officer of that raiding party was Silver from Courtmacsherry. Our house was surrounded at the same hour by [Major] Percival, with his men in shorts. We were not allowed [to] leave the house that morning until the military had removed in a pony and trap the body, which was taken to Kinsale across the country. Old James O’Mahony was also taken in the trap as they thought the dead man was his son. The military were never told who prisoners or dead men were. It was customary to return bodies to the workhouse in Bandon after identification.’

 

A day later, Murphy’s body appeared there and was recovered by Cumann na mBan women, including Mary Walsh, who also observed: ‘I wish to state that the workhouse was guarded by military to find out who would claim the bodies, but for a short time that day they were called off to surround Kilbrogan Graveyard, as [Volunteer] Captain F. Hurley—shot in Bandon Park—was buried that day also. We were told that when the soldiers returned and found the body [of Murphy] gone, they were furious and threatened to burn down the place. Nobody saw the coffin leaving and the nurses were very good.’ See Mary Walsh’s WS 556, 7 (BMH). Murphy was interred in Clogagh Graveyard near Timoleague.


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