Private Frederick Crowther

 

Private Frederick Crowther (aged 25) of the 2nd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment (Mayfield Road, Cork city)

Date of incident: 27 June 1921

Sources: CE, 29, 30 June, 8 July 1921; FJ, 29 June 1921; CC, 30 June 1921; irishmedals.org (accessed 28 July 2014); Commonwealth War Graves Commission; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/list-1921.html; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/crowther/crowther.html (accessed 8 Aug. 2014).

 

Note: Three members of the South Staffordshire Regiment’s 2nd Battalion—Privates Crowther, Spooner, and Evans—were returning to Victoria Barracks from a public house at Dillon’s Cross on Monday night, 27 June 1921, when IRA gunmen attacked them on the Mayfield Road, killing Crowther and wounding Spooner. A military inquiry into the incident later concluded that the two surviving soldiers—Evans and Spooner—had been ‘out of bounds’ and should be severely punished.

 

Private J. Evans had testified at this inquiry: ‘We walked from St Luke’s Cross to Dillon’s Cross, where we went into a public house for a drink. I heard some men in this public house, which is on the corner of Dillon’s Cross, refer to the three of us as “Staffordshire bastards” or words to that effect. We [then?] left this house and found a crowd of men on the corner. We were unarmed and afraid to pass through them on account of their hostile manner as there were no troops about. We therefore went up the Mayfield Road and past the church. Civilians followed us. Pte Crowther went over the hedge [to take a piss], leaving Spooner and myself in the road. Crowther was talking to a civilian whom I could not identify, and Spooner and I sat down to wait for Crowther. About nine civilians came out of the hedge and shouted, “Put ’em up” and immediately opened fire on us. One of the civilians shouted. “There’s another over the hedge, and some of them went through the hedge towards Crowther. I did not hear any more shooting, and after the civilians had run away, which they did immediately after firing at us, I helped Spooner, who was wounded, along the road. I searched for Crowther but could not find any trace of him. I helped Spooner back to barracks.’ Spooner testified in reference to Crowther that he and Evans had ‘heard shots some distance away five or six minutes after I had been wounded’. See http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/crowther/crowther.html (accessed 8 Aug. 2014).

 

Crowther’s dead body was soon found by other soldiers ‘in a field a short distance away. There were bullet wounds in his side, chest, and head.’ See CE, 30 June 1921, for the official Dublin Castle report. Crowther was interred in Holy Trinity Churchyard at Heathtown, a district of Wolverhampton in the West Midlands of England.


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