Private Edward Wade Cowin (aged 28) of the 1155th Military Transport Company, Royal Army Service Corps (Ballydrocane near Kanturk)
Date of incident: 11 Oct. 1920
Sources: CE, 12, 13 Oct. 1920; CC, 13 Oct. 1920, 11 March 1921; WS 744 of Jeremiah Murphy, Michael Courtney, and Denis Mulchinock, 11-12 (BMH); John Jones’s WS 759, 5-6 (BMH); Patrick O’Brien’s WS 764 (BMH); Richard Willis and John Bolster’s WS 808, 24 (BMH); Seán Moylan’s WS 838, 114-20 (BMH); John Winters’s WS 948, 3-4 (BMH); James O’Connell’s WS 949, 7 (BMH); James J. Riordan’s WS 1172, 6-8 (BMH); Thomas Roche’s WS 1222, 10-11 (BMH); Daniel Flynn’s WS 1240, 5-7 (BMH); Seán Healy’s WS 1339, 6-7 (BMH); Daniel Guiney’s WS 1347, 5-7 (BMH); Michael O’Connell’s WS 1428, 10 (BMH); ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 139; Sheehan (2011), 132, 234; Duane (2012), 151; irishmedals.org (accessed 28 July 2014); Commonwealth War Graves Commission;
Note: Using a Hotchkiss gun, shotguns, and grenades, some fifty to seventy Volunteers of the Cork No. 2 Brigade column under Liam Lynch, Ernie O’Malley, and Seán Moylan ambushed a ration truck carrying food supplies and six soldiers from Kanturk to Newmarket. The driver of a military lorry escorting the truck, Cowin was killed along with another soldier in this IRA attack near Kanturk. Three others were wounded. ‘On receipt of the news [of the ambush] in Kanturk the people closed their shops, and there was a general exodus from the town. Many families took as much of their belongings with them as was possible.’ See CE, 12 Oct. 1920.
Mallow Volunteers Richard Willis and John Bolster later described the ambush of the ‘enemy supply lorry’ at Ballydrocane in which they had participated: ‘This lorry used to travel almost every day between Kanturk and Newmarket. We had taken up positions behind the hedges when the lorry was signalled. On the lorry entering the ambush position, a large volley of fire was concentrated on it, and the driver was killed instantly. The lorry then collided with on old milk-cart which was also in the position. A few soldiers returned our fire and then shouted they wished to surrender, and when a few of our lads jumped out on the road to take the surrender, they were fired on by a few soldiers who had taken cover underneath the lorry. This fire was immediately silenced and they all surrendered. We captured whatever arms and equipment they had and allowed them to go free. The lorry was not burned as the dead body of the driver was in it.’ See Richard Willis and John Bolster’s WS 808, 24 (BMH). Detachments from the Bawnmore, Derrygallon, Kanturk, and Kilbrin companies of the Kanturk Battalion ‘were also engaged in various capacities in this action’. See James O’Connell’s WS 949, 7 (BMH).
According to Volunteer John Winters of the Bawnmore Company, ‘This was the first ambush in which the Hotchkiss guns and other weapons captured at Mallow barracks on 28th September 1920 were used. The Hotchkiss guns were operated satisfactorily by Dick Willis and Jackie Bolster.’ See John Winters’s WS 948, 4 (BMH). Cowin was buried in the Kirk Marown (St Runius) churchyard in the Isle of Man. See http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/list-1921.html (accessed 1 Aug. 2014).