Volunteer Edmond Twomey


Volunteer Edmond Twomey (aged 21) of Glen South, Lyre, Banteer (Nadd near Kanturk)

Date of incident: 10 March 1921

Sources: CC, 11 March 1921; FJ, 11, 12 March 1921; CE, 12, 14 March 1921; II, 12 March 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/160/29 (TNA); George Power’s WS 451, 18-19 (BMH); WS 744 of Jeremiah Murphy, Michael Courtney, and Denis Mulchinock, 14-17 (BMH); Seán Moylan’s WS 838, 209-10 (BMH); Leo O’Callaghan’s WS 978, 19-20 (BMH); John Moloney’s WS 1036, 13-17 (BMH); Joseph P. Morgan’s WS 1097, 15-18 (BMH); Tadhg Looney’s WS 1196, 13-14 (BMH); Michael O’Connell’s WS 1428, 14-15 (BMH); Last Post (1976), 82; Moylan (2004), 110-12; O’Donoghue (1954, 1986), 142-44; Carroll (2010), 107; Sheehan (2011), 76; IRA Nadd Memorial; http://www.independent.ie/regionals/corkman/news/rededication-of-nadd-monument-27091540.html (accessed 22 March 2016).  


Note: Twomey and three other Volunteers were killed in a raid at Nadd by British forces acting with benefit of a betrayer’s intelligence. Seán Moylan provided a reliable account of the raid. The headquarters for the North Cork Brigade was established in the early days of March 1921 at Nadd, ‘one thousand feet up on the slope of the Boggeragh, surrounded by rugged hills and glens, inhabited by a loyal people, at a point where five battalion areas converged’. The forces of the crown, apparently alerted by an informer and ex-serviceman named Shiels or Shields, mounted a raid on the district beginning on the morning of 9 March 1921. Warned of the raid in progress by a scout, the members of the brigade staff and ‘the great majority of the Volunteers’ managed to retreat to safety under covering fire, but four Volunteers were killed and ‘a number [were] wounded’. A policeman in Kanturk had told a certain Volunteer (they both spoke Irish) that Shiels was acting the traitor in the military barracks at Kanturk on 8 March, but this Volunteer was not permitted to relay the information to the brigade O/C, and the result was the death of the four Volunteers in the raid. This intelligence failure ‘might have resulted in the complete disruption of the brigade’. See Moylan (2004), 110-12. Shiels had joined the Kanturk Battalion of the Cork No. 2 Brigade in 1920 and was working locally as a farm labourer. On the morning of the raid he was observed in an Auxiliary uniform. See Sheehan (2011), 76.


It was the Nadd reversal that finally led to the exposure of Shiels, who was also allegedly responsible for giving away the Mourne Abbey ambush. ‘No suspicion’, recalled Tadhg Looney, Vice O/C of the Mallow Battalion and brother of dead Volunteer Michael Looney, ‘rested on him [Shiels] at the time nor until the events at Nadd on the morning of March 10th, 1921, when the brigade staff together with the Mallow and Kanturk Battalion columns were encircled under much the same circumstances as at Mourne Abbey. It then came to light that Shiels was seen drinking in Kanturk public-houses and had in fact called to the R.I.C. barracks there on the eve of the round up at Nadd. He was, I believe, identified by Tom Bride, the owner of the public house at Nadd, where he was dressed in the uniform of a Black and Tan. He disappeared after this incident and was never traced.’ See Tadhg Looney’s WS 1196, 13-14 (BMH).


Twomey was a supervisor for the Lyre-Banteer Cow-Testing Association and was on his way to a neighbour’s farm at 7:30 a.m. to test milk. He was overtaken by a party of military and was ordered to halt but did not respond, probably because the weather at the time was stormy and wet. He was shot dead. ‘This was unfortunate, as Mr Twomey had his bag and sample bottles with him and could easily have proved his identity and business’. See CE, 14 March 1921. There is no doubt that Twomey was a Volunteer killed near Nadd, even though he was ‘not on duty’ and was acting in his civilian capacity at the time of his death. See O’Donoghue (1954, 1986), 144. He appears to have been killed by members of the East Lancashire Regiment. He died at about 7:45 a.m. on 10 March 1921. See Military Inquests, WO 35/160/29 (TNA).


In 1911 Edmond Twomey (then aged 12) was one of the eleven living children (twelve born) of the farmer Michael Twomey and his wife Mary Anne of Glen South near Banteer. Ten of the children (nine sons and one daughter) co-resided with their parents in that year. Volunteer Twomey was buried in Lyre Cemetery.


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