Civilian George Allen Wilson


Civilian George Allen Wilson (aged about 45) of Derry townland near Rosscarbery (Rosscarbery)

Date of incident: 31 March 1921

Sources: CE, 29 March, 4 April, 29 June 1921; FJ, 2, 4 April 1921; CCE, 9 April 1921; Irish Bulletin, 4:72 (30 April 1921); Military Inquests, WO 35/147B/13, 150 (TNA); Malicious Injury Claims, Box 16/70, Cork County Secretary Files (CCCA); Sheehan (2011), 129.  


Note: A Church of Ireland farmer and accountant aged about 45 from the townland of Derry, Wilson was badly wounded by the accidental explosion of a bomb in Rosscarbery on 31 March 1921—the morning after the barracks attack overnight. Wilson was standing in front of the police barracks when the explosion occurred, and he later died of his injuries. In 1911 George Allen Wilson and his wife Alisia (then aged 43), though married for twelve years, were childless.


A careful report about this extraordinary episode appeared in the Cork County Eagle on Saturday, 2 April: ‘Thursday was fair morning in Rosscarbery, and the town was pretty well filled with buyers and country people, large numbers of whom congregated in the vicinity of the wrecked barrack to view the scene of the night’s startling events. About eight o’clock in the morning, a bomb was found amongst the debris by a child who delivered it up to a policeman, who threw it away from him, with the result that it immediately exploded, with the appalling results enumerated above. The constable [named Doyle] himself was wounded, but Mr [Patrick] Collins, who was at the fair on business, was struck over the heart by a piece of shrapnel and killed instantly. Mr [George] Wilson, who was also in the vicinity, was struck by a projectile which penetrated the ribs and entered the region of the heart. He died in a few hours. The injured were attended to by the local dispensary doctor. . . . An idea of the strength of the explosion may be gathered from the fact that it was heard at Clonakilty and Drimoleague, which are a consderable distance away.’ The little girl who picked up what was a Mills bomb from the debris had handed it to RIC Constable Doyle, who was drunk. Doyle then pulled the pin and threw the bomb in the direction of the police barracks without warning the crowd of people standing in front of what remained of the ruined building. Besides causing three deaths, this explosion injured six or seven other civilians. See Military Inquests, WO 35/147B/13 (TNA); CCE, 2 April 1921.


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