Civilian William Horgan


Civilian William Horgan (aged about 21) of 254 Dillon’s Cross, Cork (Lavitt’s Quay, Cork city)

Date of incident: 28 June 1921

Sources: Death Certificate, 28 June 1921; CE, 29, 30 June 1921; CC, 29 June 1921; II, 29 June 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/152/16 (TNA); Last Post (1976), 90; Borgonovo (2007), 165; (accessed 23 Feb. 2016);’ydewalle/d’ydewalle.html; (accessed 8 April 2016).    


Note: Horgan was employed as a fireman on the Great Southern and Western Railway. He was brought dead to the Military Hospital in Cork. At the subsequent military inquiry held in Victoria Barracks, Horgan’s father said that his son had been arrested in their home (son and father lived together) at about 2:15 a.m. in a raid on the night of 28 June 1921 and had been carried off by troops; his son was dead when he next saw him. The father testified that his son ‘had belonged to no political organisation’. The military officer who testified stated that while the arresting party was stopped with a second prisoner near the Opera House on Lavitt’s Quay, Horgan had ‘suddenly grabbed his wrist and revolver; a short struggle ensued, and witness, straightening the revolver, fired at Horgan. At the same time the other prisoner ran like a hare down the street, having broken away from his guard, and escaped.’ When examined, Horgan was found to be dead. See CE, 30 June 1921.


The evidence of this officer is not very credible. His name was 2nd Lieutenant Adelin Eugene P.F.M.G. van Outryve d’Ydewalle of the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, and he was in the process of acquiring an unsavoury reputation for his harsh treatment of prisoners whom he suspected of being Volunteers. He was later in command when Volunteer Denis Spriggs was killed in Cork city after his arrest on 8 July 1921. See (accessed 23 Feb. 2016);’ydewalle/d’ydewalle.html; (accessed 8 April 2016).


In The Last Post the IRA claimed Horgan as a Volunteer despite his father’s testimony at the military inquiry. Yet Horgan’s name does not appear on the Roll of Honour of the Cork No. 1 Brigade deposited in the Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald Park in Cork city. He was therefore probably a civilian. Horgan was in 1911 one of the six children (four sons and two daughters) of the Cork city general labourer Richard Horgan and his wife Annie of 229 Old Youghal Road. The children ranged in age from nine months to 11; all six co-resided with their parents in that year. William Horgan (then aged 11) was the oldest child.  He was buried in Ballylucra Cemetary, Brooklodge, Glanmire, Co. Cork.  (We would like to thank Tom Greene.)

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