Civilian David Gray (aged about 38) of Sackville Street, Dunmanway (Dunmanway)
Date of incident: 27 April 1922
Sources: CE, 28 April, 1 May 1922; FJ, 28 April 1922; II, 28 April 1922; SS, 29 April, 6 May 1922; CCE, 29 April, 6 May 1922; Nenagh News, 29 April 1922; CWN, 6 May 1922; Application of James McCarthy to Irish Grants Committee (IGC), 27 Oct. 1926 (CO 762/13/5, TNA); Application of William Fitzmaurice to IGC, 17 Dec. 1926 (CO 762/12/4, TNA); Application of William Jagoe to IGC, 11 June 1927 (CO 762/4/1, TNA); Application of George Applebe Bryan to IGC, 20 Oct. 1926 (CO 762/3/10. TNA); Application of Thomas Sullivan to IGC, undated file (CO 762/175/19, TNA); Hart (1998), 273-92; Bielenberg, Borgonovo, and Donnelly (2014), 21-24; Keane (2014), 143-73; Keane (2017), 85-89, 285.
Note: David Grey was shot and killed at his residence on Sackville Street in Dunmanway in the early hours of Thursday morning, 27 April 1922. Also killed in their Dunmanway homes at about the same time were Francis Fitzmaurice of Carbery House and James Buttimer of Sackville Street. All three were Protestants. See CE, 28 April, 1 May 1922; FJ, 28 April 1922; II, 28 April 1922; SS, 29 April, 6 May 1922; CCE, 29 April, 6 May 1922; CWN, 6 May 1922.
The most important figure in the Dunmanway Battalion of the IRA at the time of the three killings there on 27 April 1922 was Peter Kearney. He had advanced through IRA ranks in the Second Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade and had spent some time as a member of the University College Cork Company of that battalion. He subsequently became an active member of the flying column of the West Cork Brigade during the War of Independence and served as a section leader in the crucial IRA victory at the Crossbarry ambush on 19 March 1921—one of the largest engagements of the conflict. Kearney was a protégé of West Cork flying-column leader Tom Barry and with his backing was promoted to the leading position in the Third (Dunmanway) Battalion of the Cork No. 3 Brigade. It appears unlikely that Peter Kearney was unaware about the IRA slayings in his battalion area, especially those that took place in Dunmanway town. From the evidence of some of those targeted by the IRA but who escaped, at least ten men were involved in the killings and attempted killings, and according to witnesses, some of these men were even wearing Volunteer uniforms. One intended victim escaped after his quick-thinking wife slammed the front door shut, allowing her husband to escape out the back door. Yet the assailants in this case soon returned and searched the house without success. These circumstances suggest that men from the Dunmanway Battalion were involved that night. In fact, it was suggested that some local IRA men had been recognised as participants in these attacks. See Application of James McCarthy to Irish Grants Committee (IGC), 27 Oct. 1926 (CO 762/13/5, TNA); Application of William Fitzmaurice to IGC, 17 Dec. 1926 (CO 762/12/4, TNA); Application of William Jagoe to IGC, 11 June 1927 (CO 762/4/1, TNA); Application of George Applebe Bryan to IGC, 20 Oct. 1926 (CO 762/3/10, TNA); Application of Thomas Sullivan to IGC, undated file (CO 762/175/19, TNA).
According to the 1911 census, David Gray was a native of County Cavan and a chemist by occupation. He was then 27 years old. He resided as a boarder in the house of a family of Methodists headed by the widower Henry Howell Ashe (then aged 59). Ashe was the father of three co-resident adult children (two daughters and a son—all three unmarried). The Ashe family then resided in house 51 on West Green in Dunmanway. Henry Ashe was employed as a clerk to a ‘general merchant’ in Dunmanway. The only other occupant of the household was Henry Ashe’s widowed sister Caroline Armstrong. Living in the midst of five Methodists, the chemist David Gray was an adherent of the Church of Ireland.