Civilian Francis Fitzmaurice Sr

 

Civilian Francis Fitzmaurice Sr (aged about 72) of Carbery House, 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 Elizabeth Isabella Fitzmaurice to Irish Grants Committee (IGC), 20 Oct. 1926 (CO 762/46/15, TNA); Application of James McCarthy to 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: According to an account of the inquest appearing in the Cork County Eagle, the shooting of Francis Fitzmaurice took place in Dunmanway shortly after 12:15 a.m. on Thursday, 27 April 1922. See CCE, 6 May 1922 (inquest). This was the beginning of a series of killings around the Bandon Valley. Over a period of three days and nights (27-29 April), nine other civilians ‘were assassinated, and another dozen or more claimed that they had been targeted for death but had escaped. Additional residents received death threats that drove them from the area. Following Ballygroman, killings were carried out in at least four separate episodes in different localities.’ See Bielenberg, Borgonovo, and Donnelly (2014), 21-22.

 

Coroner Richard Neville held an inquest in St Patrick’s Hall in Dunmanway into the three deaths of Messrs Francis Fitzmaurice, solicitor, of Carbery House; David Gray of Sackville Street; and James Buttimer, also of Sackville Street, who had all been shot at their homes on Thursday morning, 27 April 1922. H. W. Fitzmaurice ‘identified the body of his brother, who was 70 years of age. He heard shots on Thursday morning [27 April] at 12:15 a.m. The household retired to bed that night about 10:30. He roused from his sleep about 12:15. Afterwards Mrs Fitzmaurice ran up to the room and told him that they had shot his brother. He came down in his night attire, and Mrs Fitzmaurice had gone for the doctor. He (witness) found his brother in the back of the hall. He was then dying. His brother was partly attired, having a wrapper over his night attire. When he (witness) found him, he was breathing his last and was unconscious. He only lived three or four minutes afterwards. He thought he heard about a dozen shots. They were fired in volleys. He had no further evidence as to how the shooting occurred. He saw no person there.’ Medical doctor T. O’Driscoll testified that one deadly bullet had entered Fitzmaurice’s body at the level of the tenth rib and had perforated the lung. Fitzmaurice had two other bullet wounds—a superficial wound on the left lower jaw and another wound near the left eyelid. Bullets evidently fired at close range (two or three yards) had caused the larger wounds. According to this medical evidence, Fitzmaurice had died after about fifteen minutes from shock and haemorrhage caused by the main bullet wound. See CCE, 6 May 1922 (inquest).

 

Francis Fitzmaurice Sr was in 1911 a solicitor and land agent who lived with his wife Elizabeth Isabella (then aged 54), his son Francis Edmund (aged 22), and his daughter Elizabeth Beatrice (aged 19) at 39 Chapel Street in Dunmanway. The family employed two live-in female domestic servants (a cook and a maid). While the two servants were Catholic, the senior Fitzmaurices and their two living children (four born) were adherents of the Church of Ireland. Aged 61 in 1911, Francis Fitzmaurice was about 72 years at the time of his death in April 1922.

 

In her application to the Irish Grants Committee, Elizabeth Isabella Fitzmaurice pointed out that before his murder on 27 April 1922 in her presence, her husband had ‘carried on an extensive and remunerative practice’ as a solicitor and land agent in the Dunmanway district. He and his wife had ‘resided in a fine mansion house with about 16 acres of land, gardens, and pleasure grounds. He kept a motor car and generally lived well and comfortably in accordance with his station in life. Since the decease of the said Francis Fitzmaurice, [the] claimant’s means have been very limited in comparison with what they were in her husband’s lifetime, and she has not been able to live in the same style as she was accustomed to or as fits her social station in life.’ She asserted that her husband had been killed ‘on account of his being a Loyalist’. She sought as much as £8,000 in compensation from the Irish Grants Committee in October 1926. Her case had previously been heard by the Compensation (Personal Injuries) Committee in Cork in August 1923, when she was awarded an ex-gratia payment of £1,000. That claim, she maintained, ‘was based on 10 years’ purchase of the average net earnings of Francis Fitzmaurice during the 5 years previous to his death, and the [total] claim amounted to £11,399 18s. 4d. The payment of £1,000 was made by the Irish Free State government but was entirely inadequate compensation.’ Elizabeth Fitzmaurice had left Dunmanway for England, probably not long after her husband’s slaying, and with the sum of £1,000 received from the Free State government in 1923, she had built a small house at Seaton in Devonshire, where she resided in October 1926. See Application of Elizabeth Isabella Fitzmaurice to Irish Grants Committee, 20 Oct. 1926 (CO 762/46/15, TNA).

 


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