Robert Howe


Civilian Robert Howe (aged about 56) of Ballaghanure near Ballineen (Ballaghanure near Ballineen)

Date of incident: 27 April 1922


Sources: Copy of Death Certificate (Ballineen District, Union of Dunmanway), 27 April 1922 (registered 3 May 1922); CCE, 29 April 1922; SS, 6 May 1922; Application of Catherine Ann Howe to Irish Grants Committee, 29 Jan. 1927 (CO 762/31/2/TNA); MSP34/REF52679 (Military Archives); MSP34/REF26441 (Military Archives); Philip Chambers’s Account of the Killing of Robert Howe (in the possession of Sean Crowley, Garranes, Templemartin, Co. Cork); Hart (1998), 273-92; Bielenberg, Borgonovo, and Donnelly (2014), 25-32; Keane (2014), 143-73; Keane (2017), 85-89, 285; (accessed 3 March 2018).


Note: At the inquest held by Coroner Richard Neville at Ballaghanure, 3 miles north of Ballineen/Enniskeane, on Saturday afternoon, 29 April 1922, the victim’s widow Catherine Annie Howe testified that on Thursday night, 27 April, at about 10:30 p.m. ‘she heard a knock at the door. The deceased got out of bed and opened it. Two men followed him into the room and told him to get up and harness the horse, and he said he would not, as he was ill. They asked him a second time and he said he would not go. She then heard two shots. The two men ran out the front door. She then went in and found the deceased dead in bed.’ Dr Eugene Fehily of Ballineen stated that ‘there were two bullet wounds in the head—one, an entrance wound, was over the right ear, and the exit wound was on the left side of the head, about the middle of the parietal bone. The bullet that caused the wounds caused immediate death. There were two other wounds. The bullet that caused these wounds must have traversed the heart and main arteries and caused death in a short time. Death was due to shock and hemorrhage.’ See SS, 6 May 1922.


Howe’s residence was located about ‘half a mile west of Castletown-Kinneigh’. See CCE, 29 April 1922. This last report claimed that Robert Howe had been ‘the fourth man to meet a violent death’ in the district on the night of 27 April 1922, but the newspaper correspondent was including the Rev. Ralph Harbord, a son of the Protestant rector of Murragh (4 kilometres east of Ballineen). Harbord was severely wounded but recovered from his injuries. The others shot dead on 27 April were Gerald McKinley of Ballineen; John Chinnery of Castletown near Ballineen; and Robert Nagle of Clonakilty. See CCE, 29 April 1922.


In her application to the Irish Grants Committee, the victim’s widow Catherine Ann Howe said only, ‘The deceased was a member of the Church of Ireland and a supporter of the government of the United Kingdom.’ See Application of Catherine Ann Howe to Irish Grants Committee, 29 Jan. 1927 (CO 762/31/2, TNA).    


In 1911 the farmer Robert Howe (aged 45) and his wife Catherine were the parents of a single non-resident child. They resided at house 3 in Ballaghanure townland in Castletown parish near Ballineen. Living with them in that year were three elderly female cousins named Catherine, Mary, and Margaret Fuller (aged 68, 75, and 85 respectively). The family employed one young female servant, a Catholic named Annie Murray (aged 25). With the exception of Annie Murray, all the other five residents of the household were adherents of the Church of Ireland.     


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