Volunteer Stephen Lehane

Volunteer Stephen Lehane (aged about 21) of 2 Humes Lane, Mallow (Short Castle, Mallow)

Date of incident: 4 May 1919

Sources: CE, 6 May 1921; II, 8 May 1919; CWN, 10 May 1919; MSPC/RO/62 (Military Archives).


Note: Volunteer Lehane was shot dead by friend and fellow Volunteer Daniel Hassett at the Short Castle paddock attached to Messrs. Cleeves’s condensed-milk factory in Mallow. The two Volunteers belonged to G Company of the Mallow Battalion of the Cork No. 2 Brigade. A resident of Beecher St in Mallow, Hassett had found an old and dangerous revolver in a shed adjoining Messrs. Cleeves’s stable there, where Lehane was employed as a groom. Hassett was putting the revolver into his pocket at about 9 a.m. on 4 May 1919 when it went off accidentally, with the bullet striking Lehane in the head. See II, 8 May 1919; CWN, 10 May 1919. 

At the inquest one witness testified that he had heard Hassett declare immediately after the gun fired, ‘Oh, my God, is it loaded?’ According to this same witness, Hassett also protested that the gun had gone off while in his pocket. Hassett and Lehane had long been ‘chums’; they had reportedly been at a dance together on the night before the fatal accident and had been to Mass together on the previous Sunday. After getting a priest to attend at the scene, Hassett promptly went off to the Mallow police barracks, surrendered the revolver, and gave a statement about the accident to Head Constable O’Sullivan. See CE, 6 May 1919.

The police and the coroner’s jury completely accepted Hassett’s account of this death; his Volunteer membership and that of Lehane apparently went undetected at the time. The pension roll for G Company (Mallow) of the Fifth Battalion of the Cork No. 4 Brigade for 1921 and 1922 proves conclusively that both Stephen Lehane and Daniel Hassett were Volunteers. Hassett was listed on both dates, with a note on the first critical date that he had been interned, but he was also entered as deceased. It is unclear when he died, but it was not during the War of Independence or the Truce period. See MSPC/RO/62 (Military Archives). 

Volunteer Stephen Lehane was the one of the three surviving children (seven born) of the general labourer Daniel Lehane and his wife Kate of 2 Humes Lane in Mallow, whose lives were scarred by the deaths of four of their children. Stephen (aged 13 in 1911) was then the older of their two co-residing sons.     

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