Captain Joseph T. Thompson

Captain Joseph T. Thompson (aged 32) of the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment (Carrigrohane)

Date of incident: 20 Nov. 1920 (abducted and executed as suspected spy by IRA)

Sources: CE, 23 Nov. 1920, 6 June 1921; II, 23, 24 Nov. 1920; CWN, 4 Dec. 1920; Military Inquests, WO 35/155B (TNA); WS 810 of Timothy Herlihy et al., 13-14, 32 (BMH); Michael O’Regan’s WS 1524, 5-6; Borgonovo (2007), 21, 123: ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 140; Sheehan (2011), 74; irishmedals.org (accessed 28 July 2014); Commonwealth War Graves Commission; http://www.cairogang.com/other-people/british/castle-intelligence/vining/vining.html;

http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/thompson/thompson.html (accessed 3 Aug. 2014); http://www.tameside.gov.uk/museumsgalleries/mom/objectfocus/razor (17 Sept. 2015). 


Note: Thompson left Ballincollig on the afternoon of 20 November 1920 ‘in a motor bicycle to visit some friends’. He was apparently abducted sometime that evening. He served as intelligence officer of the First Battalion of the Manchester Regiment based at Ballincollig Military Barracks. His body was found two days later in a turnip field near Bishopstown; he had been blindfolded and shot twice in the head at point-blank range. See CE, 23 Nov. 1920, 6 June 1921; II, 23, 24 Nov. 1920.

Thompson had become a hated figure among members of the Third Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade. According to the BMH witness statement of Timothy Herlihy and seven other members of this IRA unit, Thompson ‘used to go into shops and houses in Ballincollig village, brandishing a revolver and saying that if anything happened to him, the village would go up, but he was caught at Carrigrohane on his motor bike and shot dead, his arms and bike being taken. Captain Thompson was shot dead by Leo Murphy and two other Volunteers on the Model Farm Road. Thompson had previously raided Leo Murphy’s mother’s house. He was drunk at the time and boasted that he was out to get all I.R.A. leaders as he had got the leaders in Egypt. He treated Rose Murphy very roughly and this helped to cause her early death. When captured, he tried to save himself by informing his captors that a cease fire was coming and that Ireland was getting Dominion Home Rule. He said he had this from Dublin Castle. This special pleading didn’t work, however, and he was shot out of hand.’ See WS 810 of Timothy Herlihy et al., 13-14 (BMH). Thompson was buried in the Belfast City Cemetery.

Thompson’s successor as intelligence officer of the First Battalion of the Manchester Regiment at Ballincollig, Lieutenant Frank Egbert Vining, led a military raid on a public house at Waterfall on 27 June 1921 in which IRA leader Leo Murphy was killed. See http://www.cairogang.com/other-people/british/castle-intelligence/vining/vining.html (accessed 3 Aug. 2014). Murphy was accurately suspected of having played a leading role in the capture and execution of Captain Thompson.

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