RIC Constable Timothy J. Quinn

RIC Constable Timothy J. Quinn (aged 34) from County Tipperary (Castlemartyr)

Date of incident: 27 Nov. 1920

Sources: CC, 29 Nov. 1920; CE, 29, 30 Nov. 1920, 10 Feb. 1921; II, 29 Nov. 1920; CWN, 4 Dec. 1920; RIC County Inspector’s Monthly Report, Cork City and East Riding, Nov. 1920 (CO 904/112, TNA); Weekly Summary of Outrages against the Police, Nov. 1920 (CO 904/148-50, TNA); Joseph Aherne’s WS 1367, 31-34, 36-37 (BMH); Abbott (2000), 155; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 140.


Note: Constable Quinn and Sergeant Curley were returning from Killeagh to their barracks in Castlemartyr when in the latter village Volunteers attacked them. Quinn had been visiting his fiancée in Killeagh and Curley had been visiting his wife there. As they entered Castlemartyr, they saw a motorcar containing a number of men pulled up outside a public house. Their suspicions were aroused, and they began to inspect the vehicle and its occupants. Suddenly, shots rang out from inside the car, and the two constables fell wounded. The occupants of the car then sped away from the scene—but not before Sergeant Curley had mortally wounded the IRA driver William Heffernan. Quinn was ‘riddled with bullets’ and died the next day. He had been a member of the RIC for fourteen years. See Abbott (2000), 155.

The Volunteer responsible for killing Constable Quinn was Joseph Aherne, the vice-commandant of the Midleton Battalion, who was seated in the back of the car and decades later remembered the incident vividly: ‘As I sat very still as far back in the car as I could, I was sure that the sergeant [Curley] hadn’t noticed me. However, the constable [Quinn] must have become suspicious, as he drew his revolver and approached me. I now drew my gun, and the sergeant, on seeing the movement, jumped back and drew his gun also. I fired at the constable, who fell back mortally wounded, and then pointed my gun at the sergeant. My gun was a .455 Colt automatic which I had captured at Cloyne R.I.C. barracks. It had jammed and left me at the sergeant’s mercy. However, he didn’t fire immediately but ran behind the back of our car. I looked around the back of the hood to see where he had gone and found myself looking down the barrel of his .45 revolver. I gave a warning shout to the driver [Volunteer William Heffernan], who had the engine running, but it was too late. As I threw myself back in the seat, the sergeant fired, mortally wounding the driver. . . . A patrol was now emerging from the [Castlemartyr] barracks a little further up the street, and it was a bit of a race to get the dying Volunteer from behind the wheel and get him away.’ See Joseph Aherne’s WS 1367, 33-34 (BMH). 

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