Civilian Frederick Blemens

Civilian Frederick Blemens (aged about 30) of Blackrock (possibly Carroll’s Bogs on southern outskirts of Cork city)

Date of incident: 29 Nov. 1920 (abducted, executed, and disappeared as suspected spy by IRA)

Sources: II, 1 Dec. 1920; CE, 2 Dec. 1920; Executions by IRA in 1920 (Military Archives, A/0535); Michael Murphy’s WS 1547, 33 (BMH); Borgonovo (2007), 28-33, 52, 92, 100, 168, 171-73, 179; Murphy (2010), 41; Ó Ruairc (2016), 119. 


Note: Like his father, Frederick Blemens was considered by the city IRA to be among the most active members of a pro-British body often styled the ‘Anti-Sinn Féin Society’ that was supposedly based at the city Y.M.C.A. At the time of the 1911 census Frederick Blemens and his younger brother James were employed as grocer’s clerks. In addition to the young James Blemens (called James S. in the family), the survivors in the immediate family included their now widowed mother Elizabeth Blemens, her daughter Matilda, and three other siblings of Frederick Blemens. In 1911 they resided at house 61 at Knockrea in Blackrock. The name of Frederick Blemens appears in the Compensation Commission Register under 2 December 1920, with the notation that British liability was accepted, and with a note that compensation of £3,000 was awarded. See Ó Ruairc (2016), 119. Frederick Blemens was an Anglican. 

The burial place of Frederick Blemens and his father James Blemens is unknown. But in an interview with Ernie OMalley about three decades later, the former city Volunteer leader Michael (Mick) Murphy discussed the alleged spying activities of the Blemenses and their relative James Charles Beal (abducted on 14 February 1921)—all three executed as informers supposedly connected by the IRA with the Cork city Y.M.C.A. Right after mentioning these three men in his interview with O’Malley, Murphy declared: ‘We buried the bodies in Carroll’s bogs; every spy who was shot in Cork [obviously a great exaggeration] was buried so that nothing was known about them. They just disappeared.’ See Interview with Michael (Mick) Murphy, Ernie O’Malley Notebooks, P17b/112 (UCDA). Carroll’s Bog or Tramore Marsh is not far from the home of James and Frederick Blemens in Blackrock, where or near where the IRA had abducted them. Once the site of the Cork city landfill, Carroll’s Bog lies near ‘the junction of the Tramore River and Trabeg stream along the south east boundary’ of the city. See http://www.vernonmountpark.ie/history-valley.php (accessed 10 May 2016).

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,