RIC Constable Edward Dunne

RIC Constable Edward Dunne (aged 40) from Maryborough, Queen’s County (Ahawadda Cross near Timoleague)

Date of incident: 10 May 1920

Sources: CC, 11 May 1920; CE, 11, 12, 14 May 1920; II, 11 May, 10, 12, 25 Oct. 1920; Weekly Summary of Outrages against the Police, May 1920 (CO 904/148-50, TNA); WS 560 of James O’Mahony et al., 8 (BMH); Michael Coleman’s WS 1254, 4-5 (BMH); Denis O’Brien’s WS 1306, 3-4 (BMH); James Moloney’s WS 1310, 5-6 (BMH); Michael J. Crowley’s WS 1603, 5 (BMH); Abbott (2000), 75-76; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 135; irishmedals.org (accessed 28 July 2014).   


Note: At Ahawadda Cross near Timoleague on 10 May 1920, a party of Volunteers belonging to the Bandon Battalion under Charlie Hurley’s command attacked a four-man police cycling patrol that had set out from the barracks at Timoleague and was travelling towards Dunworly. Sergeant John Flynn and Constables Edward Dunne and William Brick were killed. In addition, Constable Grimsdale, an ex-soldier, was badly wounded and transferred to Cork Military Hospital. Republicans sent threatening letters to members of the inquest jury after the jurors held that these killings constituted murder. Dunne had served with the RIC for almost thirteen years; he had formerly been a farmer. See Abbott (2007), 75-76. 

The IRA gunmen involved in this attack gave the police little chance of survival. The local commander James Moloney later recalled the incident very matter-of-factly: ‘An R.I.C. patrol was operating in the Timoleague-Barryroe area about May 1920. It was mainly engaged on protection duty in connection with agrarian trouble about a small piece of grazing land. I was O/C Barryroe Company at the time and it was decided to ambush the patrol. I reported accordingly to the Battalion Vice O/C (Charlie Hurley), who moved into the area on the same night with Jack Fitzgerald and Jim O’Mahoney of Kilbrittain Company. All three were armed with rifles. Next morning, accompanied by John Hayes, Mick Coleman, Denis O’Brien, Dan Santry, Jerome O’Hea, and Tim Crowley, I reported to Charlie Hurley. We were all armed with shotguns. The whole party then moved to Ahawadda on the Timoleague-Clonakilty road, where we took up positions beside the roadside fence about two miles from Timoleague about 7 a.m. on the morning of May 10th, 1920. There was no appearance by the enemy patrol until about 3 p.m. When the patrol arrived, it consisted of four R.I.C. men armed with revolvers. I think one member of the party also carried a rifle. When the patrol moved into the centre of our position, fire was opened on them. Three were killed and one escaped. We got three revolvers and a supply of ammunition. The men from Kilbrittain (Charlie Hurley, Jack Fitzgerald, and Jim O’Mahoney) then withdrew across country to their own area. The local men returned to their home district but not to their homes.’ See James Moloney’s WS 1310, 5-6 (BMH).

The officers of the Cork No. 3 Brigade had decided to take advantage of a local agrarian dispute as a means of drawing the RIC into this ambush; the IRA men then proceeded to lay and spring the trap at Ahawadda Cross: ‘It was arranged that the local [Barryroe] company would drive cattle off the lands of a British loyalist in the hope that the R.I.C. would be induced to come out to investigate. The cattle were driven off, and Charlie Hurley, Brigade O/C, with two members of the Kilbrittain Company came over to our area. We had driven the cattle off the lands that would bring the investigating party past Avawadda [sic] Cross. Charlie Hurley took charge, and with the two men from Kilbrittain we joined him. There were eight of us from Barryroe Company, making a party of eleven in all. . . . The party of [Tans and police] moved into our ambush position, and they were nearly through the position when we opened fire.’ See Michael Coleman’s WS 1254, 4-5 (BMH).

Bishop Denis Kelly of Ross, preaching a sermon at the cathedral in Skibbereen, described the killing of the three policemen near Timoleague as ‘a callous and wicked murder’. See CE, 14 May 1920.

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