Civilian Edward Turner
Civilian Edward Turner (aged about 24) of 6 Bridge Street, Mallow (Mallow Town Park)
Date of incident: 18 Oct. 1920 (ex-soldier killed by crown forces)
Sources: Death Certificate (Mallow District, Union of Mallow), 18 Oct. 1920; CE, 19, 23 Oct. 1920; Military Reports, WO 35/89 (TNA); ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 139.
Note: Shots were allegedly fired at British troops in Mallow, and when these soldiers returned fire, they mortally wounded an unnamed civilian. The Cork Examiner of 19 October 1920 reported that an ex-soldier named Turner had been shot by troops in the Town Park in Mallow, and that he had been ‘dangerously wounded’. Many other civilians were said to have had ‘a narrow escape’. An eyewitness to the shooting of Turner described what happened immediately afterwards: ‘After the wounded man had been taken to the barracks, a party of military came on the park and started firing. The people ran, terror-stricken, in all directions for safety, many, including myself, lying flat on the ground to escape the bullets which were whizzing over our heads, till the police arrived and cried to the military to stop firing.’ See CE, 19 Oct. 1920.
The military account of this incident was quite different. It stated that six civilians had been lying in wait behind hedges and walls outside the military barracks in Mallow and had been spotted by an NCO and privates of the First Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. One of the civilians allegedly fired a shot at the NCO, and in response the NCO in charge of the post fired two shots, felling one civilian, Edward Turner, who soon died. See Military Reports, WO 35/89 (TNA). Patrick Dempsey, chairman of the Mallow Urban District Council, felt compelled to write a public letter to the press completely refuting the efforts of British forces based in Mallow to portray the shootings as justified because they had allegedly been fired upon from the park. See CE, 23 Oct. 1920.
Turner’s death certificate indicates that he was an army pensioner (aged 42—probably incorrect) residing at 6 Bridge Street, Mallow, and that he died of shock and haemorrhage resulting from gunshot wounds in the buttocks inflicted while he was proceeding from Mallow to Cork city. See Death Certificate (Mallow District, Union of Mallow), 18 Oct. 1920. This is an instance in which the death certificate is not very revealing and may well be misleading.