Volunteer Charlie Daly

Volunteer Charlie Daly (aged about 23) of 14 Lough View Terrace, Cork city (Blackpool Railway Tunnel, Cork)

Date of incident: night of 28 Feb.-1 March 1921 (killed by RIC)

Sources: CE, 2, 3 March 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/148/71 (TNA); Seán Healy’s WS 1479, 15-18, 33, 43 (BMH); Interview with Charlie Brown, Ernie O’Malley Notebooks, P17b/112 (UCDA); http://www.cairogang.com/other-people/british/castle-intelligence/incidents/kilgobnet%201922/kilgobnet-1922.html (accessed 23 May 2016); Roll of Honour, Cork No. 1 Brigade (Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork); Last Post (1976), 81; Borgonovo (2007), 59, 110-11, 163, 171; IRA Memorial Plaque, Phairs Cross, Bandon Road, Cork.


Note: A Cork city railway clerk and a member of G Company of the Second Battalion of Cork No. 1 Brigade, Daly ‘was brought out from the parcels office at the Glanmire terminus by three disguised men and shot dead’. Daly ‘was on night duty in the inwards parcels’ office at the station on Monday night [28 February 1921], when a few minutes before 12 o’clock’ the three gunmen ‘entered the station premises’. After forcing another railway employee to stand against a wall, they dragged Daly to the mouth of the Blackpool Railway Tunnel, beat him severely, and finally shot him—probably just after midnight on 1 March. See CE, 2 March 1921. He was a former clerk in the Army Pay Corps. Daly may have been killed because the gunmen—RIC in mufti—confused him with Adjutant Charles J. Daly of the Cork No. 1 Brigade.

Former city Volunteer Seán Healy offered a different context for the killing of Charlie Daly: ‘The climax of vengeance [by British forces] against Cork railwaymen took place during curfew hours on the morning of 1st March 1921. A horde of Black and Tan savages descended on the poor, defenceless nightworkers [at the Glanmire railway terminus in Cork] and terrified them beyond description. First of all, they fired rifle and revolver shots at random all over the station, smashing doors and windows. They rounded up all they could catch, and after searching them and almost stripping some naked, they beat and bullied them. All the offices were ransacked, boxes and trunks opened, and even floor boards rooted up in places. After they took their departure, a young parcels porter named Charlie Daly was found dead, having been murdered in cold blood. He was badly bruised and beaten and had a bullet wound in the head. He was taken from the office to the mouth of the tunnel, apparently for the purpose of trying to extract information from him. This young railwayman was another martyr for Ireland.’ See Seán Healy’s WS 1479, 33 (BMH). ‘A pathetic feature of the shooting of Charles Daly is the fact that less than a fortnight ago his only brother [sic], Michael Daly, died.’ See CE, 2 March 1921.

A woman named Alice Daly of Cross in Douglas, whose name appeared on an IRA list of suspects, had been a witness to the shooting of soldiers on 26 February 1921 on Douglas Road. She allegedly gave information that one of the men involved in the attack was Charlie Daly of the Second Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade. But according to the IRA, Daly had not participated in this attack. See ‘IRA Intelligence Reports on Civilians Accused of Giving Information to and Associating with British Forces during War of Independence in Counties Cork, Kerry, Waterford, and Limerick’, ca. 1921, CP/4/40 (Military Archives).

The IRA believed that Charlie Daly, who was shot and killed in the Blackpool Railway Tunnel on the night of 28 February-1 March 1921, had first been apprehended, taken to a Cork city military or police barracks, and tortured for information before he was shot in the tunnel. The British military officers suspected of having tortured him were Intelligence Officers Ronald A. Hendy (1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment) and George R. A. Dove (2nd Hampshire Regiment). After the Truce these officers and two other British soldiers—Kenneth R. Henderson, M.C. (2nd Green Howards) and J. R. Brooks (Royal Army Service Corps Motor Transport) were taken into IRA custody at Dick Williams’s Hotel in Macroom on 26 April 1922 and interrogated at Macroom Castle; all four were shot dead by the anti-Treaty IRA at Kilgobnet, about 5 miles north-west of Macroom, on the night of 29 April 1922 and buried in a bog there. Their fate began to be sealed when their RASC driver Brooks allegedly told the IRA men who had stopped them in Macroom to ‘F-off’. See Interview with Charlie Brown, Ernie O’Malley Notebooks, P17b/112 (UCDA); http://www.cairogang.com/other-people/british/castle-intelligence/incidents/kilgobnet%201922/kilgobnet-1922.html (accessed 23 May 2016).  

Railway workers, especially those who drove, powered, and rode the trains of the country, had incurred the wrath of the British military and police for systematically refusing to carry armed soldiers and sometimes policemen on their trains. The hostility between Cork city railwaymen and members of the British forces was particularly bitter. The Glanmire station was a hotbed of republicanism: ‘About 600 men were employed at Glanmire railway station, and about 100 of these employees were members of the I.R.A., being attached to different companies throughout the city, but [with] the station being situated in A/Company area, most of them were attached to A/Company. They were men of all grades, clerks, engine-drivers, firemen, ticket checkers, fitters, porters, office messengers, etc., all being imbued with the same ideals and welded together for the one purpose—to secure the freedom of their country and drive out the invaders.’ See Seán Healy’s WS 1479, 16 (BMH). Volunteer Daly was interred in the Republican Plot in St Finbarr’s Cemetery in Cork. His gravestone there records that he was ‘shot by crown forces in Cork Tunnel 1 March 1921’. He is also commemorated on a plaque at Phairs Cross, Bandon Road, Cork, where his death date is also recorded as 1 March 1921. 

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