Civilian William Good

Civilian William Good (aged 26) of Barry’s Hall, Timoleague (Clooncalla Beg near Timoleague)

Date of incident: 26 March 1921 (ex-soldier killed as suspected spy by IRA)

Sources: CE, 30, 31 March, 18 June 1921; CC, 30 March 1921; FJ, 30 March 1921; CWN, 2 April 1921; CCE, 2 April, 7 May, 25 June 1921; SS, 25 June 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/149B/30 (TNA); ‘Lest We Forget’ (PRONI, D. 989/c/1/51); John O’Connell’s WS 1250, 8, 13 (BMH); Dolan (2011), 27.


Note: Formerly a British army captain, William Good had returned home from Dublin, where he was an engineering student at Trinity College Dublin, to look after the interests of his persecuted family after his father John Good had been shot dead near Ballycatteen as a spy by the IRA on 10 March 1921. He went in a pony and trap to visit some friends from TCD in Bandon. He was waylaid and killed on his return journey on 26 March. See CE, 30, 31 March, 18 June 1921; CC, 30 March 1921. He died from two wounds according to the inquest evidence. In one wound a portion of his scalp had been punched out by a blunt instrument, but without penetrating the skull. The other wound consisted of a fissured fracture at the base of the skull, either from a fall on the back of the head or from a blow with a blunt instrument. See Military Inquests, WO 35/149B/30 (TNA).

Good’s body was found in a field at Clooncalla Beg in Rathclarin parish, about two miles from Timoleague. Near his body was found a notice proclaiming, ‘Tried, convicted, and executed. Spies and informers beware.’ His remains were taken to Bandon Military Barracks. See CWN, 2 April 1921; CCE, 2 April, 25 June 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/149B/30 (TNA); Dolan (2011), 27.

William Good’s death added to the rising toll of West Cork Protestant loyalists killed as spies by the IRA. His mother and brother were forced to flee their extensive farm, which was seized by the IRA and cleared of all its livestock. The Irish government was eager to portray these killings of father and son John and William Good as part of a sectarian campaign directed by the IRA against West Cork Protestants. One report issued from Dublin Castle early in May 1921, following the IRA’s seizure of livestock from the farm of Elizabeth Good (widow of John Good), asserted: ‘This outrage reveals the conditions under which Protestants live in the South of Ireland—particularly in Cork, where the rebel is ever ready to slay a loyalist, and where during the past few weeks several Protestant farmers have fallen victims to the I.R.A.’ See CCE, 7 May 1921. [Thanks to Jean Prendergast for this reference and for details about William Good’s military career.]

William Good volunteered for the British army on the outbreak of war in 1914. He was commissioned as a temporary second lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery in November 1914. About a year later, he became a temporary lieutenant and was ‘employed with a Trench Mortar Battery’ from June 1916. He served as acting captain from August 1917 to August 1919 before relinquishing his commission in November 1919. Wounded in action, he was awarded the Military Cross for valour early in 1917; he served with the occupation forces on the Rhine for six months after the armistice. After being demobilised, he resumed his studies at Trinity College. He was the third son of the executed John Good and his wife Elizabeth, who had reared a daughter and four sons at Barry’s Hall. Captain William Good was buried on 30 March in the cemetery attached to the Protestant church at Clonakilty. See CE, 30, 31 March 1921. The Goods were adherents of the Church of Ireland. Elizabeth Good (wife of John Good) and her son James were jointly awarded compensation of £10,000 in June 1921 for the deaths of John Good and his son William Good on 10 and 26 March respectively. See CCE, 25 June 1921.

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