Civilian Mrs Alice Mary King

Civilian Mrs Alice Mary King (aged about 40) of Mallow (Mallow railway station)

Date of incident: 31 Jan. 1921

Sources: CE, 1, 2, 15 Feb., 30 March, 30 April, 2 May 1921; FJ, 1, 3 Feb. 1921; CWN, 5 Feb. 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/153A/7 (TNA); RIC County Inspector’s Monthly Report, Cork City and East Riding, Feb. 1921 (CO 904/114, TNA); Malicious Injury Claims, Box 16/53, Cork County Secretary Files (CCCA); Report of the Mallow Court of Enquiry, p. 336, H.C. 1921, xv [1220]; Jeremiah Daly’s WS 1015, 5 (BMH); O’Donoghue (1954, 1986), 132-33; Lankford (1980), 185; Gyves (2010), 33-52; http://theauxiliaries.com/INCIDENTS/mallow-1921-jan/mallow-shooting.html (accessed 5 Oct. 2016).  


Note: Mrs Alice Mary King, the wife of RIC County Inspector William Herbert King, was badly wounded in the abdomen on 31 January 1921 as she was returning with her husband from the Royal Hotel near Mallow railway station to their lodgings in the West End of the town. (In 1911 Mary Alice King, then aged 30, had been married to RIC District Inspector William Herbert King for only a year; at that point they had no children and resided on Bective Street in Kells, Co. Meath.) Members of the Flying Column of the Mallow Battalion of the Cork No. 2 Brigade opened their attack on County Inspector King at Mallow railway station—apparently without even realising who they were shooting at. The IRA men exchanged fire with King, according to some reports, though without reply according to an IRA participant; both King and his wife were wounded, and her injuries were quickly fatal. Immediately following the attack, a body of British soldiers and RIC men came from the nearby military barracks. They fired indiscriminately upon some of the one hundred railway workers who were then on duty at Mallow station, killing three and wounding others. See CE, 1, 2 Feb. 1921; O’Donoghue (1954, 1986), 132-33; Gyves (2010), 33-52.

In his later account of this bloody incident Volunteer Jeremiah Daly of Ballydaheen near Mallow, former Vice O/C of the Mallow Battalion, still showed no awareness of the identity of the two prominent loyalist victims in this encounter and described it in such a way as to indicate clearly that RIC County Inspector King had not been the particular target of the attack. ‘About the end of January’, Daly recalled, ‘the [Mallow Battalion] column moved into the Mourne Abbey area, where they lay in ambush a few times, but the expected enemy did not turn up. In the meantime a report was received by the Column O/C that a party of three or four Black & Tans were in the habit of visiting Mallow raliway station about the time the night mail train was due to leave Mallow each night at 9.30 p.m. They were apparently taking some letters to the railway for dispatch by the “Mail” [train]. The O/C decided to ambush this party, so on 31st January 1921 he took five other members of the column to Mallow railway station, where they were placed as follows: (a) Four—Jack Moloney (“Congo”), Denis Mulcahy, Jeremiah Daly (witness), and the column O/C (Jack Cunningham) took up a position behind a wall facing the road to the station entrance. They were armed with revolvers. [b] Two—Leo O’Callaghan and Ned Murphy—were on duty on the road at the opposite side of the railway in order to cover off any approach from the rere. They also carried revolvers. When a party of three was seen to approach, the ambush party as at (a) opened fire. There was no reply from the Tans. The R.I.C. and Black & Tans, who were in the barracks less than 250 yards away, immediately rushed to the railway station. They began to fire shots indiscriminately. Three railway employees were shot dead while a number were also wounded. The ambush party at (a) then withdrew across the railway and retired with the column O/C. I moved to Murphy’s, Laharn Cross, where we billeted.’ See Jeremiah Daly’s WS 1015, 5 (BMH).  

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