RIC Sergeant Joseph E. Coleman

RIC Sergeant Joseph E. Coleman (aged 39) from London (Midleton)

Date of incident: 14 May 1921

Sources: Death Certificate (Midleton District 2, Union of Midleton), 14 May 1921; CE, 16 May 1921; Lieutenant-Colonel John M. McCarthy’s WS 883, Appendix, 11-12 (BMH); John Kelleher’s WS 1456, 26 (BMH); Abbott (2000), 238; O’Donoghue, (1954, 1986), 326.


Note: At about 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, 14 May 1921, Sergeant Coleman was shot repeatedly while making some purchases in Buckley’s public house and grocery in Midleton by a party of IRA men who had followed him into the premises. According to a reporter for the Cork Examiner, Coleman ‘fell riddled with bullets and died almost immediately. Some constables who heard the shooting rushed to the scene, to find the sergeant lying motionless on the floor. Four of the police hastily departed to summon a priest, but on their way these too were attacked. Two of their number—Constables Cornyn and Thompson—were killed.’ See CE, 16 May 1921. According to Abbott, ‘a third party of police sent to fetch the bodies was also attacked, with one constable [McDonald] being seriously wounded. These attacks were carried out by [members of the] the East Cork Brigade.’ Sergeant Coleman had seen as many as eighteen years of service in the RIC. Before joining the force, he had been a groom. See Abbott (2000), 238.

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