Civilian Patrick Devitt

Civilian Patrick Devitt (aged about 38) of Mallow (Mallow)

Date of incident: 31 Jan. 1921

Sources: CE, 1, 2, 15 Feb., 30 March, 30 April, 2 May 1921; II, 2 Feb. 1921; CC, 3 Feb. 1921; FJ, 3 Feb. 1921; Nenagh News, 5 Feb. 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/149A/15 (TNA); Report of the Mallow Court of Enquiry, p. 336, H.C. 1921, xv [1220]; Leo O’Callaghan’s WS 978, 9-11 (BMH); Jeremiah Daly’s WS 1015, 5 (BMH); Joseph P. Morgan’s WS 1097, 11-12 (BMH); Seán Healy’s WS 1643, 10 (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: A signalman, Devitt was one of three railway workers killed or mortally wounded by British forces in the reprisals that followed the IRA attack on RIC County Inspector William King and his wife at Mallow. Devitt had been in the employment of the Great Southern and Western Railway for about twenty years. He left a wife and seven children. He lived long enough to tell his wife Mary Anne Devitt what had happened to him, and she told the Recorder of Cork when making a compensation claim at the Mallow quarter sessions in late April 1921: ‘I asked him what happened and he told me that he was shot—that a man went into the signal cabin, dragged him out, and told him [to] put up his hands. He put up his hands and was taken from the cabin, and one of the men kicked him. He was then marched down the platform and put outside the gate. They told him and the others with him to run for their lives, and they were fired on.’ Dr T. J. Vaughan testified that when he had attended to Patrick Devitt on the night of 31 January, Devitt ‘was in a very collapsed state, suffering from severe shock, and with three small punctured [sic] wounds in the back. These wounds affected the spinal column, causing paralysis of the lower limbs. He was removed to Cork five days later, where he subsequently died.’ His death occurred in the South Infirmary on 13 February 1921. See CE, 30 April 1921.

In 1911 Patrick Devitt and his wife Mary Anne resided on Abbey Street in Ennis with their two children (they were to have five more), his younger brother Martin Devitt, and his wife’s elderly father Patrick Madden. Patrick Devitt was then already working as a railway signalman.

For the compensation eventually awarded to the wounded railway workers or to the relatives of those killed, see the following data: Mrs Mary Ann Devitt, widow of Patrick Devitt, £2,700 (including £100 for each of his seven children); Edmund Bennett, father of Denis Bennett (deceased), £1,000; Geoffrey or Jeffery O’Mullane, father of Daniel O’Mullane (deceased), £1,000; Peter Morrissey, £350; Michael Mahony, £400; Patrick Howe, £175; Henry Martin, £1,000; Matthew Cronin, £1,400; Patrick Maher, £2,000; and Joseph Greensmith, £700. See CE, 2 May 1921.

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,