Civilian Edward Hawkins

Civilian Edward Hawkins (aged 29) of 6 Broad Street, Cork city (Mountdesert Quarry, Lee Road, Cork)

Date of incident: 20 May 1921 (ex-soldier kidnapped and killed as suspected spy by IRA)

Sources: CE, 20 October 1914, 21, 25 May 1921; CCE, 21 May 1921; FJ, 21, 25 May 1921; II, 21, 25 May 1921; CWN, 28 May 1921; SS, 28 May 1921; RIC County Inspector’s Monthly Report, Cork City and East Riding, May 1921 (CO 904/115, TNA); Register of Compensation Commission (Ireland) Cases of Private Persons (CO 905/15, TNA); ‘Lest We Forget’ (PRONI, D. 989/c//1/52); “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, A/0 897, Lot 4, Military Archives; Matthew O’Callaghan’s WS 561, 2 (BMH); Borgonovo (2007), 65, 68, 76-77, 100, 179; Murphy (2010), 41; Sheehan (2011), 157.


Note: An ex-soldier, Hawkins was one of four men kidnapped by Cork city Volunteers on 19 or 20 May; they added a fifth on 26 May. Hawkins was abducted on 20 May while on his way to the Bandon railway station to assist in the loading of military stores. His father Daniel (aged 52) and another man named John Sherlock (aged 35) were kidnapped at the same time. They survived their wounds but Edward Hawkins did not. He was taken to the Mardyke opposite St Joseph’s School, where he was searched. He had in his possession British-army discharge papers and a barracks pass, one sign of the fact that he worked at Victoria Barracks. He was shot eight times at Mountdesert Quarry on the Lee Road and died within thirty minutes of his admission to hospital. He was one of five ex-soldiers shot by the IRA who worked at Victoria Barracks. He was ‘employed at labouring work by the military’; Sherlock had a ‘similar occupation, being employed as a lorry driver’.  See CE, 21 May 1921. According to RA intelligence files, Sherlock had been driving British troops in Cork city.  (‘Civilians accused of giving information to and associating with the British forces during the War of Independence’, MA). The name of Edward Hawkins appears in the Compensation Commission Register under 20 May 1921, with the notation that British liability was accepted, and with a note that £3,500 was awarded. See Register of Compensation Commission (Ireland) Cases of Private Persons (CO 905/15, TNA).

Edward Hawkins’s father had the narrowest escape from death, as he explained to a subsequent military court of inquiry into the fate of his executed son: ‘[The] witness, with an arm of a chair he was carrying—he was a chairmaker—protected his head and was wounded in the arm and ear. He fell forward and the shooting party thought he was dead. He remained motionless until the party left the quarry. Then he went and telephoned for an ambulance.’ See II, 25 May 1921.

The victim Edward Hawkins was one of the five children (nine born) of the Cork city chairmaker Daniel Hawkins and his wife Jane of Broad Street; all five children (three sons and two daughters) co-resided with their parents in 1911. Edward Hawkins was the oldest child (then aged 19) and was listed as a sawmill labourer in the 1911 census.  By late 1914 he had evidently joined the British Army as a private, and was charged with desertion from the Royal Munster Fusiliers barracks in Tralee.  [Thanks to Jean Prendergast for this information.] He left a wife and three children at his death in May 1921. The family was Catholic.

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