RIC Constable William Taylor

RIC Constable William Taylor (aged 28) from Yorkshire (Tulligbeg near Ballinhassig)

Date of incident: 3 Feb. 1921

Sources: Death Certificate, 3 Feb. 1921; CE, 4, 5 Feb. 1921; II, 4 Feb. 1921; FJ, 5 5 Feb. 1921; Kerryman, 12 Feb. 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/160/10 (TNA); Weekly Summary of Outrages against the Police (CO 904/148-50, TNA); Edward Sisk’s WS 1505, 4 (BMH); Abbott (2000), 198; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 142; Leeson (2011), 139.


Note: Constables William Taylor and Edward Carter were shot dead in an ambush at Tulligbeg near Ballinhassig on 3 February 1921 by about sixteen men of the Ballinhassig Volunteer Company under Richard O’Mahony (O/C, 9th Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade); a third constable named Fuller was seriously wounded. The policemen were attached to the RIC barracks at Ballinhassig; they were returning from buying supplies in a neighbouring town when they were attacked from both sides of the road while travelling by bicycle. The IRA took their service revolvers. Constable Taylor had only two months of service with the RIC; he had previously been a soldier. See CE, 4, 5 Feb. 1921; Abbott (2000), 198; Edward Sisk’s WS 1505, 4 (BMH).

The aftermath was highly dangerous for local civilians: ‘Military from Ballincollig and Kinsale and R.I.C. and Tans from Ballinhassig and Cork city subsequently raided the countryside, threatening everyone and shooting indiscriminately.’ See Edward Sisk’s WS 1505, 4 (BMH). There were other types of reprisals as well. ‘Later reports’, according to the Kerryman of 12 February 1921, ‘state that the burnings in the district were principally hay and barns, and so far no dwellinghouses have suffered.’ This report had followed another in the Freeman’s Journal of 5 February claiming that ‘a number of farmhouses in the Ballinhassig district’ had been burned on the night of 3 February. Constable Taylor had only two months of service with the RIC; he had previously been a soldier.

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