Civilian Josephine Scannell

Civilian Josephine Scannell (aged 19) of 12 French’s Quay, Cork city (French’s Quay)

Date of incident: 23 June 1921

Sources: CE, 24, 27 June 1921; FJ, 24 June 1921; CCE, 25 June 1921; CC, 28 June 1921; SS, 2 July 1921; CWN, 2 July 1921; Iris Oifigiúil, 21 Dec. 1923; Military Inquests, WO 35/159A/6 (TNA); Weekly Summary of Outrages against the Police (CO 904/148-50, TNA).


Note: On Thursday night, 23 June 1921, ‘the citizens of Cork had a trying experience’ when, ‘following bomb explosions and rapid firing, there was occasional heavy fire. . . . The first reports were heard all over the city and away in the suburbs.’ Four Volunteers in a motorcar threw two bombs at the Tuckey Street RIC barracks. The police fired at them and believed that they had killed one Volunteer and wounded another. At about the same time four other IRA men fired at an unarmed soldier near St Luke’s Cross, slightly wounding him and seriously injuring a civilian railway guard. Josephine Scannell was killed in ‘the general shooting’. Other civilians were wounded in the firing that night on both sides of the conflict. The injured civilians included Hugh Murray (aged 5); Mollie O’Connor (aged 12); and Mary O’Connor (a baby aged 13 months), with all three described as in serious condition. See CE, 24 June 1921.

Scannell’s funeral a few days later attracted large numbers of the general public: ‘The funeral of Miss Josephine Scannell, who lost her life during the sensational events in Cork on Thursday night of last week [23 June 1921], took place from St Finbarr’s Cemetery on Sunday afternoon [26 June]. Her tragic death, under circumstances that were exceedingly pathetic, created deep and heartfelt sorrow. Miss Scannell was engaged [in] working a sewing machine inside the window of her residence at 12 French’s Quay when a bullet passed through the window and mortally wounded her. [She was shot through the heart.] The shocking tragedy created general grief, as was evidenced by the large and representative cortege that followed the remains of this highly respected lady to St Joseph’s Cemetery.’ See CE, 27 June 1921.

Josephine Scannell was in 1911 one of the five children (three daughters and two sons) of the builder or building worker John Scannell and his wife Jane of 10 French’s Quay in Cork. While two children (including Josephine, then aged 9) were still at school, the three others included a house painter, an unemployed general labourer, and an unemployed shop assistant. A third brother, Michael Scannell, as well as her two sisters and two other brothers appeared at Josephine’s funeral on 26 June 1921. See SS, 2 July 1921. Their mother Jane Scannell was awarded compensation of £1,000 and costs by the Recorder of Cork in late September 1921. See Iris Oifigiúil, 21 Dec. 1923. 

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