Volunteer Lieutenant Patrick Crowley Jr

Volunteer Lieutenant Patrick Crowley Jr (aged about 26) of Kilbrittain (Maryborough near Kilbrittain)

Date of incident: 4 Feb. 1921

Sources: CE, 5 Feb. 1921; CCE, 12 Feb. 1921; Mary Walsh’s WS 556, 5 (BMH); WS 560 of James O’Mahony et al., 17 (BMH); Denis Collins’s WS 827, 14 (BMH); Michael J. Crowley’s WS 1603, 14 (BMH); Charles O’Donoghue’s WS 1607, 9 (BMH); Rebel Cork’s FS, 207; Deasy (1973), 209-10; Last Post (1976), 79; McCall (2010), 139.


Note: Crowley ‘was shot while trying to fight his way out of a round-up’ on Friday, 4 February 1921. An ‘exceptionally strong force’ of military, police, and Black and Tans from Bandon had converged on Maryborough and took in a few adjoining areas; they raided almost every house and arrested all men aged from 16 to 60 and brought them to Kilbrittain village for questioning. All were eventually released except Volunteers Denis (Sonny) Crowley, Kilbrittain Company intelligence officer, and Daniel O’Neill. Denis Crowley and O’Neill were sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for offering false names. Patrick Crowley’s death, wrote Liam Deasy, ‘was a bitter blow to us all. From 1917 he had been a most active Volunteer and an outstanding leader’. He was ‘the chief architect of the Rathclarin ambush’ of 1919. ‘Thereafter he was involved in the two successful attacks on Howes Strand coastguard station, the Newcestown and Tureen ambushes, the two attacks on Kilbrittain barracks, and in many other engagements as well.’ He was buried in Clogagh Cemetery in Timoleague. See Deasy (1973), 209-10.

At the time of his death Crowley was a member of the Bandon Board of Guardians and the Bandon Rural District Council. See CE, 5 Feb. 1921. Crowley was a son of Patrick Crowley Sr of Kilbrittain, whose house had been burned down about a fortnight earlier and whose shop in the village was demolished under British military direction ‘by a large number of men who were commandeered for the purpose’ on the day of his son’s death. See CCE, 12 Feb. 1921. Volunteer Paddy Crowley’s brother Denis, also a Volunteer, ‘was caught on [sic] the same round-up, and though not recognised, was arrested and suffered brutal treatment at the hands of the Essex’. See Michael J. Crowley’s WS 1603, 14 (BMH). Volunteer Patrick Crowley came from a strongly republican family. He was in 1911 one of the six children (four sons and two daughters) of Kilbrittain gamekeeper and shopkeeper Patrick Crowley and his wife Margaret. 

Mary Walsh of the Kilbrittain Cumann na mBan vividly remembered the circumstances under which Paddy Crowley had been cornered and killed: ‘Volunteer P. Crowley remained at this time in our district. He was awaiting an appendix operation. A dump was prepared by us for him. (He had his meals in our house after being told there was no raiding.) Unfortunately, the place was surrounded this morning [4 February 1921] by military in single formation which closed in on the suspected houses. When word came, Paddy and my brother ran by a fence to cover, only to run into [Major] Percival himself. They retraced their steps, Percival following and firing. My sister and I ran after the two boys, hoping to save them from the firing, as we felt sure he would not fire on us. . . . Then my sister caught Percival by the legs (he was on a gate) and held him fast, even though he beat her knuckles with a gun. When he could not release himself, he pointed the gun at our brother and said he would shoot him dead if she did not let him go. We had hoped by this time that Paddy had got well away. He was followed by Percival and was found stretched dead about a quarter of a mile from our home by a Cumann na mBan girl that was crossing to let us know of the raid. My sister and I, with a few others, brought the body back to our house before the military had time to collect it. They came along with a local R.I.C. man to identify the body but did not interfere again. He was waked and buried from our house in Clogagh and was given full military honours; also, Charlie Hurley spoke at the grave after his burial.’ See Mary Walsh’s WS 556, 5 (BMH).

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