Civilian William F. B. Johnston

Civilian William F. B. Johnston (aged about 21) of Kilbrittain (Kilbrittain)

Date of incident: 9 Feb. 1921 (executed as suspected spy by IRA)

Sources: CE, 10, 12 Feb. 1921; FJ, 10 Feb. 1921; CWN, 19 Feb. 1921; RIC County Inspector’s Monthly Report, Cork West Riding, Feb. 1921 (CO 904/114, TNA); Register of Compensation Commission (Ireland) Cases of Private Persons (CO 905/15, TNA); Cork County Council Compensation Claims, Box 16/44 (CCCA); Hart (2002), 28; Fitzgerald (2012), 189; Ó Ruairc (2016), 120.


Note: A labourer and a Protestant, Johnston was found with a bullet in the back of his head and a note on his body designating him as a spy. He was shot dead by the IRA at his home. His father Edward Johnston of Kilbrittain, who was deceased by 1921, had been a police sergeant; Edward and his wife Amelia were the parents in 1911 of six living children, including three daughters and two sons who resided with them. William Johnston was interred in Rathclarin burial ground near Kilbrittain. The IRA raided the family home in October 1921. In the view of the RIC, this was done in order to intimidate Edward Johnston’s wife into leaving the area; she and her four daughters moved to Bandon. The Johnstons belonged to the Church of Ireland. The name of William Johnston appears in the Compensation Commission Register under 9 February 1921, with the notation that British liability was accepted, and with a note that £2,000 was awarded. See Register of Compensation Commission (Ireland) Cases of Private Persons (CO 905/15, TNA).

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,