Volunteer Section Commander Batt Falvey or Foley

Volunteer Section Commander Batt Falvey or Foley (aged 22) of Ballymurphy near Upton (Upton train ambush)

Date of incident: 15 Feb. 1921

Sources: Florence O’Donoghue Papers, MS 31,301/1, 3 (NLI); Frank Neville’s WS 443, 12-14 (BMH); Charles O’Donoghue’s WS 1607, 10 (BMH); Rebel Cork’s FS, 208; Deasy (1973), 222-23; Last Post (1976), 80; http://www.theirishstory.com/2011/02/15/today-in-irish-history-–-the-upton-ambush-february-15-1921/#.U-2IrBbOTHg (accessed 14 Aug. 2014); Upton Station IRA Memorial. 


Note: Three members of the Flying Column of the West Cork Brigade were killed or mortally wounded when they attacked the train carrying British soldiers at Upton Junction on 15 February 1921. In Towards Ireland Free, Liam Deasy listed the three dead IRA men as Batt Foley, Pat O’Sullivan, and Seán Phelan (a primary-school teacher). A fourth Volunteer, Daniel O’Mahony, was badly wounded in the hip at Upton; he was helped by a comrade to a farmhouse a short distance away and collapsed there. He was hidden in a nearby field until nightfall and escaped detection by enemy raiders. ‘After spending a long time in a Cork hospital’, he ‘recovered but died some years afterwards from the effects of the wounds he had got’. See Frank Neville’s WS 443, 13 (BMH).

Volunteer Bartholomew (Batt) Falvey was in 1911 one of the five co-resident children of the Ballymurphy North farmer and widower Denis Falvey. Batt (then aged 12) had three older sisters and one younger brother also living at home.

The Volunteers who lost their lives at Upton are commemorated at Upton Station. But there is nothing to commemorate the deaths of innocent civilians and railway workers who were killed in this gruesome gunfight. After this costly fiasco the IRA was far more reluctant to attack trains carrying civilians.   

The Irish Revolution Project

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University College Cork, Cork,