Volunteer David Desmond

Volunteer David Desmond (aged about 24) of 17 Commissioners Buildings, Midleton (Clonmult)

Date of incident: 20 Feb. 1921 (killed after surrender)

Sources: CE, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 Feb. 1921; II, 24, 25 Feb. 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/155A/53 (TNA); Seán O’Mahony Papers, MS 44,047/3 (NLI); Joseph Aherne’s WS 1367, 52-58 (BMH); Michael Kearney’s WS 1418, 21-23 (BMH); Patrick J. Whelan’s WS 1449, 51-58 (BMH); John P. O’Connell’s WS 1444, 15 (BMH); John Kelleher’s WS 1456, 23-24 (BMH); Patrick J. Higgins’s WS 1467, 3-7 (BMH); Diarmuid O’Leary’s WS 1589, 4-8 (BMH); Roll of Honour, Cork No. 1 Brigade (Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork); Last Post (1976), 80; O’Neill (2006), 62, 96-100; Borgonovo (2007), 88; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 84-85, 143; Rebel Cork’s FS, 190-95; Sheehan (2011), 125; Midleton IRA Memorial, Main Street, Midleton; Cork No. 1 Brigade Memorial, Holy Rosary Cemetery, Midleton; Clonmult Ambush Site Memorial; Clonmult Village Memorial; http://midletonheritage.com/2015/12/11/few-families-suffered-as-we-did-war-of-independence-pension-files-associated-with-midleton/ (accessed 13 March 2016).    


Note: A member of B Company of the Fourth Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade, Volunteer David Desmond was killed after surrendering at Clonmult. His brother Michael Desmond was killed in combat there. The two brothers were among the seven children (five sons and two daughters) of the widowed Bridget Desmond of 17 Commissioners Buildings in Midleton. In 1911 the eldest son Edmond (then aged 17) worked as a tailor; he was three years older than his brother David and five years older than his brother Michael. The Volunteer brothers David and Michael Desmond were interred in the Republican Plot of Holy Rosary Cemetery in Midleton.

The two sisters of Volunteers David and Michael Desmond—Mary Ellen and Bridget—were each awarded £100 in compensation for their brothers’ deaths, and though a plea for an additional sum was made, Bridget Desmond was informed on 1 December 1924 that the two payments were ‘the maximum awards that could be made under the Army Pensions Act, 1923’. Midleton Garda Sergeant A. Beirne had earlier reported that David Desmond had been ‘employed at Passage Docks & was earning four pounds per week and gave three pounds for the upkeep of his sister [Mary Ellen] & mother. The family consisted of mother, three sons & two daughters. One brother, Michael [deceased], was maintaining the other sister [Bridget] & contributing to the support of the household also.’ Mary Ellen Desmond was about 23 years of age in 1924 and ‘never was employed any place’; she was described as ‘wholly dependent on her brother [David] at [the] time of his death’. See Garda Sergeant A. Beirne to Chief Superintendent, Cork city, 17 March 1924, quoted at http://midletonheritage.com/2015/12/11/few-families-suffered-as-we-did-war-of-independence-pension-files-associated-with-midleton/ (accessed 13 March 2016).

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,