National Army Soldier (Sergeant) William Murphy Jr


National Army Soldier (Sergeant) William Murphy Jr (aged about 24) of Esker South near Ballinalee, Co. Longford (Carrigaphooca Bridge near Macroom)

Date of incident: 16 Sept. 1922

Sources: Death Certificate (Slieveragh District, Union of Macroom), 16 Sept. 1922; CE, 18, 22 Sept. 1922; FJ, 18, 19, 20, 21 Sept. 1922; Evening Herald, 18, 20 Sept. 1922; Belfast Newsletter, 18 Sept. 1922; Derry Journal, 20 Sept. 1922; II, 21 Sept. 1922; SS, 23 Sept. 1922; Kilkenny People, 23 Sept. 1922; Longford Leader, 23 Sept. 1922; Connaught Telegraph, 23 Sept. 1922; Connacht Tribune, 23 Sept. 1922; Ulster Herald, 23 Sept. 1922; Fermanagh Herald, 23 Sept. 1922; Strabane Chronicle, 23 Sept. 1922; FSS Cork Civil War Deaths; MSPC/2D335 (Military Archives); Boyne (2015), 185-86; Keane (2017), 99-101, 306, 394; http://www.irishmedals.ie/National-Army-Killed.php (accessed 7 July 2017); Carrigaphooca Bridge Memorial.


Note: Six soldiers of the National Army including William Murphy Jr were killed on the spot and a seventh was mortally wounded when a powerful road mine exploded as they were in the process of trying to disable and remove it a short distance from Carrigaphooca Bridge near Macroom on Saturday, 16 September 1922. See CE, 18 Sept. 1922; http://www.irishmedals.ie/National-Army-Killed.php (accessed 7 July 2017). Murphy was interred in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin on 19 September. See FSS Cork Civil War Deaths. 

William Murphy Jr was in 1911 one of the three children (a daughter and two sons) of the Esker South ‘farmer’ and widower William Murphy Sr. His elder son William Jr was then aged 13. The father was already 66 at the time of the 1911 census.  

William Murphy Jr had joined the Irish Volunteers in 1917 and served with the IRA until he joined the National Army in February 1922. He held the rank of sergeant at the time of his death. His father William Murphy Sr was awarded a gratuity of £60 in consideration of the death of his son William Jr at Carrigaphooca Bridge. The father’s claim for a dependant’s allowance succeeded because of his age, his infirmity, and his need. According to the Civic Guard report of about July 1924, William Murphy Sr had no private income prior to the death of his soldier son, apart from an old-age pension of 10s. per week. He was then at least 75 years old (probably even older, to judge from the 1911 census) and ‘incapacitated through age’ from working. His other son James (aged about 24) was a farm labourer earning 15s. weekly. The family possessed a ‘farm of land’ of 6 acres, but the land was ‘of a very poor quality’, and the profits from it were negligible. His deceased soldier son William Jr had also worked as a farm labourer at a wage of £1 a week, of which he had contributed 15s. a week to his father’s support. See Claim of William Murphy Sr and Recommendation of Army Pensions Board, 18 July 1924, MSPC/2D335 (Military Archives). 

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