National Army Soldier Bernard Murphy


National Army Soldier Bernard Murphy (aged 40) of 8 Lower Mercer Street, Dublin (Victoria Barracks, Old Youghal Road, Cork city)

Date of death: 25 Sept. 1922

Sources: Evening Herald, 29 Sept. 1922; FJ, 30 Sept. 1922; II, 30 Sept. 1922; Irish Times, 7 Oct. 1922; FSS Cork Civil War Deaths; MSPC/2D367 (Military Archives); Keane (2017), 309, 417; http://www.irishmedals.ie/National-Army-Killed.php (accessed 13 July 2017).


Note: Private Bernard Murphy died of gunshot wounds inflicted accidentally at Victoria Barracks in Cork city on 25 or 28 September 1922, according to differing documents in his pension file, where both dates appear. A report of 16 June 1924 from the Southern Command Headquarters of the National Army provided some additional detail, indicating that Private Murphy ‘was a member of an escort party delivering rations to the various posts in Cork city, and, on returning to barracks, was accidentally shot [in the heart] while in the act of jumping from the tender.’ The writer admitted, however, that there was no record of the incident in the files of the Southern Command. See MSPC/2D367 (Military Archives).

Aged 40 at his death, Murphy was buried in the National Army Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery on 29 September 1922. See Evening Herald, 29 Sept. 1922; FJ, 30 Sept. 1922; II, 30 Sept. 1922; Irish Times, 7 Oct. 1922; FSS Cork Civil War Deaths. This interment date makes it almost certain that he was killed accidentally at Victoria Barracks on 25 September.

Bernard Murphy had previously served in the British army with the Royal Garrison Artillery. He had enlisted in the National Army on 18 July 1922. Barely more than two months later, he was shot dead unintentionally by a comrade. He left a widow and five children. His wife Catherine Murphy applied for a gratuity. When Bernard Murphy married her, she was already a widow with four children (three girls and one boy) from her first marriage to Michael McDermott. She also had one young son from her marriage to Bernard Murphy, who had been a labourer with a weekly wage of £3 before joining the National Army. Catherine Murphy’s dependant’s allowance for a period of fourteen months (1 May 1925-30 June 1926) amounted to a little more than £68—paid in monthly installments of almost £5. See MSPC/2D367.

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