National Army Soldier Patrick Byrne


National Army Soldier Patrick Byrne (aged 26) of 12 The Crescent, Pembroke West, Dublin (near Ballygurteen village)

Date of incident: 4 Oct. 1922

Sources: Death Certificate (Dunmanway District, Union of Dunmanway), 5 Oct. 1922; CE, 10, 12, 16 Oct. 1922, 5 Oct. 1923; MSPC/2D189 (Military Archives); FSS Cork Civil War Deaths; Keane (2017), 314, 418; http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/new-housing-scheme-for-dublins-poor (accessed 13 July 2017); http://www.irishmedals.ie/Civilians-Killed-Civil-War.php (accessed 11 Aug. 2017). 


Note: Private Patrick Byrne was critically wounded when Irregulars ambushed a party of National Army troops led by General Seán Hales, T.D., on 4 October 1922 near the village of Ballingurteen (on the road between the townlands of Lettergorman and Kildee) as they were proceeding on foot from Dunmanway to Clonakilty. In this engagement General Hales and the soldiers under his command were confronted ‘by a large body of irregulars, who from the cover provided on an overlooking hillside, opened a hot attack on the troops with machine guns and rifle fire. . . . The party of National troops . . . , though exposed, through lack of the slightest cover, to the merciless shower of bullets fired at them by the irregulars, pluckily returned the fire’, silenced their enemies’ guns, and forced them to withdraw. Nevertheless, the National soldiers in this ambush admitted to having suffered five casualties, with one fatality—that of Private Byrne, who died the next day of shock and haemorrhage stemming from his gunshot wounds at the Dunmanway Hospital. See CE, 10 Oct. 1922. He was interred in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin on 9 October. See FSS Cork Civil War Deaths. A second National Army Soldier—Ted Hayes of Clonakilty—was initially said to have died in this engagement, but subsequent reports noted that he was recovering from his wounds. CE, 12, 16 Oct. 1922.

In the pension file for Private Patrick Byrne two different dates (5 and 11 October 1922) are given for his death at Dunmanway. (The correct date is 5 October.) He had previously served in the British army and had been demobilised in January 1922. In the National Army he had belonged to the Machine Gun Corps. His father Richard Byrne’s application for an allowance or gratuity was rejected on the grounds that he had not been dependent on his deceased son. Private Byrne had been born in 1896. See MSPC/2D189 (Military Archives).  

Patrick Byrne was in 1911 one of the eight living children (fourteen born) of the vegetable dealer Richard Byrne and his wife Julia. Of these eight children, only four (two sons and two daughters) still co-resided with their parents at house 12.1 in The Crescent in the Dublin suburb of Pembroke West. Patrick Byrne (then aged 15) was the oldest of the children remaining at home. A new housing scheme for almost 600 working-class families had been opened in Pembroke in September 1916. See http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/new-housing-scheme-for-dublins-poor (accessed 13 July 2017).   

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