National Army Soldier (Sergeant) Joseph Claffey Jr


National Army Soldier (Sergeant) Joseph Claffey Jr (aged 19) of 40 Great Western Villas, Phibsboro’, Dublin (Bandon)

Date of incident: 11 Oct. 1922

Source: Evening Herald, 14 Oct. 1922; II, 14, 16 Oct. 1922; Sunday Independent, 15 Oct. 1922; FSS Cork Civil War Deaths; MSPC/2D216 (Military Archives); Keane (2017), 213, 418; http://www.irishmedals.ie/National-Army-Killed.php (accessed 2 Aug. 2017). 


Note: A member of the Second Dublin Brigade and single, Sergeant Joseph Claffey Jr was accidentally shot and killed at Bandon on 11 October 1922 by the fatal discharge of a comrade’s rifle. The left side of his head was ‘blown off’. His father Joseph Claffey Sr was then serving as a captain in the National Army at Custume Barracks in Athlone. See MSPC/2D216 (Military Archives). His son was interred in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin on 14 October 1922. 

The Evening Herald of 14 October 1922 reported: ‘The remains of Pte. Jos. Claffey, aged 19, of 40 Great Western Villas, Phibsboro’, who was killed in action in Cork, were interred in Glasnevin today. The body was brought by steamer from Cork and taken first to the mortuary in Portobello Barracks and last night to St Peter’s Church, Phibsboro’. The funeral took place after the 10 o’clock Mass to-day. The Guards’ War Pipers’ Band from Beggar’s Bush [Barracks], under the command of Lieut. Wynne, attended. The firing party and the guard of honour were from Portobello Barracks.

. . . [The] deceased, who had a long service in the Army, was very popular with his comrades, and deep regret is felt among them at his untimely death. . . . His father is a popular and respected employe of the Midland and Great Western Railway, and a large number of his fellow-employes attended to pay their tribute of respect on this melancholy occasion.’      

No award was made to Captain Joseph Claffey Sr after he applied for a gratuity in consideration of his son’s death. Captain Claffey had previously been employed as a passenger guard on the Midland and Great Western Railway, with earnings of £4 a week. His deceased son had been a porter on the same railway in civilian life, with earnings of £2 10s. a week, of which £2 had gone to his father. There was one other child in the family—a daughter who was not in employment. Captain Claffey was permitted to remain in Custume Barracks at Athlone after the partial demobilisation and reorganisation of the National Army at the end of the Civil War. (He was still there in May 1924.) He could not find employment, and the Civic Guard considered his financial condition as poor. Nevertheless, the Army Pensions Board came to the negative decision of ‘no dependency’. His wife’s application met the same response. See MSPC/2D216.

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