National Army Soldier Jeremiah Driscoll


National Army Soldier Jeremiah Driscoll (15 or 18) of Donovan’s Lane, Bantry (Bantry)

Date of incident: 16 Oct. 1922

Sources: MSPC/2D54 (Military Archives); Keane (2017), 315, 418.


Note: Private Jeremiah Driscoll, while serving with the Fifth Cork Brigade of the National Army, was shot and killed on 16 October 1922 by the accidental discharge of Private Hurley’s rifle at ‘The Rink’ in Bantry. Private Driscoll’s mother Bridget sought compensation of £1,000 for the death of her son. She was awarded a gratuity of £25—after an appeal! See MSPC/2D54 (Military Archives).

Her gratuity was so small because she was receiving a pension of £2 per week from the British government as the widow of a ex-soldier of the British army. Her dependency on her deceased son was not considered significant enough for any further award. In one 1925 letter of bitter complaint about the smallness of her gratuity, she explained that ‘The Rink’ in Bantry was ‘not a skating rink but a stores [sic] not fit for any living being to sleep or live in. They [i.e., her son and other soldiers] had not [as] much as a light the night my son was shot, only a candle.’ She added with rough spelling: Ye dont care about the soliders that lost their lives or their people either. If it was a horse or donkey or cow that got killed, its owner would get paid, and no payment for a christen. It is a shame the way ye are treating the people.’ See Bridget Driscoll to Army Pensions Board, 22 Oct. 1925, MSPC/2D54 (Military Archives).

Jeremiah Driscoll was in 1911 one of the eight children of Michael and Bridget Driscoll of house 2 (a cabin) in Donovan’s Lane in Bantry. Bridget’s husband does not appear in the 1911 census record, but he does appear in the 1901 census, where his occupation is listed as ‘sea faring man’. All eight children (six sons and two daughters), ranging in age from 3 to 18, co-resided with their mother in 1911. Her fifth son Jeremiah had been born in 1904 according to his pension record, but he was said to be only 4 years old in the 1911 census. He may have lied about his age when joining the Free State army.

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