Anti-Treaty Soldier William or Liam Cox


Anti-Treaty Soldier William or Liam Cox (about 23) of Ladysbridge near Midleton (Dromadda near Ladysbridge)

Date of incident: 25 Oct. 1922

Sources: Death Certificate (Midleton District, Union of Midleton), 25 Oct. 1922; MSPC/DP2269 (Military Archives); Roll of Honour, Cork No. 1 Brigade (Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork); CE, 26, 27 Oct. 1922, 25 Oct. 1923; II, 27 Oct. 1922; Weekly Irish Times, 4 No. 1922; Cork One Brigade (1963), Roll of Honour; Last Post (1976 ed.), 99; Keane (2017), 317-18, 418.


Note: Willliam Cox (born in 1899) was fatally wounded ‘during a search’ carried out by Free State troops near Killeagh on the afternoon of 25 October 1922. According to witnesses at a court of military inquiry held in the Imperial Hotel in Cork city on 26 October, Cox had been cornered in a furze ditch after becoming separated from his IRA comrades, who had refused an order to halt and run away. A National Army soldier who had seen Cox take cover in the ditch ‘shouted at him to put his hands up’, but ‘instead of doing so, the chap [Cox] fired two shots, and the soldier fired at him then and wounded him about the hip’. The National Army Soldiers rendered first aid to Cox, dressed his wound, and brought him while still alive to Midleton Hospital, but he died there about five hours after admission. The military court found that Cox had ‘died from shock and haemorrhage caused by a bullet fired by a member of the National forces in the execution of his duty, the deceased being at the time engaged in an attack on National troops’. See CE, 27 Oct. 1922.

The Cork Examiner provided details of this death among its obituaries. William Cox was said to have been ‘killed in action’ at Mount Uniacke near Killeagh on 25 October. He was described as the eldest son of John Cox of Midleton, an employee of the Midleton Distillery. The funeral was held at the Catholic church in Ladysbridge, followed by interment in Ightermurragh parish near Midleton two days later. See CE, 27 Oct. 1922. According to his death certificate, he had been employed as a wireless operator and had died of gunshot wounds and from shock and haemorrhage at the workhouse hospital in Midleton. See Death Certificate (Midleton District, Union of Midleton), 25 Oct. 1922. He had been a member of the Fourth and the Tenth Battalions of the Cork No. 1 Brigade of the IRA. See Roll of Honour, Cork No. 1 Brigade (Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork); Cork One Brigade (1963), Roll of Honour. Cox is commemorated on a memorial gravestone ‘erected by his old comrades’ in the graveyard on Ballymacoda Road, not far outside Ladysbridge; the gravestone records that Cox was ‘killed in action at Dromadda, Ladysbridge,’ on 25 October 1922 at the age of 22.

The victim’s mother Catherine Cox received a partial-dependant’s gratuity or allowance of £75 in 1924 under the Army Pensions Acts. This allowance continued to be paid until her death on 1 October 1954. His sister Mary Cox received a partial-dependant’s allowance from 1954 until her death on 29 November 1984. See MSPC/ DP2269 (Military Archives). 

William Cox was in 1911 one of the nine children of the corn buyer John Cox and his wife Kate. All of these nine children (four sons and five daughters) co-resided in that year with their parents at house 31 in Castleredmond townland near Midleton. The children ranged in age from under one month old to 12 years old. The eldest child was William Cox (then aged 12). His father was a corn buyer for the Midleton Distillery Company.

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