National Army Soldier Thomas Gallagher


National Army Soldier Thomas Gallagher (aged 18) of Mountain View, Kill O’the Grange, Co. Dublin (Ballineen)

Date of incident: 4 Nov. 1922

Sources: CE, 6, 7, 10 Nov. 1922; II, 7 Nov. 1922; Belfast Newsletter, 7 Nov. 1922; SS, 11 Nov. 1922; Meath Chronicle, 11 Nov. 122; Anglo-Celt, 11 Nov. 1922; FSS Cork Civil War Deaths; MSPC/2D329 (Military Archives); CW/OPS/04/13 (Military Archives); Keane (2017), 320-21, 419; http://www.irishmedals.ie/National-Army-Killed.php (accessed 2 Aug. 2017).


Note: A member of the Free State Army Medical Corps, Private Thomas Gallagher died of gunshot wounds inflicted at Ballineen during a major engagement lasting about five hours on Saturday, 4 November 1922, and involving two parties of Free State troops, one with two officers and thirty-eight men based at Ballineen and the other with one officer and twenty-five men at Enniskeane. They came under attack from a substantial and determined body of Irregulars, estimated to number ‘two hundred at the least’. The Irregulars were reportedly led by Tom Barry, M. Donovan, P. Kearney, and M. Crowley, with Barry in command. Captain Byrne of the First Eastern Division of the National Army was in charge of the troops stationed at Ballineen, while Captain L. Finnegan of the Dublin Brigade was in charge of the troops stationed at Enniskeane. Essentially, the anti-Treaty forces succeeded in overrunning the Free State position at Ballineen and in inflicting serious casualties.

The Cork Examiner of 6 November 1922 summed up the losses on both sides as follows: ‘Five National soldiers were wounded, and of these two have died. The bodies of three Irregulars were found, while about four others are believed to have been killed, several wounded, and some captured. Between fifteen and twenty of the [Free State] soldiers were taken prisoners by the Irregulars and are still missing. They include Captain Byrne, the O.C. in Ballineen.’ Expecting that National Army reinforcements would soon arrive, the anti-Treaty forces eventually withdrew, and Free State troops reestablished their hold over these twin villages. See CE, 6 Nov. 1922.

The attack on National Army positions in the villages of Ballineen and Enniskeane on 4 November 1922 was the subject of an operations report on 14 November from Southern Area Command Headquarters in Cork city to the Commander-in-Chief at GHQ in Dublin. According to this report, the National Army in Ballineen had suffered three casualties, two of whom had since died. One Irregular had also died there. In addition, the National Army in Enniskeane had two casualties, one of whom had since died. The Irregulars lost two dead there. See CW/OPS/04/13 (Military Archives). From other sources it appears that only two Irregulars died in the attacks on Ballineen and Enniskeane. 

According to his pension file, Gallagher had been mortally wounded at Ballineen on 4 November 1922 and died the following day. He had been a student in civilian life. Gallagher’s funeral took place in Cork city on 5 November. His remains were then sent by steamer to Dublin for interment there. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery with full military honours on 9 November. Both his mother M. Callaghan and his aunt Mary Anne Gallagher later made unsuccessful applications for awards to the Army Pensions Board. See MSPC/2D329 (Military Archives); FSS Cork Civil War Deaths.

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