National Army Soldier William Cronin


National Army Soldier William Cronin (aged 24) of 6 Rock Villas, Bantry (Durrus Road, Bantry)

Date of incident: 11 Nov. 1922

Source: SS, 18 Nov. 1922; MSPC/2D39 (Military Archives); O’Farrell, Who’s Who, 203; Keane (2017), 325, 419.


Note: Private William Cronin of the Fifth Cork Brigade in the National Army was mortally wounded on the night of 11 November 1922 in an ambush by Irregulars at the Durrus Road railway station in Bantry (on the Cork, Bandon, and South Coast Railway line). See MSPC/2D39 (Military Archives). He died on 14 November in the Bandon Military Hospital. Different dates of death appear in his pension file, but a report in the Southern Star of 18 November establishes Tuesday, 14 November, as the correct date of death. 

That newspaper reported: ‘We regret to have to announce the death of Volunteer W. Cronin of the National forces, who succumbed to injuries received in an ambush near Durrus Road, Bantry, on last Saturday [11 November]. The deceased, who was wounded in the abdomen, was conveyed to Bandon, where he passed away on Tuesday evening [14 November]. The remains were removed to the Pro-Cathedral, Skibbereen, on Wednesday, and on Thursday the funeral took place to the family burying place in Abbeystrowrey. The deceased, who was a son of the late Mr John Cronin, carriage builder, was a very respectable young man, and the greatest sympathy is felt with his bereaved relatives. . . . The funeral was attended by a large gathering of [Skibbereen] town folk. . . . The coffin, which was draped in the tricolour and bore on it the deceased’s military cap, was carried on the shoulders of stalwart and loving comrades in arms. Full military honours were accorded, [with] a large number of troops following the coffin with rifles reversed. General Ennis, Brig-Commdt C. Connolly, and several [other] officers were in attendance, and as the remains were laid to rest in mother earth, three volleys were discharged by a firing party.’ See SS, 18 Nov. 1922.

William Cronin had joined the National Army on 26 August 1922 and thus had been in uniform for less than three months. According to his sister Kathleen Cronin, her brother William had served in the British army during the Great War. Her application for a gratuity or allowance was rejected. See MSPC/2D39.

In 1901 William Cronin was one of the three very young children of the Skibbereen carriage builder or ‘carriage smyth’ John Cronin and his wife Harriet. Their three sons lived with them at house 6 in Coronea (part of ’98 Street) in Skibbereen. William Cronin (then aged 2) was their second son.

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