National Army Soldier Daniel Desmond


National Army Soldier Daniel Desmond (aged 19) of 2 Knapps Square (off Camden Quay), Cork (Mulgrave Road, Cork city)

Date of incident: 20 Nov. 1922.

Sources: Death Certificate (Cork Urban District, Union of Cork), 20 Nov. 1922; CE, 21, 22 Nov. 1922; Evening Herald, 21 Nov. 1922; SS, 25 Nov. 1922; MSPC/2D399 (Military Archives); Keane (2017), 327, 419.


Note: Private Daniel Desmond was killed on 20 November 1922 by a shot fired by someone in armed opposition to the National Army as he was on duty with other National Army Soldiers ‘in the vicinity of the steps which lead down from Mulgrave Road nearly opposite St Mary’s Church and Priory’ in Cork city. Desmond was part of a military patrol that had halted and posted sentries at the corner of Devonshire Street and down Camden Quay. According to a Free State officer who appeared as a witness at the subsequent military court of inquiry, four shots had been fired from Devonshire Street at one of the Free State sentries; this officer then found Desmond and civilian Madge Daly lying dead on the ground about four yards apart. It appeared that they had been killed by the same anti-Treaty IRA gunman, possibly by the same bullet. The sentry had challenged ‘a civilian’ man to halt, but instead of doing so, he moved forward and fired at the sentry from about 20 or 30 yards; his first shot hit the sentry’s rifle; one or more of his three other revolver shots caused the deaths of Daly and Desmond. See CE, 22 Nov. 1922.

The Southern Star of 25 November reported that ‘a young lady [Madge Daly] who was passing down from the direction of the Cathedral was struck on the head by the bullet, which passed through and entered the head of Private Driscoll, who was some distance away. Both were seriously wounded and were taken to the Dominican Priory. They received spiritual ministration and died almost immediately.’ See SS, 25 Nov. 1922.                                                                                                                             

Private Desmond served with the First Infantry Battalion of the National Army. He had joined up as recently as 4 September 1922. He may have earlier served in the British army. His mother Mary Desmond claimed that he had been receiving a military pension from the British government. In civilian life he had worked as a carman or shop porter. His father was a casual labourer and infirm, according to her claim of 6 June 1924. She was awarded a gratuity of £60, payable in twelve monthly installments of £5. See MSPC/2D399 (Military Archives).

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