National Army Soldier William Williamson Jr


National Army Soldier William Williamson Jr of 17 James Street, Mile End, Glasgow, Scotland (Crossbarry near Bandon) 

Date of incident: 27 Nov. 1922

Sources: CE, 28 Nov. 1922; II, 29 Nov. 1922; FJ, 29 Nov. 1922; MSPC/2D219 (Military Archives); Keane (2017), 330-31, 419.


Note: A member of A Company of the First Scottish Brigade in the National Army, Private William Williamson Jr was killed in an attack by Irregulars between Bandon and Cork city on 27 November 1922. His remains were conveyed to Glasgow, and he was interred in the Dalbuth Cemetery there. See MSPC/2D219 (Military Archives).

The Irish Independent of 29 November 1922 reported: ‘The National forces lost two killed, and their assailants suffered heavy casualties in a brisk engagement at Crossbarry. On Monday afternoon [27 November] National troops were proceeding from Cork to Bandon when an attack was launched by 200 men in advantageous positions. A number of them occupied three houses, which were strongly fortified. The attackers were equipped with rifles, grenades, and machine–guns, and a hurricane of shots was fired into the passing troops, who replied vigorously and speedily extricated themselves from a difficult position. They divided their small party, one portion continuing the engagement while the other returned for reinforcements. On arrival of the latter the fight raged fiercely for an hour and a half, when the attackers hurriedly retreated as the troops were closing in. When the latter entered the houses that had been occupied, all had escaped with the exception of three men fully armed, who were made prisoners. The houses showed signs of the success of the reply to the attack, blood stains marking the walls and floors and around the vicinity of the houses.  It is stated that [Tom] Barry, who escaped from Gormanstown some time ago, led the attack.’ See II, 29 Nov. 1922. It is virtually certain that Private William Williamson Jr was one of the National Army Soldiers killed in this engagement.

His father William Williamson Sr was awarded a gratuity of £50 in consideration of his son’s death. Initially, a woman named Jessie Douglas was granted a weekly allowance of 5s. as the unmarried mother of a child whom she had with the deceased soldier, but this allowance was withdrawn in January 1926. See MSPC/2D219.

According to a report from the Glasgow Chief Constable’s Office on 10 March 1924, William Williamson Sr resided in a two-apartment house at 17 James Street, Mile End, Glasgow. Living there with him were his wife and three surviving children (aged 19, 15, and 10 respectively). He was employed as a ‘hammerman’ at the Parkhead Forge in Glasgow at a weekly wage of £2 5s. He stated that before joining the National Army, his deceased son William Jr had also worked as a ‘hammerman’ at John Browne and Co.’s shipyard at Clydebank at a weekly wage of £4, ‘all of which he gave his mother for the upkeep of the household’. At the time of his son’s death William Sr was jobless and in receipt of unemployment benefit and a small wage from parochial relief work. See MSPC/2D219. 

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