National Army Soldier John Travers


National Army Soldier John Travers (aged about 16) of Spittal Street, Cloyne (near Youghal)

Date of incident: 11 Dec. 1922

Sources: Death Certificate (Youghal District, Union of Youghal), 13 Dec. 1922; CE, 13, 14, 15, 19 Dec. 1922; FJ, 13 Dec. 1922; II, 15 Dec. 1922; MSPC/2D193 (Military Archives); O’Farrell, Who’s Who, 211; Keane (2017), 338-39, 420.


Note: While unarmed just outside the town of Youghal, Travers ‘was shot and gravely wounded’ on Monday night, 11 December 1922, at about 9 p.m. Three armed men attacked him along the Mill Road as he was returning to the bridge outpost. He tried to run away but was pursued, collared, and shot in the legs; a bullet also penetrated his stomach and lodged in his abdomen. See CE, 13 Dec. 1922. He died of his wounds and peritonitis two days later (13 December) in the Youghal Union Hospital. See Death Certificate (Youghal District, Union of Youghal), 13 Dec. 1922. 

His mother was disconsolate, especially since Travers was her only child and he was so young. As he lay dying, he told a priest that he had forgiven the man who had shot him. See CE, 15 Dec. 1922. On 13 December, at nearly the same spot where Travers was fatally wounded two nights earlier, two other National Army Soldiers returning off-duty from the Stone Bridge outpost were fired upon from Quarry Hill in Youghal. See CE, 14 Dec. 1922. 

Travers was buried with full military honors on 15 December in the North Abbey Cemetery. The whole town of Youghal closed down from 1 to 3 p.m. out of respect for the dead soldier and his family. ‘The inclemency of the weather notwithstanding, there was a big attendance of the general public, [with] the Pipers’ Band heading the cortege. All the available forces from both barracks and the various outposts took part under Comdt. Kearney.’ See CE, 19 Dec. 1922.

The Civic Guard reported on 14 February 1924 that this deceased soldier’s mother Francis Travers was ‘living alone in a miserable little house in this village [Cloyne] which has all the appearances of abject poverty’. She was said to be unable to work and to be suffering from heart failure prompted by the shock of her son’s death. She was awarded a dependant’s allowance of 15s. per week beginning on 8 March 1924. The dates given in her son’s pension file for the occasion of his wounding and for his death two days later are both incorrect. See MSPC/2D193 (Military Archives).

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