Civilian James Byrne
Civilian James Byrne (aged about 40) of house 15 in Whitegate town, Corkbeg (near Whitegate)
Date of incident: 25 Dec. 1922
Sources: FJ, 27, 30 Dec. 1922; II, 27 Dec. 1922; Belfast Newsletter, 27 Dec. 1922; Nenagh News, 30 Dec. 1922; Anglo-Celt, 30 Dec. 1922; CE, 30 Dec. 1922, 1 Jan. 1923; Irish Times, 30 Dec. 1922; SS, 6 Jan. 1923; Keane (2107), 344, 421; http://www.irishmedals.ie/Civilians-Killed-Civil-War.php (accessed 11 Aug. 2017).
Note: Under a headline that declared ‘Irregulars Fight Each Other’, there was initially a report from Whitegate that during a fight there on Christmas night 1922 one Irregular had been killed and another named Walsh had been wounded in the stomach. The report made the claim that the dead Irregular was believed ‘to be the person responsible for the shooting of Commandant Whelan in the same district about two months ago’. See CE, 30 Dec. 1922. A slightly later newspaper report identified the dead victim in the shooting at Whitegate on Christmas night as James Byrne, but the report did not state that Byrne was an Irregular. The journalist was somewhat ambiguous about what had happened: ‘It appears that he [i.e., Byrne] and a comrade were walking from Whitegate to Aghada when they were fired on, [with] Byrne being shot through the heart and dying immediately. His comrade was also wounded in the chest and is under treatment at the Mercy Hospital, where his condition is considered rather serious.’ The earlier suggestion that Byrne had been involved in the shooting of Whelan was firmly rejected. Byrne was buried in Corkbeg Graveyard on 29 December, with ‘a large attendance of people from the surrounding district, testifying to the popularity of [the] deceased and the sympathy of the people with his relatives’. See CE, 1 Jan. 1923. Newspaper accounts commonly gave the age of James Byrne as 35, but to judge from the 1911 census he was probably about 40.
James Byrne was in 1911 the only child of the elderly Whitegate (Corkbeg) widow and laundress Annie Byrne, who resided with her son James (an unmarried clerk then aged 29) at house 15 in Whitegate town on Cork Harbour.