National Army Soldier James Madden


National Army Soldier James Madden (aged about 34) of Brackernagh near Ballinasloe, Co. Galway (Lynch’s Cross near Rochestown)

Date of incident: 8 or 9 Aug. 1922

Sources: Irish Times, 14 Aug. 1922; II, 15 Aug. 1922; MSPC/2D82 (Military Archives); O’Farrell, Who’s Who, 207; Keane (2017), 292-94, 416.


Note: A member of the Athlone Brigade of the National Army, Private James Madden was killed in action on 8 or 9 August 1922 while fighting for the Free State in County Cork. His pension file ‘indicates that he was killed between Passage and Rochestown following the landing of National Army troops at Passage on 8 August. James Madden had previously served with the British army in the Connaught Rangers during the First World War prior to joining the National Army.’ His mother (who had remarried), Mrs. Lizzie Keighney of Brackernagh near Ballinasloe, was awarded an ex-gratia payment of £10 in May 1924 in consideration of the death of her son Private James Madden. See MSPC/2D82 (Military Archives).

Though the pension file contains several references to Madden’s having been killed at Patrickswell (seemingly in County Limerick), other references give County Cork as the place of death. One letter from the U.K. Ministry of Pensions in London indicated in June 1923 that it was understood that Madden, a British army pensioner (as a result of his prior wartime service with the Connaught Rangers), had been killed at Sunday’s Well, Cork city, on 8 August 1922. See Controller of Pension Issue Office (London) to Adjutant General, GHQ, Portobello Barracks (Dublin), 6 June 1923, MSPC/2D82. 

Subsequently, however, the Office of the Director-General of Medical Services at GHQ, Dublin, informed his colleague in the Office of the Adjutant General on 4 July 1923 that Colonel Ahearne of the Army Medical Service ‘states that in the landing at Passage seven [National Army soldiers] were killed, and to the best of his recollection Madden was one of them’. A more authoritative report on 25 July 1923 from National Army Command HQ in Cork city to the Dublin Office of the Adjutant General included an account from National Army Major John Reid of the 30th Infantry Battalion, who had been present when Madden was killed: ‘He states that the death took place between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on the afternoon of the 9th August 1922 at a place called Lynch’s Cross, Rochestown. Deceased was a member of a section that suffered heavy casualties as a result of enemy machine gun fire. He was hit in the forehead and death was instantaneous. His body was removed to the troop ship at Passage West for conveyance to Dublin, please [sic].’ See MSPC/2D82 (Military Archives).

But it is known that Private James Madden was not interred in Dublin. While other National soldiers killed in County Cork at about the same time were buried in Glasnevin Cemetery on 14 August 1922, Madden’s remains were removed from Dublin by train ‘for interment in his native town’ of Ballinasloe. See Irish Times, 14 Aug. 1922; II, 15 Aug. 1922. 

In 1901 James Madden was one of the seven co-resident children (three daughters and four sons) of the Brackernagh labourer Michael Madden and his wife Ellen. James Madden (then aged 13) was the eldest son, but his sister Bridget was one year older. By the time of the 1911 census James Madden of Brackernagh (now a general labourer aged 23) had married Julia Madden, and they were the parents of an infant daughter named Mary Ellen (six months old). Other children were probably born to the young couple before James Madden’s death in August 1922.      

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