National Army Soldier Nicholas Ward
National Army Soldier Nicholas Ward (aged 23) of 25 Fingal Road, Dublin (near Watergrasshill)
Date of incident: 1 Sept. 1922
Sources: CE, 2, 6 Sept. 1922; Evening Herald, 5 Sept. 1922; FJ, 6 Sept. 1922; FSS Cork Civil War Deaths; O’Farrell, Who’s Who, 212; Keane (2017), 301, 417; http://www.irishmedals.ie/National-Army-Killed.php (accessed on 5 July 2017).
Note: Private Nicholas Ward was mortally wounded on 1 September 1922 when a party of Free State troops traveling in a Lancia car and a lorry were again ambushed by Irregulars near Watergrasshill, at a spot less than half a mile from a very recent ambush. The National troops were on a mission to recover the wreckage of one of their lorries destroyed near this site just two days earlier. Ward belonged to the First Company of the Fourth Battalion of the First Dublin Brigade of the National Army. The driver of one of the cars, a National Army Soldier named Richard Kearns, was seriously wounded and later died. See CE, 2, 7, 9 Sept. 1922.
According to another source deriving its details from the Cork Examiner, ‘The recovery party left Cork in a Lancia car and a lorry. While making their return journey, the driver of the leading car noticed a bump in the road which concealed a land-mine; as a soldier was examining the mine, it exploded, hurling him into the ditch; he had an amazing escape, suffering only minor injuries. Immediately after the explosion, heavy fire was opened on the National troops, who vigorously returned fire. The ambushers beat a hasty retreat, but during the exchange of fire two of the National Army troops were mortally wounded. The two dead men were Private Ward, Number 1 Company, 1st Dublin Brigade, who was struck on the head and died shortly after; [and] Driver Richard (Dick) Kearns, aged 26 and married with two children. Private Kearns was born in Dublin and had served in WW1 as a lance corporal with the Dublin Fusiliers. Kearns suffered a serious head wound and died later in Cork.’ See http://www.irishmedals.ie/National-Army-Killed.php (accessed 5 July 1922). This account is based on the report of the incident appearing in the Cork Examiner of 2 September 1922.
Ward was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin on Tuesday, 5 September, along with two other National Army soldiers—Privates Thomas Conway and James Hudson. See Evening Herald, 5 Sept. 1922; CE, 6 Sept. 1922.