National Army Soldier James Patrick McCann


National Army Soldier James Patrick McCann (aged 21) of 89 Hamilton Street, Govan, Glasgow, Scotland (Grand Parade, Cork city)

Date of incident: 2 Sept. 1922

Sources: CE, 4, 5, 6, 15 Sept. 1922; Evening Herald, 4, 5, 6 Sept. 1922; FJ, 4, 7 Sept. 1922; Death Certificate (Cork Urban District No. 6, Union of Cork), 14 Sept. 1922; FSS Cork Civil War Deaths; MSPC/2D208 (Military Archives); Boyne (2015), 177; Keane (2017), 302-3, 417; See http://www.irishmedals.ie/National-Army-Killed.php (accessed 7 July 2017).


Note: Private James McCann was one of fourteen National Army Soldiers wounded on Saturday, 2 September 1922, when forces of the anti-Treaty IRA, using machine guns and rifles, opened fire on Free State forces stationed at the Cork City Club on the Grand Parade. Two National Army Soldiers were killed in this attack. All the killed and wounded were said to be members of the Curragh Reserve of the National Army. See CE, 4 Sept. 1922. McCann’s injuries were serious. He had a bad fracture of the femur that required surgery, but his condition remained poor. See CE, 5, 6 Sept. 1922. He died of his wounds at the Mercy Hospital on 14 September 1922. See CE, 15 Sept. 1922. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin on 18 September. See FSS Cork Civil War Deaths. 

James Patrick McCann had an extensive republican past before joining the National Army. Earlier in his short life he had been a member of the Govan Sluagh or Company of Fianna Éireann in Glasgow (from 1917 to the Truce) and then a member of C Company in the First Battalion of the Scottish Brigade of the IRA (from the Truce to 1922). He took the pro-Treaty side in the Civil War and joined the Curragh Reserves of the Free State army. His mother Mary McCann was awarded a gratuity of £50, which was later increased on appeal to £100. Much later still (from August 1953), his father was granted an allowance of £180 per annum on the basis of his son’s pre-Truce service—an extraordinary sum for the Army Pensions Board. See MSPC/2D208 (Military Archives).

On 21 February 1924 the Chief Constable of City of Glasgow Police informed the Chief Commissioner of Police in Dublin Castle that the victim’s parents Mary McCann and her husband William co-resided at 89 Hamilton Street, Govan, Glasgow, with five surviving children (later in the file said to be six), ranging in age from 6 to 18. William McCann was a fireman for the Shieldhall Co-operative Society in Govan and earned £2 15s. per week. At that point Mary McCann’s income consisted of £2 weekly from her husband’s wage and an allowance of £2 2s. arriving every fortnight from the Army Pensions Board in consideration of the death of her soldier son James Patrick. None of the children at home were in employment. Neither was Mary McCann, whose job as mother and housewife was onerous enough. Prior to joining the National Army in Ireland, her son James Patrick had worked in the engineering shop at the Shieldhall Co-operative Society at a weekly wage of £3 15s. When employed there on what was termed the ‘Coal Contract’, he had earned as much as £9 a week. With his death and the loss of his earnings, his parents were ‘in rather poor circumstances’. Mary McCann was eventually granted the increased gratuity of £100 in view of her need and that of her husband to support six children on the wage of a labouring man. See MSPC/2D208. 

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