National Army Soldier James Murray


National Army Soldier James Murray (aged about 23) of 86 Horgan’s Buildings, Cork city (Bandon Road, Cork)

Date of incident: 3 Sept. 1922

Sources: Death Certificate (Cork Urban District, Union of Cork), 3 Sept. 1922; CE, 5, 6 Sept. 1922, 3 Sept. 1923; FJ, 5 Sept. 1922; II, 5 Sept. 1922; SS, 9 Sept. 1922; MSPC/ 2D276 (Military Archives); Keane (2017), 301, 417.


Note: James Murray was driving ‘a party in a Ford ton truck’ and ‘was passing up Bandon Road [in Cork city] about 10 p.m.’ on Sunday, 3 September 1922, when he was challenged to stop by a sentry at a Free State checkpoint in the district. Because of the sound of the motor, neither the driver Murray nor any of the passengers heard the order to halt. When the truck approached the checkpoint at a high rate of speed, the Free State sentry (Private Thomas Coughlan) stepped aside, fired one shot at the driver, and killed him. Murray was a resident of Cork city and had only recently joined the National Army in May 1922. His father was the caretaker of the Mechanics’ Hall on Grattan Street in Cork city, earning £1 per week, and resided at 86 Horgan’s Buildings. See CE, 5 Sept. 1922; MSPC/2D276 (Military Archives). 

Murray was buried ‘with full military honours’ in St Joseph’s Cemetery on 5 September 1922. ‘The cortege, which was large and representative, showing the general regret at the young soldier’s unfortunate death, was headed by a military pipers’ band. A party of soldiers with arms reversed accompanied the remains. At the graveside, where Rev. P. O’Toole, C.C., officiated, volleys were fired and the “Last Post” sounded.’ See CE, 6 Sept. 1922.

In civilian life James Murray had been employed as a motor mechanic with a wage £2 10s. per week at Wright’s garage in Copley Street in Cork city. The victim’s mother Mary Murray was awarded a partial-dependant’s allowance of 15s. a week. His father Michael Murray was denied any award but was eventually paid the balance of his wife’s allowance after her death. Michael Murray was a British navy veteran in receipt of a pension of 15s. 9d. per week and thus could not be considered a dependant of his deceased son James. By June 1941 Michael Murray was 74 years old, ‘completely invalided’ and ‘bedridden’. Caring for him was his daughter Eileen (Murray) McCarthy, aged 50 and a widow herself. The father’s other children included a married daughter named Mary (Murray) O’Shea, aged 42; and a married son named Denis Murray, aged 44 and then employed in the office of the Cork Examiner. All three surviving children were residents of Cork city. Their mother had died of chronic bronchitis and cardiac failure at the age of 67 on 11 April 1941. See MSPC/ 2D276 (Military Archives).

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,