National Army Soldier Cornelius Driscoll or O’Driscoll


National Army Soldier Cornelius Driscoll or O’Driscoll (aged 18) of Ardgehane near Clonakilty (Bandon)

Date of incident: 24 March 1923

Sources: CE, 26, 27 March 1923; SS, 31 March 1923; MSCP/3D61 (Military Archives); CW OPS/04/01, Daily Report of 26 March 1923 (Military Archives); Keane (2017), 355, 422; Langton (2019), 102. 


Note: Private Cornelius O’Driscoll was seriously wounded in a sniping attack on Green Barracks in Bandon at about 5 a.m. on 24 March 1923. He was a sentry. The attack lasted about half an hour. See CE, 26 March 1923. In this first report O’Driscoll was not named. But according to an official report sent from the 15th Infantry Battalion and dated 25 March 1923, ‘Volunteer O’Driscoll . . . died at Bandon Military Hospital last evening.’ See CE, 27 March 1923. The cause of death was a bullet wound in the abdomen. A sniper reportedly fired the fatal shot. See MSCP/3D61 (Military Archives). The Southern Star confirmed the date of death as 25 March 1923. See SS, 31 March 1923. 

Cornelius O’Driscoll (spelled Driscoll in the census) was in 1911 one of the seven children of the agricultural labourer Laurence O’Driscoll and his wife Margaret. These children all co-resided in that year with their parents in the townland of Ardgehane near Clonakilty. The family included six daughters and one son—Cornelius (then aged 6). Four other children were born after 1911. 

His father Laurence O’Driscoll was awarded a gratuity of £90 in 1924 in consideration of his son’s death (£13 in one first advance and the rest in installments of £7 over eleven months). The Civic Guard report of 18 February 1924 had indicated that his claim was ‘a deserving one’: ‘Applicant is father of the deceased and is aged 61. He is a fisherman by trade and has no regular employment and has a family of nine children. The youngest of these is about two years old. He has a daughter employed with a neighbouring farmer who does not contribute to the support of the family. The applicant had no private income or means prior to the death of the deceased, who was regularly employed and was the main support of the family prior to his joining the National Army.’ Before his enlistment Cornelius O’Driscoll had worked as a labourer with weekly earnings of 16s. and his ‘keep’. The money all went ‘to his home’. See MSCP/3D61.

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