National Army Soldier Bernard O’Brien


National Army Soldier Bernard O’Brien of 3 Sullivan’s Lane (off Barrack Street), Cork city (Ballinspittle near Kinsale)

Date of incident: 28 March 1923

Sources: CE, 31 March 1923; MSPC/3D278 (Military Archives); CW/OPS/04/13 (Military Archives); O’Farrell, Who’s Who, 209; Keane (2017), 355, 422; Langton (2019), 256. 


Note: The Cork Examiner of 31 March 1923 mistakenly reported that a soldier named O’Connor had been killed in a sniping attack by the anti-Treaty IRA at Ballinspittle near Kinsale on the morning of 28 March 1923. The soldier had been fatally wounded in the head. The body was conveyed later that day to the Mercy Hospital in Cork city to await the holding of an inquest. See CE, 31 March 1923. Padraic O’Farrell and Barry Keane have both reported that the soldier killed at Ballinspittle on 28 March was Bernard O’Brien. See O’Farrell, Who’s Who, 209; Keane (2017), 355, 422. James Langton has erred in naming this soldier as Private O’Connor. See Langton (2019), 256.

A National Army operations report dated 30 March 1923 indicated that one National Army Soldier had been shot dead when six of them had been ambushed at Ballinspittle. See CW/OPS/04/13 (Military Archives).  

The pension file of Private Bernard O’Brien of the 15th Infantry Battalion, with an address at 3 Sullivan’s Lane in Cork city (the same address given by the Cork Examiner), makes clear that it was indeed O’Brien who was killed at Ballinspittle on 28 March 1923 while he was on patrol duty. In civilian life he had been a miner. His sister Edith Mary Luther stated in her unsuccessful claim for an allowance or gratuity from the Army Pensions Board that her deceased brother had served in the British army with the Leinster Regiment for four years, and that he had seen combat in France during the Great War. See MSPC/3D278 (Military Archives). 

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