National Army Soldier John James Kelly


National Army Soldier John James Kelly (aged about 19) of 20 Wellesley Terrace, Southern Road, Cork (near Macroom)

Date of incident: 27 June 1923

Sources: CE, 29 June 1923; II, 30 June 1923; Irish Times, 30 June 1923; MSPC/3D82 (Military Archives).


Note: Private John James Kelly was accidentally shot and killed near Macroom on 27 June 1923. He was stationed there as a member of the 32nd Infantry Battalion under Commandant Peadar O’Conlon. Private Thomas Black was injured in the same incident. In civilian life Private Kelly had been an apprentice cabinetmaker. Kelly’s father was a former sergeant in the RIC. Private Kelly’s mother Mary Kelly was awarded a gratuity of £40. See MSPC/3D82 (Military Archives).

The Cork Examiner reported about Kelly’s death near Macroom: ‘The deceased soldier was a native of the Southern Road, Cork, being second son of the late Mr Joseph Kelly. From the details available concerning the accident, it appears that the deceased was handed a rifle by some other soldiers who were rabbit shooting, and not knowing that the weapon was loaded, [the] deceased was careless in handling it, with the unfortunate result that it became discharged and fatally wounded him.’ His remains were to be removed from the Mercy Hospital (to which the dead body had been taken) to St Finbarr’s Church (South), with the funeral and burial in St Joseph’s Cemetery scheduled for Saturday, 30 June 1922. See CE, 29 June 1923.  

John James Kelly was in 1911 one of the eight co-resident children of the widow Mary Kelly of house 20 on the Southern Road in Cork city. These eight children included five daughters and three sons ranging in age from 4 to 19. Apart from his brother Raymond William, John James Kelly (then aged 7) was the youngest child. He was Mary Kelly’s second son.   

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