#OTD in 1921 – Drumcondra Murders: Republican activists James Murphy and Patrick Kennedy were arrested by Auxiliaries in Dublin.

James Murphy and Patrick Kennedy were arrested by Auxiliaries in Dublin and were in the custody of ‘F’ company . Two hours later, constables of the Dublin Metropolitan Police found the two men lying shot, with pails on their heads, in Clonturk Park, Drumcondra; Kennedy was dead, and Murphy was dying. Murphy died in Mater Hospital, Dublin on 11 February, but just before dying James Murphy testified that King had taken them and stated that they were ‘just going for a drive’. Captain W L King, commanding officer of F Company ADRIC, was arrested for the killings. King and two of his men, Hinchcliffe and Welsh were court-martialled on 13-15 February, but were acquitted, after Murphy’s dying declaration was ruled inadmissible, and two officers from F Company provided perjured alibis for Captain King at the time of the shootings.

King was implicated and court-martialled for the deaths of Conor Clune, Paeder Clancy, and Dick McKee, the latter two leading lights in the Dublin IRA, the former a luckless Gaelic League member who were all captured in Dublin on 20 November 1920, the day before Bloody Sunday. Clune was caught at Vaughn’s Hotel in Parnell Square, Dublin and the two IRA leaders at Lower Gloucester St., complete with British army officer uniforms and detonators. Sometime between then and the next day, in the Dublin Castle guard-room, as news no doubt filtered in of the deaths of several British intelligence officers, the prisoners were killed in questionable circumstances. According to an official report from Dublin Castle, they attempted to grab rifles and hurl unfused grenades and were killed in that action. The guards of ‘F’ Company in the room at the time were cleared of wrongdoing by a court inquiry. A Major Reynolds of ‘F’ Company is said to have passed details of the killers to Michael Collins. The Times noted that it seemed as if the prisoners had been lined up and shot. In a later novel, Hardy more or less confessed to the killing of one of the prisoners.

Ironically, Captain King had been on Michael Collins list of British Intelligence officers to be executed on the morning of 20 November 1920, he was not in his room when the assassins arrived, he was interrogating the prisoners in Dublin Castle.

Image | Mixed gunmen of the Royal Irish Constabulary’s Auxies and Black and Tans contingents

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