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corisande

Bryan Fergus Molloy, ES/59087 ASC, shot Dublin 1920

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corisande

johnny_doyle, that is a great tip for searching CWGC

Keep me out of mischief looking at those men

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corisande

I'll check Innis out, but I feel that as a private, he was unlikely to be doing a "responsible" undercover job with so many unemployed officers around

Found this from a relative who does not seem to know too much about him

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johnny_doyle

I don't mean to suggest that he was a spy or anything undercover, in fact the opposite. Using a "normal" soldier/ex-soldier of the same age and co-incidentally the same date of death to compare the availability of records. Very little available on him which is much the same as for "Molloy".

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corisande
Very little available on him which is much the same as for "Molloy"

On the contrary, I can find Birth, Marriage and MIC for him, while I can get nothing for Molloy :)

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mhifle

Hi,

I have been checking Service Records for RASC with close regimental numbers.

The nearest I could find is ES/58768 issued 27 Aug 1919.

Regards Mark

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corisande

Good thinking there Mark

That indicates that "B F Molloy" ES/59087 would have enlisted late in 1919, which is what I would have expected if he was undercover

I appreciate that does not prove it, but I have still not managed to find him a "past". If English he should already have served in WW1 and if Irish, well not too many Irish enlisting in late 1919

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mhifle

Hi,

The numbers close to his all seem to be 'Re enlisted under Army Order 5 of 12.6.19'

'For 1 years service with the Colours.'

Mark

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corisande

OK I have tried to draw the current state of information on Molloy together

Link to information on Molloy

I guess it is a little like Major Carew, if people do not want you to discover their past they occasionally leave a lateral chink in covering their tracks, whether Thomson did (if it were Thomson)remains to be seen

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IPT

It's odd with Irving. He was an MP between 1918 and 1924, but he only seems to have commented on Ireland betweem December 1919 and April 1920.

There seem to be four comments. Two of them are quite belligerent comments about British rule in Ireland, and two are specific questions about incidents in Dublin.

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/search/ireland%20-fisheries?speaker=mr-david-irving

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corisande

As you that is quite weird with just those two specific questions. For the benefit of forum readers the other specific question (other than was the murdered man really Molloy) was

April 13, 1920

Mr David Irving asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether an exhaustive search was made on the premises of Alexander Findlater, Dublin, for ammunition or explosives or firearms; whether any such articles were discovered; and, if not, whether, in view of the fact that the search was presumably based upon false information, he will see that greater care is taken before searching private houses or arresting and interning any persons, and that the information upon which the authorities act is authentic and trustworthy?

Sir A. WILLIAMSON I have been asked to answer this question. I am informed that the search of the premises referred to was carried out by the military authorities under the Defence of the Realm Regulations on receipt of reliable information. No arms were found, but seditious documents were discovered and seized.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY May I ask whether, when a search results in nothing being found, as has happened in many cases, there is any expression of regret or apology to the people who are disturbed in the middle of the night on a false scent altogether?

Sir A. WILLIAMSON I should like to have notice of that question

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Carmania

This is the entry for him in Padraic O'Farrell's 'Who's Who In The Irish War Of Independence And Civil War 1916-1923':

Mulloy, Fergus B.: Allegedly the last British spy who attempted to contact Collins during the war. He worked in the Pay Office at Parkgate and promised arms and passes to Batt O'Connor, Collins' driver. After initial promises to acquire arms proved fruitless he offered to take Liam Tobin, Cullen and Frank Thornton into Dublin Castle to obtain information. They refused but requested assistance in executing a British Col instead. This officer vacated his house soon afterwards and Mulloy was found dead in Wicklow St March 1920.

Aled

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corisande

Thanks Aled, I have added it to his page.

It is a;ways, to me, frustrating to see nameless sentences like "requested assistance in executing a British Col", one wonders who the colonel was.

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Carmania

Yes, O'Farrell's book can be very frustrating at times. Obviously taken a great deal of time and effort when one reads the list of sources used but many entries cry out for just a bit more detail.

Aled

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corisande

To be fair to him, the source does not usually say any more then that "a colonel"

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IPT

Thanks Aled, I have added it to his page.

It is a;ways, to me, frustrating to see nameless sentences like "requested assistance in executing a British Col", one wonders who the colonel was.

The Colonel was Hill Dillon.

This information may be found here http://www.cairogang.com/other-people/british/castle-intelligence/mulloy/mulloy.html

It's a very good page. You should read it some time.

:whistle:

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corisande

The chap that writes those pages is a half wit - he says that Molloy worked for Col Hill-Dillon, but does not say that Col Hill-Dillon was the chap the IRA wished to shoot

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IPT

The chap that writes those pages is a half wit - he says that Molloy worked for Col Hill-Dillon, but does not say that Col Hill-Dillon was the chap the IRA wished to shoot

He's not that bad. He did put this in;

post-48020-093823400 1285952782.jpg

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corisande

Sheesh, that guy is good

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corisande

OK I have sorted that chap out now, and to get the thread back on track. On the supposition that the shot man was not Molloy, and that Basil Thomson was decent enough to allow the chap to be buried under his real name, then the three names in the frame are

  • Charles William Braybrooke, Major in Royal Marines buried in Rochester (st Margarets) cemetery. Age 53
  • F A C Howells, Lt in 5th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, buried at Lydney St Mary Churchyard. Age 23
  • Hubert Edward Petipas 2nd Lt in RAF age 25, Son of Hubert Petipas, of Barrie's Beach, Antigonish Co., Nova Scotia, and the late Mary Petipas. buried at Tracadie, St Peters Cemetery in Canada. Age 25

Given the dead man was mid twenties (from inquest) then you can discount Braybrooke, which then leaves the Worcs Lt and the RAF man buried in Canada

1. I have put a request for info on Worcs Reg Forum. And does anyone know if there are Worcs Regt aficionados on the this forum that I could PM?

2. I cannot find out anything about the Canadian man, but there seem to be a lot of Canadian servicemen being buried in March 1920, 6 on the day this man died. I do not have enough knowledge to know what was going on there

I think I have to check the Worcs man out first

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BrendanLee

I have been following this thread over the past few days and I an a little confused as to what went on. Whom or what was buried with full military honours in Grangegorman Cemetery. If Molloy was an alias what was the point of continuing the deception after he was dead and would the real family of the dead man not be curious about the circumstances of his death. Molloy does not appear to have achieved much in his spying activities so the idea that cover needed to be maintained to protect others seems unlikely. Are there any records from the British side relating to Molloy's spying activities.

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corisande
Whom or what was buried with full military honours in Grangegorman Cemetery.

Yes, that is exactly what I am trying to find out. I have learned from long experience that the only way to progress Irish threads is to try to avoid discussions about whether Molloy achieved much or not. The only way we will ever know is if we get the appropriate intelligence files.

The Hansard question is, in itself, enough evidence for me to believe that his identity is worth exploring. Perhaps I will end up saying that his real name really was Bryan Fergus Molloy, but unless I can find a past for him, then I doubt I will make make that conclusion.

If his name was not Molloy (the most probable answer on my current thinking) then I have to try to find out who he really was. And I therefore need to see how and where Petipas and Howells died. They died the same day and are the right age.

I made some progress with F A V Howells (link to my page on him). I have got his birth, 1901 census and 1911 census (he was hiding as Austin Howells, rather than Francis Howells). I still cannot get him in any LG or Times entries, so his MIC is all I have on his army career!

Having dug around I think I can eliminate Howells

1. 1920 Mar 24. "Molloy" shot Wed evening

2. 1920 Mar 27. the body was unclaimed by Sat evening 27th March and only removed from the mortuary on Tues 30th March for burial that day. See press reports

3. 1820 Mar 27 Howells buried in Gloucestershire

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corisande

Death of a Theory :angry:

I seem to have reached the end of the road in try to link Molloy to any of the 3 officers who died that day

1. Charles William Braybrooke, Major in Royal Marines buried in Rochester (st Margarets) cemetery. Age 53. Too old to pass for the body of a man in his mid 20s

2.F A C Howells,(short write up) Lt in 5th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, buried at Lydney St Mary Churchyard. Age 23. Is right age, but he was buried before the body in Dublin had been released from the morgue

3 Hubert Edward Petipas (short write up) 2nd Lt in RAF age 25, Son of Hubert Petipas, of Barrie's Beach, Antigonish Co., Nova Scotia, and the late Mary Petipas. buried at Tracadie, St Peters Cemetery in Canada. Age 25. He is the right age but he returned to Canada in Sept 1919 and church records show he was buried in Canada 26 Mar (Molloy shot 24th March in Dublin)

4 I checked DMP records and RIC records but there is nothing recorded around that time that could be him.

So it looks as if Basil Thomson is still smiling. The MP who asked the question " who was Bryan Fergus Molloy" never found the answer, and to date I have not either. I have no idea if there is a body or a load of bricks in that grave in Grangegorman, but I am still convinced that it is not a man called Molloy

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corisande

The interlinking of killings in Dublin might have given me another lead. Dwyer in The Squad says he believes that Alan Bell was running Byrnes and a number of other agents, and reported directly to Basil Thomson.

Alan Bell(link to Alan Bell's life and death) was shot on 26 Mar 1920 and Molloy on 24 Mar 1920. Both in central Dublin

The Squad by Dwyer, says that an Irish American newspaper reported the following Sept 1920 "a rather colourful story that Bell had arranged for a Scotland Yard detective to go to Mountjoy prison, pose as a priest and hear confessions of political prisoners there. The IRA supposedly learned of this and shot both Bell and the detective the next day. The fact that no DMP detective was killed in the whole month of March was not allowed to get in the way of a good story" Although Dwyer thinks it is just a good story. Molloy was murdered on 24 March and Bell on 26 March. I suspect Molloy is the other man referred to here.

I have not been able to find the Irish American newspaper article. Somebody obviously tipped them the information on Bell, and if there was another murder linked to Bell's, then Molloy, who does appear to be a Scotland Yard or Basil Thomson man, whatever his name may have been. And therefore would fit the description here.

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mhifle

Hi,

Here is an article from 30 March 1920 in the Irish Times. Which names the chief mourners.

Regards Mark

post-14045-050798100 1286365466.jpg

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corisande

Thanks Mark

I'll try to cross check some of the attenders at the funeral to see if they have any Intelligence connections.

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