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Remembered Today:

British soldiers shot in Ireland following Court Martial


corisande

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Hi Corisande,

Could this be your man?

9588 PTE. JOHN WINSLEY LEINSTER REGT.

Attested 6/71911 Born 1893 St.Finbars Cork.

A town labourer with previous service in the 4th Batt.R.M.FUS. (Militia?)

Next of Kin Susan (mother) Mary(sister)of 2 Grafton St. Cork.

Discharged Free 19/1/1912 by an entry I am unfamilier with.

His service record can be found on FIND MY PAST

.Hope this helps a little with the mystery.

Regards,

corona.

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Thanks Corona, that is certainly him in yet another guise in the British Army.

1. Munsters 4th Battalion

2. Jul 1911 to Jan 1912 in Leinsters. AS you say his discharge is not a common one, and I cannot find out what it i, can anyone say what this discharge actually is for ( I suspect it is medical)

discharge-1912.jpg

3. Aug 1912 to Sep 1915 in RGA

4. Disappears from records. I suspect he is back in British Army

5. Reappears in Irish Civil War 1922 Sep. executed by sentence of Court Martial in Cork Gaol.

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Corisande,

The SILVER WAR BADGE details exist for 196734/355171 SPR. BERNARD WINSLEY ROYAL ENGINEERS (INLAND WATERWAYS AND DOCKS)

Served between 8/8/1916 to28/3/1919 and served Overseas. Age recorded as24? Discharged due to sickness.

Like you, I could find no civil records of any kind for this man, any where in mainland Britain or Ireland.

Could this be another piece of the jig-saw in the John Winsley story?

Regards,

corona.

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Thanks

Yes I agree that this has to be John/Bernard Winsley. The earlier contributions to the this thread established from comparing 1901 and 1911 censuses that clearly they are the same bloke.

I assume he altered his name to get back into the army. He exemplifies a type who were serial enlisters in WW1

I have added your inputs to his details on this link - click, and have put in the MIC for the chap in this RE incarnation

Interesting how Ancestry have not "joined up" SWB to their main index. If you just search for "Bernard Winsley" in their "search all" box, it only comes up with the MIC and not the SWB. Note to self to check SWB when conducting Ancestry searches !

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There is a memorial on the wall of Cork City Gaol listing executions between 17th October, 1920 and 13th March, 1923 (See Cork City Gaol. A transcription, as a pdf, can be opened).

The names are in Irish, which makes it less clear, but none of them is a John or Bernard Winsley. They were all I.R.A. Volunteers (i.e., the Republican, or anti-Treaty side), so he definitely was not one of them. He must have been a Free State soldier, or the date you have may be wrong.

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I concede that the date of his execution may be wrong, but at the moment all I have to go on to confirm that he was executed is from "Who's who in the Irish War of Independence and Civil War " by Padraic O'Farrell who on page 225 in a chapter on "Civil War Executions" gives Bernard Winsley as being executed in Cork County Prison in Sep 1922 ( the list gives 80 men executed in total under that heading)

The only other Cork executions on his list is William Healy in Mar 1923.

I assume that if Winsley had been executed for a criminal offense (for example murder) then he would not have featured on that war memorial. Or, as you say had he been a Free State Soldier shot by the Republicans for military reasons he would not be there either.

From memory (I have no knowledge of the Civil War) it was about that time that the Free State troops landed in Cork.

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"The only other Cork executions on his list is William Healy in Mar 1923."

William Healy is on the list at the Gaol, as having been executed there. The others died of wounds, or were executed elsewhere.

"I assume that if Winsley had been executed for a criminal offense (for example murder) then he would not have featured on that war memorial."

I agree. I think that, if Bernard Winsley had committed murder, he would have been tried in a civil criminal court, and hanged. It shouldn't have counted as a Civil War execution

"From memory (I have no knowledge of the Civil War) it was about that time that the Free State troops landed in Cork."

They landed on 8th August, and had control of the city by the next day.

If the Republican side had counted him as one of their own, I would have thought his name would have appeared in their memorials and literature. It would follow that he was a Free State soldier who was executed at the time by the State authorities, possibly for murder or possibly for treason (i.e. acting as a spy).

Your next step, if you want to follow this further, will be the archives of the newspapers at the time. Do let us know what you find.

Michael

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  • 2 months later...

I checked both Irish Times and Freeman's Journal this morning and can find no mention of Winsley. Free State civil war executions (the 77) did not commence until November 1922. There was a breakout from Cork Prison by Republican irregulars in September 1922 and also a protest with prisoners remaining in the yard. During this a prisoner was shot but there was no name given.

This is quite a mystery - the only Forces execution during the troubles was the Black and Tan (policeman) hanged in Mountjoy in June 1921 for the Murder of a JP in Wicklow. His co murderer comitted suicide before he was aprehended. The Aulilliary who murdered the priest and a boy in Cork was locked up as insane. The Aulilliary smith tried for the murder of two men in Drumcondra was acquitted on some pretext,

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  • 8 years later...


Family history says that John W. Winsley was my grand uncle.   He was picked up by the British Army in a case of mistaken identity, as an IRA spy.    He was taken to Collins' Barracks (then Victoria Barracks) in Cork where he was executed by the British Army.   When he didn't return home, his wife made enquiries and was told to check the Barracks.     On discovering their mistake, she was offered money by way of compensation

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Hi Roselee

 

Welcome to the forum

 

At last we may have a chance to solve this one. As he was your great uncle, then could you find out what his full names were, when who and where he married (you refer to his widow). And what can you tell us about the death date or details of his death. Do you know where he was buried

 

There is a lot more available online now, then there was when I started this thread 10 years ago, so if you can give us some help, then we will see what we can find

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Airshipped

Hi Roselee,

 

You might have some more family folklore (or indeed some facts) on his medical conditions? His RGA papers (service no. 3306) include references to severe eye problems by the time he was discharged as medically unfit in 1915, in which case he'd have been unlikely to have been of any use as a witness to anything that happened in the 1919-1922 period. (Not wishing to speculate but he could've been identified by other witnesses as practically standing beside a shooter or some participant in an incident).

 

Curiously, his previous enlistment in the Leinsters (service no. 9588) includes a reference to a 'true love' tattoo but by the time of his RGA service it'd appear to have evolved into something like a heart with additional text. (His other arm carries a memory to his father). By that stage his 'true love' was presumably now his wife, Kitty (née Driscoll/O'Driscoll) but he'd the good sense not to have a specific name tattooed, so it'd always have been recyclable as a "I got this just for you, my love".

 

There are some excellent researchers and historians who've posted on this thread, so it's almost certain that we can track down the details if you've even a few leads, e.g. date of arrest/abduction etc.

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  • Admin

There are quite a few (WFA) Pension Cards (I counted 6) on Ancestry for the man 196734/355171 Sapper Bernard John Winsley, RE.

 

There is just one card for a 3306 John Winlsey, RGA but it has no details on it  - so it's not possible, through this source it seems, to tie him to the above man.

 

The key information I can distil from the 6 cards for Bernard John Winsley are:

 

Discharged 28/03/1919 due to enteritis (attributable)

Date of Birth 1895

Died 01/09/1922

Widow - Kathleen living at 4 Market Avenue, Old George, Cork.

 

Not sure it is of any help - but there it is.

 

Regards

 

Russ

 

 

 

 

 

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I've just had a look at your Notes in the link you provided earlier and the above mentioned Pension cards for Sapper Bernard John Winsley do confirm he is the same man as on your execution record of Private John Bernard Winsley in the National Army because both sets of records have the same date of death (01/09/1922) and the same address (4 Market Avenue).

 

Regards

 

Russ

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Yes, it certainly looks as if the man executed and exhumed , was shot  in Sep 1922. And that it was part of the Irish Civil war, and nothing to do with the British Army. But I would like to try to be sure that we have all the facts before being definitive

 

Perhaps Roselee will drop by again soon, and be able to give some more details of the family who clearly feel it was  a shooting by the British

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Many thanks for your input.   Unfortunately, the people that might help are all dead.    I am trying to find out more information but due to Covid, enquiries are very slow.

I will come back to you as soon as possible.

 

Rosemary Lee

 

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Michael Pegum

According to a review of the book 'The Irish Civil War, Law Execution and Atrocity,' by Sean Enright, "National Army* Private Barney Winsley" was shot by firing squad for selling arms to anti-Treaty fighters.

 

*The Army of the Irish Free State.

Edited by Michael Pegum
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28 minutes ago, Michael Pegum said:

According to a review of the book 'The Irish Civil War, Law Execution and Atrocity,' by Sean Enright, "National Army* Private Barney Winsley" was shot by firing squad for selling arms to anti-Treaty fighters.

 

*The Army of the Irish Free State.

 

      There seems to be quite a lot about him  -including most of posts above-on this site:

 

image.png.48ffe7ff47f3f42d4dad72a5660ef899.png

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8 minutes ago, voltaire60 said:

There seems to be quite a lot about him  -including most of posts above-on this site:

 

That's because the Cairo Gang website is member corisande's (see his profile), who posted the link to the Notes on Winsley earlier in this thread !

 

Regards

 

Russ

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1 hour ago, RussT said:

 

That's because the Cairo Gang website is member corisande's (see his profile), who posted the link to the Notes on Winsley earlier in this thread !

 

Regards

 

Russ

 

     A little confused  -seems to be going round in a circle.......  or just a little confused:D

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Michael Pegum
2 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

 

      There seems to be quite a lot about him  -including most of posts above-on this site:

 

image.png.48ffe7ff47f3f42d4dad72a5660ef899.png

 

The cairogang link doesn't include the detail of the charge against him, however.

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31 minutes ago, Michael Pegum said:

The cairogang link doesn't include the detail of the charge against him, however.

 

I'm sure corisande can speak up for himself - but please give the man a break - that new information provided in the review of that book you posted above is only a few hours old. I'm sure he will be reviewing that info for himself and then up-dating his cairogang website, as appropriate, in due course if he so wishes.

 

Regards

 

Russ

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Thank you Russ

 

It was I who started this thread 10 years ago. On a forum that has managed to avoid personal attacks by and large, it is a bit odd to be accused, in the last few hours, of plagiarism by myself on  my own web site and stealing content from this thread. And for not adding information that  had only appeared a few hours earlier.

 

I write literally thousands of mini CV on people involved in the War of Independence, and particularly on an old thread would not expect to update facts being posted on a daily basis

 

I leave it up to the mods, but the thread probably has run its course and needs locked now to avoid spiraling downwards out of control

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