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Buttevant Soldiers Home 1920


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I am researching a Soldiers Home attached to Buttevant Military Barracks which was in existence certainly between 1911 and 1920. According to "The Dead of the Irish Revolution" in its Cork fatalities listing the Home was burned by arsonists on the 14th February 1920, this is the only account i have found that alleges arson. The fire resulted in the death of  Miss Ella C. Wood, the sister of the Homes supervisor Miss Emily B. Wood. A subsequent inquest was held in the hospital at the Barracks. As it appears the Home was attached to the Barracks surely the military would have investigated the fire particularly if it was arson. The regiment stationed at the  Barracks at the time was the Middlesex Rgmt. there may have been units of The Tank Corps and the 17th Lancers there also. My questions are if there was an investigation carried out by the military authorities at the time, what would have become of the record of that investigation and is it still accessible. I'm also anxious to trace the history of the home or its inmates. If anyone can be of help with my research into this I would much appreciate it

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Interestingly the Inquest was not a Militiary Inquest but done by the Coroner on the day of the death




Note that her name was slightly different from the one in "The dead of the Irish Revolution"

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There is no military inquest, and by inferance no military interest in the burning. The military seemed to have assumed that it was accidental


The lady who died was Ella Constance Wood, sister of the Supervisor of the Sodliers Home was born in England in 1872. Her sister was Emily Beatrice Wood.




The 1891 census shows the sisters in a wealthy family in Toxteth Park in Lancs



So Ella was 48 when she died.


Emily lived in Buttevant in 1911 census




Edited by corisande
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Thank you for your help on this, much appreciated. Newspaper reports say the inquest returned a verdict of accidental death. Curiously, The Dead of the Irish Revolution  says " The CFR records show Ella C. Wood sister of the English born supervisor of the Soldiers Home died when arsonists set fire to the wooden building, without warning". I have been unable to find out what CFR refers to? To my mind arson would have been unlikely but possible, as Buttevant was a very pro military town and the site of the home was within sight of the barracks and the local IRA unit seems to only have acted as an intelligence gathering operation rather than an active service unit. I take it that the second graphic is from her death cert and her age is wildly wrong. As you say Emily B Wood is in the 1911 census for Buttevant but she does not appear in the 1901 census, so it would appear that the Soldiers Home was established in the first decade of the century. There were many homes such as this established at that time mostly with a temperance/evangelical background, the Sandes Homes were a leading provider of these services and I am awaiting a reply from them but there were also many others doing the same charitable work. It is possible that the Wood sisters owned and operated the home as I have seen Emily referred to as the proprietress in some pieces and as they came from a wealthy background this may have been the situation. I am trying to get to see the coroners report of the actual inquest in the local archives to see does it give more detail.

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CFR is "Cork Fatalities Register" - it is given in the intro to the book  you were reading - more on it here it is not contempory reference, but recent work by Cork Academics. I have no idea why , but UCC seem to have removed it from the web (anybody know why?)


Personally I do not think it was arson


1. If you search Witness Statements, there is nothing coming up from people claiming to have done this. If they had done it, they would have wanted it considered for a pension. See if yo can get anything there

2. I cannot find the building on the OS maps, but it appears to have been close to the Barracks, hence under the eye of the militiary

3. The death cert was produced by the coronor without a military inquiry. That usually menas that the military thought that a military inquiry was not necessary

4. The death cert was produced after an inquest on 14th Feb, the actual day of the fire - unusual if there was an arson attack to be investigated

5. The death cert says "shock caused by burning" and dos not go on to say that it was a deliberate fire, which I would have expected if it were to have been arson

6. Very little reported in local papers


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Just finished reading The Hope and the Sadness by Siobhan Lankford a week or so ago. She was active in intelligence in the area around Mallow and involved in smuggling arms/ammunition from the camp. She writes a bit about the campaign to stop the camp being used to house soldiers with STD in 1918 and also about the burning of houses during the WoI. No mention of the fire at the soldiers home as an attack.





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