The Death Of Cornelius Crean
The War Of Independence
On April 25th 1920, Tom Crean’s older brother Cornelius, who was an RIC officer, was shot dead in an IRA ambush, at Upton Industrial School near Bandon, Co. Cork, during Ireland’s War Of Independence.
Cornelius Crean was the fifth child of Patrick and Catherine Crean, and was born on 27th September 1871. Like his brother Tom, Cornelius was made of tough stuff, had played rugby for Cork Constitution, and had accumulated 28 years of service in the RIC.
On that fateful day he was a member of a three man foot patrol that was ambushed by members of the Third West Cork Brigade. The only survivor, Constable Power later told the inquest that Constable Patrick McGoldrick had stopped to light his pipe, when he was suddenly shot dead.At this moment Crean ordered Power to run for cover, and as the two men reached a bend in the road they heard more shots, and Crean ordered ” Turn and attack.” As soon as he turned to face the assailants he was hit in the chest with six rounds, and slumped to the ground. The local priest who attended the scene reported that he had found Cornelius Crean, with a flicker of life, sitting in a channel, his back to the wall and still facing in the direction of the attackers. He would however die a short time later.
Tom Crean could not publicly mourn the death of his brother, for the same reasons he never spoke about his exploits in Antarctica, because he had been a member of the British Navy, and Cornelius a member of the RIC, and service in either of these institutions deemed you an enemy of the Irish Republican Army, in 1920’s Ireland.
Source – Beleaguered by Diarmud Kingston