On This Day 25th April 1920

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. Continue Reading →

On This Day – March 24th 1920

Tom Crean Retires From The Royal Navy

On March 24th 1920, Tom Crean retired from the Royal Navy, after almost 27 years of service, having officially enlisted as Boy 2nd Class on July 10th, 1893. While serving aboard HMS Fox, in April 1919, Crean had suffered a serious fall, causing a bad head injury, which would have lasting effects on his eyesight.
Almost a year later, whilst serving on HMS Hecla, Tom Crean was declared medically unfit to serve, because of his defective vision, and the giant Irishman retired on medical grounds.

Crean returned home to Annascaul, where he and his wife Eileen would later open the South Pole Inn, public house. In 1920 he also turned down the chance to venture south again, when requested by Ernest Shackleton to join him on the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition, aboard the Quest, stating that he now had ‘a long haired pal’ to look after.

Crean’s legacy in the Navy was that of an able, hard working, honest and most reliable seaman, but it is his exploits on three Antarctic expeditions of exploration, that have catapulted his name into the realms of heroes. His courage, compassion and selflessness, displayed during the harshest and most challenging of circumstances, in the icy climes of Antarctica, have led to him being regarded as one of the bravest men ever to have set foot on the frozen continent.

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