Monday 21 October 2019

Military archives: Woman claimed she was kicked by army captain during arrest

Open file: Cécile Gordon, senior archivist with the Military Service Pensions Project. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Open file: Cécile Gordon, senior archivist with the Military Service Pensions Project. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

A controversial incident involving a Donegal woman who claimed she was hit and kicked by "a captain in the army" made its way into the Irish Independent in July 1923.

A letter by Eilis Ní Mhurchadha claimed 40 female prisoners went on strike in Kilmainham Jail due to the treatment of Margaret Doherty, newly released files show.

She suggested Ms Doherty was being refused proper treatment in Kilmainham and the hunger strikers wanted to secure proper medical treatment for her.

Ms Doherty claimed she sustained injuries when she tried to intervene in an arrest.

She joined Cumann na mBán in 1919 and was active in Donegal during the War of Independence, carrying dispatches and cooking food for prisoners.

Ms Doherty was particularly involved in the storage and carriage of arms and ammunition. She said she was appointed as a captain in July 1922.

She was imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail for a total of seven months.

Her file is included in the latest release of documents by the Military Service Pensions Project, bringing the number of individuals whose files are now available online to 9,555.

Also included in her file is a document written by Dr RA MacLaverty, an ex-Master of the Coombe Hospital in Dublin, in which he said he performed surgery on Ms Doherty following her release from prison in 1923, due to "displacement of her uterus".

However, the claims in relation to her injuries were rebutted by Major General Francis J Morrin, director of medical services at Medical Headquarters on Infirmary Road in Dublin, who said in a letter dated July 3, 1923, that she had received medical treatment and an x-ray while imprisoned and "no acute symptoms were present".

Ms Doherty was successful in her application for a military service pension.

She died in 1966 at the age of 69.

IRA soldier died before he could win pension claim

An IRA private who was injured in the ill-fated Saltmills explosion in Co Wexford in which five people died was unsuccessful in his pension application, newly released archives show.

Patrick Kelly was a serving IRA member who was injured while making munitions during the accidental explosion on October 12, 1920.

He was one of nine people who were injured, in addition to five other people who died in the explosion that day.

However, his application in 1925 under the Army Pensions Act, 1923 was unsuccessful because he died before his case had been fully investigated, the files show.

The files show the investigation of his case was delayed as due to his medical condition, pulmonary tuberculosis, he was unable to travel from his home for an examination before the Army Pensions Medical Board at St Bricin's Hospital in Dublin.

The Military Service Pensions Project (1916-1923) released more than 4,600 new files yesterday through the military archives website. They relate to claims lodged by 1,540 individuals.

Irish Independent

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