Bryan Fergus Molloy, ES/59087

mulloy murder

Odd thing about this man is that he appears to have no past. His CWGC grave indicates a service number and confirms his name. No MIC exists, which one would have thought would for a man born 1896. He is not in censuses for 1901 or 1911 in England or Ireland. There is no birth record for him in England or Ireland. The service number is indicative of enlistment late in 1919. I reach the conclusion that he was a deep undercover agent put in by Basil Thompson, similar to Angliss who was shot on Bloody Sunday. Angliss was operating under the name Paddy Mahon and it took some time for his real name to emerge.

His "Soldiers Effects " entry gives "Bryan Frederick Molloy" and his father as James McNulty as next of kin, perhaps pointing to our man here a being really a McNulty. One possibility is Francis McNulty but there must be many others. There was a 2nd/Lt George Henry McNulty WO 374/45273


1896 His death in Irish GRO indicates this as a birth, but no birth exists.

1920 Mar 25 Private Fergus Bryan Molloy, who worked with Colonel Hill Dillion, Assissant chief of GHQ Intelligence staff in Dublin Castle in Parkgate St, is shot dead at the corner of Wicklow Street and South William Street, Dublin City. Dolans WS states that Mick McDonnell and Tom Keogh did the shooting

Witnesses at the inquest said the man had been followed by a number of men before the shooting, the man was wearing civilian clothes. Molloy was a Clerk at Royal Barracks and was unarmed when shot. The inquest also heard no relatives of the dead man were present at his funeral

WS0400 by Richard Walsh TD of Mayo, claims that Molloy was operating with the IRA in Mayo before he went to Dublin. Walsh claims that Molloy was born in USA (a western state) of Irish parents, his father being from Foxford, Mayo. WS0638 indicates that the author, Patrick Caldwell, thought Molloy's real name was Bernie McNulty of Foxford, Mayo

Richard Bennett in "The Black and Tans" has Fergus Brian Molloy - "a soldier with an English accent who professed to be a patriotic Irishman".

Ryle Dwyer's 'Michael Collins:The Man Who Won The War': 'After Byrne another British agent also managed to meet Collins at O'Connor's home [Batt O'Connor, Collins' driver]. Fergus Bryan Molloy was also offering to procure arms. He was a soldier working for the Secret Service, but his fate was sealed when Collins' people in Dublin Castle warned him of Molloy's true purpose. He was gunned down by the Squad in broad daylight on South William Street three weeks to the day after Byrne.'

Dwyer's The Squad has a full account of the shooting and the background to it, but no background on Molloy. The shooting was carried out by 4 of the squad, McDonnell and Slattery did the killings and Vinny Byrne and Keogh were to cover them. It comes from the Witness statements of various of the people concerned

Padraic O'Farrell's 'Who's Who In The Irish War Of Independence And Civil War 1916-1923': Mulloy, Fergus B.: Allegedly the last British spy who attempted to contact Collins during the war. He worked in the Pay Office at Parkgate and promised arms and passes to Batt O'Connor, Collins' driver. After initial promises to acquire arms proved fruitless he offered to take Liam Tobin, Cullen and Frank Thornton into Dublin Castle to obtain information. They refused but requested assistance in executing a British Col instead. This officer vacated his house soon afterwards and Mulloy was found dead in Wicklow St March 1920.

newspapers on Molloy

The body was identified by Sgt James Lynn Hull, RASC

James Lynn Hull's medals came up for sale and now reside in my collection of MSMs. Hull was the soldier from Dublin Castle who ID'd "Molloy". A combination of British War Medal, LS&GC and MSM usually makes an interesting research subject. In this case his "red book" service record survives with the medals. James Hull, born Belfast 1891, enlisted in Dublin in 1910. He served WW1 in Malta (1912-1919) and later Aden and Malta (again). He served a total of nearly 27 years, all in the R.A.S.C. His MSM card records the award for "home service" whilst the London Gazette states it was for service in Malta.

1920 Mar 24 shot Wed evening , the body was unclaimed by Sat evening 27th March and only removed from the mortuary on Tues 30th March for burial that day. Bryan Fergus Molloy. Death Registration: Dublin South. Age (at Death): 24. Vol: 2. Page: 531. CWGC grave at Grangegorman

1920 Mar 24. Freeman's Journal. No Relatives Present.-The remains of the man who was shot in South William Street last week, and who was identified as Private Fergus Molloy, R.A.S.C., were interred at Grangegorman Military Cemetery yesterday. The deceased was accorded a military funeral. The coffin was removed at 2 o'clock from the Meath Hospital and placed on a gun-carriage. Two detachments of military from the Wiltshire Regiment and the R.A.S.C., were present. The band of the former played the "Dead March." No relatives of the deceased were at the funeral.

hansard on Molloy

The MP who asked the question was David Daniel Irving, known as Dan Irving, Labour MP for Burnley from the 1918 General Election until his death on the 25 January 1924. Hansard shows that he had an interest in Irish affairs but not particularily predominant.

Mr. IRVING asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether the man who was shot in Exchequer Street, Dublin, on the 24th instant, was identified by the police as bearing the name of Molloy; whether, in fact, this name was correct; whether there was any deliberate concealment of the real name; if so, can he state the reason; and whether the man had at one time been in the Dublin Metropolitan Police?
Mr. MACPHERSON This man was identified by the military authorities as Bryan Fergus Molloy, under which name he enlisted, and, as far as is known, this was his correct name. He was at no time a member of the Dublin Metropolitan Police.

So somebody thought that Molloy was not his real name, and must mave been tipped off to ask the question. Depending on your point of view the answer is either crystal clear that it was born Bryan Fergus Molloy, or that was merely the name he was serving under.

In the event that the "real" victim were buried elsewhere, there are 3 other officers buried in CWGC graves who died the same day. We can rule out Major Braybrooke as he is 53, and the body on the street was in mid 20s.

As time has gone on, I have found other bits of evidence

Curiously there is a Bernard McNulty born in USA in the right year (ie same age as Molloy) and the son of a James McNulty (the one proviso is that an Ancestry tree gives him dying in 1930s, but it is not possible to check the veracity of that)

The 1910 census gives father James (b Oct 1864), mother Winifred b Jun 1866) married about 1888. A childs marriage gives mother nee Heenan

WS0400 says that "Molloy" joined the British army and was commissioned in intelligence. I can find no record to tie with that,


Dublin Castle Intelligence