Frederick Sterland

1889 Apr 14, Born Birmingham

1910 Census with his parents at Edgebaston, Birmingham


1910 Jan 15 Married Elizabeth Harriet Williams

1911 Census at Rann St, Birmingham

1912 Electoral Register at 77 Rann St, Birmingham

1914 Mar 20 His daughter born. His profession is noted as Engineers Draughtsman

1918 Sep 10 Enlisted in RAF. Employed as a draftsman

1919 Nov 30 Transfers to RAF Reserve

1921 Jan 21 Enlisted in RIC. 2 Clarence Place, Ellen St, Brookfield, Birmingham

Cork City Volunteers were quite eager to eliminate a policeman whom they considered ‘an able intelligence man brought over from England specially as a secret service agent for the British’. See Michael Murphy’s WS 1547, 41-42 (BMH). Jeremiah Keating, the intelligence officer of the Second Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade, helped to stalk Sterland. The first attempt to kill him had gone awry, as British troops had surrounded the Cook Street area where an IRA squad was lying in wait, but ‘about a week later’, recalled Keating, ‘Sterland was shot and killed by members of the 2nd Battalion at the Rob Roy Hotel’. See Jeremiah Keating’s WS 1657, 9 (BMH). Among those who lured Sterland into a death trap were the IRA intelligence officers Frank Mahony [or O’Mahony] and Charles Cogan, with whom he had been drinking in Desmond’s Hotel. The squad that set out to kill him included Volunteers Robert Aherne, William (‘Sailor’) Barry, Jerome Coughlan, and Laurence Neville. See Laurence Neville’s WS 1639, 10-11 (BMH).

It is difficult to understand why the IRA though Sterland to be particularly able. He had only been in Ireland for 3.5 months before he was shot

1921 May 9. Constable Frederick Sterland was shot by the IRA. There is a lot of detail on the actual shooting, but little about what Sterland had done as an Intelligence Officer

IRA Witness Statement


IRA Witness Statement


On May the 9th 1921 a Court of Inquiry held in lieu of an Inquest was held into the circumstance of the death of Frederick Sterland. Sterland was a member of the RIC, he lived at 2 Clarence Place, Brookfield, Birmingham and was staying in the Rob Roy Hotel Cork. Befriended by several men which Sterland shared several drinks, all of which Sterland paid for, he left the hotel with the men on the night of the 8th of May. As the hotel manager was closing the door after Sterland and his party had left he heard several shots. Sterland was found lying in the street outside the hotel, he had several gunshot wounds to the head and hand. The court found that Sterland died owing to gunshot wounds inflicted by persons unknown and that such persons were guilty of murder.