Frank Teeling

Wounded and captured at Lower Mount Street murder of Angliss

Tom Keogh, Jim Slattery, Frank Teeling, Denis Begley, and Andy Monaghan went into 22 Lower Mount Street looking for Lieutenant H. McMahon. They found the man, whose real name was Angliss, in bed with the man who became the inquest’s relatively notorious ‘Mr C’. He testified at Teeling’s court-martial that I was awakened about 9 a.m. by someone shouting ‘Hands up’ when I opened my eyes I saw five men standing at the end of my bed covering me with revolvers. One of the men who appeared to be acting as leader gave the order to keep McMahon and myself covered and he proceeded to search the room. He picked up a civilian coat belonging to McMahon and said ‘ is this your coat McMahon’, McMahon said ‘No.’ He then put his hand in theinside pocket, took out a wallet and said ‘You’re a damned liar ’ and put the wallet in his pocket. He then said ‘where are your guns Mac’. McMahon said ‘look here we are two R[oman] C[atholic]s but the guns are in that bag’. The man then walked over to the bag which was lying in a corner of the room, lifted it on to the table and burst the locks off with his hands and took out three revolvers. They were one service Colt, one Webly-Scott Automatic and one .32 automatic. He put them in his pockets. I then heard firing which seemed to come from the street and I heard a noise as if someone was trying to smash in the front door. A man’s voice on the landing then shouted ‘are you all right there boys. They’re surrounding the house.’ The five men in the room then turned as if to rush out, they went a little way down the room then halted and the man who had been doing the searching raised his revolver – pointed it at the bed and fired. I saw McMahon raise his arm to cover his face and at the same time I threw myself out of the bed on to the floor practically simultaneously I heard other shots ring out from the other men in the room and they all rushed out of the room. McMahon was shot three times in the chest and once in the buttock.The officer in the next room barricaded his door. Seventeen shots failed to penetrate it

Teeling was a native of Dublin. The 1911 census lists him as living at 7 Jane Place Upper. He was one of ten children born to Christopher and Sarah Teeling of whom only four survived childhood

On 21 November 1920 Teeling was one of a group of IRA men who entered 22 Lower Mount Street to assassinate Lieutenant Angliss, alias McMahon, and Lieutenant Peel. Angliss was shot dead in his bed while Peel, hearing the shots, blocked his bedroom door and survived. When members of Fianna Éireann on lookout reported that Auxiliaries were approaching the house, the unit of Volunteers split up into two groups. One left by the front door, the other left by the laneway at the back of the house. Teeling was wounded in a gun battle with the Auxiliaries in the laneway and arrested.

Teeling was the only Bloody Sunday participant to be captured at the scene. In January 1921 he was court martialled, sentenced to hang and held at Kilmainham Jail.

On the night of the 21 February he escaped from Kilmainham along with Ernie O'Malley and Simon Donnelly.

Although Frank Teeling was made a Lieutenant in the army of the newly founded Irish Free State his behaviour and escalating drink problem became a cause for concern. He had become an embarrassment to the army, but his record of service during the War of Independence made it awkward to publicly discredit him or discharge him. The commander-in-chief of the National Army complained that Teeling had been "publicly misconducting" himself and "bringing serious discredit on us". Plans were made to give him a sum of money in order to encourage him to emigrate to Australia. On 19 March 1923 the Department of Finance made out a cheque to Teeling for the sum of £250. The money was apparently to be drawn down from funds authorised by the Free State cabinet for use by the Secret Service.

However, on 27 March, Teeling shot and killed William Johnson, a member of the Citizens' Defence Force. It seems a drunk Teeling objected to the fact that Johnson had brought a bag of tomatoes into the bar at the Theatre Royal and shot him dead in the ensuing altercation.

In the closing weeks of the Irish civil war this was not an unusual thing for a Free State soldier to do. But the man Frank Teeling shot was not a republican. William Johnson was a member of the Citizens’ Defence Force and he was shot because he brought a bag of tomatoes into the bar at the Theatre Royal.1 Frank Teeling was drunk, drunk to the point of being served nothing stronger than ginger beer. For some reason he took exception to the tomatoes; he threw them on the ground; guns were drawn and Johnson was dead. At his trial Teeling claimed he had acted in self-defence. The jury concurred with the judge that ‘through drink he had allowed his mind to be dethroned’, found him guilty of manslaughter instead of murder, and recommended mercy ‘on account of the state of his mind’. Teeling was imprisoned for eighteen months.

On thing did not come out at his trial and that was only a week before before the shooting, the Department of Finance had made out a cheque to him for £250, because the National Army wanted Teeling to disappear. He had, in the commander-in-chief’s opinion, been ‘ publicly misconducting ’ himself, ‘bringing serious discredit on us’. It was thought best to send him to Australia with money in his pocket and to convince him that it would be a bad idea ever to come back. This was Irish transportation.

Teeling remained in Ireland, continuing to live at Jane Place Upper. He was imprisoned on at least one further occasion in 1931. He died in January 1976.