James Charles Beal

James Charles Beal, an Englishman married to Sarah Blemens, was shot on 14 Feb 1921. Sarah Blemens father and brother were also kidnapped and shot some months earlier. The IRA appear to have believed that all three were members of an anti-Sein Fein organisation with connections to the Cork YMCA and Cork Freemasons

I am not going into whether Beal was a spy or not - "The Year of the Disappearances " goes into a great deal of detail, and reaches the conclusion that he was probably not a spy.

1884 Apr/Jun . James Charlie Beal born Portsea which appears to be him

1909 Sep 15. He married in Woolwich, London to Sarah Lynton Blemens (her family who were in Dublin in 1901 and 1911 census. The marriage is transcribed as Beal.

1911 census at Caversham Rd, Kentish Town, London.

There is a blank in his life, and I cannot find him again until his death in 1921.

Beale was the manager of the wine department of Messrs Woodford, Bourne, and Co., the well -known grocery and provisions store on Patrick Street in Cork city.

1921 Feb 14, Shot in Cork

He was seen leaving this shop about 6 p.m.and picked up by the IRA just before he would have got home.

The IRA said . Pat Collins, John Horgan and I with two others, watched the approaches to College Road. John Morgan and I spotted Beale as he was crossing Southgate Bridge en route to his home. I went and got revolvers, picked up Beale and brought him by car to the Wilton district; where he was shot.

IRA Witness Statement

During the year 1920 it became known to us that the Freemasons in Cork had organised a secret service through the Young Men's Christian Association (a Protestant organisation) in the city. The object was to supply the enemy with information regarding the movements of known I.R.A. men in Cork. There were two sections of this secret service, one for senior members and one for boys. As regards the latter, a youth named Parsons who was picked up by our, lads as a suspected spy, admitted his guilt and gave details, of the spy organisation in the Y.M.C.A. He was executed (by shooting) by men of the 2nd Battalion.

The secretary of the senior branch of this secret service was a man named Charles Beale. He was manager of the well-known grocery and provision store of Woodford Bourne and Company, Patrick St., Cork. Instructions were received from the brigade to capture and shoot Beale. This man, Beale, lived on College Road, Cork, and on 16th February, 1921, Pat Collins, John Horgan and I with two others, watched the approaches to College Road. John Morgan and I spotted Beale as he was crossing Southgate Bridge en route to his home. I went and got revolvers, picked up Beale and brought him by car to the Wilton district; where he was shot. We found in his possession papers giving valuable information relating to the spy organisation 'with which he was connected. In my opinion the shooting of Beale broke the back of the anti-I.R.A.- Sinn Féin organisation in Cork City.

Another IRA Witness Statement

It was known by our Intelligence Service that, during the latter half of 1920, there was formed in Cork an Anti- Sinn Fein organisation, comprising members of the Freemason and Protestant Young Men's Christian Association in Cork City. The objects were to supply the British authorities with information concerning (principally) the I.R.A. in the city. There was a senior section (for adults) and a junior section in this organisation and it was some time before our Intelligence got to grips with this highly dangerous situation. Eventually, the names of some of the principals became known and it fell to the lot of G/Company to deal with one of the officials - the secretary - a man named Charles Beale. This man was employed in the well known grocery and provision store of Woodford Bourne & Co., Patrick St., Cork. On instructions from the Brigade., we picked up Beale on his way home after work one evening. He was taken to the Wilton district in the city suburbs and was executed. In Beale's possession were found papers giving us valuable information about the spy organisation with which he was connected. As a result of disclosures which came to light in the papers found on Beale, members of his organisation were picked up by other I.R.A. companies in the city and suitably dealt with. This had a discouraging effect on the Anti-Sinn Fein League Which faded out, thus removing a serious threat to the Cork I.R.A

1921 Feb 1. His funeral was at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork, with the employees of Messrs Woodford, Bourne, and Co. in attendance; he was then buried in the ‘New Cemetery’ nearby.

His name appears in the Compensation Commission Register under 14 February 1921, with the notation ‘Agreed 50/50’ split on liability between British and Irish. Compensation of £900 was awarded..His widow Sarah Beale was awarded compensation of £3,250, and that his children Matilda and Ross of Southsea in Portsmouth in England were granted compensation of £900 . Private Persons Injured (CO 905/15, TNA). I cannot find the birth of a Ross nor a Matilda

1921 Dec 20. His widow Sarah Linten/Lynton Blemens died in Cork

 

Shot by IRA as Spies