Tom Bradfield of Carhue

It is difficult to separate the two Tom Bradfield shot within a few days of each other. In fact the WS 1684 of Spud Murphy seems to indicate that both had fallen for the same trap by the column. The two Toms were cousins

It is known that the column had as a member Peter Monaghan was a British Army Deserter who joined the IRA who could have been mistaken for an ADRIC

 

1856 Born Co. Cork

 

1901 census at Carhoon West , Kilbrogan, Cork

1911 census at Carhoon West , Kilbrogan, Cork

1921 Jan 23 Shot Carhue , Cork

This was the first of two Thomas Bradfields to be executed by the IRA. He was found dead near his home at Carhue, 4 miles north of Bandon on Sunday morning, 23 January 1921. There was a card attached to his clothing with the words “Convicted Spy”

IRA Witness Statement On the morning of 22nd January 1921, we moved into ambush positions at Mawbeg on the Bandon/Ballineen road. On the previous night a spy - Wm. Dwyer a had been captured. He was executed on the morning of the 22nd and his body - labelled to show that he had been executed as a spy - was left oh the roadside in the vicinity of Mawbeg. It was hoped that the enemy forces in Bandon would send out a party to collect the body and this would then be ambushed. The main body of the column were in position north of the road behind the roadside fence. We were extended over a distance of about 250 yards. A small party were in position south of the road to deal with any enemy force which might be forced to take cover at that side. We remained in the position until darkness set in, but there was no appearance by the enemy. The column then withdrew to billets. As one section of the column was moving into their billets they were met by the owner, who took them to be members of the British forces. He complained of the activities of the I.R.A. in the area and he gave the names of some of the local leaders. He agreed, on request, to meet the supposed enemy officers in Bandon later in the week with more information. The officer in charge of the I.R.A. unit (Denis Lordan) now revealed his identity. The enemy agent (Bradfield) was arrested on the spot. He was tried later that night and executed. Next morning at dawn, the column moved to Laragh, within about three miles of Bandon, where we again took up positions. The body of the spy, Bradfield, was left on the roadside in the neighbourhood in the hope that the enemy would come out to investigate. Although we remained in the position until approaching darkness, the wait was in vain and no enemy appeared. We now withdrew to nearby billets for food and, during the night we crossed the Bandon river at Baxter's Bridge. We reached our billets in Crossmahon about 4 a.m. later that evening, 23rd January 1921, we were informed that we were to move into Bandon to attack a curfew patrol there that night

IRA Witness Statement. As the Column had been without food since early morning it was decided to billet in the nearest farmers' houses to obtain a meal and a few hours' rest. A section was therefore, detailed to each of the surrounding farmers' houses with instructions to keep a sharp "look out" in case of surprise by the enemy - the British Forces in Bandon were only two miles away. In one of the houses in which a section of the Column was billeted, the owner named T.J. Bradfield, a Protestant Unionist, Unionist, mistook the party for British Auxiliaries and after a short conversation started to give very complete information as to the movements of local members of the I.R.A., even to the extent of a minute description of a "dug out" in the district in which some local men slept and kept their arms, and detailed instructions as to the best means and time of approaching the "dug out" so as to capture these men. He also arranged to give further information later on through his local clergyman and pressed very hard for the immediate capture and execution of certain local boys who were members of the I.R.A., This farmer was placed under arrest and later tried for espionage and found guilty. He was executed that night. On Saturday night, 22nd January, the Column marched from the Tinkers' Cross area to Cashel Mountain, crossing the Bandon river at Baxter's Bridge

IRA Witness Statement . In the meantime Brigade Staff Officers interrogated some hostile people in the locality to took us to be British military. After. interrogation two were released and the other was executed after being duly tried and found guilty. His. body was left on the road with a label on his coat 'Spies and Infonauts Beware'. Bradfield of Carhue was the man and he was a farmer. His house was burned some time after. The two suspects released were named

IRA Witness Statement . I operated with the Column at Tinker's Cross, Laragh, near Bandon and guarded Bradfield of Carhue who was also executed at this time as a spy.

IRA Witness Statement The next day we heard that the body of a loyalist named Bradfield was found stretched at the crossroads where we had parted from the Column the night before. What had happened was this. When the Column came into the area it dispersed to different houses to secure food and shelter and some of its Officers entered Bradfield's home and asked for a meal. Contrary to the reception they expected they were welcomed heartily by the owner and invited to partake of whiskey. For some little time they were puzzled and then discovered that due to their appearance trench coats and bandoliers and semi-uniform look, and also to the accent of Peter Monahan, an Irish Scot, they were mistaken for Auxiliaries. Bradfield unbosomed himself to them and gave all the information he could of rebels and rebel houses in the district. He asked them why they did not get Frank Hurley (my brother). He was told they had him already and one of the 'Auxiliaries' stepped outside and arranged for Frank to be brought along. He was duly escorted in without trench coat, arms or equipment and, to all appearances, a prisoner. The delighted Bradfield immediately identified him as an important rebel, deserving of all he obviously hoped was coming to him. It was not long, however, till he was undeceived as to whom his guests were and was told of what his fate was to be. When later on I was in the field where the Column had re-assembled, the informer must must have been there too, and when I accompanied the marching Column part of the way Bradfield must have been in its midst walking to his death.

 

 

Shot by IRA as British spies