John Hawkes

I cannot find the Inquest report.

1892 Jan 20. Sister Mary born, illegitimate.

1892 Mar 1. Parents married

1896 Jan 11. Born Killeen, Cork

1901 census in Bandon Workhouse


1911 census at his mother was at Crowleys Lane, Cork (where John Hawkes address was given in the report of his death)


1912 Feb 17 Enlists in RMF. Next of kin is Mother MArgaret 4 Crowleys Lane, Cork

1914 Oct 9 Lands in France

1914 Nov 28. Returns to UK. Goes to 2nd NG Hospital Leeds

1914 Jan 26. Discharged from Leeds Hospital

1915 Apr 14, Discharged "no longer physically fit for war service". Character "Very Good"

1917 Dec 19. Writes to Army from Liverpool to ask for a SWB

1918 Aug. Correspondence to try to get him glasses in order for him to get employment as a Watchmeker

1919 Nov 25 Re-enlisted in RAMC. Watchmaker. Mother - Mrs Hawkes of Crowleys Lane, Cork

1919 Dec 23. Discharged "no longer physically fit"

Applies for a pension.


1920 Sep 18. Southern Star Series of raids in Dunmanway The now notorious individual Hawkes quondam (former) guest of the Irish Republic prison, and ex-pal of Russian nobility, has once again turned up at Dunmanway, where his unwelcome presence caused feelings of dismay in many quarters. He is now elevated to the role of a soldier sergeant to the surprise of everybody in the town, having regard to this man’s only too well known antecedents. In company of 80 soldiers whom he appeared to command, and some policemen, he pointed out some homes which he desired to be raided. This may or may not be him

A Russian Grand Duchess, stranded in Harrogate at the start of World War One, founded five hospitals in the town to treat injured soldiers returning from active service. Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Georgievna Romanova was in Harrogate on 4 August 1914, as the war started. Her daughters were being treated for ailments at one of the town’s spas. The first hospital she founded was Tewit Well, with fewer than 20 beds. However, she soon realised that she needed larger premises so acquired Heatherdene. Subsequent sites were used as the war progressed. According to newspaper reports; by the end of the war 100,000 soldiers were treated by the Grand Duchess. Her nursing team often included other titled ladies from across the globe. During her time as a nurse, the Grand Duchess even contracted lice. Today, the original building at Heatherdene is just a car park, although the gateposts from the premises still exist.

Hawkes had spent 2 months from Nov 1914 in a Leeds Hospital

1920 Oct 13. Shot Cork

He was using the name James Mahony rather than his real name of John Hawkes, an itinerant watchmaker and tinsmith. According to a statement given to the authorities, he said that he ‘was kidnapped by Sinn Feiners and kept a prisoner by them for over six weeks’. He appears to have sold 2 watches that he was supposed to be repairing and was arrested by the Sinn Fein Police. The imprisoned him but he escaped on 24 July 1920, seems to have sought RIC protection in Bantry RIC barracks. After several days with the Bantry police he ‘was transferred to the military barracks at Bantry, where again he was allowed to remain for some weeks for his own safety. It is difficult to see which came first , but in the end his greater crime in IRA eyes seems to have been to accept RIC protection.

IRA Witness Statement When a spy, named James Mahoney, alias Hawkes, who had come in to the area from, I think, Clonakilty Battalion ,was shot on 13th October, 1920, I was engaged for some days prio to this operation on intelligence work in connection with this job timing and reporting on the movements of enemy patrols to Battalion Headquarters. I cannot recollect the names of the men who shot this spy.

IRA Witness Statement An important source of information regarding enemy agents was the postal mails. As Battalion Intelligence Officer it was my duty to arrange for the frequent hold-up of postmen and the capture of letters. I.R.A .men in the various companies of the battalion undertook this job. In this particular instance however, it was a mistake in the delivery of a letter by a postman in our district which led to the discovery of a spy named Hawkes The latter wrote to his mother who lived in our company area. The letter was delivered by mistake to the house of an I.R.A. man named John McCarthy, who, in turn, passed it on to the brigade. I cannot say what information was contained in the letter,but I do know that it led to Hawkes coming under suspicion as being a spy for the enemy. He was later executed by the I.R.A .in West Cork.

IRA Witness statement About this time we arrested a man named James Mahony a watchmaker by trade on a charge of spying. He was staying at Denis Kelly's, Dunmanway. After his arrest he was handed over to the men of the Skibbereen Battalion at Hayes, Lahane,Drimoleague. He escaped from his gaolers while being detained in that area and reported to the British forces at Skibbereen. He apparently gave the names of those who had arrested and held him prisoner to the British; as there were wholesale raids following his escape. He was, however, shot dead a short time later as he left Skibbereen Workhouse.

1920 Oct 16, Southern Star Military Inquiry On Thursday in the Boardroom of the Skibbereen Union an inquiry was held under the Restoration of Order Regulations, by two military officers on the body of the man James Mahony, alias Hawkes shot dead in the Workhouse grounds the previous day. James Warner, acting porter, swore that at ten o’clock on Wednesday morning James Mahony came to the Workhouse gate and took his discharge and left in company with another man named Hourigan. Mahony was only outside the gate when he ran back, followed by another man who was masked and armed. Mahony ran into the porter’s box, where witness and another man were at the time. Both men struggled in the box, and Mahony asked for mercy, but the armed man said: ‘No, I shall shoot you.’ Witness asked for mercy for the man, but the armed man threatened that if he interfered he would be shot. Mahony’s assailant overpowered him and dragged him a distance of ten yards out of the box and fired three shots at him with a revolver. The assailant then went away, he could not say in what direction. Dr TJ O’Meara, JP, deposed to attending the man. He died from laceration of the brain caused by bullet wounds. A revolver lay beside deceased. There were three live cartridges in it. Head Constable Lane swore he saw the dead man and recognised him as the man who called at the police barrack on the 12th inst. At about 1 o’clock pm. He gave his name as John Hawkes, and stated that he came from Bantry, where he had been for some time in the military barrack. The man was searched and one of .303 of military service ammunition and a military service oil bottle were found on him. Witness communicated with Bantry, as a result of which the man was discharged from the barracks at 4pm. He did not ask to be kept in the barracks. He stated he would go to the workhouse, and was given instructions as to procuring a ticket for admission there. He thought the man was of weak intellect, and about 26 years of age, and was an itinerant watch-repairer. The court found that John Hawkes alias James Mahony died in the workhouse grounds, Skibbereen, from a lacerated brain caused by bullet wounds inflicted by some unknown person.

His name appears in the Compensation Commission Register with the information ‘L[iability]—British supporter’, and that £300 in compensation was awarded. See Ó Ruairc (2016),


Shot by IRA as British spies