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 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.

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