William Alexander MacPherson


Macpherson had been a ‘sergeant’ in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers but hd a chequered career in the army and left as L/Cpl. He lived in Mallow with his wife (a native of the district) and four children. Macpherson had been a target of the IRA since mid-June 1921, after a transactions in a shop brought him under suspicion.

1876 Dec 26 Born Dublin Ancestry Tree


1897 Feb 4. Enlists in Royal Dublin Fusiliers He was a Clerk

1897 Mar 4. Larceny Conviction

1899 Feb 14 Appointed L/Cpl

1899 Jun 21. Reverted to Private following a conviction for conduct predjudicial to military discipline

1899 Nov 10 - 1902 Nov 2. Served in South Africa

1901 Nov 5. Appointed L/Cpl

1903 Jun 8, Promoted Cpl

1905 Mar 2. Promoted Sgt

1905 Oct 3. Invalided to England

1908 Apr 14. Married Margaret Lyne in Mallow. He is a Sergeant in 2nd Bat. Royal Dublin Fusiliers


1911 census at Lavally Lower (Rahan, Cork)

1912 Mar 2. His daughter's baptism show him as Sergeant in RDF in Naas

1913 Jan 3. Army form shows him as a Sergeant in 2nd RDF at Gravesend

1914 Jan 2. His daughters birth cert shows that he is now reduced to a corporal in RDF

1914 May 9. With 1st RDF in Madras, India

1914 Jun 9. Reduced to Private on being found guilty bt DCM of conduct prejudicial to Military disipline

1914 Aug 16 Forfeits his South African Medals

1915 Mar 13. 14 days detention for drunkenness

1916 Apr 7. Appointed L/Cpl

1916 May 22. Discharded no longer physically fit to serve. "Character Indifferent"

1916 Jun 9. Lance Cpl William Alexander MacPherson is award a pension of 5/10 for life

1916 Re-enlists in Royal Engineers

1921 Jul 7 Kidnapped near Mallow. Macpherson was bundled into a pony and trap on July 7, 1921, and taken a short distance outside Mallow, Co Cork. The was imprisoned for two days at Gleanndine,

1921 Jul 9 He was then taken to Patrick O’Connor’s house at Pendy’s Cross, Dromahane, where he was tried by brigade officers, found guilty, and sentenced to death. “He was removed later the same night to a spot about one mile from Mallow on the mountain road, where he was executed by members of the column.”

His body was found at Knockpogue with a bullet in the chest and with a label declaring ‘Convicted spy, spies and informers in Mallow beware, we are on your track, I.R.A.’


IRA Witness Statement About mid May,1921, accompanied by Jerry Hanlon I drove into Mallow in a pony and trap to arrest a suspected spy named McPherson. We called to a barber's shop in Bridge St. adjacent to McPherson's house. We went into the shop to await a report from the intelligence section as to the whereabouts of McPherson, but before the information reached us we were warned by a membe of Cumann nam Ban to leave the town immediately as the military were aware that we were in town. We left the town without delay and only barely evaded the enemy party which was sent to look for us. McPherson was later taken prisoner in Mallow by three unarmed members of Dromahane Company (Denis Barrow and two others). He was taken to Dromahane where he was detained until he was tried that night at a meeting of the Battalion Staff. He was found guilty of spying for the enemy and was sentenced to be shot. The findings were confirmed by Brigade H.Q. and the sentence was carried out the same night on the Fiddane road about 11/2miles from Mallow. This was, I think, the week before the Truce.

IRA Witness Statement While the other members of the column moved off towards Millstreet area to take part in the Rathcoole ambush, I was ordered to make arrangements to proceed to Mallow to execute a spy- McPherson, an ex-British army sergeantmajor- who was supposed to be seen on Mallow Bridge each morning at 7a.m. I think that his activities as a spy were discovered when he cashed some cheques, made payable to him by the British, in some shop in town (Mallow). I visited Mallow on two mornings, but there was no trace of McPherson, so other arrangements were made at a later date when he was captured and executed early in July 1921.

IRA Witness Statement Early in July 1921, an ex- British sergeant-major named McPherson, who was resident in Mallow for some years, was arrested as a spy. As far as I know, suspicion was aroused in his case as a result of some letter captured in a raid on the local mails. He was taken to Dromahane and to Leary's, Gleanndine, where he was detained for a couple of days. He was then taken back to Pendy's Cross, Dromahane, where he was tried by brigade officers at Pat O'Connor's house. He was removed later the same night to a spot about one mile from Mallow on the Mountain road where he was executed by members of the column



The Recorder of Cork, sitting at Mallow in October 1921, awarded £900 in compensation to the widow, Mrs Margaret Macpherson, and an additional £400 to each of her four children, “for the death of her husband, an army pensioner"


Shot by IRA as British spies