Robert Pike

21 Jan 1921
19 Jun 1921

1883 Mar 24. Born Dublin City son of Robert and Bridget Pike

1901 census living in Glasnevin as a servant

1902 Aug 3. He married Mary Barnwell in Dublin

1911 Census living at Tolka Cottages, Dublin.

1917 Mar 21. Joins RE as a "Quarryman". His service record is available and shows he served as a Quarryman in RE.

1917 Dec Admitted to a CCS at Marquise, then transferred to 53 General Hospital, then on Sheffield Hospital where he spent about 3 months. Chronic Rhumatism and Bronchitis. Attributable to his service.

1918 Feb 6. Transferred to England.

1918 May 21 Admitted Aldershot Hospital with Gonorrea and was in hospital till 21 Jun 1918 with the complaint.

1918 Jul 13 He is in hospital till 20 Aug 1918 with Bronchitis.

1919 Feb 17 To class Z Reserve. He is classed as 50% disabled due to Bronchitis

1920 Oct 12. Dalton's WS says that Breen and Treacy were followed from Flemings of Drumcondra to Fernside by a tout called Robert Pike.

1921 Jan 21. An IRA company set out to carry out an ambush at Binn's Bridge, led by nineteen year old Lieutenant Francis "Frank" Flood, at around 8:30 a.m. the party were to ambush R.I.C. Auxiliaries travelling into Dublin from Gormanston. The Auxiliaries did not arrive, and so Flood and his men, moved further up into Drumcondra near the bridge over the Tolka River. The ambush was a failure. 3 of the volunteers were shot dead in the attack, 6 more were arrested and later executed in Mountjoy prison. It's said, that as the British army unit was approaching the bridge over the River Tolka in Drumcondra, they were warned by a man by the name Robert Pike from Tolka Cottages (Pike was living there in 1911 census). Some time later Mr Pike was found dead, leaving a widow and several children.

According to one of the IRA men, O'Sullivan, the party left the Binn's Bridge site when it appeared that the Auxiliaries would not be coming their way, and they headed to the Tolka River Bridge in Drumcondra. Shortly after they arrived at the Tolka bridge, the ambushing party was “given away by a Sergeant Singleton of the DMP [Dublin Metropolitan Police]”, and they were surrounded. Others say by Robert Pike. The witness statement of Harry Colley (former Adjutant, IRA Dublin Brigade 1920-21) supports O’Sullivan’s, “they had actually been sent to carry out the ambush at Binn’s Bridge, but for some reason of their own, when they reached the position, moved up beyond Tolka Bridge to Clonturk Park.”

1921 Jun 19. Robert Pike appears to have been executed near Tolka Bridge. This is 5 months after the failed ambush.

 

IRA Witness Statement Sometime later on, the Battalion intelligence officers, in conjunction with the G.E.Q .intelligence staff, did succeed in establishing the identity of the spy who had traced Treacy and Breen from Flemings to Fernside as one Robert Pike, an ex-soldier who lived in one of the Tolka Cottages, near Fleming's back gate. Confirmation of Pike's complicity in this affair was obtained from inside information at the castle, and Pike was duly executed outside the doorway of Fleming's shop in Drumcondra Road on or about 18th June, 1921.

IRA Witness Statement Robert Pike was shot on 18th June 1921. He was a member of the tinker class and lived in Tolka Cottages, Drumcondra. I believe he was an ex-soldier who had been in the world war, and he was conveying information to the Crown forces. There was an unconfirmed statement that he had reported on Dan Breen's and Sean Treacy's movements from Fleming's of Drumcondra to Fernside.

 

 

The family remained in Dublin. His son Robert Pike (Junior) married Catherine Thomas and they lived in Whitehall until their deaths in 1960 and 1990 respectively, Their children all resided in Dublin as well and had families. Robert Pike (Junior) also enlisted in the British Army during the Second World War and fought at Dunkirk, and his health deteriorated after the war and was the main factor in his untimely death aged 51.

Basil Thompson

Shot by the IRA as spies