Robert Stone - executed 16 Apr 1921

Robert Stone was shot outside his home on 16 April 1921. There were a number of fires started in retaliation on 18/19 April, which a British inquiry believed were started by the Stone family and some of their friends.

The IRA witness statements name the man they shot as "George Stone", so it is unclear if they shot the "right" man or not, or whether they just wanted to shoot a Stone. The evidence points to them waiting concealed outside the Stone's house until the brothers emerged in the morning, Robert died, and his two brothers were fired at.

The IRA reports claim that the Stones occupied an evicted man's farm. The inquiry says that the Stones occupied their farm for 20 years. I have no idea whether the claim by the IRA is true or not but Robert Stone was born at that address in 1902, indicating that the family had lived there since 1902 at least

The IRA witness report says that they put a "spies" notice on Robert Stone's body. This is not mentioned in the Inquiry, but it could have been removed before the body was seen by the military.

 

1902 Dec 25 . Born Clonmel

 

1911 Census at Clare More , Kiltinan, Tipperary

 

1921 Apr 16 Shot by IRA

WS 1187 We had a spy, named Stone, a prisoner with us on the day of Denis Sadlier's death. Stone was later executed, labeled in the same way as Looby, and his body was left lying in the village of Clonee. I cannot give full details of his execution as I was not present at it.

WS 1300 While with Lacey's column, I remember one evening near the village of Cloheen three of us met a man cycling. We were suspicious of him as at the time it was necessary to have a permit from the British authorities to own and ride a bicycle. We took him a prisoner and brought him to Lacey. He was recognised as a British agent named George Stone. He was held as a prisoner that night, and on the following evening some members of the column took him away and executed him on the road near Fethard.

IRA Witness Statement During my time as Commandant of the 7th Battalion three men were executed in my area as spies. They were George Stone of Killusty, Christopher Boyle of Drangan and George Lysaght of Kilburry, Cloneen. Stone was what we called an "emergency man", that is, he occupied and lived on a farm from which the lawful tenant had been evicted. He was constantly in the company of R.I.C. men and British military, and it was felt that he was giving them any information he could gather about Volunteer or column movements in his district. We did not arrest him, but in his absence he was tried by a court comprised of brigade and battalion officers and sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out a morning or two later. Either five or six of us kept his house under observation and when he left it early one morning we followed him along the road towards Fethard and shot him at the roadside. A label "Spies beware" was tied around his neck and his body was left at the spot where he was shot.

 

Hansard 13 Jun 1921. Mr. A. HERBERT asked the Chief Secretary whether Robert Stone, of Killusty, near Fethard, was shot dead on the 16th instant while taking two horses to water; whether an inquiry has yet been held into this case and with what result; whether subsequently on the 18th several shops, houses, and farm buildings in Killusty were burnt; and whether he has any evidence as to who were responsible for this destruction?

Sir H. GREENWOOD The coroner's inquiry in this case found that deceased was wilfully murdered on 16th April by some person or persons unknown. As regards the last part of the question, I have asked the Commander-in-Chief for a report, as this place is in the martial law area.

There was a British Military into the fires in the village after the murder of Robert Stone - the full inquiry is available here. But the conclusions were

A compensation case later awarded £1000 compensation on an agreed British Liability

Civilians shot by the IRA as spies