William Nolan



The Irish Revolution states According to MSPC Brigade Activity Reports for E Company, Second Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade Nolan was held up on Tory Top Lane by three member of E company. They took a .45 revolver from him, and the report notes he was later executed. As Ó Ruairc has recently noted, it is uncertain whether the IRA abducted and executed Nolan because of the connections of his father and older brother with the RIC and his own application to join the force, or because the IRA suspected him of spying. Both motives may have been involved. Nolan may have sought to join the RIC himself as a means of gaining protection against an assumption of his jeopardy.

The Cork city IRA had earlier warned ‘“prospective recruits that they join the R.I.C. at their own peril. All nations are agreed as to the fate of traitors.’’’ The IRA secretly buried Nolan’s body. See Ó Ruairc (2016), 81. Nolan’s death occurred shortly after the Truce. In his pension evidence the IRA gaoler Edward Moloney, the so-called ‘governor’ of ‘Sing Sing’ prison at Knockraha, stated: ‘The day of the Truce there was three [prisoners] came [to Sing Sing] that day, and they were taken off again that night. It was closed up then.’ It is possible that Moloney was referring to William Nolan and John Begley, who had been abducted by the IRA earlier that day and were never seen again. See MSP34/REF27648 and MSPC/A/1(E)2 (Military Archives).


On the Irish Times list of missing persons in Aug 1921

1921 Jul 14 The Cork examiner reports.

"A boy of about 17 years named Willie Nolan of Annemount, Friars Walk, Cork has been missing since about 11.30 am on Monday (note that is Mon 11 Jul) at which time he left his residence to post a letter. Nothing has since been heard of him. His father was previously a member of the RIC, and a brother is at present serving with that force


I have been unable to find his father in RIC Records. Year of Disappearances say he came from Carlow. And others say William had a brother Michael who was killed in France in 1917 - if so he had a father John (Soldiers Effects). But nothing in RIC registers gives a suitable RIC man to be William's father.



Shot by IRA as Spies