John O'Neill

Appears to be a case of mistaken identity. A fairly large IRA ambush was waiting to get a military car that regularly passed this way. Instead they managed to shoot up the wrong car and kill John O'Neill. Not surprisingly, no WS mentions this ambush

1889 Aug .Born Dublin

1911 census at Castleknock. He is a Groom. Age 21, born City of Dublin

1916 Mar 2. John O'Neill enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, at Brisbane, Queensland, and re-sworn on 12 March 1916.
He gave his age as 26 years and 7 months, born in Dublin, Ireland.
He stated that he was a Jockey, and had been apprenticed to R. Harrison of Castleknock, for 5 years.
He noted his next-of-kin as his sister, Jane O'Neill, of 86 South Brunswick Street, Dublin,
He joined the Australian Veterinary Corps, Light Horse Regiment and served in Australia

1916 Oct 3. He was then transferred on 22 July 1916 from Sydney on board RMS "Malwa" to Kantara, [on the Suez Canal] Egypt, arriving on 27 October 1916 and served there until 24 August 1917, when he was sent to hospital. He was discharged from hospital on 7 October 1917, and returned to his unit.

1918 Jul 17. his hand was severely damaged when the wheel of a limber carrying horse feed went over his hand. This accident occurred in The Jordan Valley.

He was a Private from 2 March 1916 until 30 April 1918,
He was a Driver from 1 May 1918 until 17 January 1919, and a Motor Driver from 18 January 1919 until 23 May 1919.

1919 Jul 27. He departed from Suez to Australia onboard H.M. "Dunluce Castle", arriving at Sydney on 30 August 1919.

1919 Dec 6. He was discharged from the Army on 6 December 1919, and returned sometime later to Dublin


1921 Mar 6 Shot in a large ambush, It may have been a case of mistaken identity. The ambush was intended for a military car

O'Neill was working as the chauffeur for Edward McGrath (a tea merchant) driving a party to Portmarnock Golf Course for a game. Thomas Shannon´╗┐, a pro golfer working at Portmarnock Gold course was in the front passenger seat; McGrath, Joseph O'Dowd and George Beattie were in the back of the car. O'Neill was shot in the head and stomach and died on the scence. O'Dowd was wounded in the arm. Both were taken to the Mater Hospital.

The driver of the miltary vehicle which was the intended victim escaped unharmed. McGrath Brothers (Tea) Ltd was based on Batchelor's Walk, Dublin.

A note on his Australian Military file noted a letter from Peter M. Seales, Solicitor in Dublin reporting that he had been killed in an ambush, and seeking a copy of his will. None was found in his extensive file.




Shot by IRA as British spies