Thursday, 26 January 2012

Gerald and George Smyth

Jerry Murland's book Departed Warriors give a good account of the Great War service of Lt Colonel Gerald Brice Ferguson Smyth and his brother Major George Osbert Stirling Smyth. Both highly decorated. Gerald Smyth lost part of his arm in 1914 and nearly lost the other arm when wounded later in the conflict.

Gerald caused controversy with comments at Listowel to members of the Royal Irish Constabulary which led to his being shot by the IRA a short while later in Cork. He had been in Ireland for a very short amount of time.

George Osbert appears to have got himself a transfer to Irish Command to be involved in tracking those responsible for the shooting of his brother. He was himself killed in the early hours of 12th October 1920 when searching a house for Sean Treacy and Dan Breen in Drumcondra. Captain White was killed during the same incident.

The National Library of Ireland has 3 photos of George's funeral cortege travelling through Dublin labelled as the funeral of Major Smyth and General Boyd. Major General Boyd was actually an official mourner during this procession and the other coffin is probably that of Captain White. I have sent an email to the NLI and hopefully they will correct their data re the photos. T Ryle Dwyer writing in The Squad gets the brothers names wrong - suggesting Colonel Ferguson Smyth was shot in Cork and his brother Major Gerald Smyth being shot in Drumcondra. Similarly, White's auction house have a photo of Gerald Smyth's coffin which they half suggest is George Osbert Stirling Smyth rather than Gerald (even though the photo itself is labelled Gerald).

The Smyth brothers were both buried in Banbridge. Captain White was buried in Kingston Cemetery, London. Major General Boyd died in 1930.

As in so many instances, there is a link to Kathy's family - the Fernside Raid in which Smyth and White were killed revolved around Dan Breen and Sean Treacy. Both had been to see Kathy's Gt Grandfather and his daughter who were in Drumcondra to get a passport from Michael Collins. Breen and Treacy were followed from this meeting back to Professor Carolan's house, Fernside,

No comments:

Post a comment