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April 02, 2008


Kildare Observer, Saturday February 18, 1922

Murder of Lieut. Wogan Browne.

An inquest into the cause of death of Lieut J. H. Wogan Browne was opened by Dr. Jeremiah O’ Neill, Deputy Coroner for South Kildare, at the Curragh Military Hospital on Saturday evening at 1 o’ clock, and occupied over three hours. The jury were: Messrs Percy Podger (foreman), Luke Hanlon, Laurence Higgins, James Connor, Jas. Hade, Philip Hade, Maurice Condran, John Magrath, William Rowley, Henry Church, James Clune, Richard Weller, and Enock Poole.
Mr. Lipsett, K.C. (instructed by Mr. C. Blair White, Crown Solicitor). Represented the military authorities.
There were in attendance:- The Brigade Police Officer: Captain Sean Kavanagh, representing the 1st Eastern Division I.R.A.: Company Officers W. Graham and James Doyle, I.R.A. District-Inspector Queenan, R.T.C., Kildare, having deposed to holding a post mortem.
Patrick Daly, a young man of 18 years, was examined by District-Inspector Queenan, and stated he lived at Cross Keys, Kildare. He was employed by Mr. Kennedy, garage proprietor, at Kildare. He was in the garage on Friday when two young men came in and asked if they could hire a car to leave them in Kilcullen, and asked what would be the charge. I went upstairs and asked the boss, and told them they could have the car for 15s. I asked what time they wanted the car, and if they would have any delay there. They said they would want the car at 11 o’ clock and that they would have no delay – that they merely wanted to be left there. They went in the direction of the Square and came back about 11 o’ clock. The two men waited for a little time, and when the car was ready they started off. They got into the car and Mr. Kennedy’s driver – Thomas Graham – drove the car. I did not see the third man get into the car. I only saw two.
To D.I. Queenan – I described those men to District-Inspector Sweeny.
Thomas Grehan deposed in reply to D.I. Queenan – I am employed as a driver and mechanic by Mr. Kennedy. On yesterday morning I was called at between 11 and quarter past 11 o’ clock to go out with the car. The men came into the shop.
To the Coroner – I saw two men in the Square first about quarter past 10. At quarter past 11 I took out the car and the two men I had seen in the shop got into it. They told me to drive to the Infirmary. When I got to the Post Office going down they said: “Stop at the School gate”. I was a time there, and they said they were waiting for another man to come along. No other man came along until the shooting. They asked me to put up the hood of the car and I did so. One of them helped me to put it up.
To D.I. Queenan – I saw soon afterwards a military officer coming from the direction of the town going towards the military barracks.
D.I. Queenan (to Coroner) – There are many barracks, sir.
Witness – He was coming from the direction of the police barracks. When the military officer approached the car I saw one of the men take out a revolver. He pulled a magazine out of his pocket.
District-Inspector – A revolver?
Witness – No; it was not in the shape of a revolver – a magazine I hear it called.
D.I. Queenan – What did he do then? – He walked towards the officer.
What occurred then? – When he got within a few yards the officer jumped to catch hold of him.
To the Coroner – He jumped apparently to catch hold of him.
To District-Inspector – He presented the weapon. I did not hear any words. They ordered me to start the car.
Coroner – Who ordered you to start?
Witness – One of the men beside me ordered me to start the car. He had a revolver.
To D.I. – The man who ordered me to start had a revolver in his pocket.
Coroner – How do you know that he had it in his pocket? – I saw him take it out of his breast and put it in his coat pocket.
D.I. – Did a second man approach the officer? – He did; yes. The hood was up. I could not see, but I could hear a struggle behind the car on the road. I did not hear any of the men fall.
Did you hear a shot – Yes.
And after the shot what happened – The man that was standing beside the car leaped in beside where I was – on to the seat next to me.
D.I. – Did you see the officer fall? – I did not. The other two men jumped into the car.
Anything else? – Yes; one of the men said “Well, that fellow is done, anyhow”.
D.I. Queenan – That was after he got into the car? – Yes.
Having got into the car, what did they further say? – They said: “Drive on.”
Did they indicate what direction? – Yes; they said “Drive round by the Nunnery.”
And they threatened you? - Yes; they told me that if I went to identify them in any way that there was more than three of them in it, and they would get me something.
During that time what words did they use – did they say anything else to you? – Not that I could hear anyhow.
To Coroner – They said only “Drive quickly”, this several times and nothing more.
To D.I. – I drove them to the bog. I do not know what bog.
To a Juror – It is towards Kildoon.
To D.I. – I do not know it as Maddenstown bog. I drove out for about three miles. They told me to pull up then and they got out of the car.
Did they say anything to you when going out? – Yes; they told me to go to hell or something, and then they told me to take the first turn to the left. That was in the direction of Kildoon. I continued on and came back into Kildare immediately. I did not pass through Suncroft. When I came to Kildare I met you (D.I.Queenan) in the garage.
District-Inspector – In reply to certain questions you made a statement to me? – Yes.
Was it somewhat as you have given hero? – Yes.
You told me roughly what occurred? – Yes.
Did you know any of these men – I did not know any of them.
To the Coroner – They were strangers to me.
To D.I. – I gave a description of them to the Captain of the Volunteers and to the military officer and to the police.
District-Inspector – Did you assist to the best of your ability to trace where these people went? – I did, yes.
D.I. – Did you see anything in their possession afterwards? – They carried the bag.
Coroner – What bag?
Witness – The bag they took from the officer.
To D.I. – The officer threw the bag on the ground when attacked and the man took the bag.
To the Coroner – He brought the bag over to the car. It was a kind of canvas bag
To D.I. – Subsequently when they left my car they took the bag away. When they left the car near Kildoon they took it with them.
Foreman – How long did the incident occupy – the shooting incident?
Coroner – How long was it from the attack until the men got into the car? – It was not more than two minutes.
To a Juror – The car was in the road for five or ten minutes. One man walked over to meet the officer.
To a Juror (Mr. Rowley_ - They told me to take the Tully road. They appeared to know the road thoroughly.
Mr. Rowley – Had they the appearance of country men? – Yes.
To the Coroner – They told me to take the Tully road as if they had some knowledge of the district.
To a Juror – The officer was shot behind the car and the hood was up. I did not see the third man approaching until he humped in. The engine was stopped for five or ten minutes, and when the officer was coming down I was told to re-start it. The man that followed the gentleman walked down by Nolan’s. There was another man who walked across to meet him. Another man remained with me in the car all the time.
Charles Swain, in reply to District-Inspector Queenan, stated: - I am the cashier in the Hibernian bank at Kildare. I remember yesterday morning, 10th inst. I saw the late Lieut. Browne in the bank about quarter past 11 o’ clock. He presented a cheque for payment. I produced the cheque. He would not have been in the bank more than about five minutes. He carried a small haversack. I know he put the silver in the bag but am not certain about the balance, but they usually put all the cash into it after getting it from me.
D.I. Queenan – How much silver?
Witness – About £20 – that would be four £5 packets. The remainder was in notes - £100 in Bank of Ireland single notes and £15 in Treasury 10s. notes. That would be £135 in all. Mr. Wogan Browne generally came early. He was generally first to come. Friday is the pay day for the Battery.
Did he always go by himself? – Yes two may come together. He always came early and was always alone.
Mrs Lizzie Flanagan, in reply to D.I. Queenan deposed she was married and resided at New Row, Kildare. I was coming down Hospital Street at about 11.00 yesterday morning. When at the Protestant school gate I saw a motor car standing and two men were standing on the footpath. I heard a row, and, turning round, I saw the two civilians and the officer fighting on the road. One of the civilians fell, and then I saw the officer and the other man standing on the road and the shot went off. I then met another officer on the road, and I told him that one of his officers was after being shot. He asked me where, and I said “Just above the corner, sir.” The officer turned back into the barracks. That is all I know.
D.I. Queenan – Did you know any of these people who were scuffling with the officer? – No, sir.
To Mr. Lipsett, K.C. – There was a noise from the motor car. I noticed the car before the officer came up.
To a Juror – I was coming from the police barrack direction. I did not see the third man.
To D.I. Queenan – I noticed the driver, who appeared to be sitting by the wheel.
To the Foreman – I only saw the two men scuffling in the road with the officer.
To Mr. Lipsett. K.C. – She did not notice anyone about. There was not a Christian on the road beside myself.
To D.I. Queenan – I was on the footpath. The hood of the car was up. A man might be round in the shade on the other side. I did not see anyone other than what I have said. I did not notice anyone walking behind the officer. I did not take notice of any.
Driver Harold Onions, R.F.A., examined by D.I. Queenan, stated he was stationed at the Artillery barrack gate at the time of the occurrence. I saw a motor car on the road. It was about 20 minutes to 12 o’ clock. The car was there for about five minutes. I noticed the driver standing in front of the car. I was 150 yards from that point. I did not see anything happening.
Coroner – Did you hear a shot? – Yes, sir; I heard a shot.
Coroner – That was what attracted your attention? – Yes: I saw the officer fall. I only saw the driver in the car. The car moved away immediately the shot went. I could not say how many people were in the car. It was too far away. The hood was up.
To the Coroner – The car went away from me, starting immediately. I saw nothing more.
District-Inspector – Later you went up to where the officer fell? – Yes sir.
And in what condition did you find the officer? – He was lying with his face downwards. I turned him over: he was dead.
Was he bleeding? – Yes, sir.
Did you notice any wound? – He was shot through here (pointing to his forehead).
Coroner – did you turn him over? – Yes, sir. “The wound was over the eye”.
A considerable time was occupied by the post mortem examination by Surgeon F. T. Coady, Kildare, and Captain O’ Malley, R.A.M.C.
Dr. E. T. Coady stated he was called to the Kildare military barracks, where he saw Lieut. Wogan Browne, who was reported to be shot. He found life extinct. He made a post mortem examination, assisted by Captain O’ Malley. The deceased had a wound over the right eye and an abrasion on the left side of the forehead and left side of the chin. There was a wound in the occipital bone. Death was due to laceration of the brain. He found all the organs had been healthy.
To the Coroner – The abrasion may be due to falling on the road. It was a skin abrasion.
Captain O’ Malley. R.A.M.C., sworn, stated he assisted at the post mortem examination. He agreed with Dr. Coady. Death was due to laceration of the brain. There was wound in the occipital bone over the right eye, and portion of the temple bone was fractured. The heart and lungs were normal, as were the abdominal viscera.
Coroner – do you agree with Dr. Coady as to the abrasion on the face?
Witness – Absolutely.
The Coroner said the evidence in the case was very clear. It was shown that the officer was attacked at Kildare, and that he was fired at and shot. They had evidence of the shooting and they had the doctors evidence, which showed that a bullet entered the frontal bone and the brain, causing death. It appears to me the only verdict is wilful murder against some person or persons unknown. It is, of course, gentlemen, for you to say what is your verdict.
The Coroner added – Lieut. J. H. Wogan Browne comes of an old and distinguished Co. Kildare family that had hundreds of gallant gentleman famous in history and in story, and it is for you, gentlemen, should you so desire, to express your strong condemnation of the dastardly crime committed in your midst, a crime absolutely un-Irish and which one could understand in some of the larger cities of the world, but not here – a crime absolutely devoid of any political significance, and apparently perpetrated for money in the young officer’s possession. Further, gentlemen, it is the duty of loyal Irishmen to give every assistance to the Provisional Government to bring the authors of this outrage, culminating in the death of this young and promising officer, to justice. You, gentlemen, should you desire, can express your deep sympathy and pass a vote of condolence with the family of the deceased, which I shall duly convey to the relatives.
The jury, having deliberated for some time, found that death was due to injury to the brain, caused by a gunshot wound inflicted by some person or persons unknown and returned a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.
Mr. Clune (juror) said the views of the jury were expressed in the full statement made by the Coroner with reference to the deceased officer. The jury expressed their abhorrence of the crime, which had been so foully committed in their midst, and conveyed to the relatives of the deceased an expression of deep sympathy.

The Inquest into the death of Wogan Browne. Tonight Wednesday 2 April 2008 James Durney will deliver a talk for the Cill Dara Historical Society, on The Death of Wogan Browne in the Kildare Education Centre (old parochial house), Kildare Town at 8 p.m. 

[compiled and edited by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Breid Kelly - the report here on the inquest is an excerpt from a larger report in the Kildare Observer which also described in detail the funeral of Lt. Wogan Browne]

Posted by mariocorrigan at 12:21 PM


Tonight Wednesday 2 April 2008 James Durney will deliver a talk for the Cill Dara Historical Society, on The Death of Wogan Browne in the Kildare Education Centre (old parochial house), Kildare Town at 8 p.m.

Kildare Observer, Saturday February 18, 1922.
Murder of Lieut. Wogan Browne.
No incident that has occurred in County Kildare within living memory has occasioned more widespread horror and condemnation than the murder and highway robbery of Lieut. J. H. Wogan Browne, R.F.A., at Kildare, in broad-day light on Friday last. All classes and Creeds united in condemning in the strongest manner possible such a terrible outrage. Lieut. Wogan Browne was a fine specimen of young manhood, who had only reached the age of 22 years at the time he was done to death while serving with his regiment in his native county of Kildare. From the details that can be gathered, it would appear the young officer was in the habit of calling at the Hibernian Bank each Friday morning for cash for the payment of his men at Kildare R.F.A. barracks. About 11.30 on that day in question he called at the bank and received a sum of about £135. He then left the bank and proceeded towards the barracks. At the corner of Infirmary road a Ford motor car stood. This had previously been hired at a local garage by three men, who had paid 15s., it appears for the use of the car, ostensibly to convey a patient from the infirmary. As Lieut. Wogan Browne approached the car he was held up by two men, who snatched the money from him and dashed for the waiting car. The lieutenant attempted to grapple with the men for the recovery of the money when, it is stated one of the men sitting in the car fired point-blank at him with a revolver. The bullet passed through his eye and he collapsed on the roadway, death being almost instantaneous. Meanwhile the driver of the motor was told by the three men to drive off as speedily as he could across Infirmary road and in the direction of Kildoon, revolvers being held to his head. He did as he was bidden, and having covered some few miles the car was stopped in Kildoon bog, the desperadoes dismounted and told him to return to Kildare, which he did. Later military police and I.R.A. united in a search for the miscreants. Several arrests were made later by the I.R. police, but so far no proceedings have been taken, although at least two of the men apprehended were detained and conveyed to Naas, where they have since been held.
Lieut. Wogan Browne was the youngest son of Colonel Wogan Browne, of Keredorn, Naas, and therefore a member of one of Kildare’s and indeed Ireland’s oldest Catholic families.
Lieut. Wogan Browne was a prominent member of the Landsdowne Football Club, for which he did excellent service during the season just closing. A fast, clever, and resourceful three-quarter back, he helped materially to place his club in the proud position that it now holds in Irish Senior Rugby. He was also played for the Army in representatives matches. As an athlete Mr. Wogan Browne earned distinction. He won many prizes on the track, and was in the first class as a half mile runner.
... [in original Inquest comes next]
The Coroner said he would have the vote of sympathy duly conveyed to the relatives. He had also been handed by the Rev. Fr. Waldron, C.C., a few minutes previously, a copy of the following resolution, passed at a meeting of the people of Kildare that day, expressing sympathy with the deceased:- “That we, as representing every creed and section of the community in Kildare, hereby express on their behalf our deep abhorrence of the two-fold outrage of highway robbery and murder of which our town has been made the scene, and that we beg most respectfully to convey on behalf of the people of Kildare our heartfelt sympathy with the family, relatives and brother officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the late Lieut. J. H. Wogan Browne.”
(The meeting in question was presided over by Rev. Thomas Kelly, O.C.C., and amongst the representative attendance were:- Rev. Father Waldron, Very Rev. Dean Waller, Dr. E.F. Rowan, Messrs. T. McHugh, E. Heffernan, J. Bergin, J. Cosgrove, V.S., Thomas Kelly, N Hanagan, James Nolan, P. J. Connolly, Thos. Fitzpatrick, J.J. O’ Driscoll, M.P.S.I., Chas. Heffernan, J. Forsyth, S. Bratton, C.P.S., D. Boland, C. Hackett, M. Dennehy, N. McNabb, D.J. Carbery, J. Breslin, J. Ryan, J. Byrne, P. Moore, J. Conlan).
Captain Sean Kavanagh, Liason Officer, I.R.A., said, as representing the Eastern Division, he desired with the officers present to associate himself with the expression of deep sympathy. He wished to say that everything possible was being done by them, acting with the military and Royal Irish Constabulary, and he sincerely hoped their efforts would be successful.
District-Inspector Queenan – I beg to associate myself with the sympathy expressed, and think it right to say that the local Volunteer police in the present case have done everything they possibly could and spared no pains. They gave us every assistance, and have worked with us harmoniously. He hoped their continued joint efforts would result successfully.
The senior military officer present said on behalf of their authorities he appreciated the expression of condemnation by the jury of this foul and cold-blooded murder. He was sure the military authorities appreciated also the expression from the people of Kildare, who, as well as the jury, knew this young officer. He had also to bear tribute to the help which had been given by the officers of the Provisional Government. He hoped the joint efforts of the military, the police and the I.R.A. would be successful. This was an act for which there was no excuse. It was a foul murder committed for the basest reason. It showed well for the future of their land when all came together, and when the I.R.A. and their Liason Officer for the district were working jointly with the police and military in their efforts to bring the perpetrators of this foul murder to justice.
On Tuesday morning at 11.30 the funeral of the murdered officer took place to the New Cemetery, Naas, after Mass at the Curragh. The cortege pulled up at the military barracks, Naas, where it reformed. A firing party from the deceased officer’s regiment, the R.F.A., marched at the head of the funeral procession with arms reversed. Next came the band of the K.S.L.I. from the Curragh, playing the solemn strains of the Dead March in Sam (and later near the cemetery, Bethoven’s funeral march). Then came a gun carriage drawn by eight horses with outriders bearing the coffin draped in the Union Jack. Placed on the coffin were the dead officer’s sword and cap. Behind came his charger lead by a trooper. The top boots of the deceased were fixed in the stirrups reversed. Next followed Colonel Wogan Browne, father of the deceased, with two other relatives. After this in the procession marched a detachment of the men of the R.F.A., carrying twenty-four beautiful wreaths and behind a number of buglers followed by some hundred of the county gentry, officers and men of the deceased’s regiment and thousands of townspeople of every class and creed. The spectacle was the most impressive one ever seen in Naas, where military funerals have often passed through the streets, but nothing even remotely approaching in impressiveness and size this demonstration of grief for a young townsman, than whom we understand no more popular officer has ever served his country. For the first time in the history of relations between the military and the people of the country for the past few years was seen a complete co-mingling of the old and the new forces, police and the general public. All business and private houses were closed and shuttered as the procession passed through the town. The 1st Eastern Division I.R.A. was represented by the following members of the Staff of the 7th Brigade:- Brigade Commandant T. Lawler, Adjutant P. Tuile, Quartermaster Kelly, Brigade Engineer P. Lawler, the Brigade I.O. Capt. Sean Kavanagh, Liason Officer, Brigade Police Officer McKenna, and the local Battalion Police Officer. The prayers at the graveside, where there was a huge gathering were recited by Rev. M. Norris, P.P. assisted by Rev. Fr. Doyle, C.C.; Rev. Fr. Tierney C.C., and Rev. Fr. Kelly O.C.C., Kildare.
The remains having been deposited in the grave, the Last Post was sounded and three volleys were fired over the grave by the firing party. So huge was the throng at the cemetery that entrance had to be regulated by the Brigade Police Officer and his men, assisted by members of the military police. Three representatives of the Lansdowne Football Club attended the funeral and marched in the procession.
Amongst the many beautiful wreaths laid upon the grave were the following:-
“Dearest Jack, with his father’s love; “Jack, with deep sympathy, from Frank and Fred”; “Dearest Jack, with love from his three sister, Molly, Judith and Claire”; “From Lieut-Col and Mrs. A.J. Wogan Browne and Miss Wogan Browne, with very deepest sympathy”.; “In loving memory of dear Uncle Jack, from Betty, Joan, John, Barry and Mary”.; “With deepest sympathy from all at Killashee”.; “With deepesty sympathy from Miss de Robeek”.; With deepest sympathy from Mrs. James Robertson and family”.; “In proud memory and in deep sympathy from Col. Commandant and Mrs W.B.R. Sandys and Miss Sandys”.; “With deepest sympathy from Colonel and Mrs. W.J. Honner”.; “With deepest sympathy from the Officer, R.A. Kildare”.; “With deepest sympathy from the Officers 4th Brigade, R.H.A., Kildare”.; With deepest sympathy from the people of Kildare Town”.; “With deepesty sympathy from Officers 36th Brigade, R.F.A., Newbridge”.; “With deepest sympathy from the Officer, N.C.O.’s and Men 18th Battery R.F.A., Kildare”.; “With deepest sympathy from the Junior N.C.O.’s and Men 17th Battery, R.F.A. Kildare”.; “With deepest sympathy from the junior N.C.O.’s, R.A., Newbridge”.; “With deepest sympathy from W.O.’s, Staff-Sergts. And Sergts. R.A. Mess, Newbridge”.; “With deepest sympathy from N.C.O.’s 71st Brigade R.F.A..; “With deepest sympathy from the N.C.O.’s and Men 142nd Battery, R.F.A.”.; “With deepest sympathy from the Sergeants, Royal Artillery, Kildare”.; “With deepest sympathy from John J. Moriarty”: “With sincere sympathy from T. L. Harrington”: “With love and deepest sympathy from all at Carrig, Queenstown.
Dear Sir, - I should like to thank all the inhabitants of Kildare for the beautiful wreath they so kindly sent for the funeral to-day. I should also like to thank you all again for the resolution which was passed on Saturday, and which was received with much pride and gratification by the relatives as well as by all of us.
Yours truly,
            W. SANDYS, Colonel-Commandant,
                 C.R.A., 5th Division.
31. Fitzwilliam Square Dublin,
        20th February, 1922.
Colonel Wogan Browne greatly appreciates the resolution passed at the meeting of the Naas Urban Council on the 14th inst., and desires to send his heartfelt thanks for the expression of deep sympathy from him and his family which they have sent him in the name of the people of Naas on the sorrowful occasion of his dear son’s death.

Reports on the funeral of Wogan Browne. Tonight Wednesday 2 April 2008 James Durney will deliver a talk for the Cill Dara Historical Society, on The Death of Wogan Browne in the Kildare Education Centre (old parochial house), Kildare Town at 8 p.m.

[complied and edited by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Breid Kelly]


Posted by mariocorrigan at 12:10 PM


Tonight Wednesday 2 April 2008 James Durney will deliver a talk for the Cill Dara Historical Society, on The Death of Wogan Browne in the Kildare Education Centre (old parochial house), Kildare Town at 8 p.m.
Kildare Observer, 25/2/1922
The Late Lieut. J. H. Wogan Browne.
The following letters have been forwarded to us for publication:-
31. Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin,
                                15th. February, 1922.
Colonel F. Wogan Browne and family desire to express their deep appreciation of the resolution passed at the meeting of the people of Kildare on Saturday last, and to send them their warmest thanks for the kindly feelings they have shown them in these sorrowful circumstances.
36th. Brigade,
Royal Field Artillery.
To Rev. Thos. P. Kelly, O.C.C.
On behalf of the Officers, Warrant-Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the 36th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, I thank the people of Kildare for their very kind and thoughtful act in passing a resolution of sympathy with us in our great sorrow for the loss of our beloved comrade, the late Lieut. John Hubert Wogan Browne.
L. E. WARREN. Lieut.-Col., R.F.A.,
Commanding 36th Brigade, R.F.A.
Newbridge, 12th. Feb., 1922.
14th February, 1922.
KILDARE OBSERVER, 11/2/1922, P. 5
Terrible tragedy at Kildare.
An appalling tragedy, evidently arising out of an attack for the purpose of robbery, occurred at Kildare to-day (Friday). It would appear the Lieut. J. Wogan Browne proceeded to the Bank at Kildare and on leaving about 11-30 a.m. was met by three men who had arrived in a motor, and by whom he was attacked. They seized the money, but Lieut. Wogan Browne made a dash to recover it and was fired at by the men, who were armed. He was shot through the head and died almost immediately. The tragedy created a sensation in Kildare.
Lieut. Wogan Browne was a young soldier, and only surviving son of Colonel Wogan Browne, formerly of Keredern, Naas.
To the Editor, “Kildare Observer.”
14th February, 1922.
A Cara, - As one result, it is now clear of the terrible tragedy enacted in this town on last Friday a straining has arisen of the good relations which have hitherto existed, even through the recent troubles, between the local garrisons and the civil population. The first evidence of this was the hostile demonstration made by a number of the military in Kildare on Friday night. Another is to be found in the fact the people who have been trading with the local garrison and the Curragh Camp had had their passes “stopped,” which is a serious matter for most of them, whose chief support was derived from this trading. Any statement, therefore, which would help to relieve this tension, or remove all grounds for it, is not I think, out of place, and it is with this hope that I, as a magistrate of this town, feel called upon to ask for a little bit of your space.
At a very representative meeting of the townspeople, held on the day after the tragedy, to express their abhorrence of the crime, and their heartfelt sympathy with the family, fellow officer, and regiment of the deceased, who was so universally respected, a gentleman stated that he was informed by a military officer that persons who were present when or immediately after the fatal shot was fired, refused to give any help to the soldier who tried to carry deceased into the barracks; but, on the contrary, “laughed and jeered”, and, as it were, “connived at the terrible deed. He said, further, that this was “quite true – a fact a positive fact.” (I indicate the words actually used)
A charge of this kind, made with such emphasis, was as serious a one as could well be made against the manhood of any community. I say manhood, because we must suppose that those present, or alleged to be, were an average sample of the townspeople generally. And the demonstration afterwards made against civilians generally, and also the stopping of passes bear out the view that by the action – or inaction – of those present or alleged to be, the whole community were being judged. It was preposterous to ask people on any evidence short of a most rigid inquiry on oath, to believe that fellow-men could adopt such a callously inhuman attitude as this at such a moment. For my own part, I could do no less that I did, when I heard that charge and I stated my belief that it was a gross slander. The gentleman who had made the statement thereupon claimed the “protection” of the chair, I do not know why, I did not refer to slanderers and indeed had no idea who first made the charge. It was the people who were spoken of in such terms, in their absence, who, to my mind, most required protection.
I had only expressed an opinion, but it was left to the next speaker to testify directly CONTRA. He told us that his brother was on the scene just after the crime was perpetrated; that he saw a soldier hurry from the lower barrack gate to where deceased lay: that he asked for no help, that he succeeded in carrying deceased some distance towards the barrack gate and then fell and lay on the ground in a fainting condition, I regret to say that although this gentleman’s statement seems to be accepted as conclusive by all present, the original statement of which it was a refutation, was not withdrawn, nor indeed modified.
It seems clear, therefore, that the military demonstration on that night was due to the impression conveyed by some channel or other to the demonstrators that some of the townspeople had been guilty of a most un-christian display of inhumanity and that they should be made to feel that. If the charge had been true, and were applicable to the public generally, the latter would not have much to complain of, I think, if the demonstration had been much stronger. But it was to say the least of it disconcerting that any body of men could even suspect of such foulness a community who, I do not hesitate to say, felt as horror stricken and aggrieved over the death of a gentleman who (with his family) was so universally respected, as did his own military comrades. And the unceasing search for the perpetrators, day and night, by every man here who is permitted or authorised to do so, speaks for itself.
Articles from the Kildare Observer commenting on the death of Lt. John Hubert Wogan Browne at Kildare in February 1922
[compiled and edited by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Breid Kelly]

Posted by mariocorrigan at 11:57 AM