Thomas Kent’s brother turned down by State for compensation

William Kent sought payment for sacrifices ‘my family made, both in life and property’

Thomas (left) and William Kent being marched by British soldiers across Fermoy bridge in May 1916

Thomas (left) and William Kent being marched by British soldiers across Fermoy bridge in May 1916


The brother of Thomas Kent was turned down for a payment from the State despite being involved in the shooting incident which led to his arrest and later execution.

William Kent claimed that he was entitled to compensation because of the death of his brothers Thomas, who was executed by the British, and Richard Kent who died of wounds a few days after they resisted arrest at their family home in Bawnard House Coole, Castlelyons, Co Cork on May 2nd, 1916.

A gunfight lasted for four hours, in which an RIC officer, Head Constable William Rowe, was killed.

William Kent was arrested along with Thomas and taken to Cork Military Barracks. He was released a short time afterwards as he was the “least prominent in the movement and was not known to the police”.

Another brother David was sentenced to death but that sentence was later commuted to 15 years in jail.

In 1924 William Kent pressed his case with the Army Pension Board for compensation arising out of his brothers’ deaths.

He wrote: “I now leave the case entirely in your hands and I’m fully confident that you will see me generously treated for the sacrifice which my family made, both in life and property not alone in 1916, but since the early days of the Land League.”

He professed himself at a loss in understanding the delay to his application “when it should be one of the first in Ireland”.

However, the Army Pension Board turned him down. They concluded that he was not financially dependent on his brothers in any way.

Indeed, the board noted that, financially, he had been a beneficiary of his brothers’ deaths as he now inherited their share of the farm.

This farm consisted of 200 acres of land. The board would appear to have observed that he did not manage it well. “The application is at present in poor financial circumstances but is quite capable of making his farm pay.”

The Kent application reveals how the family home was “riddled with bullets, some of them have never been located and in the winter months the rain comes through the roof.

“Owing to the awful tragedy at the time, the land was laid waste and had afterwards to be let at a sacrifice in grazing, cattle and valuable thoroughbred horses being left totally neglected for several months.”