Captain Tom Walsh.

Civil War remembrance event at Newport

On Sunday next, November 27, a memorial will be unveiled at Whitewalls Cross, Newport to the memory of Captain Tom Walsh and all those who died in the Civil war.

While returning to Nenagh from Rearcross on Wednesday, November 29, 1922 a National Army patrol under the command of Capt Walsh was ambushed by members of the Mid-Limerick Flying Column commanded by Comdt Sean Carroll. In the ensuing fight Tom Walsh sustained wounds to an arm and thigh.

Having been attended at the scene by Dr Coffey, Newport, he was transferred to St John's Hospital, Limerick. He was operated on the following morning to remove the bullet from his thigh; however, later that evening his condition deteriorated and he died from shock and haemorrhage.

During the War of Independence Tom Walsh was Captain in charge of the Kilruane Coy. He was involved in the attack on Borrisokane Barracks in June 1920 and went on to join the North Tipperary No 1 Brigade Flying Column upon its formation in November 1920. He was involved in all the Flying Column actions, including the Kilcommon, Latteragh and Modreeny ambushes.

Following the Treaty, he was given the honour of leading the North Tipperary contingent into Nenagh Barracks in February of 1922 and when the National Army was formed both he and his Column O/C, Jack Collisson, joined up.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, both men took the pro-Treaty side. Initially placed in charge of Borrisokane Barracks, Tom Walsh was put in charge of the National Army ASU, following the death of Capt Terence Byrne during the battle for Nenagh, June 29, 1922 On the day of his death, Tom Walsh took the ASU to investigate reports of armed men operating in the Rearcross area and it was while returning to Nenagh he encountered the fatal ambush.

For years, the exact location of the encounter was lost to memory, but following work by local historians, John Flannery, Tom Holmes and Pakie Ryan, the location was identified by co-relating documents in the Military History Archives, local folk memory and contemporary newspaper accounts.

The unveiling of the memorial takes place at 3pm on Sunday at Whitewalls Cross on the Rearcross Road, outside Newport. A colour party from North Tipperary branch of ONE and a piper will be in attendance.

As the memorial is dedicated not alone to Tom Walsh, but to everyone who died in the Civil War, it is hoped it will stand as a beacon of reconciliation and that as many as possible will come along on Sunday to remember those who died during that period.