John Bransfield – R.I.C. Millstreet 1902-1913

John Bransfield was born in Waterford in 1872. He had joined the RIC in 1894, and was first working in Limerick. He was in Ballinacurra (Limerick) when he got married in 1901, after which he was moved briefly to Galway East, and then only a month later to Cork West. He was stationed in Millstreet in from 1902 to 1913, and later was Sergeant in Kealkil (1915, 1916), Kilbrittan (1915 to 1917)and later again in Drimoleague (1917 to 1921) . where he was injured, and retired to become a grocer/publican/merchant in Dungarvan, where he lived until he died in 1957.


Service Record

Service Record
Jno Bransfield #56316:
Age when appointed: 22 8/12
Height: 5′ 9″
Native County: Waterford
Religion: Catholic
Marriage Date: 5/11/1901
Native County of Wife: Limrerick
Recommendations: D.I. Heard
Trade or Calling: Farmer
Appointment: 1/Feb/1894
Allocation:Limerick 15/Sept/94; Cork E.R 12/2/02; Cork W.R. 20/3/02
Promotions: Acting Sergeant 1/July/1913; Sergeant 1/oct/1915
Rewards / Marks of Distinction / Favourable records: 2FR 5/3/06; 2FR 18/7/08; 3FR 29/3/20; 1FR 27/5/21
Reason for leaving: Pensioned 1/1/22 £165.15.0; Final Pension from 1/4/1922 £195
Observations: Wife Continued in Clare & Kerry (??) [1]


Sergeant in Charge:

To Acting Sergeant (Jan 1914 Directory)

Kealkil: 1915 Jan (a.s.), 1916 Jan, 1916 July (??), 1916 July,  1917 Jan

Drimoleague: 1921 (Guy’s Directory)


His Family

His parents: Marriage of James Bransfield and Bridget Hayes on March 1st 1870 at Clashmore Chapel (Youghal, Waterford), He a farmer from Lackinsilla (?) the son of Edmond (?) Bransfield a farmer, she from Ballinsclash, the daughter of John Hayes a farmer, in the presence of David McGrath and Mary Brien

He was the oldest of at least 11 children:
Birth of John Bransfield on May 5th 1871 at Lacansillagh (Lackensillagh, near Aglish, Co.Waterford), to Bridget Bransfield (Hayes) and James Bransfield a farmer.

His Siblings:
Redmond Bransfield (1872)
Margaret Bransfield (1873)
James Bransfield (1875)
Johanna Bransfield (1877)
Catherine Bransfield (1879)
Bridget Bransfield (1881 – 1976 Arlington, MA, USA)
William Bransfield (1882)
Maurice Bransfield (1884)
Declan Bransfield (1885)
Michael Bransfield (1888)

1901 census:  Residents of a house 1000 in Gouldavoher (Ballycummin, Limerick). This is Ballinacurra Barrack, Limerick [location, GMaps]

Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion
D C I 37 Male Co. Mayo Roman Catholic
D T 34 Male Co Roscommon Roman Catholic
H O 31 Male Co Roscommon Roman Catholic
Bransfield John 27 Male Born Co.Waterford
Speaks Irish and English
Roman Catholic
Not married
P J 27 Male Co. Kerry Roman Catholic

His family in the 1901 census: Residents of a house 3 in Lackensillagh (Dromore, Waterford)

Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion
Bransfield James 60 Male Head of Family
Roman Catholic
Bransfield Bridget 50 Female Wife Roman Catholic
Bransfield Redmond 27 Male Son
farmer’s son
Roman Catholic
Bransfield Joc Hannah 23 Female Daughter Roman Catholic
Bransfield William 17 Male Son
farmer’s son
Roman Catholic
Bransfield Maurice 14 Male Son
farmer’s son
Roman Catholic
Bransfield Declan 13 Male Son
Roman Catholic
Bransfield Michael 11 Male Son
Roman Catholic

Marriage of John Bransfield and Maggie Nash at the catholic church of Newcastlewest on November 5th 1901 by William O’Shea CC. He a police constable in Ballinacurra, the son of James Bransfield a farmer, she from NewcastleWest, the daughter of John Nash a farmer. In the presence of James Prenderville and Norah Nash.

(John was noted in the Petty Sessions in Newcastle in 1900, presumably he met her there at that time)


“TRANSFERS: …Constable John Bransfield, from Limerick to Galway, E.R.
[Weekly Irish Times – Saturday 15 February 1902]

Note: It was normal to be transferred after getting married


On October 1902 he is noted at the Petty Sessions in Millstreet, so how did he transfer to Millstreet from Galway? … or was the transfer changed?


In 1903 he was godfather to the daughter of another RIC constable Thomas Barrett:
Baptism of ELIZABETH BARRETT of MILLSTREET on 6 April 1903 by Fr. C. O’Sullivan, daughter of Thomas Barrett and Elizabeth Browne, sponsored by John Bransfield and Catherine Moynihan.


Birth of John Bransfield at Minor Row on June 26th 1905 to Margaret Bransfield (Nash) and John Bransfield, a Constable Royal Irish Constabulary


Daniel Foley, Millstreet was sentenced to a month in a default of bail for alleged attempting to stab John Garvan during an altercation in a lodging house. Constable Bransfield had been passing the house when he heard a voice say: “Put up the knife”.
[Irish Independent – Monday 28 May 1906]


£28 STOLEN. Recently the premises of Mr. Robert Justice, baker. West End, Millstreet, were broken into, and a sum of £28 stolen … Being barefooted, and under cover of the darkness, the robber had difficulty in making good his escape. The police were immediately informed of the occurrence, and Sergeant Mulcahy and Constables Bransfield and Cahill were, promptly the scene. investigation, they found that entrance had been effected through the back window of the kitchen ; the catch of the window had been forced, and the shutters and window had been opened. The window had been left down from the top. There was a distract footprint on the window sill, arid the police attach much importance to this clue, and is stated that this footmark will form the subject expert inquiry. On making a search of the premises the police discovered the bag which contained the money on top of sewing machine inside the shop-counter. The bag was opened by Constable Bransfield, and it was found to contain about £l, made up of sixpenny and threepenny pieces. The balance of the £29 was gone, and it is surmised that the thief, having been disturbed in his nocturnal perambnlations. had not time to completely empty the handbag, but threw it away from him as left the shop. … [Cork Examiner – Tuesday 01 December 1908]


Birth of Bridget Mary Bransfield at the Barracks Millstreet on Fifteenth January 1909, to Margaret Bransfield (Nash) and John Bransfield, a Constable Royal Irish Constabulary


Millstreet Petty Sessions – Constable Bransfield summoned John Buckley for Having his horse on the public street without a bridle, and also for not having his name on the cart. Constable Bransfield deposed that he found the horse wandering on the street without any bridle, and had considerable difficulty in finding the owner. There was no name the cart. A fine of Is was imposed for each offence. [Cork Examiner – Tuesday 02 March 1909]


8th Jan 1910 (start of year RIC nominal return for Millstreet)

Service # Rank Name Religion Appointment Date  
52443 Sgt Mulcahy Patrick RC 25-4-87 /
56316 Bransfield John RC 01/02/94 M
43535 Con Cahill Martin RC 08/02/78 M
56899 Flynn John RC 01/05/95 M
58402 Sullivan Thomas RC 15/08/98 M
56257 Patrick Sheehan RC 02/01/94 M


1911 (start of year RIC nominal return for Millstreet)

52443 Sgt Mulcahy Patrick RC 25-4-87 / 1-11-04 M
56316 Bransfield John RC 01/02/94 M
43535 Con Cahill Martin RC 08/02/78 M
56899 Flynn John RC 01/05/95 M
60683 Con Sullivan Patrick RC 15/04/02 M


1911 census: Residents of a house 22.3 in Main Street (Drishane, Cork) (The family were living in the RIC Barrack.

Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion
Bransfield John Male Head of Family
Bransfield Margaret 35 Female Wife Roman Catholic
Bransfield John 5 Male Son Roman Catholic
Bransfield Bridget Mary 2 Female Daughter Roman Catholic

His family back home in the 1911 census: Residents of a house 4 in Lackensillagh (Dromore, Waterford)

Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion
Brausfield James 78 Male Head of Family Roman Catholic
Brausfield Bridget 66 Female Wife Roman Catholic
Brausfield Redmond 31 Male Son Roman Catholic
Brausfield Michael 25 Male Son Roman Catholic
Brausfield Joahnnah 30 Female Daughter Roman Catholic


County of Cork, W.R. 56316, Bransfield, John Acting Sergeant. – Resolution of the Magistrates presiding at Millstreet on the occasion of his promotion, and consequent transfer to Kealkil, congratulating him on his promotion, and bearing testimony to the satisfactory manner in which he discharged his duties whilst stationed at Millstreet. [RIC Directory, Jan 1914]

Promoted to Sergeant noted in the 1916 register book

TODO; complete his nominal lists (like Patrick Sheehan

1916 Kealkil

1918 – Drimoleague

1919 – Drimoleague

1920 – Drimoleague



Transfers and appointments: “Sergeant Bransfield is taking charge of Kilbrittain from Kealkil” [Northern Whig – Monday 20 December 1915]

The following transfers have taken place in West Cork;—Sergeants Roynane (on his own application), Kilbrittain, to Carrigadrohid; Bransfield, Kilbrittain, to Kealkil; Acting- Sergeant J. Flynn. Ballygurteen, to Timoleague; Constable … [Larne Times – Saturday 01 January 1916]


John Bransfield was RIC Sergeant in Kealkil (Bantry District, Cork WR) when a small group of Irish Volunteers mobilised to there on Easter Sunday 1916 (what should have been part of Cork’s role in the Easter Rising). The attached – from a 2016 lecture I gave on the topic – refers to his encounter on that occasion with Sean O’Hegarty, who was O/C Cork No 1 (Mid-Cork) Brigade when Bransfield was injured in February 1921 in Drimoleague (Drimoleague was in the Cork No 3 Brigade area, as opposed to O’Hegarty’s No 1 area):
“O’Hegarty had to ask the local sergeant if he was looking for trouble as the RIC harassed some of the Volunteers as they disbanded. Sergeant John Bransfield probably chose wisely by saying he wanted no trouble — and the situation subsided. But the 44 year old from Co. Waterford was not so lucky in February 1921, when he was injured in an attack on the barracks at Drimoleague.”  – Niall Murray


Patrick CASEY b c1893 – WW1 alias CLANCY
Filed in the WW1 Service Records (WO 363) under John CLANCY – but which was his real name? The “modern” cover-note suggests Clancy – but even his Referee in 1911 (RIC Police Sergeant Jones) refers to him as Casey. So …

Patrick CASEY, home address BRUFF, Co Limerick. Parents John & Eliza. Sister Lizzie.
Joined the Royal Munster Fusiliers in September 1911, declared age 18y. (Regt No. 5719)
Joined the “Regular Army” (still Royal Munsters) in February 1912, declared age 18y 5m. (Regt No. 9762). Served in WW1 until declared a deserter on 1 January 1917.

Apprehended on 4 September 1917, by Sergeant John BRANSFIELD of the Drimoleague Constabulary. His report is headed “Descriptive Return of JOHN CLANCY ALIAS CASEY”, so I assume that Patrick was using the name John.

Unfortunately, the papers showing how he was dealt with are not there. But he evidently survived the rest of the war and served post-1920 as John CLANCY, Regt No 7213161 – but I can’t find the records of that service.

Was he a CASEY or a CLANCY? How confusing! – [Casey Clancy]


His wife died in 1917
Death of Margaret Bransfield, Drimoleague on October 26th 1917, Married, 43 yrs old, Sergeant’s wife, Diabetes Mellites Inderinite, Informant: John Bransfield husband Drimoleague


Attack Police Barrack. A few nights ago an attempt was made to blow up the police barracks at midnight in Drimoleague; Co. Cork. A bomb, or other powerful explosive, which was thrown through the window of Sergeant Bransfield’s room exploded, doing considerable damage, but fortunately no personal injuries were sustained one arrest been made – [Weekly Freeman’s Journal – Saturday 23 February 1918]


“Drimoleague Barracks, Co Cork, 12.2.1921
Edmund Charles Finlay, RN Telegraphist
56316 Sgt John Bransfield, Cork WR – wounded on this occasion, did he get a medal??” – Roger Willoughby

Follow the thread of this discussion which i continuing to develop


Marriage of Laurence Walsh and Bridget Mary Bransfield on July 10th 1933 at Dungarvan Church by Thomas O’Brien PP, he a bookkeeper of Abbeyside, the son of James Walsh a farmer, she from Dungarvan the daughter of John Bransfield a Publican, in the presence of Richard Walsh and Catherine Wall.


He got married secondly in 1933:

Marriage of John Bransfield and Caroline Ranson on November 29th 1933, he a widower, a merchant from Dungarvan, son of James Bransfield a farmer, she from Ballyduff, daughter of Robert Ranson, a pensioner, in the presence of Thomas Morrissey and Margaret Cunningham.


Death of John Bransfield on August 17th 1957 at Emerald Terrace Dungarvan, married 85 yrs, RIC pensioner, Cerebral trombosis 2 years – senility, Caroline Bransfield widow present at death


“My Grandfather JOHN BRANSFIELD served in the RIC.
From Jim Herlihy’s book I can get some information:
Brandsfield, John; Sergeant; RIC 56316; LDS 2O89/135B; Born Co. Waterford 1872; injured Drimoleague, Co. Cork 12/02/21.
… Thankfully, having retired he moved to Dungarvan and ran a grocery/licensed premises.
His daughter (my mother) married my father who had been active in the War of Independence, was Secterary to Count Plunkett and was subsequently active in the anti-Treaty forces.” – John Walsh (grandson)


Two policemen outside the RIC Barrack in the Square Millstreet c.1909 – Lawrence Collection. One of these may be John Bransfield. [photo 1] [photo 2 (below)]


Petty Sessions for John Bransfield:

He appears in the

Rathkeale 1898
Newcastle 1900
Limerick Liberties 1901
Millstreet 1st Oct 1902-1913
Then nothing for a few years (documents missing?)
Sergt J Bransfield Drimoleague 1917-1920 [ref] (he was injured in an attack on the barrack in 1921)


Disabled and Pensioned

Sergeant John Bransfield 56316 having been declared by the Surgeon of the Force unfit for further service in the Royal Irish Constabulary in consequence of sciatica arising from natural causes and neurasthenia following injury on duty (see annexed Certificate, I recommend, for the consideration of the Treasury, that he be discharged of the Treasury, tat he be discharged on an Annual Pension of £165:15:0 according to the provisions of recent Orders regarding pay and pension.
Sergeant Bransfield has been practically non-effective since 12th February 1921 when he was injured in the groin through being thrown to the ground when portion of Drimoleague Barracks was blown in by an explosion during an attack by the rebels. As a result of the injury he suffered from hernia for which he had to undergo an operation. He has been examined by the surgeon of the force who certifies he is unfit for the performance of further duty mainly as a result of sciatica arising from natural causes and partly due to neurasthenia following the injury received on duty. His ability to contribute in future to his own support is classified as slightly impaired as a result of the injury.
The ordinary pension for service in this case is £165:15:0 and I recommend that a provisional pension of that amount be sanctioned pending the making of an order dealing with injury cases. In view of the report of the surgeon the case does not appear to be one in which any addition to the ordinary pension can be made with respect to the injury.
At Skibbereen Quarter Sessions on the 23rd Apri last the Sergeant was awarded £5000 compensation under the Criminal Injuries (Ireland) Acts.
Deputy Inspector General [1]



Pensioned (Unfit cases):
Date: 1/Jan/22 (Discharged 31st Jan 21)
Age: 50
Current Rank: 6yrs 3months
Time in force: 27yrs 11months [2]

Pension Leger 1922:
Sgt John Bransfield
Born 1871
Annual Pension 165.15.
Commencement: 1st January 1922
Where paid: Dungarvan

TODO: his pension was raised later due to the claim for his injuries. (figure out how much and when)


The Attack on the RIC Barracks on February 12th 1921

Witness Statement of Daniel O’Driscoll, Drimoleague. About midnight on February 11th, 1921, 30 members of the column were taken into Drimoleague. I was instructed to lead a section of 6 members of the column
to the rear of the barracks where we took up a position behind a fence about 30 yards from the building. As far as I can recollect, Con McCarthy, Bandon, was in charge of this section. All were armed with rifles. Another section were detailed to carry a mine into the village and to lay it against the wall of the R.I.C. barrack. The party travelled nearly a mile in their stockinged
feet carrying the mine – which was laid on the barbed wire entanglements set up by the garrison between the wall bounding the public road and the wall of the barrack. When the mine was exploded there was a deafening roar. Fire was immediately opened on the enemy post by the members of the column, who were in position at the front of the building.. The members of the garrison returned the fire and sent up a number of Verey lights. It
transpired that the barrack had not been damaged by the explosion and, after a short time, all sections of the attacking party were ordered to withdraw.  [BMH.WS1352]

300 MEN ATTACK POLICE BARRACKS. EXPLOSIVES USED. The Drimoleague Police Barracks, twelve miles from Bantry, were attacked last night, by a large force of Sinn Féiners, estimated at about 300, and damaged by rifle fire and explosives. Adjoining houses were also damaged, and Sergeant Bransfield, who was in command of the station, was injured. After some time the attackers withdrew, military reinforcements coming on the scene. It is reported that Michael Collins, the “Commander-in-Chid” of the Republican Army, was present. A similar attack was made on the police barracks at Elfin, County Roscommon. Explosives were used, and the gable end of the building was blown in. The attack lasted through the night. It was not until 3:30 this morning that the attackers were driven off. The police escaped serious injury.  [Westminster Gazette – Saturday 12 February 1921]

Attack by Flying Column of 3rd Cork Brigade IRA on Drimoleague RIC Barracks.  Even though the IRA mine exploded (first time for 3rd Cork Brigade) it did not breach wall of barracks. No casualties on either side.  (Barry disputes Deasy’s account of this attack.) [Chronology of Irish History 1919 – 1923]



Parish Newsletter – 5th January 2020

5th January 2020
Canon John Fitzgerald P.P.
Tel Nos. Millstreet 029-70043/Mobile 087-7752948
10.00a.m.-1.00p.m. & 2.00p.m.-5.00p.m.

Your prayers are requested for the repose of the souls of the following and for those whose anniversaries occur around this time:

RECENT DEATHS: Kay Whelan, Tivoli & Cullen; Brid Ó Dubhghaill, Glounthaune & Knocknagree.

Mass Intentions this Week-end:
Millstreet Vigil 6.30 p.m. Ned Casey, Carrigacooleen
Ballydaly 9.00 a.m. The deceased members of the Kiely Family, Ballydaly
Cullen 10.15 a.m. Michael Dineen, Cullen
Millstreet 11.30 a.m. Pat O’Connell, Canon O’Donovan & Tooreenbawn

Anniversaries: Martin Cleary, Clara Road; Daniel O’Mahony, Main Street; Con Corcoran, Pound Hill; Kathleen Cronin, The Rectory; Julia Kelleher, Kilmeedy; Clement Kelleher, Tooreenbawn; Julia Kiely, Tubber; Kevin Gardiner, Duarigle; Bob & Bridie Casey, Duarigle; Michael Corbett, Knocknageeha; Abina Sheehan, Knockbrack; P.J. Murphy; Tom, Christy & the deceased members of the Goggin family, South Horsemount; Bill Hickey, Kiskeam.  [read more …] “Parish Newsletter – 5th January 2020”