Full Name: Thomas Joseph Murphy

Addresses: 9 Parkview Terrace, Wharf Road, East Wall; and 39 East Wall Road.

Unit: E Coy, 2nd Battalion, Dublin Brigade. Rank Volunteer. National Army, 2nd Lieutenant.

Born: 1 October 1897 at 55 Albert Street, Belfast City.

Parents: John (a Blacksmith) and Bridget Drain (also spelled Drean).

Siblings: Thomas was third eldest of no less than fourteen children born between 1894 and 1918. His brothers and sisters were Joseph, Mary Anne, Harry, Robert, Sarah, Bridie, Christopher, Kathleen, Edward, Eileen, Alice, Vincent and Alfie.

Military Service: As a member of E Coy since early 1919, Thomas participated in general IRA activity and operations including the unsuccessful attempt to lure Auxiliaries to Seville Place for a large ambush and the raid on Dixon Hempenstall opticians, Grafton Street for field glasses. In April 1921 he took part in two big 2nd Battalion attacks on the North Wall (Docklands). In the assault on the Auxiliaries base at the London & North Western Railway Hotel he was armed with grenades and successfully withdrew after the action on that occasion. He also made it safely away from the raid on the sheds of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company when tyres, fuel and other British military supplies were destroyed. But during the Custom House attack he was not so lucky, being arrested and interned in Kilmainham Gaol until December 1921. Thomas subsequently enlisted in the Dublin Guards at Beggars Bush on 22 February 1922. Taking the pro-Treaty position, he served throughout the Civil War, reaching the rank of 2nd Lieutenant with 5th Battalion at Ponsonby Barracks, Curragh Camp. He was awarded a military pension based on six-and-a-half years service. Murphy resigned from the Army in March 1927 and went back to civilian life (Military Pension ref. 24SP8001).

Personal Life: The Murphys had moved from The Falls in Belfast to Dublin’s Docklands about 1902. Thomas worked as a Plumber in the Dublin Dockyard Company where many Old IRA men were employed. He never married. He died at his home at East Wall Road on 20 November 1983 aged 86, survived by a brother and two sisters in Dublin, a brother and sister in the USA and another brother and sister in England. He was buried in Glasnevin, plot PD118.5 St Paul’s section. Sadly his grave is unmarked.

Remarks: Thomas appears in Cyril Daly’s Kilmainham photo album.

Burning of Dublin Custom House 1921
Kilmianham Gaol Museum

There is also a photo of him in National Army uniform, 1922/23.

Burning of Dublin Custom House 1921
Via Gary Deering

Thomas’s family were active republicans. Three of his brothers – Joseph, Henry (Harry) and Robert – were also members of E Coy. Harry’s Military Pension files are online (24SP2600). Joseph served as a Private with the National Army during the Civil War. Unfortunately he lost his Tan War medal attending a Griffiths-Collins anniversary Mass in 1967. Hopefully it was returned to him.

Relatives: In contact via Gary Deering.

Des White