Deafness in the Military Service Pensions Collection

This post was prompted by a question asked by a conference delegate at the International Conference on Women’s History in the Digital World (July 2017, Maynooth University) regarding deaf pension applicants in the collection. What follows are the hits to our search for deaf participants. In some cases, the information in the files allows to determine whether the applicant was deaf from birth or whether deafness was a consequence brought about by poor health and/or poor treatment or accidental. 

Access note: Each applicant has more than one file in relation to their claim(s) but for clarity’s sake, we have only mentioned here the only primary reference code that you will need to access the individual data entry for each claimants on the website: to search for the actual data entry (and access all the files), enter the reference code on our website search page.
Alternatively, you can click on the file reference on this post but you will simply access this particular file (PDF format). 


Theobald O’Shaughnessy – James’s Street, Dublin

O’Shaughnessy was around 18 years of age in 1916 and at that time he was doing a bit of gardening work. During the Rising he  was most active in the Jameson Distillery, Marrowbone Lane and more generally in the South Dublin Union area as a Volunteer with C Company, 4 Battalion, Dublin Brigade. He was arrested in the round-up following the surrender.
During the War of Independence O’Shaughnessy claims that he stored and cleaned arms, guarded Michael Collins on occasion at 9 Haddon Road, Clontarf. He states that he took part in an attack on British forces at the Half-Way-House. During the Civil War O’Shaughnessy states that he and Patrick Rigney were involved in moving arms and ammunition.
O’Shaughnessy was deaf and so, his brother (and fellow veteran of 4 Battalion, Irish Volunteers), Seán O’Shaughnessy, accompanied him to give his sworn statement.


John Mallin – High Road, Kilmainham, Dublin

Brother of Michael Mallin, executed in 1916.
John Mallin was unsuccessful in his pension claim.  He was arrested and imprisoned for 3 months in 1917 at Mountjoy and Dundalk prisons and released after undergoing hunger strike. He was again arrested in February 1920 and held until June the same year at Mountjoy and Wormwood Scrubs prisons and released after a hunger strike; he suffered from jaundice and deafness as a result of his treatment in prison.
John Mallin was working as a silk weaver, employed by Atkinson & Co., Hanbury Lane, Dublin

John Mallin – MSP34REF13690


Mary Ann Nolan – Summerhill Place, Dublin

Nolan was arrested during the Rising 1916. She was brought to Trinity College, court-martialed, and then brought to Ship Street Barracks from which she was released on Monday 1 May 1916. She claims that mistreatment received by her during her period in custody lead to a nervous breakdown and deafness which prevented her from resuming her activities with Cumann na mBan until 1919.

Mary Ann Nolan – Summerhill Place, Dublin MSP34REF53375


James Joseph Doyle – South Circular Road, Portobello, Dublin

Although injured in the attack by British forces on the Irish Volunteers based at Clanwilliam House during the 1916 Easter Rising, James Doyle subsequently evaded arrest/capture. From 1919 Doyle served as a Company Quartermaster Irish Volunteers and IRA and Company Commanding Officer IRA. From April 1921 until his capture by British forces during the IRA attack on the Custom House in May the same year, James Doyle served with the Active Service Unit, Dublin Brigade IRA. Following his capture Doyle was interned until December 1921. He took no part in the Civil War.

Doyle’s files contain medical certificates and reports regarding his unsuccessful application for an award under the Army Pensions Acts with respect to partial deafness which he attributes to the explosion of his rifle during the 1916 Easter Rising.


Thomas Fitzgerald – 4 Leeson Park Avenue, Appian Way, Dublin

Thomas Fitzgerald was a house painter who took part in the Rising, with the Irish Volunteers (B company, 3 Battalion, Dublin Brigade), mostly in the Boland’s Mills area on Grand Canal Street in Dublin. After the Rising, he was interned until July 1916. During the War of Independence he assisted in the manufacture of munitions and weapons repair for the IRA.  He could not formally join the National Forces due to deafness, but following the outbreak of the Civil War in June 1922 he volunteered for guard duty at Thompson’s Garage and at Burke’s on Pearse Street and the South Wall in Dublin for about four weeks.


Thomas Fitzgerald – 24SP1384


Eileen Murray – Killarney Parade, North Circular Road, Dublin

Murray, a member of Cumann na mBan under Leslie Price (later Leslie Barry), was mobilised on Easter Monday and instructed to go to the Hibernian Bank. She claims she went back the next day during the shelling and that, on the Thursday she was told to cross to the GPO, which she did, under fire. She was mostly involved in cooking and attending the wounded.It is noted in the file that the applicant was totally deaf and that she gave evidence through a friend (Bridie Richards MSP34REF52539).

Eileen Murray – MSP34REF48036


Brigid Christina Moran – Church Street, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

Brigid Moran was a member of Enniscorthy Cumann na mBan. She states she joined the movement in 1914. She is one of a family of nine, each member of which was in the independence movement. On Thursday 27th 1916, she reported to the Athenaeum (Enniscorthy, Wexford) and was put in charge of the Red Cross Department. She was active in the Enniscorthy and Ferns area.
During the War of Independence she was involved in delivering dispatches but the bulk of her work was focused on the family house, which was used as a dump from 1916 to 1921. In her statement, she explains that the entrance to the ‘secret cellar’ of the house was so small that she only could fit in and out of it therefore she helped with storing/giving arms. A raid and the death of her brother (killed by British Forces in Drogheda in February 1921) put an end to that activity. She claims to have been part of a Cumann na mBan ASU, of which her sister (Mrs Fitzpatrick) was in charge. She suffered from ill-health from Christmas 1922 and took no part in the movement after that.


Christina Brooks (née Stafford) – Bantry Road, Drumcondra, Dublin

Brooks was born in 1881. She worked as  a typist and cashier at 34 Upper Baggot Street and 59 Parnell Street. (Daniel Sullivan, Victualler)

During the Rising and as a Cumann na mBan member (Central Branch), Brooks was active in the Abbey Street and O’Connell Street area (Irish School of Wireless Telegraphy, Reis’s Building). She was active from 1914 to 1923. Brooks was qualified in first aid and home nursing. During the outbreak of the Civil War, she was posted in Barry’s Hotel and later, Hammam Hotel, cooperating with Dublin Brigade in the transport of arms. She continued her Dependants’ Fund work and was also helping with propaganda. She was arrested on 17 March 1923 on North Brunswick Street in possession of arms and ammunition and interned in Mountjoy, North Dublin Union and Kilmainham. Her files expose the poor treatment she received in prison.


Christina Brooks – MSP34REF8968