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Limerick Lad Caught in Desertion Bid |

Limerick Lad Caught in Desertion Bid

Private John Lillis, hailing from the vibrant city of Limerick and serving in the 4th Battalion Connaught Rangers, found himself in hot water when he was apprehended at Banteer Station on the night of May 25th. Constable Thomas Tynan, vigilant in his duty, collared Lillis on charges of attempted desertion from his regiment.

Lillis’s escapade unfolded as the night mail train chugged into Banteer. Seizing a fleeting moment, he leapt from the train, shedding his military attire in favour of civilian garb. His discarded frock and cap, symbols of his allegiance, were unceremoniously jettisoned from the carriage window near Rathcoole, as recounted by a fellow traveller to Constable Tynan.

Upon interception, Lillis adopted a false identity, masquerading as Private Michael O’Brien of the Munsters. However, his ruse quickly unravelled, met with determined resistance as Constable Tynan strove to uphold the law. Despite Lillis’s protestations, he was subdued and escorted to the barracks, where his true identity was revealed.

Efforts to abscond from duty were swiftly curtailed as Lillis was conveyed under military escort to Crosshaven, facing the consequences of his ill-fated decision.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the gravity of military discipline and the consequences of attempting to shirk one’s responsibilities, resonating particularly within the tight-knit community of Limerick, where honour and duty hold significant sway.

Constabulary Gazette (Dublin) – Saturday 10 June 1916

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