Private George Robertson, 3044595, 2nd Bn. Royal Scots

1902 Born about 1902 if he was 18 when he was executed.

O'Ruaric's article in History Ireland (Nov 2012) gives the Irish side of the build up of events .. two British soldiers Lance-Corporal Alexander Mc Pearson and Corporal Norman Buchanan had spent the morning drinking in Milltown Malbay in West Clare.... That evening, on their way back to barracks they called to houses in Breffa North where they began burgling houses on the pretence that they were searching for arms. At 5p.m. that evening they called to the family home of Ned Lynch, leader of G. Company, 4th Battalion of the I.R.A.'s Mid Clare Brigade. Lynch challenged the pair when they attempted to enter the house..... A short time later Mc Pearson returned with a force of British soldiers and R.I.C. leading them straight to Lynch's farm. Upon his return Mc Pherson shot dead Charles Lynch the seventy year old head of the family. The soldiers then prepared to shoot Charles Lynch's son John, and a neighbour, when an R.I.C. constable named Cooney intervened saving their lives.

A Witness Statement by Edward Lynch says that a Royal Scots soldier McPherson was arrested by the British over the murder of Lynch's father. Charles Lynch who appears to have been shot 21 Oct 1920, but I need the local press for the dates. McPherson managed to escape from British custody and apparently induced a member of the guard (seemingly Robertson) to go with him. Both soldiers were picked up by the IRA claiming to be deserters. McPherson again managed to escape, this time from the IRA, but the other soldier did not.

1920 Oct 20 Died in Clare, shot by IRA. His grave has never been found, but this is the date that the British eventually gave as his death (CWGC date)

Father Pat Gaynor in "Memoirs of a Tipperary Family" refers to these 2 men escaping from British custody (1 barely 18 years old) and being captured by the IRA at Kilmaley and held for trial for the murder of Charles Lynch. The older soldier got away when some of the guards disappeared to a dance. The remaining younger soldier was duly court-martialed and he was sentenced to death. But the execution was "so badly bungled that he was still alive the next day". He was ultimately "battered to death by a stone". However Father Gaynor gives no clue as to where the solider may have been buried.

O'Ruaric's article in History Ireland (Nov 2012) According to I.R.A. veteran Paddy 'Con' Mac Mahon , Mc Pearson and his comrade were initially accepted as genuine deserters and were treated quite well: “never knowing what they were involved in … they kept them in farm houses for some time and they brought them to dances, but there was a guard always with them” Mc Pearson was being held at Eustace's House in Lisroe when he escaped on the 30th October 1920  According to Ned Lynch Mc Phearson had tricked his guard  an I.R.A. Volunteer named Hehir who was: “a giant of a man, athletically built but much too innocent for the character with whom he was dealing.” Hehir was loading a revolver under the watchful eye of Mc Pherson who commented Hehir did not have the proper technique. He generously offered to demonstrate this, and when Hehir handed  him the loaded weapon Mc Pherson his escape without attempting to take Robertson with him.

Alarmed at Mc Pherson's escape the I.R.A. executed Private Robertson. His body was buried in a bog at Connolly which was owned by Colonel Tottenham, a local Unionist. Tottenham's bog was chosen as the site for Robertson's burial since it was felt that his lands were unlikely to be searched by the British forces. Mc Pearson returned to Connolly the next day leading a British military search party. He identified the houses that he had been held captive in, through marks that he had carved into the furniture with a tobacco knife. At one farm he had carved his initials into the rafters of an outdoor toilet. The houses Mc Pherson identified were burnt in reprisal. However the British Army search party were unable to find any trace of Private Robertson except for his bloodstained uniform cap.

There are Tottenhams at Ballynoe, Fermoyle in 1911 census and they are C of I. This must be the land and one can see from modern satellite maps that it is bogland

British Soldiers died in Ireland