Peter Monaghan Deserter from British Army

Tom Barry in Guerilla Days mentions Monaghan a number of times. He says Monaghan was born in Scotland of Irish parents and deserted to the IRA with his rifle. Ambushes & Armour say Monaghan was a Royal Engineer attached to the Cameron Highlanders. Liam Deasy in Towards Ireland Free mentions him extensively. Everyone seems to agree that Peter Monaghan was not his real name

Deasy in "Towards Ireland Free"goes into some detail on Monaghan. It was 24th Dec 1920 at 11pm when 2 British deserters were noticed , and actually called at Deasy's house for food and cigarettes. His mother supplied them with both, but as the deserters left the house they were arrested by the IRA. They held the two at Knockpolgue in Kilbrittain area. What struck Deasy as odd was that the two men had virtually nothing in common. Monaghan was a well educated man, far above the standard of the average British soldier. The other man gave his name as Tommy Clarke and was uneducated

Monaghan spoke with the accent of a well educated Scotsman. He said they had left Ringaskiddy 3 days before and had travelled across country to try to meet with and to offer to help the IRA. Monaghan claimed that he had been a Captain in the RE during the war. On being demobilised he discovered there was nothing for him back in Scotland and had joined the Cameron's under the assumed name of Peter Monaghan. Deasy says that normally they would have shot the men as spies, but they were intrigued by Monaghan's claim to have been a mining engineer before the war, and to know something about explosives. For that reason they decided to take him on to make mines for them. No mention is made of what happened to Clarke

The balance of probability is that Monaghan was a British spy. If he was he was a very brave man.

Deserters