HC Deb 02 June 1921 vol 142 cc1221-3
Lieut.- Colonel ROYDS

(by Private Notice) asked the Chief Secretary whether he can give any information as to the murder of Colonel Warren John Richard Peacocke by Sinn Fein gunmen in his garage at his home in County Cork?


I am informed that Colonel Peacocke, aged 32, an ex-officer of the Grenadier Guards and the Inniskilling Fusiliers, was murdered while in his garage at Innishannon, County Cork, by two armed and masked men on the evening of the 31st May. He was severely wounded by revolver bullets in his stomach, and died after great agony on the morning of 1st June. Colonel Peacocke joined the Inniskilling Fusiliers at the outbreak of War as a second-lieutenant, and ultimately Was promoted to the command of his regiment. He served throughout the War with great distinction, and was awarded the D.S.O. and Bar and the Croix de Guerre, first class. Retiring from the Army at the end of the War, he lived alone with his widowed mother in Innishannon, County Cork. I want to express my own regret at the murder of this gallant officer, who was much respected in the county in which he and his family have long been resident.

Lieut.-Colonel ROYDS

Can the right hon. Gentleman assign or suggest any motive for this dastardly crime?


The only motive that I know is that this gallant officer was a loyalist and an ex-officer of His Majesty's Army.

Lieut.-Colonel ALLEN

He served in the Ulster Division; that is why.

Colonel BURN

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the character of some of the speeches made by hon. Gentlemen in this House may give him—


That is not for Question Time.

Lieut.-Colonel WILLOUGHBY

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether this officer was known to have ever given any information to the Government as to any action of the Sinn Fein party?


None; I can speak for that. He had no connection whatever with the Government or any public office, or with any political movement in the county in which he lived.

Lieut.-Colonel WILLOUGHBY

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether any means can be afforded for the protection of officers who have fought and bled for their country and are now living peaceably in Ireland? Are there any means which we would not use in a civilised country, but which in Ireland might be used at the present moment to protect officers who are living in their homes after having fought for their country? Would it not be possible to use means which we should be ashamed to use in any but an uncivilised country?


If the law is not able to protect private citizens, has it not become legal for them to take measures to protect themselves?


That is going much beyond the question of which I have had notice.