by jdurney on January 12, 2013


Irish Times 13 February 1937
Irishmen in Spain. Four killed; many wounded

Four more Irishmen have been killed and seven wounded while fighting with the Spanish Government forces, it was learned in Dublin on 5th February. They were members of the Irish column serving under Mr. Frank Ryan on the Madrid front.
The four killed are:-
Dan Boyle, Dublin.
Frank Conroy, Kildare.
James Meehan, Galway.
William Beattie, Belfast.
The wounded are Jerry Doran, Donal O’Reilly, Jack Nalty, Seamus Hillen, and Patrick Smith, all of Dublin; J. J. O’Beirne, Belturbet, Co. Cavan; and Patrick Murphy, London.
It is stated that the Irish Column suffered these losses when they were ordered to take a village held by a battery of insurgent artillery in the Guadarrama sector. The Irishmen rushed the village, capturing it after a fierce struggle.
A number of prisoners and five machine guns were taken and sent back to headquarters. The total casualties in the Irish Column now number five dead and thirteen wounded, it is stated.
Among the latest casualties are several well-known men. Mr. Donal O’Reilly, a son of J. K. O’Reilly, was one of the four young sons marched out by his father to take part in the 1916 Rising.
Mr. Jack Nalty is an ex-I.R.A. officer, and was interned during the civil war. He served two further periods of imprisonment under the late Government. Mr. Nalty is a well-known cross-country runner and athlete. A member of Dublin City Harriers he represented Ireland on three occasions.
Transferred to Madrid.
In a letter received in Dublin on 5th Feb., Mr. Frank Ryan states that, after playing a considerable apart in the fighting on the Andalusian front, where they were the only non-Spanish section, the Irish column were transferred to Madrid, where they joined the international Brigade.
Mr. Ryan states that Jack Nalty was wounded in the chest by a burst of machine-gun fire. With a broken arm in addition, he walked three miles to the nearest dressing station.
“The moral [sic] of my boys is amazing,” adds Ryan, “and no higher courage has ever been displayed by Irishmen.
“Mick May did great work one black day in Andalucia, covering off his comrades as they went back under shell and machine-gun fire. Frank Conroy, now dead, fought like a hero the same day.
“We buried Dinny Coady in Torrelodenes, his comrades, under Kit Conway, firing three volleys over his grave. A true man and a fine soldier. I have his cigarette caae for his brother.”

Who is Frank Conroy? Can you help?

A Mr. Conroy, Irish teacher, was mentioned in the Kildare Observer as being in Athy on 17 September 1921, while a P. Conroy, Irish teacher, was arrested in Maynooth during the Civil War, held in Naas Military Barracks and then transferred to the Curragh, in July 1922. This same P. Conroy, Irish teacher, turns up in Naas in November 1923 and again in 1925. He is mentioned as giving Irish classes in Staplestown and Celbridge in 1924. There is a Miss Conroy mentioned at a ceilidhe in Kildare Town in 1929.
Margie Sheridan, Kildare Town Parish Centre, provided information on the marriage of Thomas Conroy and Lizzie Bennett in 1914 – though they seem to be from Rosenallis, Co. Laois – and the birth of Mary Josephine Conroy in Kildare Town, in 1915. Further research provided a birth for Francis Conroy in Jan.-March 1914, in the registration district of Naas, and the birth of Francis Conroy in July-Sept. 1917, in the registration district of Athy. There is no baptismal record for Francis Conroy in the Naas town parish office, so this birth must be in some other part of the surrounding area.

We are trying to locate the birthplace of the above mentioned ‘Frank Conroy, Kildare.’ Can you help? Please email Mario Corrigan at localhistory@kildarecoco.ie

We are trying to locate the birthplace of ‘Frank Conroy, Kildare, who fought and died in Spain.’ Can you help?

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