100th anniversary of an execution

A Mass in Ballymoe Church on Monday, November 2nd will mark the 100th anniversary of the execution of Private James Daly, a native of Ballymoe, who took part in a mutiny of Connaught Rangers based in India in 1920 to protest against the Black and Tans’ activities in Ireland.

There are also plans by Dr. Conor McNamara, a leading authority on the subject and on 1916 history, to compile a booklet in Daly’s memory while Galway County Council are expected to produce an online video commemorating the Ballymoe man.

The son of James Daly, a baker, and Kathleen Creane, Daly was born in Ballymoe, Co. Galway on Christmas Eve 1899. The family later moved to Tyrellspass, Co. Westmeath before Daly joined the Connaught Rangers in 1919 and was posted to India.

The mutiny of 1920 started in June of that year at Wellington Barracks, Punjab, where Daly’s brother, William, was involved. The revolt then spread to other Connaught Rangers’ companies at Jutogh and Solan, where, led by WW1 veteran, Joseph Hawes from Kilrush, Co. Clare, James Daly and over a hundred other men laid down their arms and refused to return to duty in protest over the activities of the British Armed Forces in Ireland.

The mutiny was quashed and 19 men were sentenced to death while 59 were sentenced to life imprisonment. Ten men were acquitted and all other sentences were commuted, except for Daly’s, as he was considered a ringleader.

Private James Daly was executed by firing squad on November 2nd, 1920, making him the last member of the British Forces to be executed for mutiny. His body was sent back to Ireland in 1970 on the 50th anniversary of his death and he was laid to rest in Tyrellspass, Co. Westmeath. Joseph Hawes was present at the commemoration and Daly is remembered in the traditional Irish song ‘Lay Him Away on the Hillside’.

Monday’s Mass in Ballymoe to commemorate James Daly’s 100th anniversary will be broadcast on 106.5FM from 7 pm.