Thomas Kent - Corkman Outnumbered At Family Home in Shoot Out
Thomas Kent of Castlelyons, Co.Cork, was the only volunteer executed outside of Dublin in the aftermath of the historic 1916 Easter Rising and he did not take part in the Dublin rebellion.
Due to certain high ranking volunteers unwilling to partake in the planned rising, mobilisation orders were cancelled but Padraig Pearse and many of his colleagues went ahead with the rising despite the controversy.
The Kent family of Castlelyons were supportive of the 1916 Easter Dublin Rising and would have traveled to Dublin had they been aware of events unfolding in the capital. The British army ordered all known Irish volunteers and sympathisers around Ireland to be rounded up and arrested and brought to barracks for interrogation after the rising.
The R.I.C. armed police surrounded the Kent family residence at Bawnard, Castlelyons, and instructions were to arrest the whole family. Since the Easter Rising Thomas and his brothers knew they would be on a wanted list and did not reside at the family home for a few days.
The brothers slept at neighbouring homes but returned to their own farmhouse on the night of 1st May 1916 only to be awoken in the early hours of the morning of the 2nd May with the sound of gunfire. The family returned fire until their ammunition ran dry and a ferocious battle then ceased.
After three hours of gunfire that resulted in David Kent losing two fingers and a nasty side wound also, an R.I.C constable was killed. The armed police, supported by the army, finally took the Kent’s into custody.
Before Thomas was taken prisoner he was not allowed to put on his boots and his brother Richard, seriously wounded was treated similarly and died two days later at Fermoy military barracks from his wounds.
Another Kent brother, Richard, attempted to make an escape on foot to the woods but was blitzed with a hail of R.I.C. bullets and died instantly.
William and Thomas Kent were taken to Victoria Barracks (now Collins Barracks) from Fermoy and both were sent for court martial on 4 th May 1916.
In a spurious military trial, William, tried in Dublin, was acquitted of the murder of the R.I.C. constable but received a five year penal servitude sentence for his part in the ambush.
Thomas, tried in Cork, was found guilty of the constables murder and sentenced to death by firing squad at 4 a.m. on the morning of the 9th May 1916.
The entire Kent family were staunch Irish citizens and proud of their right to fight for Ireland’s freedom and Thomas Kent,a proud Corkman, is a famous patriotic son of Ireland.