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|WO71 356||Kent, Thomas (prisoner 2)||4 May 1916 - 6 May 1916|
File relates to the field general courtmartial of Thomas Kent [Irish Volunteers], held on the 4th of May 1916 at [Cork Detention Barracks]. The courtmartial was presided over by Major R. G. B. Jeffreys (president), Captain J. E. Massy and Captain J. R. Frend. Charge against Kent was that 'he at Barnard Kent's house, near Fermoy, Co. Cork on the 2nd 2nd [sic] May 1916 took part in an armed rebellion and in the waging of war against His majesty the King such act being of such a nature as to be prejudicial to the Defence of the Realm and being done with the intention and for the purpose of assisting the enemy'. Kent pleaded not guilty to the said charge, but was found guilty and sentenced to 'Death'. Charge Sheet and confirmation of sentence included signed by General J. G. Maxwell. No specific details of Kent's execution [12th May 1916] included in the file.
Five witnesses were called and their statements and summary of their evidence are included in the file which give detail of the raid by the R.I.C. on the Kent home and the resistance they were met with. Witnesses include: Constable J. Norris R.I.C. who stated 'On 2nd May 1916 at about 4 am. I arrived at Mrs. Kent's House in company with Hd. Con. Rowe and other R.I.C. I accompanied Hd Con Rowe to the back door. The Head Constable knocked at the door. A voice from the window asked who was there and Hd Con. Rowe answered "Police" and to come down and let him in. Shortly after a shot was fired from the lobby window... Shortly after two more shots were fired in succession. Previous to this... a voice from inside called out "we will die before we surrender". Later after the firing had taken place, and the Hd. Constable had been killed, a man inside the house called out that one of them had been wounded and asked for a priest... The accused was the second man to come out of the house.'
Kent's defence statement includes the following 'On 2nd May during the night I was awakened by the sound of fire arms, I immediately went into my mothers room where my brother William was. They were standing on the bed in the corner of the room... where the three of us remained till the military officers arrived. When we unconditionally surrendered. I never fired or had arms in my hand.'
File includes two hand drawn ground plans of the Kent home, one of which illustrates the direction that shots were fired.