In researching another subject I assembled the following info on this policeman, shot by the IRA in Dublin, 1919. Thought I’d share it here.
His basic details have not been accurately recorded before:
Surname was Smyth - not Smith.
DOB was 28 December 1867 - not 1868.
was Lisraherty, in the Scrabby district, near Granard – Co
[Copy of his birth record]
was the second of 11 children of Francis Smyth (c1838-1908), a School Teacher
from Co Cavan and later a Farmer; and Mary née Murtagh (c. 1842-?), a Co Longford
Farmer. They had married in 1866. The family was Catholic and Patrick was baptised in the parish church of Dromard (now spelled Drumard) the day after his birth.
Patrick, 5 ft 10¾ ins tall and aged 25, joined the DMP in March 1893 allocated registered number 9816, and badge no. 28G.
He did uniformed service in two of the area-based DMP Divisions - "A" from 18/8/1893 and "E" from 22/2/1895.
On 9 April 1897 he became a Detective Officer with “G” Division, based at the DMP detective office in Exchange Court, Dublin Castle. He is recorded there in 1901 census as a 32 year-old Policeman, formerly a Farmer, single and born in Co. Longford.
(As you can see, this form is full of corrections and the men’s initials are reversed. Sloppy police work! Also, why are some shown as Police man and others as Detective Officer?)
He married Annie Bourke originally from Co. Kildare, shortly afterwards. The ceremony was held in St Kevin’s Church, Harrington Street, Dublin on 24 April 1901. He was still living at Exchange Court, she was from 19 Vernon Street, Dublin. The witnesses were Patrick’s brother Thomas and the bride’s sister, Bridget.
[Copy of marriage record]
Smyth was promoted to Detective Sergeant on 4 December 1908. His father had died earlier that year.
The 1911 census records him and family at 51 Millmount Avenue, Drumcondra, on the North side of Dublin. He was aged 43; married 9 years with all 6 children still living; occupation Detective Sergeant DMP.
A daughter was born about 6 years later.
Smyth, when a Det. Officer, frequently featured in press reports of successfully prosecutions by him and other G Div. Colleagues of offenders in various ordinary crimes (e.g. theft, larceny, forgery, etc). This became much rarer after his promotion.
Suggesting he focused more on “cloak and dagger” political stuff?
The Rising & War of Independence
As a “G-man”, Smyth had become prominent in the political crime arena before the Easter Rising. After the surrender, he and other DMP detectives played a key role in identifying captured rebels and selecting “ring-leaders” from the general body of prisoners. As all but two of the 1916 Dublin leaders were executed and many other rebels got heavy prison terms, this generated further animosity from the IRB & Volunteers towards G Div.
Smyth acquired the nickname “The Dog” from the Republicans (Other G-Men had derogatory titles too).
Michael Noyk the IRA Legal Advisor (BMH WS 707) refers to Smyth as “Hoofie”.
Eamon Broy states Smyth was disliked even within the police (WS 1285, page 10; WS 1280, page 56).
Among Republicans he was regarded as ignorant, abusive and obnoxious. Worse, he was a Redmondite with strong anti-Sinn Féin prejudices.
From a police viewpoint Smyth must surely be regarded as determined, courageous and professional.
Despite personal visits and written warnings to give up action against Republicans issued to G Division members in early April 1919, Smyth continued his activities against the IRA and Sinn Féin.
Some individuals did stop their political policing (e.g. Const. O’Brien, tied to railings by the IRA as a warning).
Smyth contemptuously dismissed the “advice to lay off” out of hand.
[I have seen a quote attributed to Smyth “I’m not letting any young scuts* tell me how to do my job” in <The Squad by T. Ryle Dwyer> and even <Bloody Sunday, by Joseph Murphy> but found no source for that. * Supposedly a reference to Michael Collins & Harry Boland].
One notable warning was to avoid producing in court incriminating documents he found on Piarais Beaslai MP, whom he arrested in 1919 for making a seditious speech. The Republicans were angered when Smyth defied them, resulting in a more serious charge against Beaslai; and a 2 year jail sentence rather than a likely 3-6 months for just making the speech.
“Riddled by Bullets at His Own Door”
Patrick paid the ultimate price shortly afterwards.
His killing was approved by IRA GHQ. Smyth was chosen for the first execution to be carried out under the sanction of Dáil Eireann (Unlike the Soloheadbeg RIC killings).
On the evening of 30 July 1919, the detective, unarmed at the time, was severely wounded in a shooting by a party of 5 Squad members near Drumcondra Bridge while returning home. Having got off a tram, he was hit multiple times.
In spite of leg wounds, he managed to escape from his attackers. He made it to his house nearby, assisted by his sons Francis & Thomas and daughter Mary who had come out of the house. Even his youngest son came out, promising “to catch those who shot Dada”.
A DMP man on duty at the nearby bridge heard the shots, arrived at the scene then rushed back to call an ambulance.
Smyth was taken to the Mater Misericordiae Hospital.
The examining doctor found 5 bullet wounds, one in the back which went through a lung and others in the upper legs/hips.
The attack was headline news in the Dublin press and reported in newspapers nationwide. Outrage and cowardly murder sum up the general tone. Even the Irish Independent, not a Unionist journal, issued a savage condemnation in its editorial on 1st August.
A declaration was given by Smyth to DMP Station Sergeant J. Lynch after admission to hospital (later read at his inquest). Transcription:
“I was going home soon after 11 o’clock. When I got off the tram at the end of my own avenue, I saw 4 or 5 men standing against the dead wall and a bicycle resting against the kerbstone.
Just as I turned the corner into Millmount avenue, I was shot in the back. I turned round and said to them, ‘You cowards,’ and 3 of them fired again with revolvers at me, and one bullet entered my leg. I then ran away, and they pursued me to within about 15 yards of my own door, and kept firing at me all the time. In all, about 11 or 12 shots were fired at me. I shouted for assistance, but no one came to me except my own son.
I had no revolver myself, and I am glad now I had not one, as I might have shot some of them when I turned round after the first shot, and I would not like now to have done that. 
About a week ago, when going home one night, I noticed a similar number of men at the same place with two bicycles. As I suspected them, I did not go into my own avenue, but went along as far as Millbourne avenue, where I turned up to my own house.
I cannot describe any of the men, nor can I identify any of them.” 
The police witness confirmed that Smyth was “perfectly conscious” while he made the statement.
This is very consistent with IRA accounts, even about the earlier abandoned attempt when the hit squad was unsure of Smyth’s identity.
I wonder why Patrick Smyth, a dedicated hunter of “Sinn Féiners” and very much anti-Republicans, made the statement marked  above? Did he feel it was alright to arrest men who would be condemned to death by courts martial; but not to shoot them himself? Or did he not wish to shoot fellow-Irish?
The sentence marked  is also notable. Despite their extensive intelligence activities and lengthy lists of suspects, G Division had obviously not traced all their opponents. It was, however, dusk at the time of the shooting (as stated at the Inquest).
Smyth must have dropped his guard. He was not armed on either occasion when he encountered what turned out to be his own firing squad. And despite his evasion of the suspicious men the first time, he failed to take precautions afterwards.
Possibly this reinforces the arrogance and contempt for rebels he is recorded as holding.
As for being shot in the back by “cowards”, did he really expect his foe to be chivalrous and face him, on-on-one, while shooting him?
Smyth was as mentally unprepared for reaping the whirlwind he had helped to sow, as the Castle authorities he worked for.......
Irish political activity now firmly included the bullet as well as the ballot and led to a war in which police died in their hundreds. G Division’s previous untouchable and unchallenged status was gone; their tactics were outdated, untenable and inadequate from then on.
As Patrick Smyth lay in hospital and the weeks passed, the IRA worried that they had not finished him off. Decisions were made to use heavier .45 calibre weapons and 2-man teams in future assassinations.
The papers published several updates on Smyth’s improving condition. However, despite recovery looking probable, he succumbed to multiple organ failure in the Mater on 8 September.
He became the first, but certainly not the last, of the D.M.P. G-Division detectives killed by the IRA during the War of Independence.
Det. Sergt. Patrick Smyth, aged 52, was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery following Requiem Mass at Mount Argus Church, Harold’s Cross on Thursday, 11 September 1919.
The funeral was reported to have been semi-private; only immediate family, government officials and former DMP colleagues attended [See end of post for listing of police attendees].
He left a widow and seven children (aged 17 to 2 years) who later received compensation totalling £1,750.
The widow and several of her children attended all the Inquest proceedings.
Photos of Mrs Smyth (holding her toddler daughter) and three sons, Francis, Thomas & Patrick outside the Mater after the Inquest on 10 September, appeared in the Irish Independent. Francis (17) & Tom (15) gave evidence.
The jury’s verdict: “in accordance with the medical evidence ‘We are of the opinion that the above [medical] conditions were caused by bullets fired by a person, or persons, unknown, with murderous intent’ “.
Nobody was ever arrested or charged in connection with the shooting.
The family headstone records Patrick, his wife, two sons and a grandson; and a sister-in-law, Bridget Burke.
widow Annie appears to have moved to England at some stage after his death. She
herself died in Blackpool, Lancashire in 1952 aged 78; and is buried in a local
The two sons who as teenagers assisted their shot father are also named on the stone.
Thomas Bernard (a clerk), died in Dublin in 1970 aged 64.
Francis Joseph (a transport employee) died in Stoneybatter, Dublin aged 46 in 1948; [CORRECTED 15 Mar 2015] and little Ernest Conrad Smyth, a grandson of Patrick & Annie (son of their own son, Patrick Mathew) who died as an infant in 1939.
Unsurprisingly, there is no memorial to the Drumcondra Bridge assassination, either for the executioners, the victim (a “British agent”), or the event’s historical significance (Irish state-sponsored “terror”). Nor is there one for the Volunteers captured there later and executed in Mountjoy for “waging war on the King”.
Interestingly, someone keeps Patrick Smyth’s death in mind. See:
(Sources – Dublin newspapers, BMH Witness Statements, General Register Office BMD records; and above letter).
UPDATE 15 Mar 2015: I now have Patrick Smyth’s DMP record (courtesy of Garda Museum). One web site states “According to DMP records Smyth was a Sergeant and was next in line for promotion to Detective Sergeant but had not been promoted at the time of his death.” (As usual, the minimalist service record format makes no mention of that). This may have something to do with the peculiar status of DMP detectives? See Eamon Broy BMH WS1285, pages 8 & 9.
Police listed as attendees at P. Smyth’s funeral (Freemans Journal, 12 Sept 1919):
(I realise there are several misspellings)
Chief Commissioner of Police;
Assistant Inspector-General, RIC;
Chief Supt. Murphy; Supt. Brien, G Division; Supts. Freeman, Travers and Campbell.
Inspectors: McGarvey, McFeeley, Murphy, Boyd, Bell, Steadmond, Purcell, Love & Quinn.
Sergeants: Mannion, Mahony, M’Cabe, Bruton, Cummins, Reville*, Byrne, Dreelan, Fagan, Grace, O’Neill, Battle & McKeogh.
Detective Officers: Rutherford, Redmond, Mannion, O’Brien, Kavanagh, McCarthy, Forester, Flanagan, Walsh & Coffey.
Constables: Mulvihill, Wharton, McNamara, Fennell & Cooke.(* I presume this was Richard J. Revell – see http://theoldric.com/topic/1747/tribute-grandfather-Detective-Sergeant-Richard-John-Revel )