Lieutenant John Hubert Wogan-Brown

Lieut. Wogan Browne was a prominent member of the Landsdowne Football Club, for which he did excellent service during the season just closing. A fast, clever, and resourceful three-quarter back, he helped materially to place his club in the proud position that it now holds in Irish Senior Rugby. He was also played for the Army in representatives matches. As an athlete Mr. Wogan Browne earned distinction. He won many prizes on the track, and was in the first class as a half mile runner.

1896 Oct/Dec Farnham, Surrey. born the youngest son of Francis William Nicholas Wogan-Browne and Beda Costello of Keredorn, Naas, and therefore a member of one of Kildare’s and indeed Ireland’s oldest Catholic families.

1911 census shows him as a boarder at Cheltenham College.

1915 Feb 10. The undermentioned' Gentlemen Cadets from the Royal Military Academy to be Second Lieutenants. John Hubert Wogan-Browne.

1915 Oct 3. Landed France. Sailed from Marseilles on 25 Nov

1915 Dec 12. Landed Salonika.

1916 Aug 8. R.H. & RFA.—The undermentioned 2nd Lts. to be Lts. : J. H. Wogan-Browne.

1917 Jan 8. The undermentioned Lts. to be Adjts.: J. H. Wogan-Browne.

1917 Aug 3. To be Acting Capt while Adj of 57 Brigade

1917 Nov 28 Gazetted MID

1917 Dec 7. Personal Staff. A.D.C. Lt. J. H. Wogan-Browne, R.A., from Adjt., and to be seed., vice temp. 2nd Lt. E. B. M. Sheppard, K.R. Rif. C. ADC to GOC, C in C, France

1917 Dec 28.Mention in Dispatches

1918 Apr 30. Personal Staff.. A.D.C.—Lt. J. H. Wogan-Browne, R.A., relinquishes his appt.

1918 Apr 30. R.H. and R.F.A.—Supern. Lt. J. H. Wogan- Browne is restd. to the estabt.

1918 May 1. To be acting Captain. Lt. J. H. Wogan-Browne. While 2nd in command of a battery

1918 May 5. To RA Training School

1918 Jun 30 To UK for leave

1918 Aug 22. Leave

1918 Aug 28. Rejoined unit from leave

1919 Apr 26 Posted to Egypt. Arrives Alexandria

19 Jun 19. Posted to C/263 Brigade

1919 Aug 8 Returns to UK

1922 Feb 10. He emerged from the National Bank with £500 and got as far as the corner of Infirmary Road, opposite the Artillery Barracks. At this point a car stopped and 2 men in it shot him, proportedly because he resited their attempts to grab his money. He fell dead on the footpath, with a shot through the forehead.

1922 Feb 14. On Tuesday morning at 11.30 the funeral of the murdered officer took place to the New Cemetery, Naas, after Mass at the Curragh. The cortege pulled up at the military barracks, Naas, where it reformed. A firing party from the deceased officer’s regiment, the R.F.A., marched at the head of the funeral procession with arms reversed. Next came the band of the K.S.L.I. from the Curragh, playing the solemn strains of the Dead March in Sam (and later near the cemetery, Bethoven’s funeral march). Then came a gun carriage drawn by eight horses with outriders bearing the coffin draped in the Union Jack. Placed on the coffin were the dead officer’s sword and cap. Behind came his charger lead by a trooper. The top boots of the deceased were fixed in the stirrups reversed. Next followed Colonel Wogan Browne, father of the deceased, with two other relatives. After this in the procession marched a detachment of the men of the R.F.A., carrying twenty-four beautiful wreaths and behind a number of buglers followed by some hundred of the county gentry, officers and men of the deceased’s regiment and thousands of townspeople of every class and creed. The spectacle was the most impressive one ever seen in Naas, where military funerals have often passed through the streets, but nothing even remotely approaching in impressiveness and size this demonstration of grief for a young townsman, than whom we understand no more popular officer has ever served his country. For the first time in the history of relations between the military and the people of the country for the past few years was seen a complete co-mingling of the old and the new forces, police and the general public. All business and private houses were closed and shuttered as the procession passed through the town. The 1st Eastern Division I.R.A. was represented by the following members of the Staff of the 7th Brigade:- Brigade Commandant T. Lawler, Adjutant P. Tuile, Quartermaster Kelly, Brigade Engineer P. Lawler, the Brigade I.O. Capt. Sean Kavanagh, Liason Officer, Brigade Police Officer McKenna, and the local Battalion Police Officer. The prayers at the graveside, where there was a huge gathering were recited by Rev. M. Norris, P.P. assisted by Rev. Fr. Doyle, C.C.; Rev. Fr. Tierney C.C., and Rev. Fr. Kelly O.C.C., Kildare.

The remains having been deposited in the grave, the Last Post was sounded and three volleys were fired over the grave by the firing party. So huge was the throng at the cemetery that entrance had to be regulated by the Brigade Police Officer and his men, assisted by members of the military police. Three representatives of the Lansdowne Football Club attended the funeral and marched in the procession.

1922 Feb 14. Collins sends a message to Churchill saying that they have arrested 3 men in cinnection with the crime. However I can find no record of a trial - and indeed there was no trial. The case fizzled out

1922 Feb 18. Kildare Observer. No incident that has occurred in County Kildare within living memory has occasioned more widespread horror and condemnation than the murder and highway robbery of Lieut. J. H. Wogan Browne, R.F.A., at Kildare, in broad-day light on Friday would appear the young officer was in the habit of calling at the Hibernian Bank each Friday morning for cash for the payment of his men at Kildare R.F.A. barracks. About 11.30 on that day in question he called at the bank and received a sum of about £135. He then left the bank and proceeded towards the barracks. At the corner of Infirmary road a Ford motor car stood. This had previously been hired at a local garage by three men, who had paid 15s., it appears for the use of the car, ostensibly to convey a patient from the infirmary. As Lieut. Wogan Browne approached the car he was held up by two men, who snatched the money from him and dashed for the waiting car. The lieutenant attempted to grapple with the men for the recovery of the money when, it is stated one of the men sitting in the car fired point-blank at him with a revolver. The bullet passed through his eye and he collapsed on the roadway, death being almost instantaneous. Meanwhile the driver of the motor was told by the three men to drive off as speedily as he could across Infirmary road and in the direction of Kildoon, revolvers being held to his head. He did as he was bidden, and having covered some few miles the car was stopped in Kildoon bog, the desperadoes dismounted and told him to return to Kildare, which he did. Later military police and I.R.A. united in a search for the miscreants. 


Inquiry brought out the following

Kildare Observer, Saturday February 18, 1922. An inquest into the cause of death of Lieut J. H. Wogan Browne was opened by Dr. Jeremiah O’ Neill, Deputy Coroner for South Kildare, at the Curragh Military Hospital on Saturday evening at 1 o’ clock, and occupied over three hours. There were in attendance:- The Brigade Police Officer: Captain Sean Kavanagh, representing the 1st Eastern Division I.R.A.: Company Officers W. Graham and James Doyle, I.R.A. District-Inspector Queenan, R.T.C., Kildare, having deposed to holding a post mortem.

Patrick Daly, a young man of 18 years, was examined by District-Inspector Queenan, and stated he lived at Cross Keys, Kildare. He was employed by Mr. Kennedy, garage proprietor, at Kildare. He was in the garage on Friday when two young men came in and asked if they could hire a car to leave them in Kilcullen, and asked what would be the charge. I went upstairs and asked the boss, and told them they could have the car for 15s. I asked what time they wanted the car, and if they would have any delay there. They said they would want the car at 11 o’ clock and that they would have no delay – that they merely wanted to be left there. They went in the direction of the Square and came back about 11 o’ clock. The two men waited for a little time, and when the car was ready they started off. They got into the car and Mr. Kennedy’s driver – Thomas Graham – drove the car. I did not see the third man get into the car. I only saw two.

Thomas Greham – I am employed as a driver and mechanic by Mr. Kennedy. On yesterday morning I was called at between 11 and quarter past 11 o’ clock to go out with the car. The men came into the shop. I saw two men in the Square first about quarter past 10. At quarter past 11 I took out the car and the two men I had seen in the shop got into it. They told me to drive to the Infirmary. When I got to the Post Office going down they said: “Stop at the School gate”. I was a time there, and they said they were waiting for another man to come along. No other man came along until the shooting. They asked me to put up the hood of the car and I did so. One of them helped me to put it up. I saw soon afterwards a military officer coming from the direction of the town going towards the military barracks. He was coming from the direction of the police barracks. When the military officer approached the car I saw one of the men take out a revolver. He pulled a magazine out of his pocket. No; it was not in the shape of a revolver – a magazine I hear it called.He walked towards the officer.When he got within a few yards the officer jumped to catch hold of him. He presented the weapon. I did not hear any words. They ordered me to start the car.The man who ordered me to start had a revolver in his pocket. A second man approached the officer.  The hood was up. I could not see, but I could hear a struggle behind the car on the road. I did not hear any of the men fall. I heard a shot. And after the shot the man that was standing beside the car leaped in beside where I was – on to the seat next to me. The other two men jumped into the car. One of the men said “Well, that fellow is done, anyhow”.They said: “Drive on.” “Drive round by the Nunnery.” They told me that if I went to identify them in any way that there was more than three of them in it, and they would get me something. I drove them to the bog. I do not know what bog. It is towards Kildoon.I do not know it as Maddenstown bog. I drove out for about three miles. They told me to pull up then and they got out of the car. They told me to take the first turn to the left. That was in the direction of Kildoon. I continued on and came back into Kildare immediately. I did not pass through Suncroft. When I came to Kildare I met (D.I.Queenan in the garage. I gave a description of them to the Captain of the Volunteers and to the military officer and to the police.The officer was shot behind the car and the hood was up. I did not see the third man approaching until he humped in. The engine was stopped for five or ten minutes, and when the officer was coming down I was told to re-start it. The man that followed the gentleman walked down by Nolan’s. There was another man who walked across to meet him. Another man remained with me in the car all the time.

Charles Swain stated: - I am the cashier in the Hibernian bank at Kildare. I remember yesterday morning, 10th inst. I saw the late Lieut. Browne in the bank about quarter past 11 o’ clock. He presented a cheque for payment. He would not have been in the bank more than about five minutes. He carried a small haversack. I know he put the silver in the bag but am not certain about the balance, but they usually put all the cash into it after getting it from me.

About £20 in silver– that would be four £5 packets. The remainder was in notes - £100 in Bank of Ireland single notes and £15 in Treasury 10s. notes. That would be £135 in all. Mr. Wogan Browne generally came early. He was generally first to come. Friday is the pay day for the Battery. He always came early and was always alone.

Mrs Lizzie Flanagan, deposed she was married and resided at New Row, Kildare. I was coming down Hospital Street at about 11.00 yesterday morning. When at the Protestant school gate I saw a motor car standing and two men were standing on the footpath. I heard a row, and, turning round, I saw the two civilians and the officer fighting on the road. One of the civilians fell, and then I saw the officer and the other man standing on the road and the shot went off. I then met another officer on the road, and I told him that one of his officers was after being shot. He asked me where, and I said “Just above the corner, sir.” The officer turned back into the barracks. That is all I know. I was coming from the police barrack direction. I did not see the third man.There was not a Christian on the road beside myself. I did not notice anyone walking behind the officer. I did not take notice of any.

Driver Harold Onions, R.F.A., examined by D.I. Queenan, stated he was stationed at the Artillery barrack gate at the time of the occurrence. I saw a motor car on the road. It was about 20 minutes to 12 o’ clock. The car was there for about five minutes. I noticed the driver standing in front of the car. I was 150 yards from that point. I did not see anything happening.I heard a shot. I saw the officer fall. I only saw the driver in the car. The car moved away immediately the shot went. I could not say how many people were in the car. It was too far away. The hood was up. I went up to where the officer fell. He was lying with his face downwards. I turned him over: he was dead. He was shot through here (pointing to his forehead). “The wound was over the eye”.

Dr. E. T. Coady stated he was called to the Kildare military barracks, where he saw Lieut. Wogan Browne, who was reported to be shot. He found life extinct. He made a post mortem examination, assisted by Captain O’ Malley. The deceased had a wound over the right eye and an abrasion on the left side of the forehead and left side of the chin. There was a wound in the occipital bone. Death was due to laceration of the brain. He found all the organs had been healthy.

Captain O’ Malley. R.A.M.C., sworn, stated he assisted at the post mortem examination. He agreed with Dr. Coady. Death was due to laceration of the brain. There was wound in the occipital bone over the right eye, and portion of the temple bone was fractured. The heart and lungs were normal, as were the abdominal viscera.

The Coroner said the evidence in the case was very clear. It was shown that the officer was attacked at Kildare, and that he was fired at and shot. They had evidence of the shooting and they had the doctors evidence, which showed that a bullet entered the frontal bone and the brain, causing death. It appears to me the only verdict is wilful murder against some person or persons unknown. It is, of course, gentlemen, for you to say what is your verdict.

The jury, having deliberated for some time, found that death was due to injury to the brain, caused by a gunshot wound inflicted by some person or persons unknown and returned a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.Mr. Clune (juror) said the views of the jury were expressed in the full statement made by the Coroner with reference to the deceased officer. The jury expressed their abhorrence of the crime, which had been so foully committed in their midst, and conveyed to the relatives of the deceased an expression of deep sympathy

The next of kin was his father Col F W N Wogan-Browne, Keredern, Naas, Co Kildare

1928 six years later the Garda re-looked at the murder and confirmed that William Howe of ‘C’ Company had murdered Wogan-Browne and that Patrick Kelly and Patrick Byrne were the other two assailants. As there was no one willing to testify as to who was responsible An Garda Siochána took the view that: ‘From this report it would appear that the re-opening of the case at this stage would not serve any useful purpose.’The Garda File was closed on 19 November 1928. The file remained unopened in Garda headquarters until transferred to the National Archives in the early 2000s.

The article below examines each of the 3 suspects.


British soldiers killed in Ireland

Comprehensive Article