Wilfred Levings: Cheshire Regiment in Wicklow in the War of Independence

Wilfred Levings circa 1918
Image courtesy of Robyn Gregg
Newspaper clipping kept by Wilfred Levings from unknown British newspaper circa 1948 featuring Sean MacBride Jr and his irish General Election campaign. Also refers to his mother Maud Gonne MacBride.
Image courtesy of Robyn Gregg
Report of Cheshire Regiment raid on the house of Maud Gonne at Glenmalure, County Wicklow, July 1921
Image courtesy of Robyn Gregg

This is my grandfather Wilfred Levings.  He served in World War One and as a commissioned officer was awarded the Military Cross for bravery.  Following the war, he married my grandmother Amy Kennedy in 1919 and then he was sent with the Cheshire Regiment to Wicklow.  Wilfred lived in a cottage with his wife near Glendalough as I recall.

Maud Gonne

During the War of Independence, Wilfred was shot in the arm during one of the raids carried out by the Cheshire Regiment on suspected rebels.  I believe he was shot by the republican Sean McBride but have not found documents to support this.  Wilfred also stopped a funeral ordering the coffin to be opened as he had been given information it was a mock funeral but the priest would not allow this. Wilfred had the coffin exhumed the following day to find it was full of guns. The funeral was lead by Maud Gonne.  My grandmother was sent back to England for security reasons as Wilfred had death threats made against him.

Included in the images of some of Wilfred Leving’s papers is a report by the Cheshire Regiment of a raid carried out on Maud Gonne’s house in Glenmalure in July 1921.  The raid, which was lead by Lt. Levings followed the shooting of Constable John Fitzgerald of the RIC on the Murrough, Wicklow Town.

Official Secrets Department

Following the Irish rebellion Wilfred returned to Manchester and worked selling products to farmers. When World War Two commenced Wilfred set up the recruitment office in Manchester.  He then worked for the Official Secrets Department.  In 1953, my grandfather migrated to Australia with his wife Amy to join his son’s family.

For more information on this topic see our articles The Cheshire Regiment in Wicklow during the War of Independence and Searches conducted by the Cheshire Regiment in Wicklow 1921, both by Wicklow historian John Goodman.

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