The murder of Edward Clenaghan in Aghalee, Co. Antrim

The murder of Edward Clenaghan took place in September 1942 after he left to complain about the drunk and disorderly behaviour of two American soldiers.

Edward Clenaghan was the son of the landlady of Clengahan's Bar, Soldierstown Road, Aghalee, Co. Antrim. His murder took place on 21st September 1942 aged 47 years old.

That night, 23 year old Private Herbert G Jacobs of Kentucky and 27 year old Private Embra H Farley of Arkansas were in the family run bar. Both men were in H Company, 13th Armored Regiment and were described as:

Having consumed a considerable amount of intoxicating liquor.

Although drunk, the American soldiers refused to leave. They stole bottles of beer until eventually persuaded to leave the pub. Less than 15 minutes later, a missile crashed through the window of the bar. James Joseph Clenaghan, the elder brother rushed out to confront Jacobs and Farley. Edward set off on his bicycle to make a complaint to the Commanding Officer of the nearby US Army camp. Farley and Jacobs were due to be on sentry duty that night but had not turned up.

Later that evening, Mr. Samuel Hendrom was cycling home from the train station nearby at Moira, Co. Down. He found Edward Clenaghan unconscious by the roadside. After receiving treatment in the hospital at Lurgan, Co. Armagh, Clenaghan died as a result of a fractured skull the following morning.

The arrest of the two American soldiers took place later that day. In October 1942, a Court Martial was held in Castlewellan, Co. Down. Both men received a sentence of 10 years’ hard labour in Ohio. The charge against them was involuntary manslaughter. They had been in the possession of Edward’s bike, their overcoats were stained with blood. Jurors were in little doubt that both men had been involved but no one knew who struck the fatal blow.

An American Padre, and members of Clengaghan’s Air Raid Precautions unit attended the funeral of Edward Clenaghan. Reports suggest that Parker Buhrman – American Consul in Belfast believed the priest used his eulogy to incite violence against the United States Military.