Thomas Kent (1865-1916)
Thomas Kent was born in Bawnard House, Castlelyons, Co. Cork on 29 August 1865. His family had a long tradition of fighting against the injustices suffered by small farmers and fought particularly during the Land War. When Thomas was 19 he emigrated to Boston where he remained for some years working as a church furniture maker until he was forced to return to Cork due to a deterioration in his health. Upon his return he spent some months in prison for agitation.
When news of the Rising in Dublin reached the Kent brothers they waited in some neighboring houses for orders to mobilize. These orders never came mainly thanks to MacNeill’s countermanding order. By 2 of May, four of the brothers, Thomas, William, Richard and David returned to Bawnard House. At dawn, the police came to the house with orders to arrest the whole family. For the next three hours a battle ensued but the Kent’s, with only three shotguns and one rifle to their name, eventually ran out of ammunition. The outcome of the fight was that one of the brothers David was wounded and a Head-Constable was killed. On the 4th of May, William and Thomas were court-martialed. William was acquitted but Thomas was convicted and sentenced to death. Thomas Kent was executed in Cork Detention Barracks on 9 May 1916.