#OnThisDay 1919 Bobby Byrne was the first Volunteer to die during the War of Independence. Hospitalised after a hunger strike, a rescue mission was launched. However, the RIC constable guarding Byrne, rather than see Byrne escape, shot & mortally wounded him.
(However, Byrne being the first Volunteer to die during the WoI is contested for a number of reasons,
1. If the usual accepted start date of the War of Independence is accepted as 21/1/1919, then yes Byrne was the first to die.
2: However, if you stretch the dates back to after the Rising when Volunteers started attacking RIC barracks and constables, as early as 1918, Bobby Byrne is not the first to die. Two Volunteers died attacking an RIC barracks in Gortnalea, Kerry in 1918. Dan Gandy in Derry died on the 20th of January 1919 and some would argue that he was the first to die during the WoI.
As aforementioned, it depends on which metric you use as the start of the Independence movement to figure out which Volunteer was the first to die.