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Curragh incident: not a mutiny

by
04 April 2014

April 3rd, 1914.

SINCE we last wrote there has been, in the political sphere, an astonishing sequence of events. Behind them lie mysteries concealed from the public eye, but the facts which could not be concealed enable us to form an approximately correct estimate of the doings within the secret councils of the Ministry. The facts are these. Arrangements had been made - we need not say by whom - for marching a considerable military force into Ulster and for blockading the coast with a fleet of sixteen ships fully equipped and ammunitioned. The explana-tion given was to the effect thatthe soldiers were required to protect a few depôts, and the fleet was to stand by in case there should be an outbreak of hostilities, and this in spite of the fact that there was not a sign of disturbance in Ulster, and that the civil authorities had made no appeal for assistance to quell disorders that did not exist. Rightly or wrongly it came to be supposed that it was the intention of whoever made these dispositions that all this display of naval and military force would irritate the Ulster volunteers to commit some flagrant breach of the peace, which would justify the "active operations" of the soldiery and the bluejackets. We have it on the authority of General Paget that on the 21st of March, the Satur-day, the country was expectedto be ablaze. With this contin-gency in his mind, he summoned the officers of the Cavalry Brigade to his presence, and, instead of laying upon them his commands, offered them the alternative of resignation if they were unwil-ling to take part in the operations. They chose resignation, but it must be carefully borne in mind that they did not disobey orders, for none was given. As Lord Morley has testified: "There has been no disobedience of orders in connexion with the recent events by any Officer or man in Ireland."

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