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ianmccallum

Irish Service Battalions Colours

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Murrough

This is Denmans take on it, from "Irelands Unknown soldiers"

I have also attached a snippet from the Irish Independent of Oct 1918 regarding a question raised in the commons concerning "Lynchs Brigade",ironically by August 1918 the war office advocated the establishment of an Irish Brigade with a distinctive Wolfhound badge and a colonial style uniform but it would have no connection to any of the established Irish regiments.

looking forward to a history of the 7/8 faughs.

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ianmccallum

Hi Guys

Thanks for the continued interest, links and suggestions. The extract from "Ireland's Forgotten Soldiers" is pretty much where I started. If as Nick said the UVF battalions had no official colours then the war office directive that there was to be no colours held by Service battalions applied to all. Any flags subsequently carried would have been exactly that, unofficial flags and not Colours. As a former serviceman myself, I tend to agree with Gen. Parsons. Most men who enlist are very quickly de-civilianised and become members of the soldier caste. Loyalty to the caste usually supercedes politics and religion. Regimental history and insignia are very important and recruits identify with it and them very quickly. A casing point is the refusal of the Dixie Badges by the battalions of the Ulster Division. Good luck with your research Nick, i'd be interested to see the results. If I can be of any assistance don't hesitate.

Ian

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rob elliott

Ian/Nick,

A good book to read regarding the thoughts of a southern Irish officer in the ulster division is memoirs of inspector John Regan RIC.

He served in the Royal Irish Rifles.

He would be classed as a catholic Unionist, he was fully aware of the problems he faced.

After the war he joined the RUC and became it's second in command of the whole force by the 1940's.

His take on fighting the IRA in the 20's is interesting.

There were a good number of Catholics in the YCV, from it's formation and during the war although it's not clear if these were original YCV members as many left when they aligned themselves with the UVF.

Again though the assumption is made a catholic soldier equates to a nationalist one.

UVF regiments did have colours if they chose to, there was no formal instruction from HQ. These were modelled on British army colours some still survive.

Derry City UVF colour hangs in the Cathedral, although this is a very simple standard. Belfast and County Down battalions had full colours.

I am not so sure it was the men that chose not to wear the Dixie cap badge or officers like F.P.Crozier rather they didn't. He was not an Ulsterman so did not have the connection.

The YCV retained their distinctive cap badge over wearing the RIR cap badge.

Have late photos of 10th Inniskillings wearing the Dixie before leaving for England, some have it on and others the Inniskillings badge, so perhaps they kept it as long as allowed.

The 36th was political, unavoidable even late into the war.

interesting thing about recruits returning to battalion after being wounded. In the 10th Inniskillings 50 men were sent to other non Irish battalions instead of being sent back to the Inniskillings. Why should this have been allowed if there was a shortage of Irish recruits to top up the Ulster Division, deliberate?

Rob

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ianmccallum

Hi Guys

Have a chew on this premiss, if its poo I am sure you'll let me know. "Colours" are the two official flags carried by British Army regiments or battalions, one is the King's Colour, the other the regimental or battalion colour. The King's colour is presented by the sovereign and remains the property of the sovereign, hence the disbanded regiment's King's colours going to Windsor in 1922. The King's colour is always a full Union Flag with regimental battle honours emblazoned on it. The battalion Flag/Colour is the property of the regiment or battalion and may be gained by internal or external sources. For example the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce presented a Flag/Colour to the 17th HLI. The regimental Flag/Colour is usually the traditional regimental colour i.e. blue or buff or green with a regimental device, shamrocks etc emblazoned on it. This is the Flag/Colour that ends up hanging in churches and regimental museums. Before a unit can officially accept the battalion or regimental Flag/Colour, War Office permission must be sought both with regards to its design and to be allowed to carry it. Only with War Office approval does the Flag officially becomes a Colour. Any other non approved flags carried by battalions are not colours but simply unofficial flags. Any flags carried by Unionist/UVF units prior to becoming "Service" battalions would be largely based on British Army designs and likely meet with war office approval, while a green flag with an uncrowned Irish harp and no sign of anything British would be unlikely to gain War Office approval purely on the design. Irrespective of whether approval was gained in either case, both UVF and Nationalist battalions continued to carry their unofficial flags which were later described as Colours by the uninformed. John Redmond for example continually referred to the 16th (Irish) Division as an "Irish Brigade."

Ian

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rob elliott

Ian,

The only problem is, the UVF Colours belonged to the particular UVF battalion and not the members that joined the 36th Division, therefore any colours would remain with the UVF regiment they belonged to and would only ever be paraded by them. They were not loaned out to the volunteer battalions of the army.

The UVF were quite sticklers for procedure.

No UVF standards were carried at the Ulster Division review in May 1915 when it paraded through Belfast.

The UVF and Army were two completely seperate organisations. UVF HQ were keen to ensure they remained active in the weeks following outbreak of war and numbers increased.

Records for the North County Londonderry show no change to membership numbers into early 1915.

The photographs i have of the early volunteers in khaki show them carrying only a standard Union Flag.

Londonderry City/County UVF were about 8000 strong in early 1914, but then formed around 950 of the 1000+ strong 10th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers [Derry Volunteers].

From the City [and immediate area] approximately 3000 Unionists joined the Army/Navy/RAF over the duration of the war, of which about 1000 were Ulster Division. The vast majority of Ulster Unionists were UVF members in 1914, around 3700, virtually all adult Protestants in the City, therefore more UVF men did not join the Ulster Division.

Authorisation to carry the standard would need to be given by the 3 Battalion CO's of which none were Ulster Division men, so it's difficult to see how the service Btns could have use of the Colours.

The flags if and when carried must have been something completely different to what they had as Volunteers, and i would imagine the Nationalist volunteers were the same, possibly the reason for Redmond trying to obtain something specific for them.

In Londonderry C of I Cathedral hangs a number of regimental colours, at the Chancel are four. Two belong to the rememberance of the seige of Derry.

The other two are the King's colours of the 10th [laid up 1921] and 8th [laid up 1926] Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

It appears not by accident that the flags of the 16th and 36th Division take a central position.

The Cathedral also has the Colours of the 2nd Btn, which in theory should be senior colour as they were first into action in 1914 and also a regular Btn. This is in the Nave.

The choice was made that the two volunteer colours would take the main position in the Chancel a long time ago.

There are 26 standards in total to the UVF/Military/Police.

Donegal UVF Colour was made by the London School of Needlework i believe, who made standards for various regiments.

Rob

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Nickmetcalfe

Rob,

Good post & good info. I remain adamant that UVF flags (presented to UVF battalions as 'Colours') were not carried/used by any of the battalions of the Ulster Division. Re wounded "Why should this have been allowed if there was a shortage of Irish recruits to top up the Ulster Division, deliberate?" I do not think this was the case. Recovered wounded were posted from the Base Depot depending on the demands for reinforcements from the battalions at the front. Battalions protested and sometimes got their men back - the 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers did in late July 1916.

Ian, Regimental Colours are also presented by The Sovereign. Service battalions were not presented Regimental Colours and I do not know of any that exist for the three divisions raised in Ireland.

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Murrough

Informative posts Gentlemen, we know that individual battalions of the 16th Irish division did have unofficial flags to reflect their nationalist inclinations, did not the 36th carry anything to reflect their sympathies?(be it UVF, Orange Order or other) surely they had something.Another one I would like to have clarified is the wearing of the sash on the 1/7/1916,there are conflicting opinions on it,did it happen or is it just folklore?

John Redmond also felt there was interference with recruits going to the 16th Irish Division and was very aggrieved when the 10th battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers( a staunchly home rule unit) were not sent to the 16th to make up for losses and poor recruiting figures.

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ianmccallum

Hi Guys

Rob great info and I take the point any flags presented to the UVF units remained with the unit and were not taken into the 36th (Ulster) Division. Could I just clarify, that when I said presented by the sovereign, I didn't mean like at formal Regimental Colours presentation parade. I understood the King's Colour was government property paid for from war office funds and presented or effectively "issued" at irregular intervals to regular battalions when they became regimental property. While the regimental colour was bought through private donations. Both would have been presented together at a formal Colour presentation ceremony. Rob, can I ask, what are the flags of the 16th and 36th Division and under what circumstances did they get them. Nick, when you say that Service battalions did not get a Regimental Colour, did you mean battalions generally or battalions attached to the 36th (Ulster) Division. See attached photo of the 17th Bn. HLI's stand showing both.

Ian

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rob elliott

Ian,

Sorry perhaps not too clear. The Flags i refer to as 16th & 36th Divisional flags are the two of the 8th & 10th Btn Inniskillings [each battalion served in their respective division].

The 10th Inniskillings had an attachment to the Cathedral but the 8th did not directly, although Londonderry was the Inniskillings home base at the time of the 1st war.

So it would be unusual for the flag of a battalion of a 16th Division battalion to end up there. And who may have presented it in 1926 i couldn't say.

The 10th's King's Colour was presented in a big ceremony on the 1st July 1921, with a Colour Party of regular Officers', NCOs' and men coming from Omagh barracks by train to Londonderry where they were met by a large contingent of 10th veterans, with many senior Officers present, when they were handed over and marched up to the Cathedral with the streets lined by the public.

Captain James Wilton was given the honour of receiving the 10th flag, being one of the original Officer's to have stayed with the Btn. He was Derry City UVF secretery, and was very well liked by all the men and Nationalists too as he was considered very even handed when an Alderman.

The Colour consisted of a Union Flag with a large Xth in the top left hand corner, with a crown sitting on a circle surrounded by the words 'Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers' and in the centre of the circle the words 'The Derrys'. This was the only standard, no Btn colour, although the Old Comrades one is there too today.

At the Cathedral the Dean received and blessed them. During the same ceremony the King & Regimental colour of the Derry Militia [inniskillings-19th century] were also handed over to the Cathedral [as reported by the Inniskillings magazine 'the sprig'].

However, i believe this to be incorrect and it was the Donegal Militia [5th Inniskillings] Colours that were laid up as they are currently hanging in the Cathedral and not the Derry Militia as reported.

There is also the Kings and Regimental colour of the 2nd Btn.

An unusual aspect to this is the Ulster Divisional Presbyterian minister, Rev'd Paton, gave an address, apparently the first Presbyterian to do so since the seige of Derry 1689.

After the service the choir sang a 'Te Deum', which would possibly have puzzled the Presbyterian veterans having never heard one before.

It seems the Officers took a vote as to where the colour should be laid up and the Cathedral was agreed upon.

Murrough,

Having researched the Ulster Division for a few years now i honestly can say i've never seen anything with an Orange slant to it carried by the men while on the move at any unit level.

There were of course Orange Lodges celebrating the 12th and the Apprentice Boys of the Division burnt Lundy but these were completely detached from the operation of the Division.

The Flags they wave in the press photos after Messines are Inniskilling and YCV ones, home made by the looks of them.

I'm not saying they were not politically minded but i don't think flags were really an important thing to them other than the Union Flag. Look at shoulder flashes with the red hand on. It's quite rare to see one, even in the units that were issued them.

YCV badges and shoulders were far more common.

Same thing with the Sash on the 1st July. I don't think an Officer would allow a man to wear one. Not because of the politics but because it would make him a prime target.

Sashes were originally worn to identify your men in battle. The only men still wearing them in the British Army would be senior NCO's on parade as a rule, and the germans would have been aware of this, so not the best of ideas to make yourself a target as a RSM if you weren't one.

I would say that probably many did carry them into battle in their packs for luck though.

And there is the persistant story of the Sgt of a 9th Inniskillings wearing one.

Rob

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ianmccallum

Rob

Thanks for clearing that up. Of course the Union Flag was effectively their flag or certainly one that they would have been happy to identify with. While the Nationalists leadership would not want a Union Flag, wanting instead their own specifically and identifiably Irish Flag for the 16th (Irish) Division. In addition to Nationalist leadership encouraging their volunteers to join the army to fight for the Freedom of Small Nations etc, etc., John Redmond was also endeavouring to create the nucleus of a nationalist Irish Army or at least an armed and well trained force that could face down the Unionists if it came to a military showdown over partition and Home Rule. I must admit, the whole flags, colours, banners thing is starting to melt my brain. For Murrough, I agree with Rob regarding going over the top wearing Orange sashes, I certainly hope it's a legend, only criminally incompetent officers and SNCO's would have allowed it to happen. Thats to say nothing of the men around the fool or fools who would contemplate such a thing. There would have been many ex regular soldiers among the Ulstermen who would have had something to say about the show of bravado. The Orangemen certainly took their sashes with them to France, I've seen a photo of L.O.L. 862 wearing their sashes taken just before the Battle of the Somme, but I understood that officially no Orange Order Lodge or any other oath bound secretive organisation was allowed in the British Army. On a lighter note, an Orangemen wearing his sash while in uniform would have laid himself open to the charge of being "out of uniform" if you see what I mean. It would certainly take the edge off your smile if you survived the attack only to be meet on your return by the RSM with your charge sheet.

Ian

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rob elliott

Ian,

I don't think there was a particular problem with oath bound societies, it depended which one they were. Many Irish an English/Scots officers were mason's and that was far more secretive than the Orange.

Orange Lodges in the 18th & 19th Century were issued with Military Warrents and there were dozens of them in many regiments. I used to have the list somewhere and it's quite surprising which regiments had them. Not just Irish ones as the Orange Institution was very big in the 19th Century.

One of the men from the North East of England, Durham i think, who won the VC was an English Orangeman.

If you consider what the Lodges were, a club whose ethos was loyalty to the crown then they would be a useful diversion for when men were stationed abroad.

Some of the figures given for Canadian Orangemen who came over in the first war are amazing, thousands of them.

I think there would be a fair chance your RSM was an Orangeman anyway so maybe not too fussed about wearing of the sash.

There is one thing, i personally am of the opinion that a very large proportion of Catholic Soldiers had no problem what so ever with the Union Flag.

Perhaps it's just my research around Londonderry with it being a military town, but there was an awful lot of families with military connections, and it should be remembered that Irish Nationalist MP's cheered in the House of Commons a British defeat in the Boer War this when many Irish soldiers were being killed there.

A feeling similar to that at the start of the Easter rising would prevail where-by the public supported the British.

The Catholic soldiers had no reluctance to join the army, for many it was a good life and like today a lot of people are just not politically minded and want to get on with life.

Just a point on the other posting you have regarding the 15th RIR flag photo.

'The Rifles' not my thing but just thought. Rifle regiments do not have any colours at all do they? Therefore it must be an Old Comrades Flag.

Rob

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ianmccallum

Rob,

I couldn't agree more regarding Catholic soldiers and the Union Flag. I made a point earlier about the Union Flag symbolising different things to different people as indeed did the Union itself and the Empire. That would most certainly apply to regular army Catholic soldiers who would die to save their colours. The percentages of Irish and by definition Catholic Irish who served in the army and therefore under the Union Flag, over the entire nineteenth century is amazing, far out of proportion with English, Scots or Welsh. However, that said and speaking generally, I think men who enlist into the army become members of a soldier caste and thereafter operate and think outside what would be regarded as normal for a civilian. Its almost a case of split personality where a soldier sets aside his personal or political sympathies for loyalty to the caste. They need to be able to do so particularly when required to confront their own class when in support of the civil powers, deployed against strikers or supporting bailiffs during evictions. Some of Irish republicanism's heroes and martyrs served under the Union Flag, James Connolly and Michael Mallin both executed after the Easter Rising are two that spring to mind. In fact, if I remember correctly Tom Clarke who was the driving force behind the rebellion was born in an army barracks where his father was a career soldier and then spent years on posting in South Africa as a family. James Connolly would write of the British war dead in 1914, "I am not writing this because I glory in the tales of the British dead. Those poor rank and file were and are no enemies of mine, of my class, nor of my nation.” As a Catholic soldier he would die for the colours, but if you asked him specifically as a Catholic Irishman the political question, what the Union Flag represents, you might get a completely different response. That is of course assuming he had any political opinions at all, generally most soldiers of all religious persuasions were apolitical. As far as the civilians were concerned I think ALL the working class were generally too busy trying to feed themselves to think too deeply about politics. They may have been willing to be marshalled by their social betters and political leaders for a specific cause, but I think under NORMAL circumstances if you offered a working class man an extra shift or the chance to listen to John Redmond, he would have taken the extra shift at work. I think very many Roman Catholic Irish, particularly the growing middle classes were happy enough with the Union Flag, the Union itself and the Empire, depending on how well they were doing out of it. Or at least they would not have sacrificed their own prospects of advancement to see any of it removed or changed. The point I am making is specifically about the Nationalist Leadership and perhaps their Volunteer soldiers in the 16th (Irish) Division. Although I have no specific proof, I think once the de-civilianisation of the volunteers and the military ethos kicked in, only the most politicised Nationalist soldiers would have had any major problem with the Union Flag. I've never heard of any unrest in the 16th (Irish) Division itself over badges or flags. I think the Flag and Badges issue was about John Redmond's attempt to create an Irish Nationalist Army. Still hoping for a short war, and believing that Home Rule had been achieved, Redmond also recognised that the partition issue had yet to be resolved and would reappear after the war. He therefore needed a well armed and trained military force that would owe loyalty to him as the leader of an Irish devolved government in waiting and be ready and capable of facing down the UVF. As you are no doubt well aware, the Irish Volunteers were very badly armed, trained and equipped compared to the UVF. Redmond and the IPP cheering a British defeat in South Africa shouldn't come as a surprise, although he supported the Empire, which by 1900 was becoming more about trade than rampant Imperialism, he was anti what he regarded as an Imperialist adventure in South Africa and saw Irish volunteer soldiers in that roll as Imperial mercenaries. I think someone once said the Ireland is like an onion, you peal away at the lairs for ever and how did I get back into this.

Ian

P.S. Rifle Regiments don't have colours they carry their battle honours on their drums and cap badges, I think some had a baton or pennant or such like.

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Anneca

Rob

The Orangemen certainly took their sashes with them to France, I've seen a photo of L.O.L. 862 wearing their sashes taken just before the Battle of the Somme, but I understood that officially no Orange Order Lodge or any other oath bound secretive organisation was allowed in the British Army.

Ian

Interesting thread. I thought I would throw in my tuppenceworth!

From Philip Orr's book: The Road to the Somme -Saturday 1st July 1916 - 7.00am

"Some men had picked wild flowers and placed them in their tunics....yellow charlock, blue cornflowers, and crimson poppies. Some had even acquired orange lilies, the symbolic flowers of the Battle of the Boyne celebration. A few men had managed to stow away their Orange sashes and now they placed them around their shoulders. Some gained solace in a sense of corporate identity, and extemporised an Orange or Masonic lodge meeting in the last minutes......so at 7.10 the first Ulstermen of the day crossed the parapet north of the Ancre - a first wave of Armagh Volunteers who would lie down in long lines and await the cessation of the bombardment."

Anne

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rob elliott

Ian,

I agree, once the army had a hold of them other things took over, and this is why i don't think the symbols of the UVF were required, the army was just an extension of that service to the Empire.

Yes, i agree it was Redmond pushing to get the 'Irish' recognition for the 16th Division, but quite possibly as a non military man he woud not appreciate the power of 'the regiment' to absorb and de-politicise a man.

I don't agree that he was looking to after the war to use the men to confront the UVF or Government, as he knew it had been agreed [by himself as well] that the 6 counties had opted out, even though he probably thought only temporarily. Trying to force the 6 counties back in would result in a civil war.

No, i think his plan was to show the people of the UK that Irish Nationalist soldiers could take their place along with the Canadians,Australians etc and be trusted to do their bit for Empire,then reap the reward for doing so. In order to do this he needed them to be 'high profile' and seperate, hence the push to show them as 'Irish'. This is why he was disappointed with the 10th Division not playing on their 'Irish Nationality'.

I do think he misunderstood the extent to which the Ulster Division were given lea-way. It really wasn't that much, a few badges and the names of the battalions refering to the UVF association.

Slightly off topic,

Anne,

I think this is the image that people would like to think of, but reality was the trenches were packed of men, waiting to go over the top, the noise would have been so bad that they couldn't hear each other and the senses would have been dulled.

I sat with a number of 10th Inniskilling veterans and won't say interviewed them, more let them talk. None said anything like this, they were nervous, and excited and wanted to get going, other thoughts in the last few minutes had gone.

I have the transcripts of a number of other Ulster Division veterans done for the book 'First day of the Somme'. The way they were edited reads as if the men were thinking of things 2 minutes before the whistle, but when you read the full transcripts many of the statements relate to days before the battle, when in the rest areas.

It is debatable wether the Armagh men or the 10th Inniskillings were the first soldiers out of their trenches. The 10th were attacking right in front of the Thiepavel wood, South of the Ancre.

For whatever reason they started climbing out well before the stepping off time to move off in front of the wood. The 9th inniskillings, without orders, sitting to their right, decided to follow. Their C.O Ambrose Ricardo records this. First battle report received at HQ was timed at 07:26am.

It is not clear wether it was a deliberate decision of the 10th's Officers or a mistake. I personally believe it to be an instruction to move as the men did not start to drift across no-mans land but waited for the 'whistle' before crossing the last 150 yards. The 10th lost very few men crossing no-man's land as a result of this action, most due to running into our barrage. They did not lie down but moved forward.

It is also unlikely that the Armagh men could see the Derry's movements so their decision to go was probably 'made' as well rather than by accident.

The 10th were very UVF orientated, nearly all Officers and 90% of men were City/County Londonderry UVF.

Rob

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Murrough

Thanks Rob for clearing up the events surrounding the wearing of the sash, you are quite correct with regards to the Masonic activity(Philip Orr refers to it in" The Road to The Somme" which I have just purchased) a good read so far, would you consider it quite accurate?

By 1914 most Nationalists were happy with the prospect of Home Rule,this did include serving members of the armed forces but it may be very difficult to quantify exactly what %.With the declaration of war over 7000 of the Irish Volunteers(Reservists)returned to uniform with their former regiments, very happy no doubt to serve under the Union flag but committed Home Rulers/Nationalists none the less, Redmond did indeed try to stamp an Irish identity on the 16th, both for patriotic, military( Denman contends that Redmond was very happy to have Nationalists trained by the British Armed forces) and political reasons.The 16th was, to some extent,a political division and carried the political aspirations of many of the men who initially served within it.

I think catholic support for the union can be exaggerated at times but there would have been support from some people in military and civil service roles who relied on it it for economic survival rather than making a political statement.Indeed after the 1913 Dublin lockout and the attempt to destroy the Irish labour movement there was increased entry to the armed forces by men from the poorer areas of Dublin who had been deprived of work.

There was also a strong tradition in some areas to serve in some branches of the armed services and I know of an area where the local men had a fine tradition of serving in the Royal Navy because of the steady income and the fact they invariably came from a fishing backround(most of these men still spoke Gaeilge, wore traditional dress and still held on to ancient Irish customs.

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rob elliott

Murrough,

Yes, i think 'Road to the Somme' is a fine book. I actually prefer the first edition, due the quality of print, even though there are less photos and detail.

Have you read Tim Bowman's 'Irish Regiments-Morale and Discipline', very good read, interesting for all Irish Units. Great detail.

Also the book on the 6th Connaughts, from West Belfast that came out a couple of years ago is a decent book.

A friend of mine did a nice book a couple of years ago too about men killed from Londonderry and he took 6 Unionist and 6 Nationalist stories, lovely quality well done.

As always in times of hardship, working class boys look to the forces for work and it's probably been the saviour of a lot of them.

Another thing it did was allow people from differing back grounds to mix and see their lack of differences.

I'm currently doing a study of the Ulster Volunteer Force in Londonderry from it's formation. The City was, and still is, relatively small socially.

At the time of Home Rule I find a lot of interaction at middle class level between Catholics and Protestants even those involved in the UVF, where by it doesn't actually seem to be a problem.

James Wilton, City UVF secretery was asked in 1912 to represent Derry Celtic FC at the Irish Football Association AGM in Belfast. even though there were Nationalists on the committee who could have done it.

He was on the board of the North West IFA, as was my great uncle James Elliott, also UVF. In the 1913 season some protestant working class clubs set up a new cup to play for, but only invited certain clubs.

Both James Wilton & James Elliott went up to Belfast to argue for the league to block this cup as it was divisive.

After the war, Captain Wilton was involved in looking after the needs of ex-servicemen and was very good in this respect to all sides.

Interestingly the records of the City fund for service men still exist in the council archives but unfortunately the public are not allowed access as its classed as sensitive, due to money grants being given to soldiers that had fallen on hard times. Some were given money into the 1950's.

One thing to note is that even soldiers in Donegal [The Republic] were given assistance.

In 1913 there was a general election, which according to the Nationalist papers their candidate, named Hogg, a protestant shirt factory owner would easily win due to the difference in the Nationalist/Unionist vote. He was not a Home Ruler but a Liberal and made no mention of HR at all.

We know he a had a reasonable vote from Liberal Protestants too, however the election was won by about 50 votes.

This seems to indicate a number of Catholics must have voted Unionist, due to the high turnout.

There was in the City a number of people had built up very nice businesses in the latter part of the 19th C and these would be threatened by Home Rule uncertainty irrespective of religion.

Another thing of note is that considering the number of weapons in the City in 1914, no exchange of gunfire was ever recorded between UVF & INV men, in fact in mid 1914 there were patrols of both sides policing the working class areas in which there were a couple of unusual instances of co-operation.

When war broke out the reservists went off to re-enlist. At Strabane and Omagh the UVF & INV jointly paraded to see them off, at Omagh i think it was a Nationalist band led the whole procession. At the end each party gave three cheers for the other.

Just before the war is a very interesting period of the Country's History.

Rob

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ianmccallum

Rob

I agree Redmond was very naive when it came to the military, he certainly caused mayhem by insisting on calling the 16th (Irish) Division the Irish Brigade. I also agree the titles given to the Ulster Division were all easy enough for Kitchener to approve. All the Divisions which included regional titles were simply reflecting where most of the recruits were expected to come from. The (Ulster) division title itself was easy, the formation was raised in Ulster, so no great leap of the imagination. Ditto the Tyrone Volunteers or Glasgow Tramways no great leap. However, in the minds of the military naive nationalist, conditioned by centuries of bigotry and bias, its easy enough to understand their paranoia, with them seeing favouritism where in reality only military expediency existed. For example Gen. Parsons and the badges was Irish politics clashing with military effectiveness and tradition. We must agree to disagree over Redmond's plans for the 16th (Irish) Division after the war. I doubt if he himself would ever have agreed, or been allowed to agree, to a solution that saw the 6 counties Permanently opted-out. Believing it would be a short war, he would have believed that ultimately he would still need to face down a powerful UVF that was much better armed and trained than his Volunteers. He was better aware than most that the very existence and military power of the UVF in 1913-14 was a very powerful negotiating tool for Carson and one which fundamentally influenced the enactment of the Home Rule Bill. I think two Irish militias evenly matched would have negate each other in any future Partition discussions and would I believe have lessen the threat of civil war. I don't think Carson or Redmond would have allowed it to come to a civil war, two evenly balanced militias would have allowed both to go to their supporters with the dire consequences. Interestingly, later, when Michael Collins was negotiating with LLoyd George he lamented the fact that the nationalists were militarily so weak.

Anne.

As I said they may have carried their sashes with them, but I still don't believe they would be allowed or even want to wear them going over the top. The 36th (Ulster) Division and its blood sacrifice on the Somme became a very important part of the newly created Northern Ireland, Ulster Protestant national identity. As a result it attracted much that is the stuff of myth and legend. It really does beggar belief that men would hold a Lodge meeting minutes before going over the top. Discounting the chaos in the front line, the only things on a soldiers mind, irrespective of race or creed, minutes before going over the top would be their loved ones, not letting themselves or their mates down and controlling their shaking and bowels.

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Anneca

As I said they may have carried their sashes with them, but I still don't believe they would be allowed or even want to wear them going over the top. The 36th (Ulster) Division and its blood sacrifice on the Somme became a very important part of the newly created Northern Ireland, Ulster Protestant national identity. As a result it attracted much that is the stuff of myth and legend. It really does beggar belief that men would hold a Lodge meeting minutes before going over the top.

Ian, having referenced parts of Philip Orr's book "The Road to the Somme" and Cyril Falls "The 36th (Ulster) Division" last year for a writing project, I recently decided to read them again as books and have just finished Orr's book so that quote was fresh in my mind. I too would find it difficult to believe the sashes were worn going over the top. There was no reference in Philip Orr's book to that effect but I would imagine that some men had brought their sashes and no doubt wore them briefly, perhaps to boost their morale. As Rob has said, I don't think an Officer would allow a man to wear one. The Orange and Masonic meetings are mentioned on page 165 of Orr's book but more interesting to me are the following excerpts:

Page158:

(30 June) "At 5.00pm the Chaplain held a service for the men of Stewart-Moore's battery. Attendance was not compulsory but all the men were there, though only one of the officers, a reversal of the usual pattern of attendance at special services, hitherto dominated by officers."

Page 159: "Late in the afternoon an ambulance came down and I was told to get in. There were about 4 or 5 others in it and we went up behind the 29th's lines. There was a field altar set up and about 10 of us joined the English soldiers in the Mass. The priest was from the West of Ireland and he came over and talked to us."

Anne

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rob elliott

Ian/Murrough,

Something you might be interested to hear i was shown today [not the original i will say].

The enrolement of John Redmond's nephew in the Ulster Volunteer Force. Get's better...He was enlisted by Edward Carson's son. Both signatures on the form.

I think if Redmond had made any attempt to confront the UVF with Nationalist veterans then the government would have used the army on the side of the UVF to enforce the exclusion, as it would re-enforce Carson's case that Nationalists were prepared you force Ulster into a republic, wether true or not.

When the UVF reformed in 1920 in Derry City and gun battles broke out with republicans the UVF easily outgunned them. Very few Nationalist [if any] ex-servicemen got involved.

As it was after the war Nationalists still had no arms and the UVF did, contrary to what some say, very few UVF weapons were given away in the 1st or 2nd wars, as less than half were put into storage, which in the 1920's & 30's were still there with an RUC guard [it came up in Stormont the cost for guarding them, but no one would vote to sell/scrap them].

By mid way through the war, at the 1917 Irish Convention, Redmond knew 6 counties of Ulster were permanently out, even though in 1919-20 the Nationalists tried to negotiate it to be temporary again.

Partition had been first mooted in the 1890's and some Nationalist writers had said it was the only way forward because of the 'two nation' theory.

Home Rule itself was not a direct threat to the Unionists, it was what would come after, the unknown, with no-way back. It was actually more economic than anything, the Ulster Covenant makes this clear. Redmond himself showed his hand in 1914 in a request for an ammendment to the Bill to allow the raising and lowering of taxes.

It was obvious to all what this was for [hit the Industrial North to pay for the South, by 1911 Ireland had a deficit of i think around £10 million].

The ammendment was rejected.

The revived Ulster Clubs in 1911 made an appeal for all like minded people of any religion to join to break HR.

People misunderstand what the UVF was formed for. It was as much to put discipline into the ranks of the working class Loyalists to prevent rioting as had been seen in 1886 as it was to pressure the government.

Carson and Craig knew they had to sell the idea of a united, disciplined Ulster to take the moral high ground with the British public.

The Victorian era was awash with the theory of the gentleman soldier, 'The Militiamen' later the TF, sober and up-standing.

The UVF fulfilled this role, in the same way the Boys Brigade and Church Lads brigade did for youths. Most of the very senior UVF Officers wanted them to be a police force in the event of the Ulster Provisional Government being activated. They did not want to arm the men. there are many letters in the Public Records Office relating to this.

It was pressure from below that ensured arms were imported and fear of disruption that prevented them [HQ doves] from blocking it.

Unionist HQ instructions constantly [1913-14] repeat 'there is to be no confrontation with our Catholic neighbours'.

It needs to be remembered that Carson was a barrister. In all aspects of things he would, 'promise, threaten and cajole' in order to get his way, as he would in a Court.

A government with a bit more confidence would have called his bluff. But after the Curragh he knew he was in control. His speeches get less confrontational as he knew there is a deal to be done, albeit not the one he had started off to achieve. Hence the backwards and forwards with Redmond over all 9 out or 4 [Londonderry, Antrim, Down & Tyrone] out and settle for 6 Counties [which is what he'd agreed internally with Craig as to what they actually wanted].

Sorry if we've drifted off the flag/emblem issue but i think it's part of the same thing as Redmond had lost ground in the Home Rule argument and wanted to put the Nationalist identity forward when the war broke out.

Do you think it was his being from the South and not being a first hand witness to how the UVF operated that gave him the sense of needing to match them? Therefore mis-understanding the relevance of [what he perceived as the favouritism given to the 36th Division.] badges and flags.

The reason i say this is an IRA man from Londonderry writing years later commented on how good the UVFs' bearing was. He was impressed by them.

Belfast's Joe Devlin seemed more aware of Unionist thinking.

As you say Ian, being non military certainly didn't help Redmond.

Rob

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Murrough

Rob, an Interesting find regarding Redmonds nephew, you must share more details.Were there any other high profile Catholic unionists from that period, the Nationalist/home rule movement seems to have had quite a number of high profile Protestant members like Erskine Childers DSC,Bulmer Hobson,Ernest Blythe,Robert Barton,Darrell Figgis,Sir Thomas Myles CB,Roger Casement,James Creed Meredith,and Charles Burgess(aka.Cathal Brugha) to name a few.It appears thetr may have been a small crossover between the communities when it came to voting for Unionism/ Home Rule but I would imagine that southern protestants may have had less difficulty voting for home rule than northern catholics voting for Unionism, that is just my opinion but it must be noted that high profile protestants seem to have had a quite significant role in steering the home rule ship.

I have the Book on the 6th Connaughts and I also enjoyed" A Wheen o Medals" which is a history of the 9th skins.also enjoyed a great day out to the Skins museum in Enniskillin,my first ever trip up north.

I think we may be too hard on Redmond, he was always playing catch up with Carson and could only react to Unionist moves after the fact, remember, he thought he had all Ireland Home rule in the bag, he also thought he had the support of the goverment to implement home rule,but his credibility was compromised after the Curragh Mutiny and the Howth incident.While it is true that militarily,he had no experience, it should also be stated that the Irish volunteers while having an adequate number of men/instructors at NCO level, there was a dearth of men at officer class, the officer class of the Army were overwhelmingly sympathetic to the Unionist cause.Col.Maurice Moore was the senior officer of the volunteers and he may not have had the experience to advise Redmond of the best way to proceed.

I have had a look at the election of Clegorn Hogg and it is said that local Catholic clergy did indeed encourage their parishioners to vote for the Liberal Hogg (my source is Wiki)but local voting patterns would have to be examined more closely to see how many Catholics did indeed vote unionist and how voting results were affected by perhaps an unusual local political climate related to a local deal/agreement.

Regards,

M.

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ianmccallum

Rob

I really didn't want to get in this deep into Irish politics but I am beginning to enjoy the banter.

Again I take 90% of your points, particularly regarding the aims and discipline of the UVF. With so many Orangemen in the UVF the Unionist HQ would ned to instil tight discipline since they bated catholics as a pass time the resulting bad publicity would not be good for the image. It was I believe the foundation of the UVF that inspired the creation of the Irish Volunteers and I don't mean as a military counter. The advanced nationalists admired the fact that Irishmen would take up arms to defend their beliefs. This was of course the poets and dreamers on their flight of nationalist fantasy.

On a lighter note, I have attended numerous social functions in Orange Halls in Northern Ireland over the years, I wouldn't like to have been given the task of instilling discipline into my hosts. I saw a newspaper report years ago, unfortunately I can't remember where, but it was regarding 120 Glasgow Orangemen that had volunteered for the 36 (Ulster) Division in 1914. They were picked up by their draft conducting officer outside the Lodge in Cathedral Street. I wish I could remember where I saw it, but it was a tale of drunken revelry all the way from Glasgow to the boat at Stranraer. They were only brought under control when the ferry captain turned a water hose on them. Having hosed down a few drunks in my time, I can't help but laugh at the mental image. I will try and find a reference for you. You may already know of it. If you do let me know, I'd love to know what happened to them. I know there was another party at Cathedral Street when they came home for some leave over the New Year.

Regarding Redmond and him not understanding the UVF. I really don't think John Redmond even saw the UFV as a military force or envisaged it actually fighting fellow Irishmen. He was completely anti-violence and only took control of the Irish Volunteers after they had been formed and fallen into the hands of the advanced nationalists. Just like the UVF, I don't think he ever saw the Irish Volunteers in a military or tactical light and it was the same with the Irish Divisions when they were formed. All were simply political tools, chessmen in a political chess game between Irish gentlemen and the British parliament which he admired enormously. Another, example was when Colonel Maurice Moore, his chief military advisor, urged Redmond to order the tens of thousands of Army Reservists among the Irish Volunteers not to report for duty, unless the Home Bill was introduced immediately. Moore realised that once the former soldiers reported to their regiments, the Volunteers would have lost most of its vital military instructors and much of its military effectiveness. Despite Moore's advice and the fairly obvious detrimental effect on the effectiveness of Irish Volunteers, Redmond would not hold back the reservists. That could only have been a conscious and deliberate decision, no-one is that militarily naive. It would have been interesting had he done so just to analyse the pull of regimental loyalty and personal honour versus the nationalist cause.

I would still hold to the theory that Redmond wanted the Irish Volunteers trained and armed by the British purely as a counter balance to the UVF in negotiations. I am not suggesting for a moment that he envisaged marching them into Ulster to enforce the Home Rule, but surely only a well armed and trained nationalist force on par with the UVF would be an effective bargaining chip at any negotiations. An Irish Volunteer militia that is massively less powerful than the UVF is no bargaining chip at all. I don't think Carson was too dissimilar, but I think he was under much more pressure from his hardliners. I think Craig would have been willing to go much further than Carson responding to pressure from the grassroots.

I suppose it all boils down to whether Redmond had given up the 6 counties permanently. In 1914-15 I don't think he had given up on a whole Ireland settlement. He may have settled in his mind to a period, perhaps even a prolonged period of partition, but the whole of Ireland settlement and the two communities coming together was at the very core of his being. He was staking all his political credibility on the nationalists war effort and military service bring the two communities together through a shared martial experience. He was naive not only when it came to the military but he completely misjudge the depth of feeling and lengths to which Ulster was willing to go, and as a result I don't think he went far enough to placate the Unionists. He was the ultimate parliamentarian and couldn't imagine that the Ulster Unionists, supported by British conservatives would be willing defy the will of parliament. He also fatally misjudged his nationalist opponents and the lengths they were willing to go. Don't really blame him for that, no logical person would have seen the Easter Rising coming since there was no vestige of realpolitik involved at the time. For all his Irish nationalist credentials, land reform etc, Redmond was a liberal-conservative and had more in common with the old Ascendancy landed families of the previous century than with the realities of life for Irish working class on either side of the divide. Joe Devlin on the other hand as a Belfast man and leader of the bigoted Hibernians. He had his finger on the pulse of the North and understood better the depth of feeling among the grass roots of both traditions.

Had the war ended in1916, before the 36th Division and the Somme and had Redmond lived, I think it would have been back to the pre war brinkmanship, but I can't believe the British would have allowed either side to go over the edge. Had all out civil war broken out in Ireland, it would almost certainly have spread to central Scotland and some of the big cities in England.

Regarding the army and the Curragh incident, I think it was overblown and after the dust settled it was recognised for what it was, a very successful bluff, driven by a very small upper class Anglo Irish cabal. A more decisive government would have slapped the Gough brothers down, I can't remember if Henry Wilson's part in the plot was known at the time. There is absolutely no doubt the sympathy of the officers in the army and navy was with the Unionists, but their sympathy was more about the effects of Home Rule on the Empire than the religious sensibilities or future tax rates in Ulster. Had a similar political situation developed in Ireland after the war ended in 1916, a repeat of the Curragh incident could not happen again, a) the government would have been in a much stronger position, B) there would have been no blood sacrifice from Ulster, and c) if the army tried it again it would have taken a coup d'etat after which the Empire would have imploded. No British officer would have allowed that to happen.

Arch Unionist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed it was purely the Irish nationalists inability to pledge loyalty to the Empire that separated the sides in Ireland. As far as I am aware the furthest John Redmond ever envisaged Home Rule developing was something along the lines of Australia and Canada, dominions within the Empire and never contemplated a republic. Prior to the Easter Rebellion even Arthur Griffiths and Sinn Fein never saw Ireland as a republic.

Personally, I put much of the Irish problem down to vested interests, class politics and the old divide and rule stratigem. Give the Protestant working class a few crumbs more than the Catholic working class and set them off. They are so busy fighting each other over the crumbs they can't see the feast.

Redmond's nephew joining the UVF is a very interesting, I'd be grateful if you would elaborate for me.

Anne

I have no doubt that there were formal Lodge meetings held within the Ulster Division, even a day or two days before the Somme. I understood from your post that they held an impromptu lodge meeting in the trenches just before going over the top. "and extemporised an Orange or Masonic lodge meeting in the last minutes......so at 7.10 the first Ulstermen of the day crossed the parapet north of the Ancre" I really can't see that. I would go along with a very informal meeting of brothers perhaps within the same platoon. But a platoon that was a part of the 107 Brigade lying in support in Thiepval Wood. They had a couple of hours to wait before going forward. I am afraid I haven't read either of the books you quote Page158: (30 June) "At 5.00pm the Chaplain held a service for the men of Stewart-Moore's battery. Attendance was not compulsory but all the men were there, though only one of the officers, a reversal of the usual pattern of attendance at special services, hitherto dominated by officers." Page 159: "Late in the afternoon an ambulance came down and I was told to get in. There were about 4 or 5 others in it and we went up behind the 29th's lines. There was a field altar set up and about 10 of us joined the English soldiers in the Mass. The priest was from the West of Ireland and he came over and talked to us." Could you elaborate and put it into context for me please.

Ian

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ianmccallum

Hi M

I am sorry I posted my last before reading your last. Good question for Rob as to whether there were any more high profile Catholic Unionists his reply will be interesting. Not too sure about Redmond, a very nice guy whose problem was he was too much of a gentleman and as a gentleman always played by the rules. He expected his opponents to do the honourable thing and do the same. Playing by the parliamentary rules had gotten him to the point of success with Home Rule, but when his political opponents began to break and flout the rules, he couldn't respond in a similar manner. Not too sure about your thoughts on Col Moore and the dearth of Catholic officers. Col. Moore was a very talented and well respected senior officer who saw action in the Zulu Wars and in South Africa. While serving in South Africa he commanded the 1st Bn.Connaught Rangers and took on higher command over the treatment of Boer civilians while confined in concentration camps. After getting little satisfaction from higher command he wrote a number of articles on the conditions in the camps which sparked an enquiry in Britain. As I said in my previous post he advised Redmond not to allow the Reservists among the Irish Volunteers to report for duty on recall. I believe this was a Very Significant, perhaps even Game Changing piece of very good advice which Redmond chose to ignore. This single decision had far reaching ramifications particularly when it came to raising the 10th and 16th (Irish) Divisions. Had Redmond kept the veterans up his sleeve and then been able to deliver to Kitchener a full division worth of experienced ex soldiers, the whole Irish lack of commitment to recruiting debate and perceived favouritism toward the Ulster Division would never arisen. I don't believe there was any but the perception that there was certainly affected the Irish attitudes. A full Nationalist Volunteer Division or even two Divisions, quickly and enthusiastically raised would have been something the Nationalist Irish could have gotten behind etc, etc, etc. It would have given Redmond a much stronger hand when asking Kitchener that the formations be overtly Irish, he might even have got his silly badges. Captain Jack White was another experienced officer although something of a maverick, he saw service with the 1st Bn. Gordon Highlanders in South Africa and was decorated with a DSO for his role. He later saw service in India and was involved with the setting up and training of the Irish Citizen's Army. Captain Gordon Shephard was still a serving officer when he got involved with Childers gun-running escapade at Howth. Childers himself was a naval officer who'd also seen service in South Africa as a private soldier with the army. Had it actually come to shooting between the Volunteers, it would not have been a war of sweeping tactical movements requiring staff officers and detailed staff planning. It would have been urban warfare fought largely in the cities, towns and villages. In this type of fighting its sergeants and ncos that take the lead and practicalities such as local knowledge, resupply of ammunition and local support from the population that are key. The point I am making is the lack of officers including staff officers with campaign planning experience is not the handicap you might think. The men who commanded the various detachments of the Irish Volunteers during the Easter Rising did okay under the circumstance, few of them had any great military experience. More of a problem for the nationalist would have been the vast disparity in weapons and ammunition which Redmond was desperately trying to rectify by getting the British to arm and train the Volunteers. Although I really can't see Redmond or Carson for that matter allowing a civil war to happen. Reference the high profile Protestants supporting nationalism v the high profile Catholics supporting the Union. Without insulting anyone motives or commitment to the cause, I've always had a sneaking suspicion that at least some were attracted by the romance and adventure of it all. Fighting for freedom, but returning to upper middle class drawing rooms and London society afterwards. During the Childer's gun running episode he took his boat Asgard, choked to the gunnels with illegally imported arms and ammunition into Milford Haven harbour, one of the crew, Captain Shephard's military leave was over and he had to get back to his barracks. Before he caught the train for London he decided to take another of the gun running crew, Mary Spring Rice shopping and for lunch. She was the daughter of Lord Monteagle and niece of the British Ambassador in Washington. Meanwhile, the Childer and his handicapped wife is sitting nervously onboard the boat awaited Mary to return. After finally getting to Howth no-one was there to meet them as planned. After a few hours tacking about outside the harbour they decide to land the cargo anyway. Who appear on the dock, Capt. Shephard who quite remarkably managed to get more leave and decided to dash over to Ireland to help unload the boat. When the volunteers and Boy Scouts turn up, (don't know what children were doing there) they slope arms and 1000 armed men then march in board daylight on the seat of Government in Ireland. They are then surprised when they are confronted by the authorities. Only poets or dreamers which they undoubtedly were would have thought their actions would not have attracted some reaction. The reality, Bachelor's Walk four dead and umpteen wounded. Meanwhile Erskine Childers and his wife blissfully sailed off back to England where he spent the remainder of the Great War period as a British naval officer, winning the Distinguished Service Cross. The entire episode beggars belief. The Larne gun-running episode meanwhile was an operation that went like clockwork and was designed not to compromise the authorities, how much official connivence was involved if any is really beside the point. There are dozens of other examples of the same upper middle class Hooray Henry type behaviour and devil may care attitude amongst upper middle class nationalist supporters. Its almost like the old medieval knight gets ransomed while his men at arms are executed.

Ian

P.S. I note of course that Erskine Childers was executed in 1922 and Rodger Casement in 1916.

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rob elliott

Ian,

This is an interesting topic, i hope for people following it too. One of the main reasons for the problems in Ireland is a lack of understanding. Too many myths that have become fact.

Unfortunately you've dropped into it a little with your opening paragraph saying Orangemen baited Nationalists. Orangemen as Orangemen had very little contact with nationalists. The level of 'walks' in the 19th and early 20th Cenury was nothing like it is now, the chances of them crossing paths without deliberately going looking for trouble was extremely remote. The parades were nearly all church related services.

In fact before the first war, and i can give you all the police reports it was Nationalists attacking Orangemen that was a bigger concern. What caused a serious and potentially fatal situation was in 1911 at Castledawson Co Londonderry a sunday school excursion of children and females was attacked. Directly after this the local lodges did retaliate, which the police acknowledged was after the severe provocation.

I have police county reports 1910-14. All counties.

Quite possibly the best Orange parade there is today is in the Republic at Rossnowlagh, County Donegal. Hundreds of Orangemen, half a dozen police to control traffic, and the townspeople make a bit of money from the visitors. Not the slightest bit of bother from the locals even though it's a catholic village. Why would that be?

It comes back to this thing, as you highlighted with the Scots crossing to join the 36th, The working classes were very rowdy at this time, and it wouldn't take much to set them off.

F.P.Crozier who commanded the West Belfast UVF talks about this in his recollections of the Home Rule and war period. He was later to command the Auxillaries. He slept with a revolver to protect against his own men, but as he says he got them into shape. He blamed the curse of the Irish, the drink.

Belfast, Glasgow & Liverpool would all have their problems due to the size of the opposing working classes.

Redmond was weak, as well as naive. In 1914 the INV stated that they would hold a large parade in Londonderry. Redmond wasn't happy so asked Bishop McHugh to have it stopped. Not the Officers commanding the INV. This happened twice. The reason given, using the same logic i credited Carson with, was a confrontation with Unionists would look bad in the press. It suggests that Redmond had no faith [no pun] in the INV to maintain discipline. A rather unfair assesment i think.

The Unionists had made no threat to hold a counter demonstration. Only once did they [uVF/INV] ever get close to anything and this was due to a mistake of two route marches going off in a particular direction just outside the City.

Bishop McHugh held massive sway over the Catholic working class, slightly ironically his thoughts would be beneficial to Unionist politics later. He didn't like the GAA, so supported soccer in the City, or the Gaelic league, or Sinn fein. He opted for the protestant Hogg as the Nationalist candidate. And he supported the nationalists joining the war as a means to an end.

Also regarding wether Redmond knew the 6 Counties were out permanantly before the war. I personally think he did. The reason i say this is in 1914 Bishop McHugh had pressed him on getting Londonderry city which had a small catholic majority excluded from County Londonderry and put into Donegal. Redmond promised him a referendum which he was not in a position to do.

This is the sort of Church influence the Unionists were concerned about should Home Rule be passed. How could logical commercial decisions be made if it was necessary to refer to the Church. The Protestant Church would never be allowed to have that sort of say [although they had great influence in the Lords].

The Curragh was a cock up by Paget. He was sent over to get a feel for the situation 'off record' and was so bad at presenting it that Gough had him. What is not so well know is Aldershot were ready to go as well. They were waiting a phone call. There are letters in PRONI from English Officers at Aldershot confirming their intent to resign too.

In fact some of them seem disappointed it didn't happen. Loads of various regiments included, Cavalry, Black watch.

This would not have been a coup but it would have bought the government down by default. A domino effect would have gone through the Army, who generally dislike Liberals anyway. I don't think it would have caused too much fuss across the Empire. Toronto was as Orange as Belfast, Bonar Law was Canadian,Australia, South Africa and NZ had strong Ulster Conections. In fact I think it would have strengthened the Empire position.

It needs to be remembered that as far as most 'British' people were concerned Ireland was just the same as Wales & Scotland, not something detached. Dublin was possibly the second city of the Empire. A large number of the House of Lords had Irish connections, more-so than either Wales or Scotland.

The public would generally support the army as this was a very poor coalition government propped by Irish Nationalists, who had a disproportionate number of MP's in relation to the population. This had never been addressed after the famine. Had this been done so in the 1890's then Home Rule would probably never have got on the books.

The reality is Redmond was not a suitable leader of a seperate Ireland. It would need dynamic leadership from the Industrial side to drive the Country forward.

Conan Doyle like Redmond just didn't understand Ulster. He gave money to the Unionists though as did another prominant Catholic Edward Elgar.

You had an industrial part of the country in step with the rest of the UK and an agricultural part, behind. It would always be difficult.

The religious aspect just twisted it further.

I don't think there would ever be a civil war, ever. The nationalists would not fight. In the North, particularly Londonderry, the middle class weren't interested. I think the commander of one battalion, McGlinchey, was an ex-corporal of the Inniskillings. That was the level of people involved. They brought in Captain Jack White to organise them but he wasn't liked.

When war was declared the situation diffused so quickly it left some UVF men wondering what had happened. Again in PRONI, there are letters from UVF sections to Carson having a go at him and their own Officers, saying 'in July you were telling us to get ready to fight the government and now your telling us to fight for the same government'.

The Nationalists were the same, no i don't think it was ever close, even with the worst times of 1921 in Belfast.

Also as acknowledged by Police reports, the Unionists North and South controlled a disproportionate part of the commerce of Ireland. Large numbers of Catholics were dependant on jobs from Unionist businesses.

In Londonderry 90% of the workforce was dependendant either directly or indirectly on Unionist business with an estimated 3000 girls in the surrounding areas, Donegal & Co Londonderry, working sub contract for the shirt factories.

It was never put to these people would you like a referendum on Home Rule and here's what might be the consequences.

A number of Londonderry shirt factories would have relocated to Glasgow and Harland and Wollf had looked at doing the same.

If you need a good example of common sense kicking in, its Lord Pirrie, Chairman of H & W. A dedicated Home Rule Liberal, swung round to become a staunch Unionist.

They had anticipated being taxed out of business. As it was the war created a massive influx of work both in the shirt factories making uniforms and the shipyards.

I have been given a copy of a newspaper article regarding Redmond's nephew but the guy who gave it wants to use it for a talk in a couple of days so i'll wait until he's done that before passing it on, as it's a good bit of a coup.

Ian, that's one of the biggest myths, that we got more [crumbs]. No, we kept quiet, that's the only difference. Poor but happy [was my old grand-dad, a 36th Div veteran].

Rob

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rob elliott

Ian,

While i was doing first post you posted yours.

I'm sorry i'm not going to be too good on naming Catholic Unionists. I'm trying to think of the guy that took up the position in the first Stormont government, think he was finance minister. Critics always say, ah but he was bought up in a protestant household. So that just proves the point, it wasn't so much about religion, but what your politics were.

I think you might be surprised about Larne. Nothing like the stories you read. Logistically very good on the night. Proved what the UVF were capable of. There was no assistance from any authority, in fact up until the last few hours few knew what was happening fully.

However, a number of british papers, The Times. The Mail were reporting the movement of the ship on a daily basis. The British ambassador in Hamburg reported to the government what he thought was going on. I have copies of the dispatches in intelligence files.

But one of the most important things is that Carson, possibly Craig lost their bottle and told Crawford to ditch the weapons or turn back. For days he was floating around back & forth, in the end he got off the ship and met Carson & Craig and basically said i'm coming one way or the other. Have copies of these too.

What he didn't know was that the rifles had been sold back to a german dealer while he was at sea, and the ship too. However he carried on and the landing was rushed through but did go extremelly well.

Customs Officers tried to go down to the harbours but were physically blocked from doing so as were some poliicemen so they didn't actually know what was going on.

John Regan DI RIC in his memoirs reckons he could have stopped those in his area on return, but didn't, no order to. So he watched the loaded cars come from Larne and drive into the big estate and he waved them in, saying he knew most car drivers.

Carson didn't want guns in the equation, he was a 'Dove', even Craig wasn't a major 'hawk', non of the senior command was, except Fred Crawford and even he wouldn't have endorsed the use of weapons against the army.

He became head QM [or similar] in Dublin when the war broke out and did a lot of recruiting.

The thing about the reservists was they would not and did not hold back for either Carson or Redmond. Would the appeal of an Irish division sway against getting back to their old regiment. No ,don't think so. To me again it proves these guys just weren't that bothered. Why play soldiers when you can be one. [This particular thinking for Irishmen would come up again in the 2nd war when, what was it, 5000 men deserted the Free State Army to join the Allied forces, because Ireland wouldn't join in].

That's why the 10th wasn't really political it was guys who volunteered or went back immediately. Carson told the UVF men to hold on, which a lot did until he got the ok for the Ulster Division to start forming early September.

The 16th struggled to get ready for overseas. Divisions went out roughly in the order of the number they were given, in K1, K2 etc, around 12 months after formation. But the 16th were way behind their alloted time as they weren't up to scratch. They should have been around august 1915 but was in December. The 36th Ulster Division was October.

There was no way that Redmond could form one division of volunteers let alone two. The Engineers, artillary and some infantry companies were English. As were the pioneer Btn. So possibly 12,000 were Irish out of 18,000.

If the Nationalists hadn't the people like Jack White and Erskine Childers they wouldn't have had anything at all. Your right though, i think it was a bit of an exciting distraction for some of them. The same with some UVF too

For some it was deadly serious and others an opportunity for a bit of excitment from daily life with good comradeship, which joining the army just extended.

We can never know how much was genuine concern or peer pressure or just to break the monotony of life that made men join the UVF/INV, they were not in control of their own destiny. Must have been interesting times.

Rob

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ianmccallum

Rob

Interesting times indeed. One of the main reasons for the problems in Ireland is a lack of understanding. Too many myths that have become fact. Exactly, and the project I am trying to put together is an attempt to address exactly that. Don't want to go into too much detail but I was involved in a very heated discussion about the army and Ireland and was appalled at the level of ignorance among people who should know better. I don't know the intricacies of the Larne incident but the bottom line was it happened, the guns and ammunitions were landed and they were distributed. The way it was done showed a large degree of pre-planning and logistical organisation that the nationalists seldom showed as far as I can see. Larne appears to have been done in a way that did not force the authorities into taking action, whether they were aware or not. Unlike the Howth fiasco which simply couldn't be ignored. Not even necessarily on a political level, but on the level of the people on duty on the ground on the day. Unlike at Larne where the authorities could claim at least some degree of plausible deniability, with the weapons disappearing into the night. Over a 1000 armed nationalists marching past your office window in broad daylight is something else. Your right about the amount of interaction between communities particularly in the North, but the point I was making about the Orangemen was about discipline in the ranks. While I have no doubt very many were sober, law abiding, church going pillars of their communities, a portion were hard drinking, bigots that may or may not have gone out hunting Catholics, but did behave in such a way as to bring the Orange Order into disrepute. Whether they were wearing their sashes at the time or whether it only happened around the twelfth marches is irrelevant. I can think of an incident off the top of my head where a priest was allegedly assaulted by soldiers of the Ulster Division. The incident made the national press, what the truth of the incident was I don't know, but that kind of publicity reinforced rightly or wrongly the Orange thug stereotype. Reference the Curragh, Prior to the event, the thought of British Army officers refusing to obey their elected political masters would have been seen by most as impossible. The politicians totally misjudged strength of the officer’s sentiment and expressed the belief that if they had ordered a march on Ulster only half the officers in the army would have obeyed. It was a massive exaggeration, but it served to add to the confusion and demoralisation spreading throughout the officer corps of the army and navy. It also served to encourage the Ulster Unionists in the belief that the majority of British officers would offer more than just moral support in their political stand and reinforced the nationalist view that the British Army was not impartial in its implementation of the law. The Labour Party and Trade Unionists identified immediately what lay at the heart of the matter, self-interest, bigotry and class politics. An ordinary soldier was never and would never be given the luxury of consulting his conscience when confronting working class strikers. The thoughts and concern of one officer of the Royal Artillery stationed at the Curragh can be seen when he wrote “This evening I and the other officers of our Regiment were called upon to make the most momentous decision of our lives. We were all assembled in the Colonel’s office and he read out the following proclamation from the War Office. In view of the possible active operations in Ulster, all officers domiciled in Ulster will be allowed to disappear from Ireland till the operations are over. Any officer, who from conscientious reasons, refuse to take part in these operations will send in an application by 1000hrs tomorrow. Any officer doing so will be dismissed from the Service. This we are all agreed is the greatest outrage that has ever been perpetrated on the Service. We have had to make our decision without any opportunity of discussing it with our people. The words domicile in Ulster, have been underlined and under penalty of court-martial our colonel has to state whether a man is domicile or not. I had hardly time to write for your opinion, so I have decided to carry on. Seven of my brigade have decided to refuse and will probably be dismissed tomorrow or very shortly. I have decided to stay on for the following reasons: Although as you know my sympathies are with Ulster, I think that at a time like this the Army must stick together. If we once start to disintegrate the service, then goodbye to the Empire and anything else that matters. Moreover, in the case of strike duty, the men whose sympathies are fairly obviously with the strikers have to carry on and do their duty, so that it is up to us to do the same.” Seven officers is less than a third of the establishment of an artillery brigade, and they were at the epicentre of the crisis. Major General Sir Charles Fergusson spoke to the officers of the Fifth Division, also at the Curragh and completely diffused the situation. He was very definitely of the opinion that if the army broke apart over the matter, that the Monarchy, British society and the Empire would be shattered. I would also disagree with your point about the country being behind the Army officers, the country was very badly split over the incident. The trade unions for example had published a manifesto aimed at the men in the army telling them to "remember your officers have exercised an opinion as to obeying orders, and asking them to resolve they would never fire a shot against their own class." The trade Unionist followed it up with demonstrations all over the country. The labour MP for Derby warned that he would organise 400,000 railway workers into an armed force using the union's half a million pound of capital to buy the arms and ammunition. Lloyd George called it the greatest threat to representative governments since the days of the Stuarts. As usual the newspapers followed party lines One headlined The Home Rule Bill is Dead, while another asked Do we govern ourselves or are we governed by Gen. Geogh! No doubt very many Orangemen throughout the Empire supported the Unionists and the actions of Gough and his officers but what would have happened to the Empire had the motherland exploded into a revolution three years before Russia. My point about Redmond and the Reservists was a flight of fancy, a what if. Had Redmond been able to produce one or two Irish Nationalist Divisions using the veterans, things would have turned out very differently. A nationalist Ireland fully behind identifiably Irish Divisions would have been a game changer. Holding back the Irish Reservists would have had a major impact on the deployment of the BEF, so who knows where that would have led to. While the Easter Rising was basically a gesture, would the republicans have gone ahead if the attitude to the war in the South was enthusiastically behind the war effort instead of being ambivalent. I have some time for Col. Moore and he was on the button about holding back the reservists. I too think the regimental pull would have been too strong, but consider that the army was around 10% under strength in 1913-14 and the reservists could have rejoined at any time had they wished. The working class of both communities were always on the edge of destitution, the 1913-14 Lock-out for example brought very real hardship which saw many men enlist before the outbreak of war, yet tens of thousands reservists remained civilians, contend to draw their reservists bounty. Col. Moore was a natural leader and a very experienced commander, he must have thought he could have got a significant number to hold back at least for a while. Had things worked out for Home Rule I think Redmond would have made a reasonably good figurehead, not sure what the Unionist rank and file thought of him, but I think he would have been acceptable to his own class. But he would have need a fixer, maybe someone like James Craig behind him. I think John Redmond's major problem was that he had been left behind in an age that had already passed or was very quickly disappearing. The willingness of industrial Ulster to support the agricultural south goes much deeper than taxes, many counties have an industrial heartland that subsidises the rest of the country. Look at London and the rest of the UK or Glasgow and the rest of Scotland. There can be little doubt that the power and influence of the Roman Catholic Church over Irishmen of that faith was immense and ultimately corrosive. (Look at Rep of Ireland over 80 years) Something would certainly need to have been done to lessen its influence before any settlement would have been possible. Reference the "Crumbs" I shouldn't have mentioned it and it don't think we will go there. Finally, don't rubbish the ability of Corporals to cause mayhem. Look at Adolf.

Ian

Ian

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