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Remembered Today:

Curragh Mutiny


Armoured Farmer
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Hello Pals.

The Curragh Mutiny seems to be one of those events that everyone has heard of and can tell you that it centred on the 3rd Cavalry Brigade commanded by Gough.

I know other formations were involved.

What I am interested in are the names of the 57 or 59 officers from this brigade. Specifically if any officers of the North or South Irish Horse were involved.

Any help eargerly anticipated.

Farmer

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Farmer

I have a book on the mutiny - will check and see what it says about "names"

Stephen

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Have a few books on this incident, will check tomorrow to see if I can come up with some names, have to go to a meeting soon so cant do it at the moment, unless of course others get in first.

Arm

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Farmer

I have checked the "The Army and the Currough Incident 1914" by Ian FW Beckett. This does not give a full list of names but I may be able to work out some of the partipattns form the correpsodnace attached (it may however take a while)

That the book does confirm is the level of support within 3rd Cavalry Bde; in addition to Gough, there were 2 officer in the bde HQ who were prepared to resign; 17 out of 19 officers in 4th Hussars (the other two were Ulstermen who would be permitted to disappear); 17 out of 20 officers in 5th Lancers (plus one Ulsterman); all 16 officers from 16th Lancers; 6 of 13 offrs from 111 Bde RHA (plus 2 Ulstermen) and both offirs from the RE Tps.

Stephen

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Stephen,

Again, thanks.

I'll have to do some arithmetic, shoes and socks off!

The reason I asked about the mutiny was because both NIH and SIH were recorded as attached to 3rd Cav Bde in August 1914. I suspect this was administrative as they were the two Special Reserve Cavalry Regiments in Ireland, there being no Irish Yeomanry regiments after the Haldane reforms of 1908.

Senior officers hailed from the Irish aristocracy; Lord Cole, Lord Farnon, Lord Decies, Marquess of Waterford.

The problem with the history of these two regiments in this period is that they are usually footnotes added after the Regular regiments. For instance many sources say that on the outbreak of war in 1914 both regiments had just completed their summer camps and were ready for war. From service papers I know that both regiments annual camps were in May from 1911 to 1914. In 1914 it was from 8th to 31st May.

Hence the search for information about whether or not they were involved in the mutiny, as they had as much if not more at stake as the officers of 3rd Bde.

Best Regards

Farmer

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Sorry no show here either, I have checked the 'Curragh Incident' by Sir James Fergusson but its a narrative, whilst there might be an odd name hidden in there, there is no list!!

regards

Arm

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There is one mention (so far......) about the SIH; it appears that they snubbed the GOC over the affair - will try to get an exact quote this evening

Stephen

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Hi all

This is from the diarie of a Lt in the 80th Battery RFA.

On Mar 20th 1914 at 7p.m. all officers were ordered to the Colonel's office. This was Lt Col Stevens who had replaced Prescott-Decie. He sat there looking grave with a paper in his hand. When we were assembled he said,"I have a very serious communication to make. I shall not comment on it or give my views, but when I've read it I'll give you 5 minutes in which to make up your minds and I'll then want your answers. No copies of the paper are to be made." He then spoke from the document:

"There is the possibility of active operations in Ulster. "All officers who are domiciled in Ulster will be allowed to 'disappear' until the operations are over provided they give an undertaking not to fight against the British Army.

"Any officer who for conscientious or other reasons objects to taking part in the operations will be instantly dismissed the service.

"All others will obey implicitly whatever orders are given them.

Then:

" The King earnestly desires that as few officers as possible will avail themselves of alternatives one and two."

This was a real poser. After Churchill's speech "Active Operations in Ulster" meant to us "War against Ulster;" but there was no time to consult one's parents or to ponder deeply on consequences. The whole of one's career might be cast away in a few minutes. However' I did not have much difficulty in making up my mind. My father, I knew had signed the British Covenant supporting Ulster and would be fighting on the other side. I would adopt alternative two.

When asked for their decisions two officers who were domiciled in Ulster decided to "disappear." One or two of the senior officers said that they could not afford to lose their pensions and would accept all orders, but under protest. All the rest of us decided to be instantly dismissed. We were asked to reconsider and the time was extended.

It was too late now to catch the train for Dublin and the boat to England, but, to confirm my course of action, I dashed across the road to the Post Office and sent a telegram to my Father:

"Handed in Kildare 7.15p.m."

"Can you support me if i resign instant dismissal or fight against Ulster. All officers have to decide tonight."

He replied:

"Resign rather than fight against Ulster."

With the others' I packed that night to catch the morning boat train. My horse I would have to leave behind. I paid off my servant and groom.

Early in the morning the Adjutant came round and in effect put us under arrest by forbidding us to leave barracks.

We learnt that practically the whole of the officers of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade at the Curragh, under Brig. Gen. Hubert Gough, had resigned almost en bloc. We were told that they had had the paper earlier than we and many officers were on their way to Kildare Station in the evening to catch the boat train when a staff officer caught them up at a gallop and ordered them back to barracks.

As we had all been "instantly dismissed" I cannot see that either the Adjutant or Staff Officer had the authority to give us orders.

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There is one mention (so far......) about the SIH; it appears that they snubbed the GOC over the affair - will try to get an exact quote this evening

Stephen

Thanks Stephen, and thanks Themonstar.

Best Regards

Farmer

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Doubt its much help but I have a disk of the 1911 army list which list some of the North and South Irish horse officers.

regards

Arm

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info so far

4th Hussars: Lt Col I G Hogg, Maj Howell, Capt AVW Stokes (Adjt)

5th Lancers: Lt Col Arthur Parker, Maj JB Jardine; Maj MF McTarggart.

16th Lancers: Lt Col ML MacEwan; Maj CJ Eccles, Maj CE StK Harris-St John; Maj RLMacAlpine-Leng; Maj CLK Campbell; Capt A Neave. Lt ER Nash.

Signal Tp; Lt J Penrose.

From what I can read, Lt Col Hogg withdrew his resignation after the "clairification" by Sir Arthur Paget (AP); it appears that 16th Lancers did not withdraw as they were unsure of the position after AP's follow-up.

Stephen

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Arm,

Cheers, I've databased the Army List information on the two regiments. Thanks for the offer.

Regards

Farmer

of course you have, sorry only just looked at your website..Doh

regards

Arm

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Have you tried the 5th Lancers website by a member of this forum. He maybe able to help.

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Arm,

I've been researching the SIH for 5 years and only just made the mental connection of 3rd Cav Bde, Curragh Mutiny and SIH. So bigger DOH! from me mate. Thanks for checking and thanks for the lead.

Stephen,

Thanks so much for your time and effort.

Regards

Farmer

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no problem - do you want any more names from 3rd Cav Bde (if I can locate them) or are you mainly after SIH

You can borrow the book if you wish

Stephen

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Here are some names for you. These were the ones that went to France soon thereafter as far as I can make out from the 16th Lancers.

The command structure of the Regiment that went to war was as follows:

Brigade Commander Brigadier-General Hubert de la Poer Gough

Brigade Major Major H Kearsley

Staff Captain Captain Geoffrey FH Brooke

Regimental Commander Lieutenant Colonel Maurice L Macewen

2nd in Command Major Clive McDonnell ‘Dicky’ Dixon (from Reserve)

Adjutant Captain William John Shannon

Assistant Adjutant Captain AW ‘Granny’ Macarthur-Onslow (from Special Reserve)

‘A’ Squadron Commander Captain Arundell Neave

‘C’ Squadron Commander Captain Charles Lionel Kirwan Campbell

‘D’ Squadron Commander Captain Cuthbert John Eccles

Quarter Master Lieutenant Charles John Aris

Other Officers:

Major R L MacAlpine-Leny

Captain Edward Henry Lionel ‘Mo’ Beddington

Captain G Hutton ‘Jack’ Riddell (Special Reserve 2 i/c A Sqdn)

Captain Fergus E Adams

Captain George Ernest Bellville

Captain JG Griffith

Lieutenant Lord Baron Hans Wellesley ‘Hans’ Holmpatrick

Lord John ‘Jack’ Wodehouse (from Special Reserve)

Lieutenant Joseph Lister ‘Joseph’ Cheyne

Lieutenant John George Walter ‘Nobby’ Clark

Lieutenant Charles Edward Henry ‘T-Hicks’ Tempest-Hicks

Lieutenant Reginald George Reynolds ‘Reggie’ Davies, A Sqdn

Lieutenant LC ‘Ichabod’ Ramsbottom-Isherwood, A Sqdn

Lieutenant Rowland Auriol James Beech, A Sqdn

Lieutenant Trevor L Horn, MG Section

Lieutenant John Edric Russell Allen, C Sqdn

Lieutenant David Ronald Cross

Lieutenant Nathaniel Walter Rider King

Lieutenant Edward Radcliffe Nash

2nd Lieutenant William MacNeill

2nd Lieutenant Sir John Watson

Henderson (Scotch Yeomanry), A Sqdn

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Hmm, St-John sounds familiar, but Penrose?

These men are ones that went to war, so there will be some missing / added. I can't recall sources but this is from my research last year.

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Ho hum, let me try and think. I can say what info I went from overall though. Just noted from the landing return that 26 landed in France from the SS Indian and 2/Lt Longridge came over on the SS Fromona.

Diaries of Trevor Horn and Auriol Beech, Regimental diary, various Regimental records, SDGW, various books (old and new). Various bits follow, can't quote which are which:

The Regiment was stationed at The Curragh and formed part of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade, consisting of 16th Lancers and 4th Hussars at The Curragh, 5th Lancers in Dublin, and ‘D’ and ‘E’ Batteries R.H.A. at Newbridge, close to The Curragh. The Brigade was Commanded by Brigadier-General H. de la P. Gough, late Commanding Officer 16th Lancers.

Brigade Major Major H. Kearsley

Staff Captain Capt. G. F. H. Brooke

16th Lancers

The Regiment was commanded by Lt. Col. M. L. Macewen

2nd in Command Major C. M. Dixon

From Reserve

Adjutant Capt. W. J. Shannon

‘A’ Squadron Capt. A. Neave

‘C’ Squadron Capt. C. L. K. Campbell

‘D’ Squadron Capt. C. J. Eccles

QM Lieutenant Aris

Glossary Of Names

Glossary Of Names In Diary

‘Dicky’ Capt. C. M. Dixon

2nd in Command from Special Reserve.

‘Granny’ Capt. A. W. Macarthur-Onslow

‘Hans’ Lt. Lord Holmpatrick

Assistant Adjutant from Special Reserve.

‘Jack’ Lord Wodehouse

From Special Reserve.

‘Joseph’ Lt. J. L. Cheyne

‘Mo’ Capt. E. H. L. Beddington

‘Nobby’ Lt. J. G. W. Clarke

‘T-Hicks’ Lt. C. E. H. Tempest-Hicks

While the daily routine of the regiments in the camp proceeded as normal, the senior officers there were, in the month of March 1914, faced with a very serious situation.

the 3rd Cavalry Brigade. It was commanded by Brig. Gen. Hubert Gough, and as it was not part of the 5th Division, it came under the direct jurisdiction of the General Officer commanding Ireland, Lieut. Gen. Sir Arthur Paget. Two regiments of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade were stationed in the Curragh, the 4th Hussars, a large portion of which was Southern Irish, in Stewart Barracks, and the 16th Lancers in Ponsonby Barracks.

Opposition to the implementation of the Home Rule was considerable, and a speech delivered at Bradford on 14 March by Winston Churchill, an ardent supporter of Home Rule, further inflamed the Unionist.86 A couple of days later when orders were received by the G.O.C. Ireland to increase security at depots in the north of the country further unease permeated Ulster.

When the order to issue live ammunition to sentries, followed by an order to so equip all men in barracks, was received in the Curragh camp Major General Allenby was on a visit to Gen. Gough’s brigade, and which he was commending for the high standard of training reached by the squadrons.

That evening Gough, Fergusson and Rolt received messages asking them to attend Army Headquarters at Parkgate street, Dublin, on the following morning.87 At the meeting, General Paget briefed his commanders, first giving details of the movement of troops to Newry, Dundalk (which were to include the 1st Battalion Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry from the Curragh) and elsewhere in the north. Then he told them that the Secretary of State for War had made it clear that officers ordered to act in support of the civil power could resign their commissions if they did not choose to obey orders; if they refused they would be dismissed from the army.

The general officers were shocked at the latter condition, which was to become known as ‘The Ultimatum’; Fergusson immediately sent by hand a written detail of the orders to his units in the Curragh, while Gough walked to nearby Marlborough Barracks to give the officers of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers the message. Seventeen of the 20 officers present decided that dismissal would be preferable to active service in Ulster.89 General Rolt drove directly back to the Curragh Camp to brief his battalion commanders before lunch, and Gough arrived back in the camp in mid-afternoon. The gentlemen of the 16th Lancers, 4th Hussars and 3rd Brigade R.H.A. were gathered in the Officers’ Mess at Ponsonby Barracks. All 16 members of the 16th Lancers present decided to accept dismissal, as did 17 our of the 19 officers of the 4th Hussars. Six of the 13 officers of the 3rd Brigade R.H.A. doing duty, and the officer on duty in both the 4th Field Troop Royal Engineers and 3rd Signal Troop Royal Engineers, as well as two officers of the brigade staff, and 17 officers of the 5th Lancers in Dublin, also accepted dismissal, bringing to in all, a total of 61 gentlemen, including the brigade commander, who ‘respectfully, and under protest, preferred to be dismissed’ rather than to be involved in the initiation of active military operations in Ulster’.

In the meantime the War Office had learnt of Gough’s response to ‘The Ultimatum’, and a message was sent requiring him and his cavalry officers to report to the War Office,92 but the G.O.C. Ireland decided to go to the Curragh to meet the disaffected cavalry officers himself His words to them were unclear, but the message was that he would not go to war against Ulster, and that if fighting did occur that he would order his troops not to return fire. He asked that the officers should make their decisions known to General Fergusson; when they did the only change of mind was on the part of the officers of the Royal Horse Artillery and the 4th Hussars.

When General Gough presented himself at the War Office in London on March 23rd it was soon apparent that during the week-end there had been a flurry of nervous activity there. The realisation by the civil authorities that the military could not be coerced raised spectres of the days of the Sruarts,94 and a realisation of the truth of a warning given 20 years before by a commander in chief Ireland, Lord Wolseley, that ‘if ever our troops are brought into collision with the loyalists of Ulster and blood is shed, it will shake the whole foundations upon which our army rests to such an extent that I feel our army will never be the same again’.95 At the War Office Gough was told that there had been ‘a misunderstanding’, and he sought and got a letter, approved by the Cabinet, acknowledging that fact, but restating the obligation of the military to support the civil power in the maintenance of law and order. When he saw further problems with that undertaking, he got a further written statement to the effect that ‘troops under our command will not be called upon to enforce the present Home Rule Bill on Ulster’. That codicil to the Cabinet paper was later disputed, as it had not received Cabinet approval.

The consequences of the ‘Curragh Incident’ were that an army order was issued on 28 March stating that in future no officer or soldier would be questioned about the attitude which he might adopt if ‘in the event of his being required to obey orders dependant on future or hypothetical contingencies’,97 and a deepening of the normal suspicions which existed between the civil and military administrations.

Some observers saw the stance taken by the officers as a reflection of the ‘socialized and isolated’ class to which they belonged, or the influence of the Anglo-Irish officers.99 General Gough was greeted as a hero by The Irish Times, ‘[his] fearless and honourable conduct has added lustre to the laurels of a great Irish family’,iOO and a later historian of the 5th Lancers believed that the attitude adopted by the 5th Lancers and the 3rd Cavalry Brigade ‘ought to be blazoned in letters of gold, and thus transmitted to history’.

28th June to 6th August 1914

The Irish affairs were speedily relegated to oblivion by the advent of the war with Germany. This had been meditated and prepared for by the Kaiser and his Government for years; with the full approval of the German nation. Indeed no attempt was made at concealment of their intentions, and “Der Tag,” as they were pleased to term the day for the beginning of the great war, which was to end by the humiliation of Britain and the final remioval of the last obstacle in the way of German World Power, was anticipated with eager exultation, though it suited the majority of the people here, and particularly our Government, to ignore what was impending.

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