HC Deb 24 February 1920 vol 125 cc1464-5
20. Lieut.-Colonel W. GUINNESS

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can give any details as to the holding up of an Army motor lorry containing soldiers in Berkeley Road, Dublin, on the 12th February; and whether the soldiers were in possession of their rifles and ammunition at the time?


The motor van was conveying two officers and three men from Ship Street Barracks to Marlborough Barracks. The officers were members of a Court Martial and were returning from the trial. One of the men was in arrest and the other two composed the escort. None of the officers or men was armed. The officers were seated beside the driver, the three men being within the van. On arriving at the junction of Blessington Street and Nelson Street, a small hand truck, with long ladders and scaffold poles, was suddenly run across the street, blocking all traffic, and compelling the driver of the motor van to pull up. The van was immediately surrounded by 25 or 30 men all armed with revolvers, three of whom jumped on to the steps of the van pointing revolvers at the faces of the officers, whilst another man got into the van. The officers were told to stop in the car, but they got down and went to the back to see what was happening, and found the three soldiers surrounded by armed civilians. A shot was fired and a man, believed to be one of the assailants, fell to the ground. Both officers heard some of the civilians say, "He is not here," and they were then told they could go on. Both officers, who are men of proved courage, state definitely that they were not ordered to hold up their hands and that they did not do so.

Colonel ASHLEY

May I ask the Secretary of State whether any orders are now being issued that when the military move about on escort or any other duty in Dublin they should be armed?


That was the con elusion that occurred to me on reading this account, but I have not sufficient knowledge of local conditions to form a final opinion. I have directed this morning that a letter should be written to the Irish command enquiring whether regulations to that effect should not immediately be issued because I entirely agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman that insults to the King's uniform cannot be tolerated.

Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS

Was the escort armed with ball cartridge or merely with side arms?


They were not armed at all.

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