HC Deb 29 October 1918 vol 110 cc1299-300W

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that on Thursday, 9th May, a party of men returning from an Anti-Conscription meeting in Magherafelt in brakes and other vehicles, carrying disloyal emblems, instead of returning by the road on which they went to the meeting attempted to pass through the village of Tobermore, and made use of provocative language and abuse of soldiers serving with the British forces; and whether, in view of the proportion of men from Tobermore now serving and of the fact that it is known as a peaceable village, no serious disturbance having ever before occurred in it, he will say if any inquiry has been made, as promised by him into the matter and how many, if any, of the processionists have been made amenable?


asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that on Thursday, 9th May, a procession of Anti-Conscriptionists attempted to pass through the village of Tobermore, county Derry, carrying disloyal emblems and using expressions abusing our troops; whether he is aware that a number of persons from the village are serving in the Army, and that a disturbance was caused; whether he is aware that three weeks afterwards, on the morning of the 30th May, at 3 a.m., a party of police arrested six inhabitants of the village, including two wounded soldiers, and brought them before the resident magistrate some miles off, when, without having an opportunity of producing evidence or procuring legal assistance, they were bound over to keep the peace; if inquiry has been made by him as promised; and why, after the lapse of three weeks, the parties were not summoned instead of being arrested in the middle of the night?


On the 9th May, 1918, an Anti-Conscription meeting was held at Magherafelt. A number of persons in a brake carrying a flag with the words "No Conscription" and accompanied by cyclists, who had made a detour on the way to the meeting to avoid Tobermore, were attacked with stones and sticks by women and men when passing through the village on the direct return journey. None of the party were heard by the police, who accompanied them, to abuse the Army. The disturbance lasted for about fifteen minutes, and a number of shots were fired from back yards in the village. Six inhabitants of the village and one of the Anti-Conscription party were arrested on warrants which were executed on 30th May between 4 and 5 a.m. in order to avoid possible conflict and disorder. The defendants were conveyed to a special Court at Magherafelt. They all admitted having taken part in the disturbance. None of them asked for an adjournment for the purpose of procuring legal assistance or producing evidence. They were required to enter into a recognisance in the sum of £10 each, with one surety of £5 to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for twelve months, and on their entering on bail they were at once discharged. Two of the defendants were discharged wounded soldiers. Tobermore has a good recruiting record, and has hitherto been a very peaceful village. The disturbance is for this reason all the more to be regretted.

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