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Galway fracas – 1891

Pontypridd Chronicle and Workman’s News

Galway Harbour Photo: Art Wikimedia Commons

Galway Harbour
Photo: Art
Wikimedia Commons


2nd January 1891

The Dublin Express says that on Christmas night a disturbance took place between about 20 navy stokers, who are home in Galway on furlough from Plymouth, and about 20 men of the Connaught Rangers. A police patrol (three in number) interposed, and succeeded in inducing the military to desist; but when they advised the stokers to follow this example the latter turned on the patrol and beat them, whereupon the police drew their batons and dealt about them with a vigour that soon caused the stokers to beat a retreat through Mainguard-street. Here they were met by the soldiers, who attacked them with their belts, soldiers, wounding several of them, and obliging them to visit the doctors’ establishments to get their injuries dressed. One of the police patrol was also very much injured.

The Connaught Rangers acting under the impression that their assailants were men belonging to H.M.S. Banterer, being ignorant of the Christmas visit of the stokers, determined to have satisfaction, and with this object in view, a party of about 50 of them went to the dock on Friday night, and getting alongside H.M.S. Seahorse, which was also lying in the dock, and which they mistook for the Banterer, they asked the blue jackets to come forward and meet them in fair fight. They were informed by a man on board that the vessel was not the Banterer; and in the meantime word was conveyed to the latter vessel of the hostile intentions of the soldiers, whereupon, it is stated, the officer then in charge of the ship desired all hands to get on deck, and, opening the war-chest, had every man armed.
He then gave orders that should the Rangers make an attack they were to defend themselves, but not to kill, and to endeavour if possible to make prisoners of the entire force, and have them placed in irons.

When the would be attackers did arrive, however, and witnessed, the preparations made for their reception they held a council of war on the wharf at a safe distance from the defenders of the warship, and while this was in progress intelligence was conveyed to the military barracks of what was going on at the dock. A strong picket was at once sent out, on the arrival of which the besiegers beat a hasty retreat; but not before some of the leaders were captured. It is but fair to say for the credit of this gallant regiment that any disturbances which have brought the name of the Rangers into disrepute have on all occasions been brought about by recruits.

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