The Curragh Incident

Ronald McNeill
Chapter XVI

When Mr. Bonar Law moved the vote of censure on the Government on the 19th of March he had no idea that the Cabinet had secretly taken in hand an enterprise which, had it been known, would have furnished infinitely stronger grounds for their impeachment than anything relating to their "proposals" for amending the Home Rule Bill. It was an enterprise that, when it did become known, very nearly brought about their fall from power.

The whole truth about the famous "Curragh Incident" has never been ascertained, and the answers given by the Ministers chiefly concerned, under cross-examination in the House of Commons, were so evasive and in several instances so contradictory as to make it certain that they were exceedingly anxious that the truth should be concealed. But when the available evidence is pieced together it leads almost irresistibly to the conclusion that in March 1914 the Cabinet, or at any rate some of the most prominent members of it, decided to make an imposing demonstration of military force against Ulster, and that they expected, if they did not hope, that this operation would goad the Ulstermen into a clash with the forces of the Crown, which, by putting them morally in the wrong, would deprive them of the popular sympathy they enjoyed in so large and increasing a measure.

When Mr. Churchill spoke at Bradford on the 14th of March of "putting these grave matters to the proof" he was already deeply involved in what came to be known as "the plot against Ulster," to which his words were doubtless an allusion. That plot may perhaps have originated at Mr. Lloyd George's breakfast-table on the 11th, when he entertained Mr. Redmond, Mr. Dillon, Mr. Devlin, Mr. O'Connor, and the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Mr. Birrell; for on the same day it was decided to send a squadron of battleships with attendant cruisers and destroyers from the coast of Spain to Lamlash, in the Isle of Arran, opposite Belfast Lough; and a sub-committee of the Cabinet, consisting of Lord Crewe, Mr. Churchill, Colonel Seely, Mr. Birrell, and Sir John Simon, was appointed to deal with affairs connected with Ulster. This sub-committee held its first meeting the following day, and the next was the date of Mr. Churchill's threatening speech at Bradford, with its reference to the prospect of bloodshed and of putting grave matters to the proof. Bearing in mind this sequence of events, it is not easy to credit the contention of the Government, after the plot had been discovered, that the despatch of the fleet to the neighbourhood of the Ulster coast had no connection with the other naval and military operations which immediately followed.

For on the 14th, while Churchill was travelling in the train to Bradford, Seely, the Secretary of State for War, was drafting a letter to Sir Arthur Paget, the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland, informing him of reports (it was never discovered where the reports, which were without the smallest foundation, came from) that attempts might be made "in various parts of Ireland by evil-disposed persons" to raid Government stores of arms and ammunition, and instructing the General to "take special precautions" to safeguard the military depots. It was added that "information shows that Armagh, Omagh, Carrickfergus, and Enniskillen are insufficiently guarded."[64] It is permissible to wonder, if there was danger from evil-disposed persons "in various parts of Ireland," from whom came the information that the places particularly needing reinforcements were a ring of strategically important towns round the outskirts of the loyalist counties of Ulster.

Whatever the source of the alleged "information"—whether it originated at Mr. Lloyd George's breakfast-table or elsewhere—Seely evidently thought it alarmingly urgent, for within forty-eight hours he telegraphed to Paget asking for a reply before 8 a.m. next morning as to what steps he had taken, and ordering the General to come at once to London, bringing with him detailed plans. On the 16th Sir A. Paget telegraphed that he "had taken all available steps"; but, on second thoughts, he wrote on the 17th saying that there were sufficient troops at Enniskillen to guard the depot, that he was making a small increase to the detachment at Carrickfergus, and that, instead of strengthening the garrisons of Omagh and Armagh, the stores there were being removed—an operation that would take eight days. He explained his reason for this departure from instructions to be that such a movement of troops as had been ordered by the War Office would, "in the present state of the country, create intense excitement in Ulster and possibly precipitate a crisis."[65]

As soon as this communication reached the War Office orders were sent that the arms and ammunition at Omagh and Armagh, for the safety of which from evil-disposed persons Seely had been so apprehensive, were not to be removed, although they had already been packed for transport. This order was sent on the 18th of March, and on the same day Sir Arthur Paget arrived in London from Ireland and had a consultation with the Ulster subcommittee of the Cabinet, and with Sir John French and other members of the Army Council at the War Office.

News of this meeting reached the ears of Sir Edward Carson, who was also aware that a false report was being spread of attempts by Unionists to influence the Army, and in his speech on the vote of censure on the 19th he said: "I have never suggested that the Army should not be sent to Ulster. I have never suggested that it should not do its duty when sent there. I hope and expect it will." At the same time reports were circulating in Dublin—did they come from Downing Street?—that the Government were preparing to take strong measures against the Ulster Unionist Council, and to arrest the leaders. In allusion to these reports the Dublin Correspondent of The Times telegraphed on the 18th of March: "Any man or Government that increases the danger by blundering or hasty action will accept a terrible responsibility."

What passed at the interviews which Sir Arthur Paget had with Ministers on the 18th and 19th has never been disclosed. But it is clear, from the events which followed, either that an entirely new plan on a much larger scale was now inaugurated, or that a development now took place which Churchill and Seely, and perhaps other Ministers also, had contemplated from the beginning and had concealed behind the pretended insignificance of precautions to guard depots. It is noteworthy, at all events, that the measures contemplated happened to be the stationing of troops in considerable strength in important strategical positions round Ulster, simultaneously with the despatch of a powerful fleet to within a few hours of Belfast.

The orders issued by the War Office, at any rate, indicated something on a far bigger scale than the original pretext could justify. Paget's fear of precipitating a crisis was brushed aside, and General Friend, who was acting for him in Dublin during his absence, was instructed by telegram to send to the four Ulster towns more than double the number of men that Paget had deemed would be sufficient to protect the Government stores. But still more significant was another order given to Friend on the 18th. The Dorset Regiment, quartered in the Victoria Barracks in Belfast, were to be moved four miles out to Holywood, taking with them their stores and ammunition, amounting to some thirty tons; and such was the anxiety of the Government to get the troops out of the city that they were told to leave their rifles behind, if necessary, after rendering them useless by removing the bolts.[66] The Government had vetoed Paget's plan of removing the stores from Omagh and Armagh, because their real object was to increase the garrisons at those places; but, as they had no scruple about moving the much larger supply from the Victoria Barracks through the most intensely Orange quarter of Belfast, it could hardly be wondered at if such an order, under the circumstances, was held to give colour to the idea that Ministers wished to provoke violent opposition to the troops. Not less inconsistent with the original pretext was the despatch of a battalion to Newry and Dundalk. At the latter place there was already a brigade of artillery, with eighteen guns, which would prove a tough nut for "evil-disposed persons" to crack; and although both towns would be important points to hold with an army making war on Ulster, they were both in Nationalist territory where there could be no fear of raids by Unionists. Yet the urgency was considered so great at the War Office to occupy these places in strength not later than the 20th that two cruisers were ordered to Kingstown to take the troops to Dundalk by sea, if there should be difficulty about land transport.

Whatever may have been the actual design of Mr. Churchill and Colonel Seely, who appear to have practically taken the whole management of the affair into their own hands, the dispositions must have suggested to anyone with elementary knowledge of military matters that nothing less than an overpowering attack on Belfast was in contemplation. The transfer of the troops from Victoria Barracks, where they would have been useful to support the civil power in case of rioting, to Holywood, where they would be less serviceable for that purpose but where they would be in rapid communication by water with the garrison of Carrickfergus on the opposite shore of the Lough; the ordering of H.M.S. Pathfinder and Attentive to Belfast Lough, where they were to arrive "at daybreak on Saturday the 21st instant" with instructions to support the soldiers if necessary "by guns and searchlights from the ships [67]"; the secret and rapid garrisoning of strategic points on all the railways leading to Belfast,—all this pointed, not to the safeguarding of stores of army boots and rifles, but to operations of an offensive campaign.

It was in this light that the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland himself interpreted his instructions, and, seeing that he had taken the responsibility of not fully obeying the much more modest orders he had received in Ireland on the 14th, it is easy to understand that he thought the steps now to be taken would lead to serious consequences. He also foresaw that he might have trouble with some of the officers under his command, for before leaving London he persuaded the Secretary of State and Sir John French to give the following permission: "Officers actually domiciled in Ulster would be exempted from taking part in any operation that might take place. They would be permitted to 'disappear' [that being the exact phrase used by the War Office], and when all was over would be allowed to resume their places without their career or position being affected."[68]

Having obtained this concession, Sir Arthur Paget returned the same night to Dublin, where he arrived on the 20th and had a conference with his general officers.

He told them of the instructions he had received, which the Government called "precautionary" and believed "would be carried out without resistance." The Commander-in-Chief did not share the Government's optimism. He thought "that the moves would create intense excitement," that by next day "the country would be ablaze," and that the result might be "active operations against organised bodies of the Ulster Volunteer Force under their responsible leaders." With regard to the permission for officers domiciled in Ulster to "disappear," he informed his generals that any other officers who were not prepared to carry out their duty would be dismissed the Service.

There was, apparently, some misunderstanding as to whether officers without an Ulster domicile who objected to fight against Ulster were to say so at once and accept dismissal, or were to wait until they received some specific order which they felt unable to obey. Many of the officers understood the General to mean the former of these two alternatives, and the Colonel of one line regiment gave his officers half an hour to make up their minds on a question affecting their whole future career; every one of them objected to going against Ulster, and "nine or ten refused under any condition" to do so.[69] Another regimental commanding officer told his subordinates that "steps have been taken in Ulster so that any aggression must come from the Ulsterites, and they will have to shed the first blood," on which his comment was: "The idea of provoking Ulster is hellish."[70]

In consequence of what he learnt at the conference with his generals on the morning of the 20th Sir Arthur Paget telegraphed to the War Office: "Officer Commanding 5th Lancers states that all officers except two, and one doubtful, are resigning their commissions to-day. I much fear same conditions in the 16th Lancers. Fear men will refuse to move"[71]; and later in the day he reported that the "Brigadier and 57 officers, 3rd Cavalry Brigade, prefer to accept dismissal if ordered north."[72] Next day he had to add that the Colonel and all the officers of the 4th Hussars had taken up the same attitude.[73]

This was very disconcerting news for the War Office, where it had been taken for granted that very few, if any, officers, except perhaps a few natives of Ulster, would elect to wreck their careers, if suddenly confronted with so terrible a choice, rather than take part in operations against the Ulster Loyalists. Instructions were immediately wired to Paget in Dublin to "suspend any senior officers who have tendered their resignations"; to refuse to accept the resignation of junior officers; and to send General Gough, the Brigadier in command of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade, and the commanding officers of the two Lancer regiments and the 4th Hussars, to report themselves promptly at the War Office after relieving them of their commands.

Had the War Office made up its mind what to do with General Gough and the other cavalry officers when they arrived in London? The inference to be drawn from the correspondence published by the Government makes it appear probable that the first intention was to punish these officers severely pour encourager les autres. An officer to replace Gough had actually been appointed and sent to Ireland, though Mr. Asquith denied in the House of Commons that the offending generals had been dismissed. But, if that was the intention, it was abandoned. The reason is not plain; but the probability is that it had been discovered that sympathy with Gough was widespread in the Army, and that his dismissal would bring about very numerous resignations. It was said that a large part of the Staff of the War Office itself would have laid down their commissions, and that Aldershot would have been denuded of officers.[74] Colonel Seely himself described it as a "situation of grave peril to the Army."[75]

Anyhow, no disciplinary action of any kind was taken. It was decided to treat the matter as one of "misunderstanding," and when Gough and his brother officers appeared at the War Office on Monday the 23rd they were told that it was all a mistake to suppose that the Government had ever intended warlike operations against Ulster (the orders to the fleet had been cancelled by wireless on the 21st), and that they might return at once to their commands, with the assurance that they would not be required to serve against Ulster Loyalists. General Gough, who before leaving Ireland had asked Sir A. Paget for a clear definition in writing of the duties that officers would be expected to perform if they went to Ulster,[76] thought that in view of the "misunderstanding" it would be wise to have Colonel Seely's assurance also in black and white. Seely had to hurry off to a Cabinet Meeting, and in his absence the Adjutant-General reduced to writing the verbal statement of the Secretary of State. A very confused story about the subsequent fortunes of this piece of paper made it the central mystery round which raged angry debates. This much, however, is not doubtful. Seely went from the Cabinet to Buckingham Palace; when he returned to Downing Street the paper was there, but the Cabinet had broken up. He looked at the paper, saw that it did not accurately reproduce the assurance he had verbally given to Gough, and with the help of Lord Morley he thereupon added two paragraphs (which Mr. Balfour designated "the peccant paragraphs") to make it conform to his promise. The addition so made was the only part of the document that gave the assurance that the officers would not be called upon "to crush political opposition to the policy or principles of the Home Rule Bill." With this paper in his pocket General Gough returned to his command at the Curragh.

There the matter might have ended had not some of the facts become known to Unionist members of the House of Commons, and to the Press. On Sunday, the 22nd, Mr. Asquith sent a communication to The Times (published on the 23rd) in which he minimised the whole matter, putting forward the original pretext of movements of troops solely to protect Government property—an account at variance with a statement two days later by Churchill in regard to the reason for naval movements—and on the 23rd Seely also made a statement in the House of Commons on the same lines as the Prime Minister's, which ended by saying that all the movements of troops were completed "and all orders issued have been punctually and implicitly obeyed." This was an hour or two after his interview with the generals who had been summoned from Ireland to be dismissed for refusal to obey orders.

But Mr. Bonar Law had his own information, which was much fuller than the Government imagined. A long and heated debate followed Colonel Seely's statement, and was continued on the two following days, gradually dragging to light the facts with a much greater profusion of detail than is necessary for this narrative. On the 24th Mr. L. S. Amery made a speech which infuriated the Radicals and Labour members, but the speaker, as was his intention, made them quite as angry with the Government as with himself. The cause of offence was that the Government was thought to have allowed itself to be coerced by the soldiers, while the latter had been allowed to make their obedience to orders contingent on a bargain struck with the Government. This aspect of the case was forcibly argued by Mr. J. Ward, the Labour member for Stoke, in a speech greatly admired by enthusiasts for "democratic" principles. Although Mr. Ward's invective was mainly directed against the Unionist Opposition, the latter listened to it with secret pleasure, perceiving that it was in reality more damaging to the Government than to themselves, since Ministers were forced into an attitude of defence against their own usually docile supporters. It may here be mentioned that at a much later date, when Mr. John Ward, in the light of experience gained by his own distinguished service as an officer in the Great War, had come to the conviction that "the possibility of forcing Ulster within the ambit of a Dublin Parliament has now become unthinkable," he acknowledged that in 1914 the only way by which Mr. Asquith's Home Rule Act could have been enforced was through and by the power of the Army.[77]

So much shaken were the Government by these attacks that on the next day, the 25th of March, Colonel Seely, at the end of a long narrative of the transaction, announced his resignation from the Government. He had, he said, unintentionally misled his colleagues by adding without their knowledge to the paper given to General Gough; the Cabinet as a whole was quite innocent of the great offence given to democratic sentiment. This announcement having had the desired effect of relieving the Ministry as a whole from responsibility for the "peccant paragraphs," and averting Radical wrath from their heads, the Prime Minister later in the debate said he was not going to accept Seely's resignation. Yet Mr. Churchill exhibited a fine frenzy of indignation against Mr. Austen Chamberlain for describing it as a "put-up job."

Only a fairly fertile imagination could suggest a transaction to which the phrase would be more justly applicable. The idea that Seely, in adding the paragraphs, was tampering in any way with the considered policy of the Cabinet was absurd, although it served the purpose of averting a crisis in the House of Commons. He had been in constant and close communication with Churchill, who had himself been present at the War Office Conference with Gough, and who had seen the Prime Minister earlier in company with Sir John French. The whole business had been discussed at the Cabinet Meeting, and when Seely returned from his audience of the King he found the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, and Lord Morley still in the Cabinet room. Mr. Asquith said on the 25th in the House of Commons that no Minister except Seely had seen the added paragraphs, and almost at the same moment in the House of Lords Lord Morley was saying that he had helped Seely to draft them.

Moreover, Lord Morley actually took a copy of them, which he read in the House of Lords, and he included the substance of them in his exposition of the Government policy in the Upper House.

Furthermore, General Gough was on his way to Ireland that night, and if it had been true that the Prime Minister, or any other Minister, disapproved of what Seely had done, there was no reason why Gough should not have found a telegram waiting for him at the Curragh in the morning cancelling Seely's paragraphs and withdrawing the assurance they contained. No step of that kind was taken, and the Government, while repudiating in the House of Commons the action for which Seely was allowed to take the sole responsibility, permitted Gough to retain in his despatch-box the document signed by the Army Council.

For it was not only the Secretary of State for War who was involved. The memorandum had been written by the Adjutant-General, and it bore the initials of Sir John French and Sir Spencer Ewart as well as Colonel Seely's. These members of the Army Council knew that the verbal assurance given by the Secretary of State to Gough had not been completely embodied in the written memorandum without the paragraph which had been repudiated after the debate in the Commons on the 24th, and they were not prepared to go back on their written word, or to be satisfied by the "put-up job" resignation of their civilian Chief. They both sent in their resignations; and, as they refused even under pressure to withdraw them, the Secretary of State had no choice but to do the same on the 30th of March, this time beyond recall. Mr. Asquith announced on the same day that he had himself become Secretary of State for War, and would have to go to Scotland for re-election.

The facts as here related were only extracted by the most persistent and laborious cross-examination of the Government, who employed all the familiar arts of official evasion in order to conceal the truth from the country. Day after day Ministers were bombarded by batteries of questions in the House of Commons, in addition to the lengthy debates that occupied the House for several consecutive days. This pressure compelled the Prime Minister to produce a White Paper, entitled "Correspondence relating to Recent Events in the Irish Command."[78] It was published on the 25th of March, the third day of the continuous debates, and, although Mr. Asquith said it contained "all the material documents," it was immediately apparent to members who had closely studied the admissions that had been dragged from the Ministers chiefly concerned, that it was very far from doing so. Much the most important documents had, in fact, been withheld. Suspicion as to the good faith of the Government was increased when it was found that the Lord Chancellor, Lord Haldane, had interpolated into the official Report of his speech in the House of Lords a significant word which transformed his definite pledge that Ulster would not be coerced, into a mere statement that no "immediate" coercion was contemplated.

In the face of such evasion and prevarication it was out of the question to let the matter drop. On the 22nd of April the Government was forced to publish a second White Paper,[79] which contained a large number of highly important documents omitted from the first. But it was evident that much was still being kept back, and, in particular, that what had passed between Sir Arthur Paget and his officers at a conference mentioned in the published correspondence was being carefully concealed. Mr. Bonar Law demanded a judicial inquiry, where evidence could be taken on oath. Mr. Asquith refused, saying that an insinuation against the honour of Ministers could only be properly investigated by the House of Commons itself, and that a day would be given for a vote of censure if the leader of the Opposition meant that he could not trust the word of Ministers of the Crown. Mr. Bonar Law sharply retorted that he "had already accused the Prime Minister of making a statement which was false."[80] But even this did not suffice to drive the Government to face the ordeal of having their own account of the affair at the Curragh sifted by the sworn evidence of others who knew the facts. They preferred to take cover under the dutiful cheers of their parliamentary majority when they repeated their explanations, which had already been proved to be untrue.

But the Ulster Unionist Council had, meantime, been making inquiries on their own account. There was nothing in the least improper, although the supporters of the Government tried to make out that there was, in the officers at the Curragh revealing what the Commander-in-Chief had said to them, so long as they did not communicate anything to the Press. They were not, and could not be, pledged to secrecy. It thus happened that it was possible for the Old Town Hall in Belfast to put together a more complete account of the whole affair than it suited the Government to reveal to Parliament. On the 17th of April the Standing Committee issued to the Press a statement giving the main additional facts which a sworn inquiry would have elicited. It bore the signatures of Lord Londonderry and Sir Edward Carson, and there can have been few foolhardy enough to suggest that these were men who would be likely to take such a step without first satisfying themselves as to the trustworthiness of the evidence, a point on which the judgment of one of them at all events was admittedly unrivalled.

From this statement it appeared that Sir Arthur Paget, so far from indicating that mere "precautionary measures" for the protection of Government stores were in contemplation, told his generals that preparations had been made for the employment of some 25,000 troops in Ulster, in conjunction with naval operations. The gravity of the plan was revealed by the General's use of the words "battles" and "the enemy," and his statement that he would himself be "in the firing line" at the first "battle." He said that, when some casualties had been suffered by the troops, he intended to approach "the enemy" with a flag of truce and demand their surrender, and if this should be refused he would order an assault on their position. The cavalry, whose pro-Ulster sentiments must have been well known to the Commander-in-Chief, were told that they would only be required to prevent the infantry "bumping into the enemy," or in other words to act as a cavalry screen; that they would not be called upon to fire on "the enemy"; and that as soon as the infantry became engaged, they would be withdrawn and sent to Cork, where "a disturbance would be arranged" to provide a pretext for the movement. A Military Governor of Belfast was to be appointed, and the general purpose of the operations was to blockade Ulster by land and sea, and to provoke the Ulstermen to shed the first blood.

The publication of this statement with the authority of the two Ulster leaders created a tremendous sensation. But it probably strengthened the resolution of the Government to refuse at all costs a judicial inquiry, which they knew would only supply sworn corroboration of the Ulster Unionist Council's story. In this they were assisted in an unexpected way. Just when the pressure was at its highest, relief came by the diversion of attention and interest caused by another startling event in Ulster, which will be described in the following chapters.

This Curragh Incident, which caused intense and prolonged excitement in March 1914, and nearly upset the Asquith Government, had more than momentary importance in connection with the Ulster Movement. It proved to demonstration the intense sympathy with the loyalist cause that pervaded the Army. That sympathy was not, as Radical politicians like Mr. John Ward believed, an aristocratic sentiment only to be found in the mess-rooms of smart cavalry regiments. It existed in all branches of the Service, and among the rank and file as well as the commissioned ranks. Sir Arthur Paget's telegram reporting to the War Office the feeling in the 5th and l6th Lancers, said, "Fear men will refuse to move."[81] The men had not the same facility as the officers in making their sentiments known at headquarters, but their sympathies were the same.

The Government had no excuse for being ignorant of this feeling in the Army. It had been a matter of notoriety for a long time. Its existence and its danger had been reported by Lord Wolseley to the Duke of Cambridge, back in the old days of Gladstonian Home Rule, in a letter that had been since published. In July 1913 The Times gave the warning in a leading article that "the crisis, the approach of which Ministers affect to treat with unconcern, is already causing uneasiness and apprehension in the public Services, and especially in the Army. ... It is notorious that some officers have already begun to speak of sending in their papers." Lord Roberts had uttered a significant warning in the House of Lords not long before the incident at the Curragh. Colonel Seely himself had been made aware of it in the previous December when he signed a War Office Memorandum on the subject;[82] and, indeed, no officer could fail to be aware of it who had ever been quartered in Ireland.

Nor was it surprising that this sympathy should manifest itself. No one is quicker to appreciate the difference between loyalty and disloyalty than the soldier. There were few regiments in the Army that had not learnt by experience that the King's uniform was constantly insulted in Nationalist Ireland, and as invariably welcomed and honoured in Ulster. In the vote of censure debate on the 19th of March Mr. Cave quoted an Irish newspaper, which had described the British Army as "the most immoral and degraded force in Europe," and warned Irishmen that, by joining it, all they would get was "a red coat, a dishonoured name, a besmirched character." On the other hand, the very troops who were sent North from the Curragh against the advice of Sir Arthur Paget, to provoke "the Ulsterites to shed the first blood," had, as the Commander-in-Chief reported, "everywhere a good reception."[83]

The welcoming cheers at Holywood and Carrickfergus and Armagh were probably a pleasant novelty to men fresh from the Curragh or Fermoy. Even in Belfast itself the contrast was brought home to troops quartered in Victoria Barracks, all of whom were well aware that on the death of a comrade his coffin would have to be borne by a roundabout route to the cemetery, to avoid the Nationalist quarter of the city where a military funeral would be exposed to insult.

Such experiences, as they harden into traditions, sink deep into the consciousness of an Army and breed sentiments that are not easily eradicated. Soldiers ought, of course, to have no politics; but when it appeared that they might be called upon to open fire on those whom they had always counted "on our side," in order to subject them forcibly to men who hated the sight of a British flag and were always ready to spit upon it, human nature asserted itself. And the incident taught the Government something as to the difficulty they would have in enforcing the Home Rule Bill in Ulster.

Read "Ulster's Stand for Union" at your leisure

Ulster's Stand for Union

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Ronald McNeill provides a truly fascinating account of the Home Rule Crisis of 1912 from a Unionist perspective. The book covers, inter alia, the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the drafting and signing of the Solemn League and Covenant, gun-running to Larne and Donaghadee, Ulster in the Great War, and the establishment of the Ulster Parliament in 1921.

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