Reported in the News Letter during this week in 1916


Here are some of the stories making the news 100 years ago:

Larkinite ‘Army’

Two Arrested

[March 27]

Ernest Blythe and Liam Mellowes, organisers of the Sinn Fein Volunteers, have been arrested, the former at Athea, County Limerick, and the latter at Athenry. Both have been conveyed to Dublin under escort, and are at present in military custody at Arbour Hill Barracks. The prisoners were amongst the four men who were ordered to leave Ireland last July. They all declined to do so, and in consequence were sentenced to imprisonment.

Recent developments in Dublin have given rise to an outburst of activity on the part of the “Citizen Army” or, in other words, the Larkinite Volunteers.

On the day of the seizure of a printing press and several publications, the “army” was “mobilised”.

From all parts of the city they came, clad in their theatrical looking uniform and carrying their rifles, which, if report be true, are more likely to be a danger to themselves than to anybody else. Guards were mounted at Liberty Hall, which is their citadel, and a night-and-day vigil has been maintained to guard against attack from whatever quarter it may come. Apparently nobody is going to oblige them. They are being left severely alone and that is what galls them and their fellow Sinn Feiners more than anything else. They hate authority, but they hate still more to be ignored by authority.

Appearances, however, must be kept up, and so the defences of Liberty Hall are prepared for any eventualities.

Fatal Accident: Mother

And Daughter Killed

[March 27]

A shocking fatality occurred last night at Balmoral Station, on the Great Northern Railway line, two people being cut to pieces by an express train.

The victims were Mrs Elizabeth Cowan, aged 38, of Dunmurry, and her daughter, Eva, who was about 11.

It appears that the couple were crossing the line to catch a train for Dunmurry, and had reached the middle of the track when the Dublin express, which is scheduled to arrive in Belfast at nine o’clock, appeared out of the darkness, and before they could get clear they were knocked down.

A heavy blizzard prevailed at the time, and the conditions were such that the approach of the express could not be seen or heard by Mrs Cowan, while it would have been impossible for the driver to do anything to avert the accident.

The remains, which were shockingly mutilated, were subsequently conveyed to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where an inquest will be held.

A Disgrace To Ireland

[March 28]

At Cork assizes yesterday, Daniel Flynn, farmer, found guilty of assaulting a wounded soldier in a train travelling between Cork and Mallow last October, was sentenced by Lord Justice Ronan to twelve months’ imprisonment with hard labour. His Lordship said the soldier was treated with brutality, and his sister, who accompanied him, had her modesty outraged by the prisoner’s behaviour. He was a disgrace to Ireland.

Bombing Accident

In Dublin

[March 28]

While eight or ten men of A Company of the 10th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers were practising bomb-throwing in a field attached to Island Bridge Barracks, Dublin, yesterday, a bomb accidentally fell back into the trench, in which were some of the men, and, exploding, inflicted abdominal injuries on Private Christopher Mitchell, aged 20, from the effect of which he died.

Private Horgan suffered severe injuries to the right arm and hand, and Private McLoughlin suffered from shock.

The three soldiers were taken to the Royal King George Hospital.

An inquest will be held.

Crossed Atlantic

1,100 Times

[March 28]

Mr T Kinsey, purser of the American Line mail steamer St Paul, which arrived at Liverpool yesterday from New York, has retired after having crossed the Atlantic 1,100 times.

His sea experience dates back to 1853.

In addition to his Atlantic record, he served on steamers engaged in transport work during the Crimean war, the Indian mutiny, and the Abyssinian Expedition, and also as paymaster to the auxiliary cruiser St Louis during the Spanish American war. In this vessel, Mr Kinsey made 35 Transatlantic passages in one year.

Midnight Fire Tragedy

Proprietor Suffocated

[March 28]

Shortly before midnight last night an outbreak of fire occurred in the premises of Messrs Rooney Brothers, grocers, hardware, and oil merchants, Upper Water Street, Newry, resulting in the death of the resident proprietor, Mr Joseph Rooney, and the complete destruction of the buildings and their contents.

Two shopboys who lived on the premises retired to their bedrooms soon after ten o’clock, at about which hour Mr Rooney himself returned from a visit to his wife, who is at present a patient in a nursing home, where she was recently confined.

Nothing abnormal was observed until nearly midnight when smoke was seen issuing from the ground floor, and an alarm was raised.

The two shopboys were aroused, and succeeded in making good their escape from a window at the rear; but there was no sign of the proprietor, and by the time the would-be rescuers had effected an entrance to the establishment the fire was raging fiercely and the smoke was so dense that it was impossible for anyone to reach the stairway.

Firemen found Mr Rooney in his bedroom, and he was then in a state of collapse. He was quickly removed from the premises and artificial respiration was tried but, unhappily, without success.

Big Blaze Near Ballymena

Woman Burned To Death

[March 29]

Four dwelling houses of a block of five, situated at Galgorm Parks, Ballymena, were completely destroyed by fire on Monday night (March 27), and a woman named Agnes Logan, aged 51 years, the sole occupant of the house in which the outbreak originated, was burned to death.

The fire was discovered at 11.30 o’clock by Mrs James Marks, a niece of the deceased woman, who occupied the house next door, but by that time the flames had not only gained a firm hold of the house, but, fanned by the strong breeze, were threatening to speedily involve the remainder of the premises.

The seat of the fire was in the upstairs portion of Mrs Logan’s house, and Mrs Marks, after giving the alarm to the tenants of the adjoining buildings, hurriedly procured a ladder and placed it in position against the deceased’s bedroom window, but failed to rescue her aunt, who was completely dazed by the dense smoke.

Mrs Marks’s house was now alight, and it was only with the most strenuous exertions that she succeeded in removing her six children before the roof fell in.

The difficulties of the situation were greatly enhanced by the fact that in every case the men of the household were either absent on active service with his Majesty’s forces or were away working on the night shifts at mills in the district.

The unfortunate families were in great distress, the night being bitterly cold, but they were soon conveyed to Galgorm Parks, the residence of Mr John Harbison, the owner of the buildings and adjacent flax mill, where they were received with every kindness and provided with food, clothing and shelter.

Great Blizzard

Hurricane Ferocity

[March 30]

Telegrams, greatly belated, are now arriving from various parts of Great Britain indicating that Monday night’s blizzard (March 27) was in some districts the worst ever experienced.

The rapidity with which it developed to hurricane ferocity took everyone by surprise. Trees were uprooted, and telephone and telegraph poles thrown down.

Unfortunately loss of life has also to be recorded. Tom Jenkins, tobacconist, of Dinas, Rhondda, was found dead in his poultry house to which he had gone during the night.