§ MR. BIGGAR
asked the Secretary of State for War, Has he yet got a report of the result of the investigation into the late military riots at Belturbet; and, 544 if so, with what result; is he aware that on the 15th instant one of the 19th Hussars made an unprovoked attack on a civilian; whether on Sunday the 18th five or six of the 106th Durham light infantry broke out of the barracks and attacked some civilians; and, whether under the circumstances he will exchange the present garrison of Belturbet with other soldiers, seeing that so much ill feeling seem to exist between the soldiers and the inhabitants?
§ MR. CHILDERS
I have, Sir, been most careful to obtain a full Report on the alleged military riots at Belturbet, partly because the hon. Member himself took much interest, on the part of his friends, in the occupation of Belturbet as a Cavalry station, and it would be a satisfaction to me to be able to justify his partiality for this place. It is the case that there has been some ill-will between the roughs of that town and the military; and this was first illustrated by an altogether unprovoked assault on five soldiers on the 3rd instant. The soldiers escaped from the violence of the roughs into barracks, but the disturbance was renewed by some others, who rushed out to the help of their comrades, and in the mêlée unfortunately knocked down an unoffending man, who was badly hurt. The officer in command did his duty, and gave every facility for identifying the men, who were brought before the magistrates. Cross summonses were issued against the roughs; but it ended in all being dismissed. On the 15th there was a personal altercation between a soldier and a man who had before been on friendly terms. The man complained to the commanding officer, and the soldier was punished. On the 18th a woman came into barracks, and said that there had been a quarrel between some Linesmen and civilians. Great pains were taken to identify the supposed offenders, the men being twice paraded, but no one was identified, and I seriously doubt whether any disturbance had really occurred. The General commanding the district went to Belturbet, and investigated the circumstances on the spot, and we have full confidence in him, and shall act on his advice. As a matter of fact, the Hussars are leaving Belturbet for England in the ordinary course of relief, and not on account of these disturbances. I have 545 every hope that we shall be able to meet the wish of the hon. Member and his friends, and keep a Cavalry force in this, to use his own words, "very healthy and well-situated town."