Friday, 28 September 2012

The Soldier's Dream or Le Reve Passe

I found an old brown envelope the other day. In it were a number of clippings I'd taken many years ago from a column called The Roamer which appeared in the Belfast Newsletter.

In one clipping were the words of a song called The Soldier’s Dream or Le Reve Passe which someone had been seeking. I remember having heard part of the march sometime before and liked it so I had kept it to look into later  -- I just didn’t think it would be 20 years later.

The words as they appeared where:
Out in the plains the weary soldiers now are sleeping,
After the heat of day the cooling breezes blow:
Over the fields the scent of new-mown hay is creeping,
Only the sentinel is pacing to and fro.

Then from afar there comes the distant sound of marching.
Rhythmical beat of soldiers' feet upon the ground;
And yet nearer they come, to the roll of the drum --
Hear the trumpets sound!

See them pass by!
There they go!  What a show -- those Guardsmen.
All hearts beat high
at the sight of this grand array;
Cheers fill the air.
They are blazing a trail to glory.
Heroes are there
who will live in song and story.

But soon the soldier's dream begins to fade away.
And now it seems a storm has turned the skies to grey:
The enemy he sees from out the shadows creep,
He suddenly awakes but all around him sleep.

And in his heart the vision lingers,
Can't you hear?
Trumpets sound?
Coming near! All around!
See them pass by.
Hear the beat of their feet enthralling;
Ready to die,
When they hear their country calling.

In his dear country now the corn to gold is turning,
And in his mind he sees again the old church tower;
Here is the house where she for whom his heart is yearning.
Patiently hopes for his returning hour by hour.

But he must tell her they must wait a little longer,
And though he knows the tears will fill her eyes of blue;
With his country at war, he must leave her once again.—
Till the fighting is through

Marching along,
there they go! What a show! those Guardsmen;
Steady and strong
they must leave all the girls behind,
Give them a cheer
for they write an immortal story.
Never a fear
as they march to Death or Glory.

But now at last the dawn is breaking o'er the hill,
The foemen have with-drawn, and all the guns are still;
No more trumpets blare, the sounds of war are past,
And laughter fills the air, the world is free at last.

Sweethearts and wives, brush all your tears away,
Don't you hear? See them near! Beat the drum:
Here they come. See them pass by! They are blazing a trail to glory,
They'll never die. They will live in song and story.

I did a search for a version of this old French marching song and found many versions on YouTube  one of which I have put at the end of this post.

I did, however, find a version by the late great Josef Locke which you can hear in the video below. There is also a set of lyrics on his appreciation site which are similar to those above but with some differences and placing some of the verses in a different order.

Here are the words given as sung by Josef:
Out on the plain the weary soldiers now are sleeping,
lulled to slumber while the evening breezes blow.
From the field the smell of new mown corn is creeping
and the sentinel is pacing too and fro'

Then all at once the sky is filled with shapes of horsemen
lit up by lightning as the dying day goes down
and the famous white horse
is directing the course
to renown

See them pass on,
those hussars those dragoons and guardsmen
glorious throng, from Austerlitz meet the eagles high
braves from fair bears
from their foe a triumphant story
steel hearts are theirs, see them riding on to glory.

See them pass on (hear the guns),
those hussars, those dragoons and guardsmen (the trumpets sound)
glorious throng (towards the Hun), from Austerlitz meet the eagles high

See them pass on, our hussars, our dragoons, our glory
E'en though they die, yet they live in song and story.

Ha ha ha ha haa! Hey!!
I'm not sure where they get the line "braves from fair bears" though. If you know I'd love to hear.

Here's a version in the original French... the lyrics can be found on the YouTube page.


On the web site for Ballygowan Flute Band it is stated that the music was composed by Georges Krier and Charles Helmer and the words by Armand Foucher and was originally written in 1906. These names are confirmed on a entry in the Library of Congress.

I found a similar set of lyrics to Josepf's on a site selling a CD of old time music hall
Out on the plains the weary soldiers now are sleeping
After the heat of day the cooling breezes blow
Over the fields the smell of new mown hay is creeping
Only the sentinel is passing too and fro. 
Then from afar there comes the distant sound of marching
Rhythmical beat of soldier’s feet upon the ground
And yet nearer they come, to the sound of the drum
Hear the trumpets resound-
See them pass bye, there they go, what a show those guardsmen
Steady and strong they must leave all the girls behind
Give them a cheer for they write an immortal story
Hero’s are they. They will live in song and glory.
(repeat chorus)


Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Linen Trade in Lisburn (1913)


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(London "Times,"
March 17th, 1913.)

At Hilden, on the River Lagan, about seven miles south of Belfast, and close to Lisburn, on the line of the Great Northern Railway Company, stands one of the most interesting village industrial communities in the United Kingdom; for it is here that are to be found the world-famed Linen Thread, Twine, and Net Works of Messrs. William Barbour & Sons, Limited, which for the last 130 years have been associated with the same family.

Of Ulster's industrial centres, no place has a more varied and interesting history than Lisburn, one of the handsomest and most prosperous towns in Ireland. Through all the ups and down of Irish affairs the development of Lisburn's principal industry -- namely, the manufacture of linen thread -- has consistently progressed, until now the products of this town and of the adjacent village of Hilden, penetrate into every civilised region, and are universally recognised as the best of their kind in the world.

The establishment of the Linen Thread Industry, which has brought such fame to this portion or Ulster was due to the enterprise of Mr. John Barbour, a native of Paisley, in Scotland, who in 1784, when engaged on one of his frequent visits to Ireland for the purchase of linen yarns for Scottish factories, was impressed with the opportunities existing for the introduction into Ireland of the linen thread-making industry, which had not as yet been taken up by the Irish linen manufacturers. So satisfied was he that this adjunct would prove successful if grafted on to the Irish linen trade that he forthwith took steps to establish it, in what he regarded as its proper environment; and for this purpose he erected small mills at the Plantation, Lisburn. As it was an entire novelty in the country, it became necessary, at the same time, to undertake the instruction of young women of the neighbourhood in the art of thread-making. They proved apt pupils, and at their new work they found themselves able to earn higher wages than they had ever before known. The industry thus inaugurated in 1784 has now grown to stupendous dimensions. Its history is interesting.

In 1823 Mr. John Barbour was succeeded by his two sons, John and William. Dissolving partnership with his brother, William Barbour removed to the present admirable site at Hilden, adjoining the River Lagan, and facing the Great Northern Railway subsequently constructed. Twelve years later he purchased the original business at the Plantation, and removed the plant to the works at Hilden which be had previously erected. Having now become sole proprietor, he pushed the business with unflagging energy, enlarging the works from time to time to accommodate the ever-growing demands for the firm's products.

Mr. William Barbour died in 1875, but the business still remained in the hands of the family, the management descending to his sons, John D., Robert, Samuel, and Thomas Barbour, who added still further to the extent of the works, whilst at the same time they maintained the high reputation of the firm's productions.

Advantage was taken of the Limited Liability Act in 1883 to incorporate the firm as a limited company. In 1898 it widened its scope of operations by joining with other Irish, Scotch, and English thread manufacturing firms, and forming the Linen Thread Company, Limited. For the purposes of the present issue one need only mention the four Irish mills comprised in this company, vis.:--

     William Barbour & Sons, Ltd, Hilden.
     Robert Stewart & Sons, Ltd., Lisburn.
     F. W. Haues & Co., Ltd., Banbridge.
     Dunbar, M'Master, & Co., Ltd., Gilford.
Employed in these different Irish mills is an aggregate of 4,000 hands.

The oldest and most important constituent in this group is the firm of William Barbour & Sons, Limited, started, as above described, in 1784, and continued down to the present day by the direct descendants of the original founder, one of whom -- Mr. J. Milne Barbour, D.L., J.P. -- occupies the position of chairman and managing director of the Linen Thread Company, Limited, Glasgow. The present directors of William Barbour & Sons, Limited, are -- Messrs. Frank Barbour, J. Milne Barbour, D.L., J.P.; Harold A. M. Barbour, W. Barbour Ardill, Sir James Knox, and Mr. Malcolm Gordon, who is the director in charge of the management of the Hilden and Dunmurry mills.

At the present time the works, with their environments, cover about 50 acres, and including the adjacent Dunmurry Mill, give employment to over 2,000 people, engaged in the manufacturing of linen threads, linen yarns, twines, and nets of every size and description. Linen threads are used largely by bootmakers, tailors, saddlers, bookbinders, tent makers, brush makers, and other trades, as well as for general domestic use. Fancy linen threads are required for lace making, embroidering and crochet work; whilst upholsterers employ many sorts of twine of all sizes. The amount of twine need annually in the shops for parcelling, etc., accounts for no small fraction of the company's output; whilst yarns and twists of all kinds for weaving, plaiting, braiding, lace making, knitting, etc., each form a special department of the firm's industrial activities.

One noteworthy feature with which William Barbour & Sons, Limited, is very intimately associated is the production of thread and twine for fishing lines and nets. Not only do they supply the fishing industry with these twines, but the nets and seines manufactured at Hilden, and bearing the firm's famous trade mark of the Open Band, have earned for themselves a reputation among fishermen in all parts of the world.

The exhibits of William Barbour & Sons, Limited, at the principal international expositions have met with conspicuous success, medals having been awarded for their threads at London in 1862, at Vienna in 1873, Philadelphia in 1876, at Berlin in 1877, at Paris in 1878, at Dessau in 1879, at Sydney in the same year, as well as in later years at Melbourne, Dublin, Cork, London (1883), Boston, Mass.; the World's Fair, Chicago; and the Truro Fisheries Exhibition.


The branch factory at Dunmurry, close to Hilden, has already been mentioned; but the manufacturing enterprise of Messrs. William Barbour & Sons, Limited, has extended itself far beyond Ireland. In 1863, at Paterson, New Jersey, in the United States, and in 1886 at Ottensen, near Hamburg, in Germany, large works have been erected, the former for the production and extension of their trade in America, and the latter for the same purpose within the German Empire. Incidentally it may be mentioned that the hostile tariffs raised by those countries against British manufacturers rendered it necessary for the company to establish German and American mills if they were to retain any appreciable trade with such highly protected nations.

Thus Messrs. William Barbour & Sons, Limited, through their foreign branches, taken in conjunction with the home factories, give employment to a total of about 5,000 operatives, thereby entitling the firm to the claim of being the largest linen thread manufacturers in the world. A network of agencies has familiarised every user of linen threads, twines, etc., with the famous productions distinguished for over a century and a quarter with the device of the "Red Hand," carrying across the open palm a single word -- "Flax." The despatch department, at the mills daily demonstrates not only the multiplicity but the varied nationalities of the patrons of the firm. Indeed, William Barbour & Sons are obliged to describe the vast range of their products in their price lists in practically all the civilised languages in the world.

Model Village.

The village of Hilden -- the existence of which is due almost entirely to the growth of the Linen Thread Mills of William Harbour & Sons, Limited -- comprises with its surroundings some 36 houses built by the firm for their operatives, containing a population, including women and children, of over 2,000 inhabitants. The "housing question" has been solved at Hilden, which now affords a model village for the imitation both of employers and municipalities. The foremen live in semidetached cottages standing in their own grounds, built not with a mere view to utility but also with a sense of artistic fitness. The houses are indeed quite neat little villas. The less elaborate red brick cottages for the use of the workpeople are wholly free from that sordid aspect which so often appertains to working-class dwellings in manufacturing centres.

For the younger members of the community the firm hare recently erected one of the most admirable primary schools in Ireland, lacking nothing that can minister to the health and comfort of the teaching staff and the scholars, who number over 350. Evening and recreative classes are also in contemplation for those of older growth.

In addition to the ordinary class-rooms the school building is provided with a spacious model kitchen equipped with an up-to-date cooking range and all the necessary utensils. The kitchen has been designed to serve a strictly utilitarian purpose. Lessons in cooking and domestic management are given to the girl pupils with a view to rendering them better able in after life to undertake the care and duties of a home of their own. Everything, in fact, is done at Hilden to promote the bodily and also the intellectual welfare of the firm's employees. Not the least of the many amenities provided for the employees is a large dining hall, situate in close proximity to the works, in which hot meals are served at cost price.

The mills of Messrs. Robert Stewart & Sons, Limited, are situate in the town uf Lisburn itself, being only about a mile and a quarter distant from the works of Messrs. William Barbour & Sons, Limited, above referred to. Here about 600 hands are employed. This firm was established in the year 1835, and its name and trade mark is well known all over the world for all classes of threads that are used in tailoring, shoe manufacturing, and leather industries.

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The island in the River Lagan was originally known as Vitriol Island, and was the site of famous chemical works, with which was connected Dr. Crawford, a renowned chemist, who then lived in the old mansion now known as Roseville and occupied by Mr. George H. Clarke, J.P.

Messrs. John M'Cance and William John Handcock were then owner's of this island, which contains more than three statute acres.

The Island Spinning Company was established in the year 1867, the premises having been purchased from Mr. J. J. Richardson. This gentleman represented Lisburn in the Imperial Parliament from 1853 to 1857. The original flax spinning mill was built by Mr. Samuel Richardson in 1840, who, having died in 1847, was succeeded by his brother, Mr. J. J. Richardson, who added materially to the size of the mill.

In 1871 the company added an extensive weaving factory, and in 1882 they introduced into their business the production of linen threads of all kinds for hand and machine sewing. About 1,000 persons are employed, many of whom reside in the firm's houses; the workers are also supplied with a suitable and comfortable dining hall. The chairman of the company in 1906 was Mr. Joseph Richardson, of Springfield -- a gentleman long connected with the linen trade of Ulster -- the managing director Mr. George R Clarke.

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Close to the railway station at Lisburn the flax spinning mills and thread manufacturing works of Messrs. Robert Stewart & Sons, Limited, are seen from the trains of the Great Northern Railway. The works are very conveniently and pleasantly situated within the town limits, and with workers' houses, etc., cover about ten statute acres. The history of Robert Stewart & Sons, Limited, as flax spinners, linen and shoe thread manufacturers; commenced in the year 1835. In that year Robert Stewart, of Lisburn, began twisting thread here by hand, and in the course of a few years afterwards he had about 3,000 spindles at work, spinning the yarn used in the manufacture of the thread. In the year 1845 Mr. Stewart took into partnership his sons Robert and James Andrew, from which date the firm traded under the style of Robert Stewart & Sons. Robert Stewart, senior, died in the year 1858, but the business was actively continued by the brothers until the year 1882, when Robert Stewart, junior, died as the result of an accident, leaving his brother James Andrew sole proprietor of the concern. Many extensions had been carried out in the lifetime of Robert Stewart, junior, and the continued growth of the trade of the firm rendered it necessary a few years after his death for the surviving partner to erect an entire new spinning mill, which was completed in the year 1889. This is a handsome structure, built on the most modern designs, and fitted throughout with the most approved sanitary arrangements. The comfort of the workers is ensured by the installation of the most efficient ventilating arrangements. The works are lighted throughout by electricity, and employ almost 1,000 hands, a large proportion of which are females. Tailors' threads and shoemakers' threads, both for hand and machine sewing, are specialities of this firm. In the year 1899 the firm became incorporated in the Linen Thread Company, Limited.

(Nest week: Old Belfast and its Vicinity, by R. M. Young.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 27 September 1918 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week for several years. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Irish Brigade Held Derry Walls

Irish Peace Tower, Messines
In Trust for Ulster Division.

Captain Stephen Gwynn, M.P., Irish Recruiting Council, in a letter to Alderman Sir Robert Anderson, Mayor of Derry, regarding recruiting in the Maiden City, says -- "where I last met Derry men in large numbers there was no thought of anything but our common credit -- that was on the ridge in front of Messines, where the 16th and 36th divisions lay side by side. Once it happened that our right flank was moved up a little, and I was the officer sent up to take over the section of the line from the Ulster troops who were holding it. They were the 10th Inniskillings, and their Commanding Officer, Colonel Macrory, showed me round the line. All the trenches had names that were familiar to me, but at last we came to a strong point about the head of a mine shaft where there was a great accumulation of sandbags. Colonel Macrory said to me rather sadly, 'We call this place Derry Walls, but I suppose that when your fellows come in here they will be changing all their names?' I said to him, 'Colonel Macrory, we wont change a name of them, and we will hold Derry Walls for you.' We did hold Derry Walls for six months, and I may say that I myself nearly got my death in it in more ways than one between shellfire and sickness. And after six months, we gave it back to the Ulstermen, and it was from there they went over on the day when the two divisions, side by side, captured Messines and Wytschaete, the day when Willie Redmond fell gloriously and was carried out dying by Ulster troops. Those are the memories on which I should like to see every man in Derry fix his mind. Any man who really cares for the record of Irish troops will not wish to see the ranks of Irish regiments filled with unwilling conscripts. The trust of their fame is too high a thing to be committed by those who freely undertake it."

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 20 September 1918.  The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Sport in Lisburn (pt3) and Other Extracts


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Compiled and Edited by
R. C. Bannister and
R. V. Hamilton.


On the 3rd April, 1905, a meeting was held in the Courthouse to consider the advisability and possibility of forming a Golf Club in Lisburn.

The meeting decided that a local Golf Club he formed, that the annual subscription be: gentlemen, £1 1s; entrance fee, a similar amount; ladies, 10s 6d; entrance fee, a similar amount; juveniles, 10s 6d; no entrance fee; and that all members whose subscriptions were paid on or before the 1st May should be known as "original members."

The picturesque and lovely grounds known as "The Manor House Lands," some 43 acres in extent, adjoining Longstone Street and Dublin Road, were secured on a lease for 20 years, and steps, immediately taken for the laying out of a nine-hole course.

The following were the first office-bearers, i.e., for season 1905-06:-- President -- H. A. M. Barbour, M.A. Vice-presidents -- C. C. Craig, M.P.; S. R. Keightley, LL.D.; T. R. Stannus, J.P.; and O. B. Graham, J.P. Captain -- Geo. H. Clarke, J.P. Hon. secretaries -- J. H. E. Griffith and Thomas Sinclair. Hon. treasurer -- Thomas Malcolmson. Council -- John Hall, H. S. Murphy, M.D.; Geo. Sands, C.E.; A. Stevenson, T. J. English, John Preston, Robert Pedlow, John Stalker, James Allen, J. B. Campbell, H. Mulholland, and E. A. Sinton. Trustees -- H. A. M. Barbour, T. J. English, John Stalker, and R. Pedlow.

The membership for 1905-06 consisted of 119 gentlemen and 95 lady associates and juveniles. During the first year of the club's existence a suitable clubhouse, with separate accommodation for ladies and gentlemen, was erected at a cost of some £300.

At the outset Mr. H. A. M. Barbour presented a magnificent challenge cup. This was called "The Barbour Cup," and is played for each year. Up to the present the winners have been -- 1906, W. L. Agnew, Malone G.C.; 1907, L. C. Gotto, Malone G.C.; 1908, Cecil E. M'Connell, Bangor G.C.; 1909, W. K. Smith, Dungannon G.C.; 1910, R. Swanston, Fortwilliam G.C.; 1911, Captain J. G. Faris; 1912, J. C. Carson, Lisburn; 1913, Robert Swanston; 1914, J. C. Carson, Lisburn.

Mr. Barbour also gave the "Hilden Challenge Cup" for competition inside the home club. The holders of this trophy have been:-- 1907, Hy. M'Callum; 1908 and 1909, E. T. H. Richardson; and 1910, D. Morrison.

Mr. C. C. Craig also presented a challenge cup for competition among members of the club whose handicaps are over 18. This, the "Craig Cup," has been won, so for, by W. S. Duncan in 1908 and T. Malcolmson, jun., in 1909.

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By Robert Dunlop, M.A. -- 1913.

This work, in two large volumes, contains numerous references to Lisburn, Lisnegarvey, the Conway family, the Hill, family, Sir George Rawdon, etc.

An extract from the Preface sets forth the plan of the work and the author's position:--
The documents printed in these two volumes form part of a collection made many years' ago. At the time I was of opinion that the view taken by Prendergast in his well-known book -- The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland -- was not an entirely impartial one. I thought it possible to present the Cromwellian policy in a more favourable light than either he or Carte, with his royalist predilections, had done. The Rebellion presented itself to me as an episode in the great European struggle between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, in which England and Ireland found themselves in opposite camps, accentuated by the special difference between them in the matter of the legislative independence claimed by Ireland and denied by England. It was a square fight between Ireland and England, and England won.

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By Michael MacDonagh -- 1904.

This is a collection of letters dealing with Ireland, political and social, after the Rebellion of 1798. One of considerable local interest appears from the Rev. Philip Johnson, Derriaghy, to the Viceroy, dated 1807, detailing his public conduct in the years 1793 and 1796, and claiming recognition from the Government. The appeal was made in vain.

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In M'Comb's Guide to Belfast and the adjoining Districts (1861) it is stated that Bessie Gray, the heroine of Ballynahinch fight in 1798, was a native of Killinchy. M'Comb further wrote a poem commencing --

     If through Killinchy's woods and vales
          You searched a summer day,
     The loveliest maiden to be found
          Was bonny Bessie Gray,

and going on to describe her death.

A writer in the "Newtownards Chronicle" challenges the accuracy of M'Comb's statement, and describes the poem (see article 65) as misleading:--
The charming verses written by Mr. M'Comb concerning this dead Irish Joan of Arc, whose memory is revered by countless thousands of the Irish race at home and abroad irrespective of politics or religion, are misleading, and not all accurate.
The house in which Betsy Gray was born stands within a short distance of the mansion erected at Bangor Granshaw by Mr. James Knox, and which is at the time of writing (1918) owned and occupied by Mr. Robert Warden, senior member of the firm of Messrs. Warden Bros., ironmongers, High Street, Newtownards. It is named Summerhill. The house in which Betsy Gray first saw the light is, at the period of writing, occupied by Mr. William Gray M'Cartney, who is a direct descendant of the Gray family, and who possesses many priceless relics once owned by his ancestors, and handed down from generation to generation, along the ailes of time. Let me mention one. It is the lease held by Hans Gray (Betsy's father) of the farm he occupied. This lease proves beyond all dispute that here in the townland of Granshaw was born this leader of patriots, who met her death at Ballycreen, within two miles of Ballynahinch.
If anyone wish to verify the truth of the foregoing facts they have simply to journey, by road or rail to the Six-Road-Ends. On rail Groomsport Road Station is where to step off. Five minutes will then take you to the Six-Road-Ends, and the residents of this historic neighbourhood will point out with pleasure, not unmixed with pride, the old landmarks, and give freely all information they can to all those who seek for the truth about the past happenings of the long ago.
The following verses are taken from "Betsy Gray," or "The Hearts of Down," by W. G. Lyttle, and have the merit of being true:--

(A Ballad of Ninety-Eight).

Oh, many a noble lad and lass
     Who joined the fight of ninety-eight,
To right the cruel wrongs of years,
     Did meet with sad and bloody fate.

On Ednavady's sloping height's,
     In June, upon the thirteenth day.
In thousands stood the Patriots bold,
     To fight for home and victory.

But bravest of them all, I ween,
     Who mustered there upon that day,
And drew the sword for fatherland,
     Was lovely, winsome Betsy Gray.

From Granshaw, near to Bangor town,
     With Willie Boal that day she came;
Her brother, too, was by her side,
     Inspired by patriotic flame.

And when the tide of battle raged,
     And showers of bullets fell around,
Still in the thickest of the fight
     Was noble-hearted Betsy found.

When adverse fate with victory-crowned
     The royal host upon that day,
Poor George and Willie joined the flight,
     And with them lovely Betsy Gray.

Along the Lisburn Road they fled,
     Pursuing Yeomen keeping watch;
Then Betsy drew her gleaming sword
     And hid it in a farmhouse thatch.

She reached the vale of Ballycreen--
     Her friends some distance were behind--
And quickly did she look around
     A quiet hiding place to find.

But, ere 'twas found, she heard a cry,
     Alas! too well she knew the sound;
Her brother and her sweetheart true.
     Had by the Yeoman band been found!

Then from the grassy vale she sprang--
     This beauteous, noble, fearless maid--
And back she ran with bounding step,
     That she might seek to give her aid.

Ah, what a sight then met her gaze!
     Her Willie weltering in his gore,
And George, her brother, by his side,
     Pleading for life in accents sore.

A Yeoman raised his sword to strike,
     As Betsy to the rescue ran--
"Oh, spare my brother's life!" she cried,
     "Oh, spare him, if you be a man!"

She raised her white and rounded arm
     As if to ward the dreaded stroke;
Vain was her prayer -- the weapon fell
     And smote her hand off as she spoke.

Another of the murderous crew,
     A man who come from Anahilt,
Laughed at the brutal deed and cried --
     "More rebel blood must yet be spilt!"

He drew a pistol from his belt,
     And shot poor Betsy in her eye;
She sank upon the heathery mound,
     And died without a sob or sigh.

That night the murdered three were found
     By Matthew Armstrong -- then a lad --
Who, quickly running to his home,
     Related there his tidings sad.

No tombstone marks that humble grave,
     No tree nor shrub is planted there;
And never spade disturbs the spot
     Where sleeps the brave, where rests the fair.

Shame on the cruel, ruthless band
     Who hunted down to death their prey!
And palsy strike the murderous hand
     That slew the lovely Betsy Gray!

(Next week: Hilden.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 20 September 1918 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week for several years. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

Friday, 14 September 2012

Sport in Lisburn - Past and Present, 1910 (pt2)


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Compiled and Edited by
R. C. Bannister and
R. V. Hamilton.


About the year 1878 the Cricket Club permitted the Rugby Club to erect their posts on the vacant ground on the north side of the playing pitch.

Among those who played for Hertford in the few years of its life as a Rugby Club the names which jump into mind include the Warings (Charlie and Sam), Bob, Jack, and Alfie Savage; Joe and Charlie Atkinson, Bob Alister, Hugh Mulhollahd, Sam Beggs, Johnston Watson, Charles Mockler, W. J. Meechan, Arthur Williamson.

In 1882-84 Rugby football in Lisburn was in a very flourishing condition. Bob Savage, whose value to the game can never be accurately measured, while captaining Hertford, organised in Stewart's Mill a team calling themselves Lisnagarvey. Of that team one man at least, given better opportunities, would have reached high, if not international class, to wit, Joe M'Mullan.

This club subsequently extended its borders, and many young townsmen joined it and became fine players and good sportsmen. Then the Good Templars organised a club, calling it "Triumph" after the lodge of that name. This club produced such stalwarts as Tom Getgood, Willie Lavery, Bob Greenfield, and Sam Waring. On one occasion Mr. Williamson, acting as hon. secretary for Hertford, found himself in difficulties for a team. He went to the Good Templar Hall in search of subs., and was met by the four worthies mentioned above. A bargain was proposed: the four would turn out, but the secretary must join the lodge. He did. There was also some good school football. There were two Intermediate Schools in the town, each having a team. On occasion these two joined forces and played as the Lisburn Academicals. The Ulster Provincial School also had a fine team, for which the Davies played.

In 1884 all this activity stopped with a crash. By a majority the Hertford Club decided to take up the Association game. The Ulster Provincial School followed suit; the two Intermediate Schools were combined; the Triumph and Lisnagarvey clubs ceased to exist. It seemed as though the death-knell of Rugby football in Lisburn had been sounded. The darkest hour had been reached: the dawn was at hand.

In January, 1885, in response to letters notifying the purchase of a cup for competition among the senior clubs, a meeting was held in the Tea Rooms in Market Street. Only seven men turned up -- Sam Morrison, Jack Savage, W. J. Meehan, Arthur Williamson, Bob Alister, H. W. Major (a mere schoolboy), and Bob Greenfield. It was decided to enter a team for the cup competition. The colossal cheek of that decision makes one, looking back over the long interval of time, both sad and merry. The Union fee and the cup subscription were made up at the meeting. Morrison became captain; Meehan, secretary; and Williamson, treasurer, the greatest sinecure ever invented.

The young team, however, found itself in the final at the first time of asking. The result was remarkable. R.W. Morrow now joined, and Stavely Dick, then at Queen's College, Cork, hurried home to assist. But North were taking no chances. They put on a side containing nine international. Lisburn were beaten by two goals and two tries to a goal dropped by Morrow, and worthy of even his great reputation. Gathering the ball near his own twenty-five, and bursting through, he ran almost to half-way. Then wheeling between two opponents he took his shot. Those who saw that goal agree that no finer score was ever made. The position of the club was now firmly established, and the season 1885-6 opened with every prospect of success. Morrow took up the captaincy, and Williamson combined the offices of secretary and treasurer, retaining thorn until the dissolution of the club in 1889.

The cup team of 1886-7 was made up as follows:-- Full back, F. W. Armstrong; three-quarters or quarters, Morrow, Holmes, Wheeler; halves, Jim Stevenson, Gardiner; forwards, R. Stevenson, B. Gibb, Major Greenfield, Totten, Mockler, Forsythe, Ashcroft, and Williamson.

Stewart Irwin, who rendered the side good service during the season, had to stand out of the cup match as the result of an accident. Waring had cracked his knee in a practice match. J. S. Dick was at Cork. He and R. Stevenson were capped in this year in all international matches, assisting Ireland to beat England for the first time in the history of these games. North beat Lisburn in the cup tie by a try to nil.

On 30th March, 1888, the Lisburn team was -- Full back, F. W. Armstrong; three-quarters, Dunlop, Holmes, Morrow: halves, J. Stevenson. G. Waring: forwards, Dick (captain), Stevenson, Mockler, Irwin, Major, Greenfield, Totten, Keery, and Williamson.

That is was a great team goes without saying. Morrow was unquestionably one of the greatest full backs the game has yet produced. Holmes was one of those superb players who excel at every game they play. As Morrow's successor at full back for Ireland he shared in the eventful period when Ireland at length attained the measure of her great rivals, England and Scotland. Dunlop was for several years Ireland's best wing "three." Jim Stevenson, capped at "half" in the following year, 1889, was the last "big" man to occupy that position. Waring but for his injured leg, would without doubt have also got his cap. Bob Stevenson may dispute with J. W. Taylor in earlier days and with Tedford in recent times the title of Ireland's greatest forward. J.S. Dick, capped 1887, probably holds the record for captaining cup-winning teams. Mockler and Major both represented Ulster in their day and generation. The rest did their best to prove themselves worthy of such august company.

But the end was at hand. Time moving forward brought closer to many of the team the inevitable process of "getting qualified." And when the earlier matches of 1888-9 came round the personnel showed many changes. Still, when at Christmas, Bective Rovers, holders of the Leinster Cup, met Lisburn, holders of the Ulster Cup, a scoreless draw was the result of a very hard tussle. Later, in Dublin, Wanderers beat Lisburn by a try, the feature or the game being Wheeler's display at half after an absence from the game of over twelve months. Our defeat by Queen's in the second round of the cup by a try to liil closes the tale of the grand old club.

Rugby football was practically defunct in the town till the Lisburn Wheelers' Cycling Club, feeling the necessity of having some form of winter sport in which their members could engage, decided to take up the game of Rugby football, and in the autumn of 1899 formed a club called the Lisburn Wheelers' Rugby F.C. The following officials were appointed:-- Captain, J, T. Kirkwood; committee, James Stockman, John Jefferson, J. T. Wilson, F. M'Murray, J. F. M'Kinstry, Joe Keery, W. A. Mussen, with E. B. Waring as hon. secretary.

The first practice game was held in a field at Hogg's Locks, but the club was afterwards able to secure the use of the ground inside the cycling track in Wallace Park for their games.

The following players comprised the first team:-- Back, Wm. Dickson; three-quarters, Joe Stewart, W. A. Mussen, James M'Intyre, and Wm. Mussen; halves, J. T. Kirkwood (captain) and W. Keery; forwards, J. F. M'Kinstry, J. T. Wilson, H. Wilson, Joe Kerry. R. Gilmore, Fred Bestall, James Stockman, and E. B. Waring.


It was in September, 1902, that a group of three met in the Temperance Institute. The subject of discussion turned on winter games; and a suggestion made by one to form a Hockey club soon became the resolute determination of Messrs. R. C. Bannister, W. S. Duncan, and E. E. Wilson. Likely members were at once interviewed, and many promises of support obtained. A meeting was called, and after many and varied proposals, the new club was finally named the Lisnagarvey Hockey Club. The club colours chosen were dark and light blue. The first office-bearers were -- Captain Mr. R. C. Bannister; hon. secretary, Mr. W. S. Duncan; hon. treasurer, Mr. E. E. Wilson.

The following is the list of original members:-- Messrs. R. C. Bannister, B. Boyd, E. Boyd, W. S. Duncan, F. Garrett, R. V. Hamilton, Hector B. Hanna, J. G. Hanna, N. Kilpatrick. E. S. H. Thompson, J. H. Wilson, and W. J. Wilson. During the season Mr. R. C. Bannister resigned the captaincy and Mr. E. E. Wilson the treasurership, and at a general meeting Mr. W. S. Duncan was elected, captain, Mr. R. C. Bannister hon. secretary, and Mr. J. H. Wilson hon. treasurer.

Winners Minor League (Mulholland Shield), 1904-05 -- Wm. J. Wilson, H. B. Hanna, B. Boyd, A. M'Cluggage, A. T. Annesley, J. H. Wilson, A. E. Boyd (captain), F. G. Hall, R. C. Bannister, J. H. Simpson, and N. B. Kilpatrick.

Winners Junior League, and Junior Cup 1906-07 --  A. M'Cluggage, F. Haten, R. V. Hamilton, R. C. Bannister, Wm. J. Wilson, W. S. Duncan, J. H. Simpson, H. H. Burrowes, E. Boyd, J. H. Wilson (captain), F. G. Hull, B. Boyd, J. L. Barclay, and R. P. MacGregor.

Players in 1910, with the eleven they most frequently play for:--

The First XI. custodian is E. F. C. Holmes, too well known in hocket circles to require any laudatory remarks; Hull and M'Murray are those usually seen in the rear division; while Hamilton, Patterson, and J. H. Wilson form the half line. In the fore-rank Lester, Bannister, Boyd, Hanna, and Boyd may be seen; Simpson and Garrett being next in order.

The Second XI. goal is graced by E. Brown; the back division manned by Duncan, Allen, or J. Hanna; in tho half line, Gillespie, John Wilson, M'Cluggage, or Arnold; forwards, Smith, MacGregor, Simpson, Garrett, Stevenson.

T. Malcolmson is goalkeeper for the Third XI. The backs are a changing quantity, Wm. Wilson, Rice, Bannister, Murray, and others appearing. In the half line they have Russell, Harty, D. M'Gregor, S. Boyd, Cunningham, Greene: and fore, Allen, Goldsmith, J. C. Carson, T. Wilson, Gray, Boyd, Kilpatrick.

The Fourth XI. is composed of the lesser lights of those mentioned in Third XI., with Q. Dunlop, H. Morrow, J. Alexander, S. Goldsmith, and C. Garrett.

Many Lisnagarvey players have been selected for representative matches. In junior circles Messrs. E. Boyd and F. G. Hull were chosen for Ulster v. Leinster, and last season Mr. J. H. Simpson got his place for Ulster; and in senior circles F. G. Hull has, of late years, been selected regularly for the Provincial matches. Those appearing in other representative matches in junior or senior circles include Messrs. E. Boyd, H. Burrowes, Wm. J. Wilson, C. Lester, F. G. M'Murray, W. Patterson, and R. V. Hamilton.

(Next week: Golf.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 13 September 1918 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week for several years. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Charge of the Irish Brigades


Anniversary of the Charge of the Irish Brigades.

This week, two years ago, the Irish Division added another chapter to the history of Irish valour. France can never forget Guillemont or Ginchy.

The battle of the Somme had entered on its third month when the Irish Division was moved into the zone of operations. They came -- they saw -- and for all time they emblazoned on their colours the names of Guillemont and Ginchy. These two villages were key positions. Once in our hands, the whole of the German second line of defence was broken. Knowing their value, the Germans had made tremendous preparations for their defence and thrown their best troops into both. But the Irish Brigades took them in their stride.

Guillemont fell on Sunday, September 3rd, to a charge which was one of the most astonishing features of the war. The pipes playing and the green flag flying, the Irish battalions swept on like a human avalanche. They had been "fed up" with the weary months of trench fighting. Now they were in the open, the fighting every Irishman loves, and they thirsted to get to close quarters with the enemy. Right through the first, the second, and third German lines of trenches they swept with an irresistible rush till the whole of the village was in their hands. By Sunday night, victory was overwhelming and complete.

For six days the Irish Brigades held the captured ground, lying in shell-holes under constant shellfire, and without hot food or much water. Then, on the afternoon of September 9th, came the order for the attack on Ginchy. Amid a wild "Hurroosh" and the cries of "Up Dublin!" "Up Munsters!" and "Up the Rifles!" they swept forward, pipes again skirling and the green flag waving. In eight minutes after starting-time they had reached their first objective in the village, right across the first German trenches -- a distance of 600 yards, which is a wonderful record. The right was checked for a little by a post of German machine-guns, but a brilliant little encircling movement drove the gunners out and the whole line advanced. Reckless of snipers and machine-guns, the Irish swept through the village, searching out the "Jerrios" in their concrete dugouts and tunnelled chambers. They were Bavarians and fought savagely, but the Irish bayonet was too much for them. The work was short, sharp and decisive. Within ten minutes of reaching the centre of the village the Dublin's, who were in the van of the attack, had got 200 yards beyond the northern side.

A rare Imperial War Museum photograph showing the attack on Ginchy

But the rapidity of the advance was not without its drawbacks. The troops on their right and left had not been able to keep up with them, and so the Irish Division found themselves in Ginchy with both the right and left flanks "in the air," a situation full of disaster according to military experts. But the Irish Brigade recked nothing of their theoretical peril, they were determined to hold what they had got, and THEY DID IT.
"The splendid success of the Irish Brigade from a military point of view is their success of taking a hostile front of 900 yards to the depth of nearly a mile with no supporting troops on either flank."
This is the tribute of an Englishman, Mr. Philip Gibbs, the distinguished war correspondent. He goes on to say:--
"From a non-militarily, technical, human point of view the greatness of the capture of Ginchy is just in the valour of these Irish boys, who were not awed by the sight of death very close to them and all about them, and who went straight on to the winning-posts like Irish race horses. The men who were ordered to stay in the village almost wept with rage because they could not join in the next assault."
The following morning they came out of the battle, weary and spent, but marching erect with heads held high. The honours of the field were with them; they had done a good day's work for Ireland. Decked with German caps and helmets, and bearing many a souvenir of their victory, they met a battalion of the Irish Guards going up to the line. "Up the Dubs.!" shouted the Guardsmen as they passed. "Up the Micks!" came the answer in shoot. IRISHMAN ALL.

And they strode proudly along, back to the rest they had earned so well; and as the pipers played them out, now with a march of triumph for the deeds they had wrought, and now with a lament for the boys who never would march behind their flag again, each man felt sure if his heart that his countrymen at home would see to it that the dead would not be unavenged or the living be deserted by their brother Irishman.


The text of this article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 6 September 1918 and can be found along with other extracts on my website Eddies Extracts.

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Sport in Lisburn - Past and Present, 1910


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Compiled and Edited by
R. C. Bannister and
R. V. Hamilton.

This volume of almost 200 pages was produced in connection with a bazaar held in the Orange Hall, Lisburn, October, 1910, in aid of the Funds of the Cricket, Lawn Tennis, and Hockey Clubs. It contains fourteen good illustrations, and a considerable amount of interesting amount of interesting regarding cricket, golf, Rugby and Association football, hockey, athletics, lawn tennis, lacrosse, bowls, hunting, angling, chess, &c., as practised in Lisburn.


Our primary object in compiling this work was to raise money for a stall in connection with "Ye Grande Athletic Bazaare." We also wished to produce a volume dealing with sport in Lisburn which would be a companion to the General History published some years ago under the editorship of Mr. W. J. Greene.

We readily acknowledge the valuable information supplied from outside sources, as a result of which ours has largely been a task of arranging the material. Had such help not been given most generously and unsparingly by many "old sports" the book would never have been even so complete as it is. We have, thanks to the courtesy of the present officials, had access to the old minute books of most of the local clubs. We are also indebted to the proprietor of the "Lisburn Standard" for the files of his paper. But such records in the hands of strangers give but meagre information compared with the recollections of "the Boys of the Old Brigade," and it is of these latter we are glad to say that our book is mainly composed.

In regard to the article on Cricket, we are indebted to Messrs. R. Bannister, M. Lyons, Joseph Stevenson, F. Williamson, Rev. J. I. Peacocke, and J. Beattie.

In Association Football, to Messrs. H. Mulholland, James M'Carrison, J. Fitzpatrick, J. Kinghan, H. Hunter, S. Williamson, P. Corrigan, and J. H. Gillespie.

In Rugby, our chief debt is to Mr. Arthur Williamson as regards the earlier club, and indeed we may say here that almost every member of the old Cup team of '88 with whom we corresponded displayed the greatest interest and enthusiasm in our attempt to create a permanent memento of Lisburn sport. As to the later club, Mr. William Mussen is our chief collaborator.

In Hockey, to Messrs. E. T. S. Wilson, T. L. Price, D. Stevenson, and H. Mulholland, for the Lisburn Club; and to "Homester" of the "Standard*' for the Lisnagarvey Club.

In Lacrosse, to Mr. H. Mulholland.

In Golf, to Dr. Rentoul, Messrs. James Carson, J. H. E. Griffith, H. M'Callum, and R. Pedlow.

In Tennis, to Rev. G. R. Bell.

In Bowls and Quoits, to Dr. Magill and Mr. R Bannister.

In Hunting, to Mr. James Davidson, well-known in hunting circles as "Nimrod;" and to Mr. G. H. Clarke, one who has been long identified with this branch of sport.

In Athletics, to Messrs. R. Bannister, A. Williamson, J. Hughes, J. Dorman, and W. H. Oliver; also to many runners of the old days.

Amongst those also rendering assistance were Messrs. T. E. Wethers, W. J. Murray, J. G. Hanna, and W. J. Greene.

Lisburn in 1854.

Cricket in Lisburn dates back to 1836. The club's first ground was in a field off the Ballinderry Road; afterwards a new ground was found on the Low Road, in a portion of the fields now surrounding the Fort House; and subsequently play was in a field at the junction of the Belfast and Derriaghy Roads, about where the eastern lodge of the Park now stands. The present ground was entered on in the year 1854, and the great changes to be made and difficulties to be overcome in rearranging, draining, and laying out the ground were successfully carried out largely owing to the support and help given by the sons of the late Dean Stannus and others.

A stream ran through the middle of the present field from east to west; this was turned out of its course to the north side of the field, where it now runs in a covered drain until it emerges again at the Railway Walk. The ground prior to this was used as a townpark grazing by Mr. John Finlay, who rented it from the Estate Office.

Walking from Market Square down Railway Street, in the year 1854, we have on our left Lennon's hotel and posting establishment, where now the Northern Bank is built; and on the right, opposite, Dr. Musgrave's dwelling-house and yard, with his dispensary shop in Castle Street. Further down on the right we come to the Police Barrack, afterwards the Post Office, and now a dispensary.

Passing on, we come to Kelly's yard, house, and garden. This yard was bounded at the back by a fine row of very tall yew trees, and the garden hedge in Railway Street was adorned with a row of the most artistic productions, in thorns, in the shape of cocks, hens, and other productions inside the range of the hedge shears. The Orange Hall now stands on a part of the space of this old garden. The only other house on this side was occupied by W. J. Knox, plumber, his garden extending to a stone wall which fenced the Dean's meadow, right down to the railway crossing. Coming down the street, on the left we pass the Friends' Meetinghouse and burial-ground, and Wardsboro, now the site of the Post Office, and then we come to a bit of old Lisburn, when Railway Street was Jackson's Lane. Three or four thatched houses with two steps up to a narrow terrace before getting to the level of the doorway. These were taken down to make room for Second Lisburn Presbyterian Church. From this until Armstrong's old wall is reached a hedge bordered the street, enclosing orchards; and passing to Bachelors' Walk we see a long avenue of large trees running down both sides its entire length, and a high wall with tower upon it protecting Graham's and other gardens on the south side, while a deep stream and hedge bordered the north side of this fine thoroughfare. The level crossing is reached, the gates are open, and we now cross over and reach the Dean's Walk. Before us, northward, rise two roads -- Pennington's Hill and School Ann Hill; the latter closed to the public, and overlooked by gatekeeper's house to the right. On walking along the Dean's Walk for about one hundred yards, we stop, turn southward, and coming to the end of Waring's field, we mount a ditch, pass the turnstile at its summit, and keeping along the pathway we arrive at a number of steps, up which we climb, and now find ourselves overlooking the Lisburn Cricket Ground.


The Lisburn Cricket Club was in the fifties one of the leading clubs in Ulster, and acknowledged at that time no superior. The N.I.C.C. was its principal rival. Later, in the sixties and seventies, Belfast, Armagh, Waringstown, and Comber furnished elevens equal to Lisburn's best.

A crisis in the history of the club occurred in 1884, just prior to the Wallace Park being handed over to the town. Some misunderstanding having arisen in the matter of the terms of Sir Richard Wallace's offer, caused a great divergence of opinion in Lisburn, and some of the Town Council of that day were in favour of voting a refusal to accept the gift of the Park unless the cricket field was included.

Sir Richard Wallace was petitioned. His agent, Mr. Capron, waited on by deputation in London, and every legitimate means was employed to influence opinion and retain the ground. The four granite boundary stones show how successful these efforts were, and to-day the wisdom of excluding the cricket ground is almost universally admitted.

In the years 1858-1862 the names of T. R. and Walter Stannus, Captain Clements, and C. K. Cordner appear prominently. Ten years later and after appear the names of H. Manley, Richardson, J. N. R. Pim, Clarke, C. H. M'Call, A. and W. T. Finlay, Mack, Robert and William Bannister, Stevenson, J. R. Bristow, Bedford, Smyth, Preston, M'Clure, Harlin, Mussen, O'Flaherty, D. E. Henning, Vint, Major Cowan, Moeran, Donnelly, G. Coombe, Meehan, and others.

For many years no protection from weather existed on the field but the trees. Only during matches was a tent used. Later a small house was built on the North side of the field, which remained till 1885. The present pavilion was designed by Mr. Geo. Sands and built by Mr. Aaron Sinclair. It was improved and enlarged somewhat in 1887, and repairs have been made of later date.

A goodly number of the players of the past decade were still available, and these, with the addition of A. D. White, Woods, Irvine, Stevenson, M'Comb, H. Stevenson, H. and H. W. Major, Mearns, Hull, Bullick, Ffennell, Alister, and J. Hale, maintained the club's reputation in 1896.

In the year 1898 a second eleven was formed, in which we see the following players:-- J. F. Robinson, C. B. Ffennell, J. Jackson, H. Nelson, E. T. S. Wilson, J. G. Wilson, J. A. M'Cloy, J. M'Culloch, E. Alister, D. B. Simpson; and later, B. Nelson, R. B. Belfridge, J. Kinkead, G. and L. Stevenson, S. R. M'Clintock, V. Thompson, and M. Stevenson.

Second eleven in 1903 -- S. B. Rentoul, H. Whitfield, W. H. Wilson, W. Crane, E. Wilson, J. Wilson, H. D. Kerr, H. J. Barclay, W. Mussen, J. Crane, E. T. S. Wilson.

Second eleven in 1906 -- J. Ellis, F. J. Clarke, D. G. Loughrey, E. E. Wilson, R. C. Bannister, W. A. Mussen, E. T. S. Wilson, W. Megran, R. L. Sinclair, J. H. Crane, R. J. Barclay.

Lisburn Cricket Captains -- 1878, Cordner; 1881-82, R. Bannister; 1883, D. E. Henning; 1884, F. Waring; 1885, G. Waddell (107 members); 1886, captain elected by ballot of members of team present (143 members); 1887-1892, H. W. Major; 1893, G. Mearns; 1894, B. R. F. Bedford; 1895, J. A. Woods; 1896, D. E. Henning; 1897, J. Stevenson; 1898-1901, J. I. Peacocke; 1902-03, J. A. Woods; 1904-05, J. A. M'Cloy; 1906-07, J. J. Carland; 1908-10, E. T. S. Wilson.

Vice-captains -- 1899-1900, H. Stevenson; 1901-05, W. H. M'Comb; 1906-08, H. M'Dowell; 1909-10, W, A. Mussen.

Second Eleven Captains -- 1900, J. F. Robinson; 1901-05, E. T. S. Wilson; 1906, J. Ellis; 1907-06, J. Barclay; 1909, C. O. Hobson; 1910, R. N. Stevenson.

(Next Week: Rugby Football.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 6 September 1918 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week for several years. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)