Larne Gun-Running...continued

Report from The Belfast Evening Telegraph, April 25th, 1914

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“Is Bangor going to be taken?” asked a visitor to the popular County Down resort, as he observed that the town was literally flooded with Ulster Volunteers at an early hour this morning.

The reply of a member of the force who overheard, the remark was prompt and very much to the point. “Bangor’s tuk” he said, and while his answer was not in the best of English, it was none the less literally true.

In connection with the general mobilisation test troops poured into the town during Friday evening—the motor sections of the force being particularly strongly in evidence—until the appearance which the place presented was truly suggestive of a siege.

Cordons were drawn across the various thoroughfares leading into the town, and after the hour of midnight he who wished to get through in either direction would have found it impossible to do so without the required pass-word.

It was evident that there was “something in the wind,” and, having regard to recent events, it was little wonder that the subject of gun-running suggested itself to those who were not actually “in the know,” and, as was subsequently proved, the conjecture was correct.

The Volunteers held the town which during the period of the operations was completely isolated, telegraphically and otherwise, so that the authorities of the Crown were placed at such a disadvantage that any interference on their part could only prove abortive.

A brisk look-out was maintained along the coastline of the district, and in the town thoroughfares abutting on the shore, which roadways, it might be added, were lined with hundreds of motor vehicles of every description.

Throughout the night vigilance was maintained, the force in the vicinity of the harbour being particularly numerous, and so complete were the arrangements generally, that any Government, or other spy would have stood little chance of having his mission accomplished.

As the period of darkness slipped away, the eventful hour drew nigh; and just as the grey dawn was breaking in the eastern sky, the patient vigil so patiently and efficiently kept, was rewarded by the sight of the expected vessel speeding towards the port.

In a comparatively brief period the ship was safely moored along side the new pier, where everything was in readiness for her reception, special plant for discharging operations and a good supply of coal for the replenishment of her bunkers.

The scene from this period was one of extreme animation. It was a sight of wonderful impressiveness long to be remembered. Expert drivers were in charge of the big crowd of motor cars awaiting their cargoes of “goods.” Those bound for the country districts were first to receive attention, and as each was laden with its consignment of arms and ammunition it dashed straight away at high speed for its destination, accompanied by an escort of Volunteers.

In the meantime a special guard was on duty at the Coastguard Station as a precaution against any interference from that quarter, and everything was carried out with both order and despatch, the many thousands of rifles dealt with having ere most business men are awake found their way in many cases to the most remote regions of the county. Altogether the movement was a complete success, and the scenes—such as occur at but rare intervals in the history of a European country—were such as almost to baffle description. They served, however, to demonstrate unmistakably the veracity of that Volunteer’s remark, “Bangor’s tuk,” a remark which might at the present time be extended in its application so as to include the entire Province of Ulster.

As indicative of the readiness of the men of the Ulster Volunteers to undertake any task in the interests of the cause they hold so dear, it might be mentioned that when four firemen were ordered to leave the gun-running vessel at Bangor in consequence of what was considered an exorbitant demand for an increase in their already enhanced pay, their places in the stokehole were promptly taken by sturdy men of the force, who sailed with the vessel from the port.

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