THE MOBILISATION OF THE ULSTER VOLUNTEER FORCE
Report from The Belfast Evening Telegraph, April 25th, 1914
There was considerable excitement in Armagh on Friday night, when orders were given for the mobilisation of all the local companies of the Ulster Volunteer Force. The companies present were Armagh, Lisnadill, Killeen, Milford, and Drumgaw, and as the men swung past in marching order they presented a fine appearance. The place of assembly was the demesne, and after going through some preliminary orders the different companies marched to surrounding districts, where they engaged in skirmishing operations all night, and finished up at five o’clock this morning. The test was a pretty severe one and was carried out satisfactorily. The local signalling and despatch riding corps carried out a special programme. The movements of the Volunteers are being watched with keen interest in the city and country. The local police force are also keeping an eye on these operations, doubtless with the object of reporting matters to Dublin Castle.
The Ballymoney Company of the 2nd Battalion of the North Antrim Regiment of Ulster Volunteers, was mobilised last night at nine o’clock, and remained on patrol duty until early this morning. There was a large muster of the men, notwithstanding that a strong section was at camp at Lissanoure.
J. B. Hamilton, and Messrs. Jamison, Mullolland, Pollock, and Taylor were in charge of the different sections and squads. The manoeuvres excited much interest among the townspeople.
In common with other centres throughout Ulster, there was on Friday night a mobilisation of the Ulster Volunteer Force in Ballymena and district.
The situation of Ballymena and district in the event of military movements is one of the utmost importance, being in the centre of the prosperous County of Antrim, with main roads branching in every direction to populous and prosperous parts of Ulster.
In the town the members of the U.V.F. have reached a high state of efficiency. The splendid training they have received, combined with their fine new equipment, emphasises the capacity of the local Volunteers as a force that can be depended upon to acquit itself with the utmost credit in any eventuality that may arise. The Ballymena Horse, which has been organised under the command of Captain the Honourable Arthur E. B. O’Neill, M.P., with the assistance of Sergeant James M’Ilroy, has also attained to a state of perfection, and the turn-out of this well-mounted troop on Friday night was much admired. During the evening there was much activity in Volunteer centres in the town and district, and notwithstanding the rather unfavourable weather of the evening, the men turned out splendidly, fully equipped and ready for the night’s operation. The Volunteers that mobilised were headed by the Ballymena Horse, and their operations were smartly carried out.
During the night the passage through the town of the large fleet of motor-cars, numbering well over 100, concerned in the Ulster mobilisation was a subject of much interest. The Ballymena Volunteers carried out their important duties in connection with the general scheme, and were engaged until an early hour this morning.
On Friday night manoeuvres were carried out by the Ulster Volunteer Force at Ballynahinch. There was a large number paraded at eight o’clock, and afterwards a series of night movements were carried out by signalling detachments, cycling scouts, and despatch bearers, whilst patrol bodies were on the move in every direction. Keeping up a line of communications throughout the night over a great extent of country. Each man wearing his haversack and great coat, and carrying his supply of rations. There was an assembly of the staff nurses who answered the roll call, and were afterwards dismissed by the officer on duty.
The 1st Battalion of the West Down Regiment of the Ulster Volunteer Force mobilised at the respective companies’ quarters in Banbridge and district last night at nine o’clock, as the result of official orders from headquarters. Every available member of the force turned out, numbering about 700, each supplied with sufficient rations for 24 hours’ duty. Each company was sent route marching and patrolling the districts, meeting companies and patrols from surrounding centres. The Banbridge companies arrived in town about half-past eleven o’clock, and assembled at Church Square, where Captain Holt Waring took charge, and, addressing the battalion, complimented them on the splendid turnout of the several companies. The respective companies subsequently, in charge of the company commanders, proceeded to their respective quarters and awaited the receipt of official orders for dismissal, which were received at five o’clock this morning. The orders for dismissal were then given, and the companies retired.