A Frozen Spring (relaunched version)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by IanBertram, Feb 17, 2012.

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  1. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

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    My initial aim in devising this ATL was to put German troops into an occupied Tyneside during the severe winter of 1947. This arose out of some short stories I was working on set in that same milieu. I have had at least two attempts including one of those periodic “what if Sealion had succeeded” posts that so annoy people! Since then I have read many of the already published timelines here and elsewhere and come to the conclusion that the only way to get German troops in Newcastle in 1947 is for them to have been invited in. Any change that provided Germany with enough resources to enable Sealion to go ahead successfully would in all probability have led to such a different WWll that Sealion simply wouldn’t arise.

    Inviting Germany in requires major changes in the UK and almost certainly means keeping the UK out of the War. I had already settled on a Fascist Britain before stumbling across a scary thread from 1992 on shw-i looking at a similar theme, although in this case it arose before the Nazis. I wanted to have Nazi Germany in all its repulsiveness and in action on Tyneside during that winter.

    This ATL would have serious implications for me – I probably wouldn’t exist! I was born in 1946 on Tyneside, my father served in North Africa, an Uncle was at D-Day and my grandfather was at the Somme and Passchendaele, all of which will turn out rather differently as this ATL develops. So – onwards…

    The basic premise is generally drawn from George Dangerfield’s book, ‘The Strange Death of Liberal England’, in which he argues that: four great rebellions before the Great War effectively destroyed the Liberal Party as a party of government. These rebellions were the Conservative Party’s fight against the Parliament Act 1911; the threat of civil war in Ireland by the Ulster Unionists under Sir Edward Carson with the encouragement of Conservative leader Andrew Bonar Law; the Suffragette movement under the Pankhursts; and the increasingly militant trade unions under the influence of syndicalism.

    According to Dangerfield events were building to a major crisis in 1914, which was only prevented by the outbreak of war. In this ATL, I want to explore what might have happened if the impact of these inter-related factors had been just that little worse, starting in 1910 in the period of the 'Great Unrest' between 1900 and 1914, and specifically with the Tonypandy Miners Strike of 1910. In OTL, although troops were called in and used, no deaths ensured. What if however, things had gone badly? A major loss of life in this strike would have a knock on effect throughout the remaining time up to the outbreak of WW1. Even in OTL this period saw a huge increase in the numbers of people involved in strikes and in Trades Union membership.

    Events move on from there to take in the Llanelli strike of 1911, where in OTL two men were shot by the army, the Liverpool Transport Strike of 1911, where again 2 men died and on through a whole series of strikes. Add to this the Home Rule crisis, an increasingly militant suffrage movement and as importantly links between these movements via increasingly active syndicalist and socialist groups and things have the potential to turn very nasty, very quickly.

    I intend to structure the TL as if it was a documentary history of the period. Each post will be in the form of a letter, diary entry, official report from the period or perhaps a historic analysis of events looking back from a later time period. This means that there may be contradictions between items – no one sees the same event in the same way – in terms of what actually happened or in terms of how significant they might be.

    I have the first post about ready so that will follow quite quickly. Any first thoughts on the overall TL would be welcome however. I will say however that I'm still not sure about the jackboots on Tyneside theme - that may be expecting too much. I'm still aiming to end the TL around 1947 though.
     
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  2. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

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    Tonypandy 1910

    Journal of the Scottish Association of Socialist History
    Vol 4, No 3 Summer 1968, Edinburgh

    Extract from: The Workers' Martyrs of the Great Unrest 1910 - 1914
    David McKenzie, Department of History, University of Dumfries

    Tonypandy, 1910
    Following a dispute over the pace of work on a new seam, miners at the Ely Colliery in Tonypandy were locked out by the owners. In response, the South Wales Miners Federation balloted its members and by 1 November 12,000 men were on strike across Glamorgan, in all the pits operated by the Cambrian Combine. In an attempt to break the strike, the owners brought in strike breakers under the protection of police from both the local force and from elsewhere in South Wales and from Bristol.

    The presence of so many extra police not surprisingly led to an increased level of picketing by the locked out miners and several skirmishes between miners and police in which the police were hard pressed to hold their own.. By 6th September the local Chief Constable, Capt.Lionel Lindsay, had become so concerned that he telegraphed the War Office to ask for support from the Military. The Home Secretary, Winston Churchill on hearing of the request authorised the sending of an additional 500 officers from the Metropolitan Police, together with a company from the Lancashire Fusiliers and a squadron of the 18th Hussars. The troops were not deployed immediately but held in reserve in Cardiff. The Home Secretary also sent a personal message to the strikers - 'We are holding back the soldiers for the present and sending only police but should the disturbances continue, be aware they will be committed.'

    On 7th September a major clash erupted between police and strikers in the Town Square of Tonypandy with many injuries on both sides and serious damage to property, with particular attention being given to businesses operated by directors of the Combine. The level of violence so alarmed Capt. Lindsay that he again telegraphed the Home Secretary demanding that the military be committed immediately. Early on the morning of 8th September, Col. Currey in Cardiff was authorised to dispatch troops in support of the civil powers. The Hussars were sent immediately to patrol the various mining communities in the area. They patrolled throughout the day without incident, but on returning to their quarters in the evening one contingent came to the village of Porth just as a disturbance was breaking out. They intervened and dispersed the crowd by repeated charges, leading to several injuries to strikers. Eventually the Hussars were supported by a contingent from the Metropolitan Police, who drove the crowd from the streets with baton charges. By the end of the day five strikers and two policemen were dead, with many injuries on both sides.

    News of the deaths spread rapidly and on the 8th September a huge gathering of strikers gathered in the Town Square of Tonypandy where they were addressed by speakers from the South Wales Miners' Federation and from other unions in Liverpool and Manchester. As the speeches continued the crowd became aware that they were being surrounded by troops and police. Groups of strikers approached the police and troops angrily calling out to them that they too were sons of working men, that the rich ordered one set of workers to kill another. The police stood firm, but as the crowd moved towards the troops, a shot rang out from the Fusiliers and Thomas Jones a miner in the front rank of the crowd fell dead. The anger of the crowd, already high, reached a new pitch and they continued to press forward, despite a further ragged volley of shots, rapidly overrunning the troops and in their fury wresting from many of them the guns that had just killed their comrades. The order was immediately given for the troops to withdraw, which they did with some difficulty, before into the mel[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]éé[/FONT] charged a group of horsemen of the Hussars. Many strikers were cut down as the cavalry rode through the crowd of strikers before continuing without pause into the larger crowd of men, women and children behind them. As the screams of the crowd rose, the men of the Metropolitan Police looked on in horror.

    The Hussars, having ridden through the crowd, regrouped to return. Before they had the chance to do so, some of the watching police broke ranks and ran into the crowd, attempting to give aid to the dead, dying and injured. Witness reports given to the 1912 Inquiry, record one officer standing up with the body of a small boy in his arms and screaming incoherently at the impassive Hussars. The officer in charge of the Met Police contingent, Inspector James Parnell, observing the scene before him rapidly ordered some of his men to place themselves between the cavalry and the crowd while the rest were detailed to give aid to the injured. A sergeant was despatched to seek medical help and to report back on the situation to the Chief Constable and to the Metropolitan Commissioner of Police in London. For the time being, the threat of further disorder was gone as dazed men and women moved among the dozens of bodies looking for family and friends.

    A nearby school was requisitioned as a field hospital, while bodies were taken to the adjoining chapel, which became a mortuary. By the next morning the death toll was clear. In addition to Jones, four more men had died from gunshot wounds, while two more remained gravely ill. A further eight had died from injuries received inflicted by the charge of the Hussars, either from sabre cuts or from being trampled by the horses. Only two of these were men, of the remainder, three were women and three were children of 9, 7 and 5 years of age. One family was completely dead, with grandfather, son, his wife and son all lying in the mortuary. A further 15 were seriously injured. The number of minor injuries were unknown as many had left the area without seeking treatment for fear of being arrested.
    The news of the death of 13 men, women and children at the hands of the army rapidly spread around the kingdom. Riots broke out in several towns as working men gathered to protest what were widely seen as murders. As unrest spread, the King cabled the Home Secretary saying

    Accounts from across the Kingdom suggest that the situation is more like revolution than strike actions.

    It was not to end in Tonypandy.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
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  3. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

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    Some background

    Digging into the history of this period has thrown up some really surprising stories. I had always believed the stories of Churchill sending troops against striking miners to be a myth, but in fact troops were regularly used in times of civil disorder - Featherstone in 1893, Tonypandy 1910, Llanelli, Carlisle, Derby, Liverpool, Darlington, Chesterfield, Burton on Trent and many other places in 1911 alone. Many of these incidents led to loss of life.

    After the war I knew about 'Red Clydeside' but news to me was the Limerick Soviet!

    I see lots of opportunities not just to exacerbate the situation just pre and post WW1 but also to intertwine the threads identified by Dangerfield that I quoted in my first post. How about an Irish suffragette involved in anti-vivisection rioting in London in 1907? That happened (the so-called Brown Dog Riots)?
     
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  4. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

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    Stikers attitudes to police and military

    Reading more on this period, it looks more and more as if the scenario I posted would be moderately unlikely. Almost all of the accounts refer to relationships with the troops in the area as being quite good - the usual football matches etc - while there was real resentment about the behaviour of police from Bristol and Cardiff.

    In addition the selection of Major General Macready to command the troops in S Wales seems to have been a good one - he seems to have been scrupulously fair in his dealings with business owners and strikers alike, which in the prevailing conditions of the time probably made him appear to favour the workers.

    In this and later events, it appears to have been the troops who kept their heads, with local commanders ignoring demands from magistrates and others to open fire.

    Fort the Tonypandy scenario to pan out it looks as if Macready will have to be taken out of the picture and replaced by someone much more gung ho. This has significant implications, since he went on to take over in Ireland after the Rising and also became Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. I think I'm going to give him a riding accident that puts him temporarily out of action, otherwise the butterflies get too great.
     
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  5. Macragge1 Banned

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    This has clearly been extremely well researched and written and I'm watching it with keen interest.

    It would seem that Newcastle often suffers on this board...
     
  6. Gregg Praying for Mazda

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    There were, as you say, good relations between workers and soldiers that often kept things from boiling over throughout the period (even as late as the general strike). More than that, certainly the Liberal government before the war, the coalition during, and even the Tories afterwards, frequently made concessions that kept things from escalating. For instance, the government's response to the mass rent strikes in Clydeside in 1915 was to freeze rents. Things changed somewhat after the war and I have always there was the potential for sharper conflict then had some different, more hardline personalities been in government - certainly, had Britain lost, I think we'd have seen revolution and counter-revolution. Clydeside was a frontline again, with strikes in January 1919 to demand a reduction in the working week from 60 hours to 40 hours (so that the return of the soldiers from the war didn't lead to mass unemployment) spreading throughout Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire. The government sincerely believed that this was the start of a Soviet revolution in Scotland, and sent English troops in (Willie Gallacher, Manny Shinwell and others were imprisoned for inciting riots). The strikers ultimately backed down and compromise was reached which limited the working week to 48 hours.

    But perhaps what you really need is paramilitary action against the strikers in 1910 - maybe after an initial escalation between strikers and military. A British version of the freikorps, lacking the responsible central authority to pull things back when it looks like they might become extremely bloody, and without the on-site leadership that is scrupulously fair to both sides. And there's plenty of potential for that - Tory peers such as Willoughby de Brooke (a very potent proto-fascist of the era) advocated violent resistance against Home Rule not just for the purpose of stopping Home Rule itself, but as a way to "stiffen the sinews" of the British people against decadence and revolutionary politics, and convince the rest of the world that Britain could still fight. Different leadership, fewer concessions, and patriotic militants getting involved, could perhaps all escalate the conflict.

    As a sidenote, I think the initial goal of jackboots on Tyneside could be reached by a POD as late as 1940: Halifax replacing Chamberlain instead of Churchill and making peace with Hitler. Germany achieves hegemony on the continent and defeats Russia (at least driving the Soviet government far to the East), while Britain has to accept the Nazi terms for peace and start expelling political refugees from occupied countries, and then Jews. Germany will demand the ability to monitor British development to make sure we aren't preparing to attack them again. The anti-fascist movement will continue to grow at home, as will fascism - and the Nazis will demand the suppression of the former and at least tolerance of the latter. I can well imagine anti-fascists targetting German-bound cargo ships docked in Tyneside, and the government bowing to pressure from Germany to allow their troops in to protect German shipping.
     
  7. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    Not without ASB intervention, Halifax was an appeaser not a quisling and if Britain's out the war the Germans will do worse against the Soviets if anything.
     
  8. Gregg Praying for Mazda

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    There were comparatively few Quislings - bearing in mind Qusling actually passed state secrets to the Germans to facilitate their invasion - but plenty of people who simply started out making peace with Germany, and ended up becoming their puppets. Hungary comes to mind, and the gradual devolution of the Vichy regime.

    Furthermore, I imagine Halifax resigning after not too long, and being replaced by Hoare - who would be a much more willing collaborator.

    Really? Battle mechanics aren't my thing, but it would now be a war on only one front, and without Britain (and therefore, probably without America) supplying the Russian side.
     
  9. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

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    Thanks for the comments

    Thanks everyone for the comments, I was beginning to think I was talking to myself!

    I was born in Gateshead (which you so conveniently nuked in your P&S TL) about the time this one is projected to end. I started with the idea and after various false starts I'm now settled on this POD.

    I'm moving that way, but post war - the intervention in Russia, the Battle of George Square, Liverpool police strikes etc, all building on increasing discontent before the war that continues to fester over the war period. Throw in an alt-Curragh mutiny, a very nasty Rising in Ireland, collaboration between Irish, workers and suffragists in various ways and I think by the time of the General Strike, perhaps even earlier, you have the beginning of political breakdown that brings in the fascists in England. I'm expecting extra problems in Scotland and Wales and the situation in Ireland will also be causing major problems for the government.

    A British fascist government does not have to be pro-German but anti-German strikes on the docks might be a good thing to throw into the mix...

    ...

    In relation to Macready, it may best serve my purpose by making him much less effective in this TL than he actually was. This then offers the chance for him to screw up South Wales, Ireland AND the Met.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  10. Gregg Praying for Mazda

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    I did mean to reply to this thread a few days ago, but got distracted reviewig the pre-WWI fascist streams in British politics. There were some really vile nutters around, mostly in the House of Lords.
     
  11. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

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    House of Lords

    I may have misheard, but I think a de Broke is mixed up in opposition to the idea of Scottish independence at the moment. I'm assuming same family.
     
  12. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    I wouldn't compare the UK to Hungary or Vichy, Halifax would be negotiating in a much more powerful position.

    On the other hand, Stalin wouldn't be blind to the attack this time, which is a much greater help in the short term.
     
  13. Weaver Well-Known Member

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    How could Hoare be a German puppet? Wasn't he Jewish?
     
  14. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

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    Hoare

    Hoare was descended from Quakers, so not Jewish, but equally I don't see him as a collaborator,l although he was clearly willing to go a long way to secure a deal - Hoare-Laval pact, his dealings with Franco for example.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  15. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

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    Still working on this

    I'm still doing some research on this so the next post in the thread will be a few days away. The period up to 1916 is so critical in my view to the rest of the century that I need to spend some time getting the interactions between the factors straight. I identified Irish Nationalism, Womens' suffrage and increased syndicalist influence on working class trades unionism, but I need to add to that the constitutional issues caused by Conservative resistance to Home Rule and how this might have panned out in terms of the future of the House of Lords. The Parliament Act provided for effective replacement of the Lords with an elected body at a date to be determined, so if this went ahead who knows how things would have ended up.

    I'm now in process of building a huge combined timeline of what did happen so that I can plot the divergences against it. A few vignettes suggest themselves already however - the story that Hitler was in Liverpool in 1912 offers some interesting possibilities for example!
     
  16. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

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    CONFIDENTIAL ENQUIRY INTO THE RECENT DISTURBANCES
    *
    Summary of Report by V Kell (Capt)
    *
    To the Right Hon WINSTON S. CHURCHILL M.P. (Home Secretary)

    1. I was asked by you on 17th November “to examine available intelligence on the disturbances that occurred in 1910 and 1911, to identify any evidence of subversive activity and to make recommendations for legislative or other actions that might be taken to counter any such activity. I was asked to complete my work and issue a report within a period of one month. It has not, however, been found possible to carry out a full enquiry and submit a report in less than five weeks from the initial instruction. Whilst the limitation of time has to some extent narrowed the scope of the enquiry, it has also operated as a stimulus to everyone concerned to carry out the work with the utmost despatch compatible with efficiency.
    2. A digest of intelligence reports garnered from informers and other sources is attached as an Appendix. These reports show that there is a strong feeling of patriotism on the part of employers throughout the country and they are determined to help the State in its present crisis. Feelings of a revolutionary character are not entertained by the bulk of the men, but there is a significant minority about whom this cannot be said. While the majority of the workmen are sensible of the national difficulties, especially in the period of trial and stress through which we are now passing, the seditious minority has a loud voice and can in the right circumstances prove very persuasive of men caught up in the tumult of a strike or otherwise in straightened circumstances.
    3. There is also significant evidence of a degree of cooperation between these seditious elements, such that while at this stage it does not appear that there is a single guiding hand behind the totality of the disturbances, there is sufficient communication between them, to give cause for concern that such a central figure may yet emerge. Insofar as a significant cause can be identified, it lies in the pernicious growth of that doctrine sometimes called Syndicalism, but in more common parlance as Communism or Anarchism.
    4. At a very early stage in my investigations it was forcibly borne in upon me that the question of food prices was also an important cause of unrest. The high prices of staple commodities have undoubtedly laid a severe strain upon the majority of the working classes, and in some instances have resulted in hardship and actual privation. While it is no doubt true that in some industries wages have risen to such an extent as largely to compensate for the increased cost of living, but there are workers whose wages have been raised very slightly, if at all, and some whose earnings have actually diminished, and on these the high food prices have borne heavily. Joined to the sense of actual hardship, there is undoubtedly a deep-seated conviction in the minds of the working classes that the prices of food have risen not only through scarcity, but as the result of manipulation of prices by unscrupulous producers and traders, who, it is alleged, owing to lack of courageous action on the part of the Government, have succeeded in making fabulous profits at the expense of the consumers. It is this last perception that is feeding the growth in Communistic tendencies among working men and which is so dangerous.
    5. I present in Section I a chronological digest of events as they unfolded, incorporating conclusions drawn ex post from intelligence reports. Section II contains my recommendations for further action.
    Section I
    Chronological Digest of Events

    1. Despite the prominence of the recent disturbances in Wales and Liverpool, the problems appear to have much earlier roots. The revolution in Russia of 1905 gave hope to many whose cause had up till then been flagging. The large scale disturbances in Belfast in 1907 were perhaps the first inkling that those ideas were beginning to gain sympathy in these Isles. It is well known that prime movers in those disturbances were two admitted Communists, Tom Mann and Ben Tillet. In these two men, together with the persons of James Larkin and James Connolly we begin also to see a worrying coming together of Fenian and Socialist agitation.
    2. We have no evidence of any such agitators being involved in the earliest of the 1910 disturbances at Tonypandy. The situation that led to the unfortunate deaths was certainly exacerbated by a degree of indiscipline on the part of the troops that in turn resulted from a lack of firm leadership from officers. The first shot seems to have been an accidental discharge of his weapon by one soldier. The reaction of the crowd to this led the rest of the party to fear for their lives and to open fire without explicit orders. Despite this they were still overrun by the rioters, whereupon the local commander had no option but to order the squadron of Hussars forward. Here was another failure. The men were equipped with batons in addition to their normal sabres and carbines, but in the absence of specific orders they used that with which they were most familiar, their sabres. In addition, because the crowd were pressing hard upon the rioters, the Hussars were unable to rein in their mounts in time to avoid riding into that larger gathering, leading to the further deaths of women and children. The men behaved in an exemplary fashion however and all of the deaths of women and children bar one were the result of injuries sustained in the mêlée and not deliberate action.
    3. The exception is one woman who was shot. There were no women in the first group that attacked the infantrymen and it is believed that her injuries were caused by a round passing unhindered through the front ranks of men into the crowd close behind. No specific blame can however be laid to the men who fired and caused this unhappy event, since she was present of her own volition at a riotous gathering.
    4. The rifles taken from the soldiers when they were overrun have not been recovered, despite the best endeavours of the local police, supplemented by officers from Scotland Yard who have carried out numerous searches in the area. In the light of later events, which I describe further below, this remains an area of urgent concern.
    5. Following the events in Tonypandy, sporadic violence continued for several weeks across South Wales, requiring troops to be used on at least eleven separate occasions. On three of these it became necessary to open fire. The first of these was in Tredegar, following a night of violence when numerous businesses were looted. A party of soldiers came upon a group of men attempting to break into a local quarry yard. Being aware of the likely presence of explosives, the officer in charge gave orders to open fire. One man was killed immediately, whereupon the rest fled. No attempt was made to pursue, but a runner was sent immediately to the local HQ to advise of what had happened, while the men secured the yard against further attempts at theft.
    6. Initially the violence in Tredegar was directed at premises of Jewish pawnbrokers et cetera who had provided monies during the strike. It seems that some of the less intelligent of the rioters had taken to themselves the idea that if the businesses were burnt out, they would not have to repay what they owned. As the night progressed however the violence became apparently more indiscriminate, but it should be noted that amongst the businesses attacked were those owned by local agents of mine owners and other dignitaries such as magistrates. Troops had cause to open fire on two further occasions that same night, without further fatalities. Fortunately local press owners were sympathetic to requests not to publish information on either the stolen rifles or the attempted theft of explosives so this has not become generally known in the area. It would be advisable to look at ways in which these matters might be dealt with more expeditiously in future.
    7. Later intelligence points to the presence in the area of two or three men variously described as 'not local', 'foreign' or 'Irish' who spoke at several meetings of strikers and other workers using language that can only be described as seditious, including incitement to 'attack the bosses'. Despite the most strenuous inquiries, these men remain at large. They may have had Fenian or Socialist ends, or they may have been agents of Germany desirous of sowing the seeds of unrest for the future. On the information currently available no further conclusions can be drawn as to their origins.
    8. Disturbances continued throughout 1910 mainly across the North of England and in Scotland, while the Welsh miners strike continued until in 1911. Many of these strikes involved large numbers of workers, but most were settled quickly. Troops were used again in Wales to quell disturbances, but largely because of their ready availability than strict necessity. The main concern is that existing union leaders were often caught unawares by these wildcat strikes and the leaders who emerged appeared to have strong Communist leanings.
    9. At the beginning of 1911 matters however took a severe turn for the worse. The Communist inspired, so-called 'Reform Committee' had already resolved in 1910 to try to gain control of, and then to administer, all industry and in pursuit of this objective began fomenting strikes wherever possible. Sympathisers of this creed had been active in many disputes already, including the Belfast Dock strike of 1907. Known associates of Mann and Tillett were active in Llanelly and many other locations, while Mann himself played a large part in the railway strikes of 1911 and especially in the major disturbances in Liverpool. In South Wales the miners' strike reached a bloody conclusion. It cannot be a coincidence that these people, who regularly professed themselves to be against any central authority, used their influence to undermine the respectable leadership of the unions as much as the authority of Government.
    10. The main centre of dissent was in Liverpool, but intelligence reports indicate that was the culmination of a deliberate campaign of subversive activity amongst workers in a wide range of industries over the year. The year opened with a strike by ship-repairers working in Liverpool. Mann and Tillett were openly instrumental in fomenting this strike. Like-motivated agitators were at work in Glasgow in March, when perhaps 12000 workers in the Singer Sewing Machine Company began a long strike and in Bermondsey when a coordinated strike was called amongst food workers across a dozen or so separate factories. In May seamen began to take action in numerous ports across the country soon supported by dockworkers and railway workers. Further strikes took place of engineering and transport workers on at least a dozen occasions between May and August.
    11. The cumulative effect of these strikes, almost always accompanied by civil disorder, was to stretch the capacity of local police forces to the limit. In many cases, Chief Constables have reported that they had serious doubts of their ability to maintain order and were often concerned that police officers may be unwilling to intervene in industrial disputes affecting their own locality, even when those disputes had led to major outbreaks of disorder, rioting and worse.
    12. By August of 1911, the country was perhaps as close in some localities as it has been for many years to a revolutionary situation. I was not asked to consider the implications for civil disorder of the growing tensions in Ireland between the Orange and Republican factions , but available intelligence leads me to believe that this may yet become a factor on the mainland. Sectarian disputes broke out in Liverpool and in Glasgow over the year. Those in Liverpool only ceased when the combatants found common cause in the strike that almost entirely closed down the City and led to the dispatch of a large force of troops.
    13. The situation deteriorated rapidly, leading the Lord Mayor and Chief Magistrate to issue a warning to citizens to keep off the streets as much as possible for their own safety.
      ‘Large numbers of persons have assembled in the disturbed streets for the purpose of seeing what is going on, and I warn all such persons that if the Authorities are called upon to act, innocent citizens are likely to be injured as those against whom any drastic measures on the part of the Police or the Military are directed.’
    14. In the end some 4000 troops including both infantrymen and cavalry were dispatched to the City together with some 500 additional police officers from the surrounding areas. In addition HMS Antrim was stationed in the harbour with other naval units held on standby in Douglas.
    15. Despite this massive display of force it took some time before control over the city could be reasserted. Relationships between police and the military were not good and on more than one occasion, precipitate action by the police created situations of such disorder that the intervention of the army was needed to take control. Although deaths did not reach such a level as Tonypandy, this was not by design and for several days the City was on a knife edge between peace and major disorder that could have caused serious loss of life and major damage to property. Those deaths that did occur were amongst Catholic members of the population and their funerals offered a great opportunity amongst local Republican groups to drum up support for their colleagues in Ireland, so offering yet another opportunity for Fenian and Socialist agitators to make common cause.
    16. Unrest also flared up afresh in South Wales, this time in Llanelly, where strikers besieged the railway station. All movement of rail traffic to Ireland on this important line was halted, just as tensions were growing between Orangemen and Fenians. Had it been necessary to ship major forces to Ireland this dispute would have been a serious hindrance. Similar stories of 'outsiders' speaking at meetings of the men and inciting them to violent action emerged as in Tonypandy. Given the importance of this line it is not impossible that the events here were indeed linked to the troubles in Ireland. Two men were killed when at one point it seemed likely that the police would entirely lose control. Aimed shots were directed at rioters and the rest dispersed. Later attempts were made to break into the arnoury of the local Yeomanry and four men were killed in an explosion when they broke into a railway wagon carrying explosives for the mines.
    17. Nationally the rail strike caused great disruption. Troops were dispatched to London, Carlisle, York, Darlington, Bishop Auckland, Hull, Goole, Chesterfield, Gloucester, Lincoln, Bristol, Glasgow, Southampton, Swansea, Manchester and Plymouth, while other lesser disturbances took place in other localities. Major damage was caused to railway property in several locations including Bristol, Chesterfield and Lincoln. Naval units were dispatched to several ports including Hull, Liverpool Glasgow and Southampton, while reserve ships were stationed in Douglas and at Barrow.
    18. In total, some 60,000 troops were dispatched, while four warships and eight other naval vessels were deployed. Such a call on the services of the military is unprecedented in the past century. If disturbances on the scale of those in Liverpool were to occur simultaneously in two or three other locations, then even with full mobilisation we would have difficulty in containing things. The recent rail strike, even though largely concentrated in the North, Scotland and South Wales greatly disrupted the movement of troops and police to areas of greatest need.
    19. Should conditions in Ireland also deteriorate, we could almost certainly have to call back units from abroad, so affecting our ability to respond militarily to an emergency elsewhere. It is certainly the case that our enemies both internal and external are as aware of this as we are and we must therefore to be ready to take the most severe action necessary to bring the country back to conditions of normality.
    Section II
    Recommendations
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
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  17. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Location:
    ...in my head
    Bibliography (so far)

    Anarcho-Syndicalism, Rudolf Rocker (6th Edn), AK Press, 2004
    British fascism 1918-39, Thomas Linehan, Manchester University Press, 2000
    Civilian Soldier 1914-1919, George Harbottle, Self published, 1981
    Election '45, Austin Mitchell, Fabian Society, 1995
    Military Intervention in Britain, Anthony Babington, Routledge, 1991
    Modern Ireland, Senia Paseta, Oxford University Press, 2003
    Mutiny, Tom Wintringham, Stanley Nott, 1936
    Northern Ireland, Marc Mulholland, Oxford University Press, 2002
    Occupied France, Collaboration and resistance 1940-1944, H R Kedward, Blackwell, 1985
    The Green Flag: a history of Irish Nationalism, Robert Kee, Penguin, 2000
    The Irish Civil War, Edward Purdon, Mercier Press, 2000
    The Political Police in Britain, Tony Bunyan, Julian Friedmann, 1967
    The Rising, Fearghal McGarry, Oxford, 2010
    The Strange Death of Liberal England, George Dangerfield, Serif, 1997
    The Ulster Crisis: resistance to Home Rule 1912-14, A T Q Stewart, Faber, 1967

    I still have to add lots of internet sources, and as the TL progresses there will be obviously more books.
     
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  18. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Location:
    ...in my head
    South Wales Chronicle
    March 14 1911

    Tonypandy Riots -Affecting evidence to Inquest

    The inquest into the deaths that occurred in the riots in Tonypandy of last year has just opened. On the first day, the Coroner heard evidence from Officers and serving men and also from relatives of the deceased.


    When called to the stand, the sad figure of Mr Hugh Edwards, a draper from Tonypandy was an affecting sight, his wife having been shot by troops in the Town Square of Tonypandy, and his son and grand-daughter grievously injured. By chance he was called to give evidence of the circumstances surrounding her death, immediately after the officer commanding the troops on that fateful day. His account was so baldly given and so graphic in its detail that one or two ladies in the public gallery had to be removed in great distress. There was such a marked difference between his accounts and that of Capt. Blenkinsopp immediately preceding him, that the Coroner asked him to confirm his statements on numerous occasions. The public gallery became so rowdy as he continued to speak that the Coroner had to call a halt for quiet on several occasions.

    Following is as faithful a rendering of his answers when questioned by the Coroner as can be made, so that readers can judge for themselves the veracity of his statements.

    C: What is your name and profession?
    E: My name is Hugh Edwards. I am a draper at 7 Town Square, Tonypandy.
    C: You also reside at that address?
    E: That is correct. My family have quarters immediately above the shop.
    C: How many people reside at that address?
    E: Myself, two sons and at the time of the incident my wife, Elizabeth.
    C: Please tell us what you were doing just before the death of your wife.
    E: Because of the meeting that was planned for that evening, we had stayed open a little later in the hope of getting a little business from the women we expected to be attending. At about 7.15 on that evening, we had just closed up. I was cashing up the small takings while my youngest son Hugh and my wife went to put up the shutters.
    C: Were you expecting trouble?
    E: Not from the meeting, but a few days earlier we had a window broken by a member of the police.
    C: What were the circumstances of that breakage?
    E: It was at about 5.00 of the evening. I was just locking up when a policemen appeared at the door demanding entry. He appeared to be in drink and was alone, so I thought it likely that this was not official business so I refused to open up.
    C: And what happened next?
    E: He swore at me with many oaths then knocked out a pane of glass from the door with his truncheon. I then told him to leave and that he was a disgrace to his uniform. He swore at me again but did leave.

    Cries of “Shameful” were heard from the gallery at this point.

    C: Did you recognise this officer?
    E: No sir, he was not a local man. I judged him from his uniform to be from Bristol.

    More noise erupted.

    C: So having regard to that incident you decided to close your shutters in future when the shop was closed?
    E: At that time we had no shutters, but my eldest son, George, made me some the next day.
    C: So, returning to the evening of your wife's death...

    At this point proceedings had to be halted to allow Mr Edwards to recover his composure. After a short break, the Coroner resumed his questions.

    C: I am sorry to put you to this Mr Edwards, but I am sure you realise we must delve to the bottom of this matter.
    E: I understand Sir.
    C: So, to return. What happened, while your wife and son were putting up the shutters.
    E: I heard a great commotion arising in the crowd. My wife called out to me “The soldiers are here, Hugh. Come and help us get these shutters up quickly.” Before I could around the counter to the door however, I heard the sound of shots banging into the wall of the shop.
    C: You are positive this was shots?
    E: Yes sir. I served in South Africa in the service of the late Queen and I am very familiar with the sound.

    Some laughter came at this aside in the gallery, whereupon the Coroner admonished them that this was not a laughing matter.

    C: What rank, Mr Edwards?
    E: Sergeant, Sir.

    Calls of “Good man” from the gallery.

    C: Thank you. Please go on.
    E: After the shots hit the building I heard my wife and son both call out. I rushed to the door and found my wife laying on the ground and my son on his knees beside her. “They've killed Ma”, he cried out as I came into the street. When I saw her, I knew that she was mortally wounded. She had blood all across her breast and shoulder and it was running in the street beneath her. She had been hit twice, once in the shoulder and the other through the heart.

    More cries from the gallery at this point, several women being overcome and sobbing.

    C: Where were the soldiers at this point?
    E: From the front of my shop, the meeting was directly opposite while the soldiers were on my right. The crowd had by them almost surrounded them and I heard further shots. I saw more men fall, then the soldiers disappeared in the crowd.
    C: Captain Blenkinsopp of the 18th Hussars in his evidence has said that the shots that killed your wife must have gone through the crowd without hitting anyone before striking her.
    E: No Sir. If shots had been aimed at the crowd, they would have to be an uncommonly bad shot or very neglectful of their duties for those shots to have hit my wife. They must have been aimed at her, Sir.

    The gallery again became very rowdy, with cat calls directed at the Captain of Hussars still sitting resplendent in his uniform in the body of the court, not yet having been released by the Coroner.

    C: Very well. Did you see anything after this point Mr Edwards?
    E: I was very distressed at the injuries to my wife, Sir, and was attempting to tend to her, so I was not paying close attention to events in the Square. However, I heard the soldiers ordered to fall back and then heard the sound of horses, followed by screams and shouts. I looked up to see the cavalrymen had ridden into the crowd of men who had surrounded the soldiers and were laying about with their sabres, although I think one or two were using batons.
    C: What happened next?
    A: The cavalry burst through the crowd of miners and hit the group of men and women and some children who had come for the meeting.
    C: Did they pull up at that point?
    E: No sir, they carried on full tilt.

    More rowdiness erupted, at which point the Coroner threatened to clear the court unless it ceased.

    C: Captain Blenkinsopp has said that the crowd of women and children was too close in upon the group attacking the soldiers for them to avoid riding into them.
    A: I have seen cavalry in action sir, and it was not necessary. From the outset they went at full tilt, which was not needed. A troop of men riding down upon you, even at a canter will shift the most hardened of civilians. Nor did they have to use their sabres, since they all had batons. Most of all Sir, there must have been 40 yards between the miners who had been fighting and the women and children behind them. They had plenty of room to turn aside, but they kept on riding straight at them in the main. I saw perhaps half a dozen pull up.
    C: One final question Mr Edwards. You say you have two sons. The youngest was by his mother's side when she was shot. Where was the eldest?
    A: He is a miner Sir and was on strike. He was standing with his wife and daughter when the cavalry attacked them.

    At this point Captain Blenkinsopp tried to offer a protest, but was silenced by the Coroner, saying “You will have your turn again Captain, for I am not finished with you yet”

    C: And were they injured?
    E: All three of them sir. My son had a broken leg, his wife a cut to her head and my grand-daughter was trampled under a horse. She lost both of her legs, Sir.

    The simple dignity of this humble draper as he delivered this statement finally overcame the normally impassive Coroner, who bowed his head for a moment before continuing.

    C: I think we will adjourn at that point until 10.00 tomorrow morning.

    The shocking descriptions of the events given by Mr Edwards had left many in the public gallery in tears, both men and women. The courtroom fell silent as all considered what they had heard. The silence was only broken by the sound of Capt. Blenkinsopp's boots striking the floor as he strode from the room.

    ...
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
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  19. iopgod Not dead yet Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    Excelent stuff, thank you.
     
  20. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Location:
    ...in my head
    Thanks - the next post will be ready soon. This will be a change in focus looking at some aspects of the women's suffrage movement - but look out for some crossovers to this last post!
     
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