Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth

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History

On the nights of 4 and 5 November 1906, stokers rioted at the Barracks, possibly in reaction to an order to kneel. At one point, one hundred men were arrested. Seamen apparently declined to become involved in the demonstration which wrecked furniture and broke windows. Commodore The Hon. W. G. Stopford issued the following report on 6 November:[1]

On the afternoon of Sunday last while evening quarters were in progress rain commenced to fall, and divisioned were dismissed; when the order was given to dismiss the stokers' division made a noise while doubling back to the block. The officer in charge, Lieut. Collard, thereupon ordered the stokers' division to fall in in the drill-hall. This they did, and were told of the necessity of leaving the parade ground quietly.

Lieut. Collard before addressing them gave the order 'On the knee,' a common enough order in the Navy before addressing a number of men, as it allows all ranks to hear more clearly. The stokers, however, appeared to resent the order, and it had to be given twice before it was obeyed. When they were dismissed again there were a few more shouts, but nothing very serious.

All was then quiet until 10pm, when the canteen was cleared. Then the stokers, instead of going to their block, to turn in, remained on the parade ground, and began to make an unruly noise. I ordered the "assembly" to be sounded at 10:30, and the men to fall in. This order was obeyed promptly and quietly by the bluejackets, but the stokers were talking a good deal. When silence was obtained I spoke to the men and some stokers were inclined to interrupt and be noisy, so I had them put under arrest to get them out of the way. I then marched the stokers off to their block in parties of 20 in charge of officers and petty officers. Many of them turned in, but about 100 came out again, and resumed the noise. They told me they would not desist until the men in the guardroom were released. I replied that they would not be released until every man was in his hammock. They then went away to their rooms, and when all was quiet I released the three men under arrest. Everything was quiet by 11:45.

On Monday about 140 stokers preferred a request in the usual way to see me. I saw them on the parade ground after evening quarters, and, having ascertain from them thay their grievance was in having been ordered to kneel on the previous evening, I explained to them their stupidity in taking exception to an order which has been well known in the service for years. They, however, probably did not know it owing to lack of experience, as most of them were young stokers. When I finished speaking they marched off the parade ground in a quiet and orderly manner, apparently quite satisfied; but at 10pm, evidently by prearranged signal, the noise began again on the parade ground on teh part of some of the men just before they should have turned in. The "assembly" was thereupon again sounded, and the men came to divisions. After some little time and further noisy behaviour the men went to their rooms. The bluejackets behaved admirably, and marched to their rooms in quite an orderly manner. About 11:30 a great noise was heard outside the gates in the street, which, as far as I could see, came from a crowd composed chiefly of stokers and civilians. Strong patrols were landed from the ships in harbour, and also came from Eastney Barracks, and after some times the streets were cleared. Attaempts had been made to get into the barracks by the crowd, but they were kept out by the guard at the gates, and liberty men entered the barracks later when the streets were quiet.

The noise and shouting of the crowd seemed to start fresh disturbances in the stokers' barrack rooms, which up to then had been getting quiet. Some windows were broken, and slight damage was done to crockery. When the patriols had cleared the streets I got the men who were outside into baattacks, and cleared out the barrack rooms where the noise was going on. The ringleaders were arrested and placed in confinement. There were 120 men arrested, but only the ringleaders were detained. No injuries were caused to the men in barracks, nor was any personal violence used. Some stones were thrown by the crowd outside at the officers' quarters, and a few windows were broken.

Stopford and Collard were promptly ushered off to other posts, but this did not solve the issues at Portsmouth. Before even Christmas, the new Commodore, Arthur Archibald Campbell Galloway and his Commander found it necessary to imprison two men for two and six weeks for showing a lack of respect. They addressed the assembled men and declared that they had been brought to the Barracks under extraordinary circumstances and that it was necessary to enforce discipline to the utmost degree. The charges and sentences accorded the two miscreants were read aloud, and a few "undesirable characters" were to be dismissed.[2]

Commodores

Dates of appointment given:

Also, Henry Deacon Barry may have held this command.[Fact Check]

Footnotes

  1. "Rioting at Portsmouth Naval Barracks." The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Nov 07, 1906; pg. 11; Issue 38171.
  2. "Naval And Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Dec 25, 1906; pg. 3; Issue 38212.
  3. "Naval & Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 1 December, 1903. Issue 37252, col A, p. 6.
  4. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Thursday, 16 March, 1905. Issue 37656, col C, p. 11.
  5. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Saturday, 16 December, 1906. Issue 37892, col B, p. 11.
  6. Stopford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 323.
  7. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 18 December, 1906. Issue 38206, col A, p. 11.
  8. Galloway Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 139/276.
  9. Galloway Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 139/276.
  10. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Monday, 9 December, 1907. Issue 38511, col D, p. 6.
  11. Shortland Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 361.
  12. Shortland Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 361.
  13. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Monday, 14 June, 1909. Issue 38985, col D, p. 8.
  14. Cradock Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 89.
  15. Duff Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 80.
  16. Duff Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 80.
  17. "Naval Appointments" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Monday, 11 September, 1911. Issue 39687, col G, p. 11.
  18. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (December, 1914). p. 3.
  19. Vaughan-Lee Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 441.
  20. Vaughan-Lee Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 441.
  21. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (September, 1915). p. 3.
  22. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (June, 1918). p. 3.
  23. Pelly Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 483.
  24. Pelly Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 483.
  25. The Navy List. (December, 1918). p. 929.
  26. Smith Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 305.
  27. Smith Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 305.
  28. McClintock Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 459.
  29. McClintock Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 459.
  30. Townsend Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/79. f. 98.
  31. Townsend Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/79. f. 98.
  32. The Navy List. (April, 1925). p. 282.
  33. The Navy List. (July, 1927). p. 281.
  34. Ramsay Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 210.
  35. Ramsay Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45. f. 210.
  36. Dannreuther Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46. f. 29.
  37. Dannreuther Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46. f. 29.
  38. The Navy List. (January, 1933). p. 284.
  39. Somerville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/87. f. 292.
  40. Somerville Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/87. f. 292.
  41. Layton Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/134. f. ?.
  42. Layton Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/134. f. ?.
  43. Walker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/12. f. 11.
  44. Walker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/12. f. 11.