“Soldier Scandals in Limerick, Ireland: Desertion and Looting in 1900”

In September 1900, the city of Limerick, Ireland was the scene of a scandal as two soldiers disgraced their uniforms in separate incidents. John Nicholson, a member of the Ist Battalion Yorkshire Light Infantry stationed at New Barracks in Limerick, deserted his post and threw his regimentals out of a window at Limerick Railway Station. Believing he would not need them again, Nicholson turned himself in at the Patricroft Police Station. Disappointed at not being sent to South Africa, he revealed that he had been in Her Majesty’s service for nearly two years. Nicholson was remanded to Strangeways Gaol awaiting the arrival of an escort.

Meanwhile, another soldier, John Rourke from the South Lancashire Regiment, was caught looting a vegetable garden in Wigan. Having recently been invalided home from South Africa, Rourke’s actions were far from creditable to the uniform he wore. The presiding magistrate stated that Rourke should be ashamed for disgracing the Queen’s uniform and sentenced him to seven days in gaol. This pair of unfortunate incidents serves as a reminder that soldiers are not always exemplars of their profession, bringing shame to Limerick and the military.

Leeds Times – Saturday 08 September 1900

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