Attack on Torr Head Station


On 11th September 1920 the Torr Head (Co. Antrim) Coastguard Station and War Signal Station was raided by about fifty disguised, armed men who stole five revolvers, 280 rounds of ammunition, rockets, four telescopes, two pair of binoculars, the heliograph, and the G.P.O. telephone. The Chief Officer George Timblick later reported that the raid was well planned. The raiders wore rubber on their boots and succeeded in getting five or six men at each door before knocking. They trapped each member of the crew separately.

‘I had just retired and I went down at once and asked who was there. I heard someone say "Demand all arms", so I would not open the door but went to the watch-room telephone to report "raided" to the District Officer and to call the watchmen at the War Signal Station , but could get no reply because the wires were cut. I immediately shifted the confidential books, putting them under the table and covering them with signal pads, a succeeded in saving them intact. By then my back door was burst open. I went down and asked again who was there. Leading Boatman Thomas Hammond replied, "Hammond, Sir, we can do nothing, there are too many of them covering me and will fire if you don’t open the door."

Sea Service Pistol 1846

‘I thought it best to comply and was immediately ordered to put my hands up, and found myself covered by six revolvers. Their leader informed me to offer no resistance and they would burn nothing nor interfere with the women or children or private effects. I tried to impress on them that I had nothing of value to them, but they insisted on searching the house, storeroom, watchroom and WSS. They made me go to the WSS with them.

‘On returning with them I found that they had left three men in each house guarding the men. Coastguardsman Morgan was handcuffed but was released on orders of the leader who apologised for keeping them on him for so long.

‘The leader then ordered everyone to remain in their houses, withdrew his men and informed me that he had taken steps to keep anyone from going to Ballycastle to report the raid. The four women and five children were very upset and frightened but were not interfered with in any way and the leader apologized for causing them inconvenience. He informed me they were soldiers of the Republican Army and their quarrel was with the Government. They seemed well informed as to what they would find at the Station, and several seemed to be men in good position by their talk and dress’.

Reference: ‘Shipminder’ by Bernard Scarlett.

0 Comments · 23851 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on April 28 2007


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