July 18th, 1912

Wed, Jul 18, 2012, 01:00

FROM THE ARCHIVES:The commander of the British forces in Ireland, Lieut Gen Sir Arthur Paget (later involved in the Curragh Mutiny), was the guest speaker at the prize- giving at the Royal Hibernian Military School in the Phoenix Park in Dublin which educated the sons of soldiers in the British army. - JOE JOYCE

Lieutenant-General Paget said . . . considerable progress had been made in the school industries, in woodwork, and tailoring. The physical training showed that great care had been devoted to it, and with satisfactory results.

The conduct of the boys had been good. He noted that their physique had greatly improved. That was attributable to the Swedish exercises, which he hoped would be continued.

Some 73 per cent of the boys had enlisted in the Army since last prize day. He should like to see a much larger percentage enlisting, because the school was intended to educate and fit boys to join the profession of their fathers.

The fact that so many boys who had passed through the school were now warrant officers in the Army was strong testimony of the training they had received there, and showed that they had made up their minds to treat the Army seriously. It was to be regretted that seventeen mothers had withdrawn their boys after they had received their education there . . .

The training in discipline and obedience which the boys received would stand them in good stead hereafter. Although he had not been connected with the school in past years, he had often been in Ireland, and he had seen the school on parade in the Phoenix Park, and he was always struck – and never more so than last King’s Birthday – with the smart and steady conduct of the boys and their steadiness in the ranks.

The school was organised on a military basis for the training of the sons of Irish soldiers up to the age of 14, when they were expected to join the Army.

The Training College was for training Army schoolmasters, and in addition to the 410 boys there were 32 students, who were not necessarily the sons of soldiers, but were selected by open competition. He understood that usually about one-third of the students were old boys of the school.

There were similar institutions in existence – the Duke of York School in England and Queen Victoria School in Scotland – and they were doing good work. There was a good deal of friendly rivalry between these schools, and it behoved the boys of the Royal Hibernian Military School to keep their shoulder to the wheel if they meant to hold a creditable place in that rivalry.

This was the first year he had come amongst them, but he hoped to see them on many occasions before leaving the country . . . He would take an early opportunity to inspect the school and the buildings, and anything he could do to forward the interest of the boys and the school staff would be a great pleasure to him. (Applause.)

During the proceedings the boys sang very effectively Benedict’s “Hunting Song” and “Follow the Colours.”