June 30

Published in On this Day listing

  • 1921 The brothers Richard (24) and Abraham Pearson (19) were executed by an IRA firing party on their farm at Coolacrease in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The pair had been court-martialled for firing on IRA Volunteers, who were cutting down trees on their land for the purpose of mounting a roadblock.
  • 1690

    Above: William of Orange—had a close shave the day before the Battle of the Boyne when grazed by an enemy musket-ball.

    Eve of the Battle of the Boyne. Early that morning, William led his multi-national army south from their camp in Loughbrickland, north of Newry, through Dundalk, where he was joined by the Duke of Schomberg, who had wintered there, and on through Ardee, arriving at the Boyne in the early afternoon. Shortly afterwards he had a lucky escape. As both armies surveyed each other across the river, exchanging sporadic fire, an enemy ball killed a soldier and two horses directly beside him, and a second, according to a witness, grazed the king’s right shoulder blade, ‘taking away his outward coat, his chamois waistcoat and his shirt and issuing a spoonful of blood’. At four in the afternoon, having had his wound dressed and his arm placed in a sling, William dined on the field and at nine called a council of war. His chief commanders, Schomberg and his cousin, the Count of Solms, sharply disagreed on tactics. Schomberg proposed that the main part of the army should perform a flanking movement, involving a roundabout march of several miles, to cross the Boyne where it bends at Rosnaree, thus attacking the Jacobites’ left flank. Solms, however, favoured a single frontal attack at Oldbridge. William eventually compromised, allowing 10,000 men to be sent to Rosnaree but concentrating the main attack at Oldbridge. Orders were then given that the troops should be ready to march at break of day, with green sprigs in their hats to distinguish them from James’s men, who, it was understood, would wear pieces of white paper. It was after midnight when William retired to his tent ‘impatient for the approaching day’.

  • 1934 Nazi Germany’s ‘Night of the Long Knives’. The leader of the paramilitary SA, Ernst Rohm, and hundreds of his followers, along with dozens of Hitler’s political opponents, were murdered by the SS and the Gestapo in a two-day purge.
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