Riots in Rotherham.

Friday, 21 July, 1865

The 83rd (County of Dublin) Regiment had moved from Aldershot in April 1865 and was split between two locations; one was Sheffield and the other Weedon. In addition to garrison duties, the 83rd was also deployed to deal with electoral rioting in Nottingham, Grantham, Lincoln and Rotherham during June and July 1865. On 21 July, the authorities in Rotherham telegraphed requesting military assistance to assist the police in quelling one such riot.

A contingent of forty-six men from the 83rd, commanded by (the then) Captain Sprot and supported by an attachment from the 15th Hussars, was despatched. When he arrived in Rotherham, Sprot left his contingent at the railway station and walked through the streets to observe the crowds and assess the situation. His conclusion was that as soon as the public houses were closed then the trouble would cease. He was proven correct because when they closed at 0130 hours the trouble did indeed cease.

Many years later when Lieutenant General Sprot wrote his memoirs he described how the mobs in Rotherham had attacked all other troops who had preceded the 83rd. His explanation was that the mob were Radical Party supporters and because their party colour was yellow they accepted those wearing uniforms with yellow facings as allies and therefore made no attempt to attack or resist the men of the 83rd Regiment.