A story for all you lovers of Salford history with an touch of heroism and Irish Republicans aiming to wreak havoc in the local area.
A quick background to this story, and in 1920 the Irish Republican Army otherwise known as the IRA, launched a number of raids on properties in Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester, which were carried out by local IRA units, who allegedly had over 1,000 sympathisers in this country.
Fires were started at grain warehouses, power stations were bombed as were railway lines, telegraph poles were blown up, in an attempt to cause major disruption throughout the country and highlight the Irish struggle.
On the evening of January 2nd, 1921, Police Constable Henry Bowden was on duty on East Ordsall Lane, when he saw a group of men acting suspiciously close to a grain warehouse, owned by The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company.
He kept them under observation and noticed that two of the men were paying attention to the grain warehouse, they noticed he was watching them, some of the men went off towards St Stephen's Street, he followed two of the men across Hampson Street, into Middlewood Street and along onto Oldfield Road.
At the junction with Cow Lane and Oldfield Road, the men stopped at a gate which led to the canal towpath, he decided to apprehend them and asked the men for their names and addresses, both men gave addresses in Manchester, unhappy with these details he asked the men to accompany him to the nearby Regent Road, police station.
They initially walked along Ordsall Lane with him, when one the men, later identified as Patrick Flynn (no relation!) broke away and shouted at him..."I'm -------- if I am going with you"
He then pulled a revolver out of his raincoat pocket and shot P.C. Bowden, the bullet went through his left wrist and into his left shoulder, he collapsed to his knees and the men ran off in the direction of Muslin Street, he blew on his police whistle and people came to his aid, and took him to Salford Royal Hospital for treatment to the gunshot wound.
A huge police operation swept into action and dozens of Irishmen and women were arrested and taken in for questioning, eventually in February 1921, five men were charged with the attempted murder of P.C. Bowden and stood trial at Manchester Assize Courts with P.C. Bowden with his arm in bandages gave evidence and identified the other men.
Patrick Flynn (22), Jeremiah Roddy (20), Daniel O’Connell (25) and Charles Forsythe (32). Forsythe was the landlord of a boarding house at 3 Poole Street , Salford, where the other men were lodgers. They and another man Patrick Waldron were later charged under the Defence of the Realm Act, and on 22nd February Flynn was sentenced to ten years penal servitude for attempted murder.
PC Boden was presented with the Kings Police Medal for outstanding bravery in January 1922, sadly I have been unable to track down a photo of the brave bobby, so if you have one or are a relative, please get in touch and I will amend this story.