Although Yorkshire folk pride themselves on their sportsmanship and their toughness, even they didnt think much of what happened at the Sporting Club in Huddersfield on King George VIs Coronation Day, MAY 12th, 1937.
The trouble started when four Irish labourers – Terence, Patrick and Paddy McDonagh, who were related, and Peter Connolly – took objection when the club pianist struck up God Save the King.
An innocent drinker who sensed trouble was on the way started creeping out of the club when he was knocked unconscious by Paddy McDonagh. Then all hell broke loose.
Standing shoulder to shoulder, the Irishmen laid about them with anything they could put their hands on bottles, glasses, broken chair legs, the lot.
All the injured managed to stagger out into the street, except for poor Edith Watson. She was attacked by Terence McDonagh, first with an earthenware jug held in one hand and then with a chair leg held in the other.
As she fell McDonagh jumped on her with both feet, knocking her unconscious. Her injuries were so severe that a few hours later she died of them.
The four Irishmen were brought to Leeds Assizes in July charged with her murder, and with wounding five others. The jury took the view that Terence McDonagh was so drunk that he didnt know what he was doing, and reduced the murder charge to manslaughter.
Terence McDonagh was sentenced to 12 years penal servitude for his savage violence; Paddy McDonagh was sentenced to six years; and Patrick McDonagh and Peter Connolly got four years each.