A ‘Fearful Tragedy’ - and McCaffery’s Ghost

Perhaps the single most noteworthy incident in the long history of Fulwood Barracks, Preston occurred in 1861 when 19-year-old Private Patrick McCaffery of the 32nd Regiment murdered the Commanding Officer and his Adjutant with a single shot from his musket.

McCaffery's trial and subsequent public execution before a vast Liverpool crowd resulted in a mildly subversive penny ballad which found a sympathetic ear within the large Irish Catholic population of North West England. Despite - or perhaps because - it was rumored to have been banned within the Army, it continued to be sung by folk singers for over 100 years, and and can still be heard occasionally in folk clubs.

McCaffery's ghost is said to haunt the old Officer's Mess to this day.

For the full story, including the lyrics of the "banned" ballad, click HERE.