A very long running debate has been the effects of fighting in war, has on the military men who then return to civilian life. Are they able to cope? Are they suffering from PTSD? We had it rammed down our throats by Hollywood on film & tv, with scenes of former soldiers turning into complete basket cases, ranting and screaming, having virtual breakdowns, after service in Vietnam. But this was not the only war that affected men in combat. There was Korea, WW2 & of course, WW1. Sam Sweeney was a Merchant Seaman from Belfast, whom had served in the Royal Navy in the Great War. He survived a terrifying experience when he was serving on HMS Hampshire. The ship had struck a mine in 1916 and sank, taking 650 men down with her. There was just 12 survivors. Sam Sweeney was one of the fortunate. But now it was 1926 and he was back in Belfast, and he was not a happy man.
He and his wife had separated three years before, and now, after getting back from sea, he received a notice that his child support payments were to increase. This took him into a rage and so he decided to go and see his wife. It was October 15th, and Sweeney, 45, came upon his wife, Norma, 39, with his children, returning from school. Sweeney went straight up to her and stabbed her in the throat, killing her. Her mother heard the commotion and ran out to defend her, but Sweeney immediately began violently assaulting Rose Allen, aged 68. The assault was enough to kill her also. Now a young man frantically began wrestling Sweeney, attempting to get the knife from him but was thrown away by Sweeney. The killer then turned the knife on himself, dying from a wound, one hour later. The victims suffered even in death. Sweeney was buried in ground reserved for sailors, whilst Norma and Rose were given pauper's graves. Great `eh?