Scotland, England, Wales

After almost fourteen years the long-standing Rising Sons Flute Band mural off Newtownards Road (at the old Bright Street) has been replaced with a mural to the (modern) YCV, the youth division of the UVF. The vine of flowers in yellow includes the shamrock, thistle, and Tudor rose (but not the daffodil of Wales, which is named along with Scotland, England, and the YCV battalions of east Belfast extending to Newtownards and Bangor) .
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Unknown Soldier

As time passes, volunteers who survived the Troubles are being taken by natural causes. There are thousands of such people and it is not clear on what grounds some will be publicly commemorated and others not – it might as simple as whether surviving friends and family take the pains to do so. See, for example, the plaques of republican ex-prisoners being added to a wall in Ardoyne (Door Into The Dark). The plaques above “In loving memory of Volunteer Dennis/Denis Brine, associated with Glasgow Red Hand Commandos” are in the lower Shankill estate.
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In The Footsteps Of Heroes

The 8th battalion of the RIR was drawn from east Belfast’s Ulster Volunteers in 1914. The board shown above, on the practice hall of Rising Sons Flute Band (Fb), shows the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme – the heroes that in whose footsteps the band claim to march.
The board replaces the tarp saying “Loyalists welcome“.
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A True Soldier Of Ulster

“On a cold Friday afternoon in February 1989, a young Red Hand Commando volunteer, Stevie McCrea, gave up his life to save others during an attack by the IPLO – a republican drug gang – at the Orange Cross Club just off the Shankill Road. Stevie, who was celebrating his last day on a work-out scheme with friends, went to the club for a farewell drink. A short time later, after gaining access through the outer door of the club, three IPLO gunmen burst into the main bar and started shooting indiscriminately. Stevie reacted immediately, placing himself between the gunmen and his friends. He was shot a number of times. Sadly he died from his injuries two days later. Stevie, even as a young man was a willing and active volunteer for the RHC, which culminated with him being arrested in October 1972 and being sentenced to life imprisonment early in 1973. Stevie served 16 years as a political prisoner in Long Kesh. He thoughtlessly gave up his life for others. A true soldier of Ulster. Forever remembered by friends and comrades. Lamh death abu.”
The obituary in the March 1998 issue of Combat states that McCrea was no longer in the RHC after his release from prison.
This new photographic mural, with “Loyalist Compound 21, Long Kesh prison camp” as a background, replaces a painted one to McCrea that had stood since 2000.
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North Down West Belfast

Here are two UDA/UFF “North Down – West Belfast” boards, one in Clandeboye Road, Bangor (above) and the other in Lenamore Park, Newtownards (below). The UDA in North Down is split into two factions, one associated with the Shankill (west Belfast) UDA and the other with the East Belfast UDA. The former is based primarily in Newtownards, but not exclusively, as the board above shows. It is also remarkable for its use of hooded gunmen in “active” poses.
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Britain Remembers

Although not completely visible in the image below, the ‘Britain remembers’ Remembrance Day flag includes the Ulster Banner, the flag of NI parliament until 1972, rather than the St Patrick’s Saltire. This is also the flag used by the Irish Football Association, the governing body of soccer in NI, to represent its teams, as is shown by the personalised supporter’s plaque in Cosgrave Heights. The organisation’s name derives from the fact that the body pre-dates partition and used to govern the whole island and not just “our wee country”.
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East Belfast Ulster Volunteers

The Union Flag/UVF side-wall is a new addition to the Ulster Volunteers/UVF memorial in London Road, east Belfast. The main panel shows WWI soldiers going over the top (see Between The Crosses) while the four portraits to its right are of deceased UVF volunteers of the 70s and 80s – Seymour, Long, Cordner, and Bennett – (see Ulster’s Brave).
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Comrades In Arms

John Meeke signed the Ulster Covenant in Dervock Orange Hall in 1912 and went to war with the Ulster Volunteers. Willie Redmond, brother of John Redmond, had been jailed three times and was a nationalist MP at Westminster when, at age 53, he signed up for service.
Major Redmond went over the top with the 16th (Irish) Division at Messines Ridge and was hit by machine-gun fire. Private Meeke, a stretcher-bearer with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in the 36th (Ulster) Division, found and stayed with Redmond under heavy fire, taking two bullets himself.
Redmond would die that night. He was awarded the Legion Of Honour by the French. His East Clare seat was taken by Éamon de Valera. Meeke survived after several surgeries. He was awarded the Military Medal by the British. After the World War, he joined the Specials and LOL 1001 in Benvarden before dying of TB in 1923 (NALIL | Irish Times | WP |BelTel).
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Eddie’s Remains

As reported earlier (in Digital Eddie), the 2016 Eddie The Trooper laminate in Bond’s Place, Londonderry, began disintegrating as soon as it went up. Today’s images (from late 2018) show that he has completely gone, exposing scraps of the former Eddie. A few Eddies still stalk the land, most notably in Carrickfergus – see the Visual History page for Eddie.
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Shutting Of The Gates

The Apprentice Boys mural in Emerson Street, Londonderry, which was at least fifteen years old, was replaced in 2018 with a version of boards (shown above). The shutting of the city gates in December 1688 began the Siege Of Derry.
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