There has been a 36th Division board on this wall since 2003 (see Steeple Defenders) and this second one is now more than a decade old – see the 2013 post on Peter’s site. It is accompanied by two quotations: “Pass not this spot in sorrow but in pride/That you may live as nobly as they died.” These lines are also used in a WWI memorial mural in Carlingford Street, Belfast. “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old./Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn./At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.” from Binyon’s For The Fallen.
The mural below, with YCV and 36th Division emblems and a “South Antrim 1st Batt” flag was added in 2016. There’s no mention on-line of “Vol. Jimmy Fee” of the 1st (and only) battalion of the South Antrim brigade.
“Ulster Special Constabulary 1920-1970. The Ulster Special Constabulary (USC; commonly called the “B-Specials” of “B Men”) was a quasi-military reserve special constable police force in what would later become Northern Ireland. It was set up in October 1920, shortly before the partition of Ireland. It was an armed corps, organised partially on military lines and called out in times of emergency, such as war or insurgency. It performed this role most notably in the early 1920s during the Irish War of Independence and the 1956-1962 IRA Border Campaign.
During its existence, 95 USC members were killed in the line of duty. Most of these (72) were killed in conflict with the IRA in 1921 and 1922. Another 8 died during the Second World War, in air raids or IRA attacks. Of the remainder, most died in accidents but two former officers were killed during the Troubles in the 1980s. [The WP page from which this text is drawn at this point goes on to talk about Catholic mistrust of the Specials.] The Special Constabulary was disbanded in May 1970, after the Hunt Report, which advised re-shaping Northern Ireland’s security forces [to attract more Catholic recruits] and demilitarizing the police. Its functions and membership were largely taken over by the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
[Accompanying the small photograph:] At the Twelfth demonstration at Finaghy, Sir Edward Carson, the unionist leader, deploring the state of the county, advised the government: ‘If … you are yourself unable to protect us from the machinations of Sinn Fein … we will take the matter into our own hands. We will reorganise [the Ulster Volunteers]’.” [From a NewsLetter article ‘USC Helped Establish Peace In Early Years Of NI’]
Carson’s quote is also used in a Belfast UVF mural. As is noted there, the speech is probably from the 12th of July – Treason Felony | RTÉ – and concerns the reformation of the Ulster Volunteers as a force to protect Protestant interests in the north of Ireland in light of the proposal in the (fourth) Home Rule bill to create separate northern and southern states.
“Welcome to Muckamore, loyalist heartland – lead the way.” “In defence of our heritage and culture.”
In the Muckamore/Ballycraigy areas of Antrim the insignia of the LVF are still in place. “Lead the way” was the slogan of the LVF (see e.g. D01246 for a prominent instance in Ballycraigy). The organisation called a ceasefire and decommissioned some weapons in the years after the Agreement but persists in some form in Antrim (WP).
The Sons Of Ulster also used to use the slogan “Lead the way” (asa described in J1947) but it is not present in the board shown in the recent (2022) Old Ulster’s Battle Cry.
The two boards below are on gables above Woodgreen, which is the site of the bonfire (ig) featured in the second image. They used to claim that it was the biggest bonfire (see C06695) but Craigyhill (in Larne) is more recently the tallest – see Commonwealth Handling Equipment.
There is also a memorial garden to Billy Wright in Ballycraigy – see M05203.
“South East Antrim UDA UYM. In proud memory of Brig John Gregg, CO Gerry Evans, Andrew Gillespie, Billy Graham, Jamie Penny, Ken Thursby, T. Daly, J. McClure, B. Hobbs, B. Smyth”. Graham replaces William Hutchings, and Thursby is a new addition. The original version of the mural, dating back to 2004, included J. Kelly, W. Gordon, G. Fittis, A. Helm (M05230) – these are perhaps below the fence-line.
Gregg was a hero to loyalists for seriously injuring Gerry Adams in 1984; he was killed in the Adair feud in 2003 (Guardian). Evans was killed by the INLA in Glengormley in April, 1994 (Sutton). He was remembered long ago (1996) in a Cloughfern mural – see T00217.
UVF volunteer Denver Smith was killed in the early morning of January 1st, 2000 by a gang of six men with machetes and pikes; the incident was perhaps drugs-related (Guardian | BBC-NI | Irish Times). The iconography, however, is all related to WWI, with soldiers moving across the fields of Flanders in the mural, above, and mourning by a graveside in the memorial garden, below.
Ulster Tower in Thiepval, France, provides a background for 13 jigsaw pieces with partial images relating to the Great War, including a uniform with a Victoria Cross and badge of the 36th (Ulster) Division, the 10th (Irish) Division, the 16th (Irish) Division, and the Royal Irish Fusiliers (and a fourteenth piece for information).
Kilgreel Road, Antrim. The mural is more than a decade old and is bleached from the sun (the pinks were formerly brown); on the former site of The People’s Army (a UVF board).
“This artwork, commemorating the sacrifices made during the Great War and subsequent conflicts, was produced by the young people of Parkhall Youth & Community Club and was completed in 2010. It is part of a larger Re-imaging project undertaken by Parkhall Cultural Awareness Association & Parkhall Community Association. 14 jigsaw pieces are representated as that was the age of the youngest soldier to die on the Somme. The Royal Irish Fusiliers, who recruited in the Antrim area, served with the 10th Irish Division and 36th Ulster Division during World War I. The cap badge is surrounded with poppies. The poppy is an international symbol commemorating the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians specifically since the Great War. Birds were used extensively during World War I delivering important logistic message from the front line. HMS Antrim served in the Great War and survived. After the war she became the first ship to be fitted with an experimental sonar system in 1920. Her bell can presently be viewed in Antrim Civic Centre. The grounds of Shane’s Castle in Antrim were used as a training ground and a campsite for the 36th Ulster Division prior to their deployment to France. Of all bell tents and parachutes during the Great War 90% were made from Irish Linen. During the Great War a service man’s basic wage was one shilling a day (5 pence). The sound of the bugle was heard throughout each day in the trenches, starting with Reveille to rouse you from slumber. ‘Flowers of the Forest’, a powerful Scottish lament, is often played by a lone piper at services of Remembrance. “I am not an Ulsterman but yesterday, the 1st July, as I followed their amazing attack, I felt that I would rather be an Ulsterman than anything else in the world.” Extract from the speech by Captain Wilfred [Wilfrid] Spencer 2st July 1916. Men from the 36th Ulster Division received 9 Victoria Crosses. Women played a vital role in field hospitals during the Great War caring for the injured, from the front line. The flags of the 16th and 10th Irish Divisions. 36th Ulster division. The Ulster Tower is a memorial to the men of the 36th Ulster Division. It is situated near the entrance to Thiepval Wood, France.
“‘We bravely charged through no-man’s land/With the red hand flying high/Our cry was ‘No surrender’/Old Ulster’s battle cry.’ 1st July 1916 – Battle Of The Somme. Faugh a ballagh.”
“No surrender” was the cry against the forces of James II as they marched on Derry on December 7th, 1688, a moment celebrated by members of the Orange Order, Royal Black Institution, and Apprentice Boys, and from there, possibly shouted on July 1st as the 36th Division, formed from the Ulster Volunteers, attacked Schwaben Redoubt from Thiepval Wood (Irish Times | History Ireland).
“Faugh a ballagh” is also included; of the regiments who supplied battalions for the 36th Division, only one – the Royal Irish Fusiliers – used that motto, the 9th battalion of the RIF was raised from the Armagh, Monaghan, and Cavan Volunteers. The motto of the Royal Irish Rifles (who supplied 8 of the 12 battalions of the 36th), and later of the UDR, was “Quis separabit”. “Faugh a ballagh” was the motto of the Royal Irish Rangers and is the motto of the current Royal Irish Regiment.
The military boards are flanked by boards for two local flute bands: “Ballycraigy Sons Of Ulster est. 1971” (tw) and “Ladyhill flute band est. 1998” (Fb).
On the front of the wall, soldiers from the 36th (Ulster) Division stop at a grave as they march through Flanders Fields; just around the corner (second image) is a memorial to a (modern) UVF member “Vol. D[avid] Langley, 1969-2018”.
Randalstown remembers its history as an industrial town in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with a linen factory that employed a thousand people in the 1930s (BBC). The first Heritage board is in Moore’s Lane; the second is in New Street (at the Market House).
“This plaque was presented by the officers and members of the Randalstown Sons Of Ulster flute band on Saturday 17th April 1999 in memory of all the loyalist people of Ulster who have suffered at the hands of the enemies of our land.” All of the plaque, the arch, the ground painting, and the 36th Division board are sponsored by the Randalstown Sons Of Ulster flute band (tw). Neilsbrook Road, Neilsbrook Park, and Blackthorn Way, Randalstown. For more images from the estate, see Loyalist Neilsbrook.