Our Soldiers Are Heroes

“Ballyclare supports Soldier ‘F’. Our soldiers are heroes, not criminals.” “Soldier F” is the pseudonym of a British Army paratrooper who faces charges of murdering two civilians, William McKinney and Jim Wray, in Derry on Bloody Sunday (January 30th, 1972), as well as five counts of attempted murder. Proceedings began in September (BelTel), a witness list was presented in December (BBC-NI), and the case will resume on January 17th.

Main Street, Ballyclare.

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Nihil Nisi Optimi

Ballyclare Comrades football club – motto is ‘Nihil nisi optimi’ [nothing but the best] – was founded in 1919 by members of the local Great War ‘comrades’ association. That heritage is used here for the Ballyclare Protestant Boys flute band. In the centre, between images from WWI, the flowers of the four ‘home nations’ are joined by orange lilies, and in the shield are the lion and the unicorn from the coat of arms of the UK.

“To Flanders fields some men in our town were sent and along their way many would repent their priority goal to keep Ulster free that we may have freedom both you and me as part of Great Britain they fought and died and their names we will remember and remember with pride. Lest we forget. Comrades from Ballyclare. Nihil nisi optimi. The Comrades.” “Ballyclare Protestant Boys Est. 2004”

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UDA Remembers

“[South East Antrim] UDA remembers. ‘They shall not grow old/As we that are left grow old/Age shall not wary them/Nor the years condemn/At the going down of the sun/And in the morning/We will remember them’ [The Fallen]” For the large mural, see The Men From Ballyclare & District. Charles Drive, Ballyclare.

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All Ulster’s Soldiers

“We support all Ulster’s soldiers.” The UDA and the UDR brought under the same umbrella of “Ulster’s defenders” in Charles Drive, Ballyclare. The UDR was established in 1970 to relieve the RUC and B Specials of military operations and was disbanded in 1992, in part because it was only 3% Catholic and 5-15% of members had links to loyalist paramilitaries (Irish News). 

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Better To Die On Your Feet

UDA volunteers in balaclavas stand ready to defend Erskine Park (Ballyclare) against forces from the south. “South East Antrim Brigade – “Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees in an Irish republic.” (A slogan from Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.)

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Sports We Love

Whitehead artist Janet Crymble “designed & created this new collage in Ballyclare, featuring south Antrim sporting heroes past and present: Kyle McCallan, Steve McCooke, Paddy McNair, Jimmy Todd, Gary Longwell, Ronnie Lamont, Henry Turkington, William Cowan, William Thompson, Johnston Todd, Willie John McBride. John Reid from the NIHE – which sponsored the mural – has an image from the launch of local children posing with the piece.
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1 July 1916 KIA

The 12th battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles was drawn from central Antrim towns such as Ballymena and Ballyclare. There is a web site and a Facebook page dedicated to the battalion. For more pictures of the Ballymena arch, see Cross And Crown.
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Cross And Crown

The ‘cross and crown’ is the emblem of the Royal Black Institution, an institution two years younger than the Orange Order; a list of local preceptories in District 6 (Ballyclare) is given in the first image below. To the left (in the image above) is the Square And Compasses, the symbol of the Freemasons. This is a newer arch than seen previously in 2009.
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McCalmont Memorial

King Billy’s sword is tipped in blood, and he rides below a shamrock, rose, and thistle, uniting the kingdoms. Ballyclare Orange Hall is named after Hugh McCalmont, a major-general in the British Army Ulster Unionist MP for North Antrim in 1895. His Whiteabbey house was burned down by suffragettes in 1914 because it was used as a training ground by the UVF of the anti-franchise Carson.
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The Men From Ballyclare & District

On 20 August 1943, second pilot Sergeant John Erskine and the Liberator crew of seven others failed to return from a convoy patrol of the west of Ireland (59 Squadron). Erksine and 28 others from WWII (and one from the Korean War) are commemorated in a new mural in Erskine Park, Ballyclare. It’s not known if the street name is connected to Sergeant John.
The soldier in the centre of the mural wears the emblem of the Royal Ulster Rifles, Parachute Regiment on his cap. William Johnston 7018189 and George Williamson 7022501 are listed (on the right) as riflemen in airborne battalions of the RUR, but this appears to be a reproduction of an original painting of an RUR major.
Like the WWI Ballyclare & District mural, the UDA are on the side wall – see the wide shot, below.
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text: X04450 X04453 lest we forget in honoured memory life or service