Shankill Brigadistas

After the Nationalist coup in 1936, the UK and US continued to recognise Spain’s Republican government but did not intervene militarily. Individuals from these counties thus participated in the conflict by joining the British and Lincoln battalions of the XV International Brigade, fighting alongside Balkans, Belgians, and Cubans at Jarama, Brunete, and the Ebro river, among other battles. For background on Belfast socialism of the period see this article by Stevie Downes.
“International Brigades – Spanish Civil War 1936 – 39. Commemorating all those who served and died with the XV International Brigade in the fight against fascism including the following Brigadistas from the Shankill area: William Beattie … Bill Henry … William Laughran … Henry McGrath … James Isaac Hillen … Joseph Lowery … Andrew Molyneaux. No pasarán. Unveiled by Tommy and Freddie McGrath, nephews of Henry McGrath, and Baroness May Blood, trade union & community activist. International Brigade Commemoration Committee. Saturday 1st February 2014.”
Previously: Plaque to (Protestant) Beattie and (Catholic) O’Neill | Belfast Socialists marching at Bodenstown (though possibly those from the Shankill were excluded) | Derry Brigadistas | a bust to the International Brigade in Writers Square, Belfast. Also: Guernica | Derry Guernica.
The plaque is in the Shankill Road Library.
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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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text: X06447 X06448 X06449

A Fisherman, An Entertainer, A Shankill Road Man

From yesterday’s Ordinary People, Extraordinary Roles, here are the three individual plaques to Trevor King, Frenchie Marchant, and Davy Hamilton, three UVF volunteers killed at or near the junction of Spier’s Place and the Shankill Road. The poetic verse (in the wide shot) is from Siegfried Sassoon’s Suicide In The Trenches.
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They Shall Not Grow Old

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“Remember With Pride” (with a poppy). Although the dates of his birth and death are given, Stevie “Top Gun” McKeag’s name appears only on the side-wall of this new mural in the Lower Shankill estate. McKeag was the top assassin in the UDA during the 1990s, claiming at least 12 victims. Both his WP page and this Guardian article describe his career and preeminent standing within the UDA.
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text: X03892 X03888 X03890 X03889  X03891 X03893 1st april 1970 24th september 2000 ulster young militants terrae filius 2nd batt c.13 shankill road military commander they shall not grow old those we love don’t go away they walk beside us every day sleeping where no shadows fall at the going down of the sun and in the morning remember with pride

A Mother And Father Of Ulster

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Billy Moir, who died this past May (2016) was a central figure in the Glasgow flute-band scene. The board above, dedicated to Billy and his wife Anne, is in the Shankill estate. “Dedicated to a mother & father of Ulster: William (Big Billy) & Anne Moir, in appreciation for their Dedication, Loyalty, Support and Friendship to all the people of the Shankill Road and their beloved ULSTER. In Glorious Memory, Lest We Forget, Quis’Separabit.”
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text: X03848 X03849 Hopewell Cr

Where Is The Reconciliation?

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A fire was lit at the base of the John Henry Patterson mural (see Operation Lion | Godfather Of The Israeli Army) on Beverley Street, prompting the notice on the railings above: “Where is the equality? This historically significant artwork, was attacked & defaced by Irish Republican racists? Where is the reconciliation?”
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Mussen Cortège

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Richard Mussen joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (27th foot) at the age of 15. At the outbreak of the Zulu wars he volunteered for active service and was transferred to the Second Battalion The South Wales Borderers (24th foot). At the outbreak of the Great War he joined the 9th Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles and with him went his 4 sons and 2 sons-in-law. His son Richard (junior) was killed at the Somme on Thursday 21st March, 1918 and is remembered at Pozleres Memorial. Richard Mussen was buried from 22 Dundee Street [which was just above Agnes Street] on 29/12/1936 and was accorded full Military Honours. He was laid to rest in Belfast City Cemetery. (From the plaque shown in image #3, below.)

Here is a short NVTv documentary about Mussen, including (at 12m25s) the image on which the mural shown here is based. The mural was done with spray paint by artist Sam Bates. It was unveiled on June 24th, 2011.

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text: X03450 X03449 beresford st SMUG

Somme Sport-Wear

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The Northern Ireland football team will be taking part in Euro 2016, which runs from June 10th to July 10th and so includes the centenary of the Battle Of The Somme on July 1st. You can pick up shirts for both events in this Shankill Road store.
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Now Recruiting

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In preparation for the upcoming marching season, the Young Conquerors Flute Band is looking for new members to fill to roles of “drummers, fluters, bass drummers, colour party”. Three posters on the Shankill Road.
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text: X03445 X03446 the famous 11th july learners welcome full tuition provided ulster rangers local men wednesdays if you or a family member would like to become a member dont hesitate to come along to our practice

The Original Belfast

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“Since 455 AD” is the claim of this historical board at the bottom of the modern Shankill Road, 455 being the date of a church of St. Patrick (which was taken over by the Church of Ireland in the plantation and eventually became St. Matthew’s). Whether this makes it older than Belfast depends on how one determines that a place was occupied. The were settlements in the area during the Bronze Age, though the village of Belfast (at the junction of the Lagan and the Farset) might date only to the 600s. For Belfast, see Tours In Ulster (at archive.org) and the WP page on the History of Belfast. Shankill: NewsletterWPPlacenamesNI
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text: X03426 X03427 the parish of belfast was originally called signifies old church seanchill crown linen industrial