Robbed Of His Life’s Blood

Garlands of flowers rest at the base of the (upper) mural to UVF volunteer Brian Robinson on the thirtieth anniversary of his death, on September 2nd, 1989, by a British Army undercover unit, moments after he had shot and killed a Catholic civilian named Patrick McKenna on the Crumlin Road (WP).

The other (lower) mural to Robinson in Disraeli Street is shown in the image below (and previously in Shankill Star). “1st batt, B coy, Vol Brian Robinson killed in action 2nd Sept 1989. For his country and people he took up the gun, a volunteer to the end, and a true Ulster son. Robbed of his life’s blood in Sept. 89, but the name Brian Robinson will live for all time.”

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Ulster And Scotland Did Answer The Call

The Battle Of Assaye (India) took place on September 23rd, 1803, and the 74th regiment of the Royal Highland Fusiliers became known as the Assaye regiment in recognition of their performance (WP). By the time of WWI, the regiment had been merged into the Highland Light Infantry, whose 2nd battalion fought at the Somme in 1916 alongside the 36th (Ulster) Division (WP). The Highlanders’ emblem (which still includes the word “Assaye”) is on the right, the Ulster Volunteers’ on the left. In the apex are the flags of the UVF and YCV (14th battalion Royal Irish Rifles). This new mural commemorates the UVF volunteers of both WWI and the Scottish brigade: J. Rankin, Br. Creer, B. Wilson, B. Creer, A. Steele.

“Ulster and Scotland did answer the call/Together in battle they bled and fall/Shoulder to shoulder their lives they did give/It’s to them we give thanks/For the lives that we live.”

“We are the dead. Short days ago/We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow/Loved and were loved/And now we lie/In Flanders Fields.”

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Herbie McCallum

The memorial to Brian “Herbie” McCallum at the top of Ainsworth Avenue received a major upgrade late last year, with two new plaques and a mural (shown above) along with a side wall that will be featured in a separate post. The long plaque reads: “June 1993 brought extreme Republican violence and agitation surrounding the annual Orange Whiterock parade, which was travelling its traditional route past this very spot and onto the Springfield Road. The threat being so severe to this community, the 1st Belfast Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force deployed several armed active service units. Herbie being Herbie was first to volunteer for duty. Realising the grenade he had been issued with had malfunctioned and giving absolutely no consideration for his own safety, he carried the device to a safe location, away from men, women and children. This one selfless act costs Herbie his life when the grenade detonated prematurely. Volunteer Brian “Herbie” McCallum died 29th June 1993. Sadly missed by his family friends and comrades. Rest easy soldier your duty is done. For God and Ulster.” McCallum died three days after the explosion.
The plaque from the original memorial (which dates back to 1994) has also been retained (above the one shown next, below): see Some Day Soon We’ll March Proudly On Parade.
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text: X06675 X06676 [X06677 ][X06678] X06674 [X06680]

“There is discipline in a volunteer/You can see it when he walks/There is honour in a volunteer,/You can hear it when he talks/There is courage in a volunteer,/You can see it in his eyes/There is loyalty in a volunteer/That he will not compromise.”

“We will remember him. The officers and members of Sweeney’s ‘A’ Company 1st Belfast Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force.”

One Million People Buried Here

“When the name is called by the one above/Their troubles at once did cease/Like the people who went there before them/I prey they will rest in peace.” The words of Shankill man Albert Haslett are used on a Daniella Balmaverde mosaic commemorating the dead buried in Shankill graveyard. The full poem can be found at Belfast Experience, which claims that the number of burials is about half a million. NVTv has a interview program with Haslett, who died in January of last year (2017) – photos and remembrance at Shankill Area Social History group.
Previously from the graveyard: Queen Of Ireland, Empress Of India | Watch-House | WWI Dead
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text: X04818 X04817 455 AD 

Remembering Our Fallen

Here’s the left-hand side of the UDA mural in Disraeli Street being launched today (June 3rd, 2017). As can be seen most clearly in the final, sideways-on, image, both pieces are a combination of printed poster and attached boards. Lines from Laurence Binyon’s poem For The Fallen of WWI are used: “They shall grow not 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 shall remember them.”
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Invictus

Here is the main part of a new printed mural in the Woodvale area of west Belfast (to be officially launched on Saturday, June 3rd, when we’ll feature the smaller part). It celebrates the creation of the Woodvale Defence Association as “Defenders of our community since 1969” which in 1971 merged with other associations to form the UDA, whose youth wing is the UYM (lower middle, “terrae filius” = “sons of the soil”) and which uses “UFF” (upper left, “feriens ego” = “attack to defend”) as a cover for military operation. The final emblem is of the LPA (Loyalist Prisoners’ Association, “quis separabit” = “none shall separate us”). The mural replaced by this one is in the bottom left, while the bottom right contains an image of Long Kesh in 1979. The main photograph is of a 1972 march on the Shankill.
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Unbroken Presence

03302 2016-02-28 Ardoyne Wall Curtain+
More “peace” line images today (after yesterday’s repainting of the Cliftonville “peace” line in Blue Sky Thinking): at the end of February work began taking down a section of the 8 foot high wall on the Ardoyne side of the Crumlin Road, separating Ardoyne from the Woodvale area, though the section close to Woodvale and the wall on the Woodvale side remain for now.
The houses on the north side of the road will now be able to see the road and the doors of Holy Cross church (shown above).
The vintage piece of Free Brendan Lillis graffiti shown in the final image survives, just out of picture to the left in the wide shot below.
Here is some BBC-NI footage of the wall being knocked down. Here are Irish TimesNewsLetter and Tele articles on the 2013 NI Executive policy objective of removing the lines by 2023. And here’s an interview with Heather Bellamy, author of Towards A City Without Walls.
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03306 2016-03-01 Ardoyne Wall Cross+
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03319 2016-03-07 Brendan Lillis Crumlin Graffiti+
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text: X03302 X03305 X03306 X03319 this cross stands here to mark the unbroken presence of the passionists and the people at holy cross since 1869 and as a sign of hope

Over A Barrel

03228 2015-12-20 Orange Barrel+
Here is a snapshot from the protest camp at Twaddell Avenue, established in July 2013, which remains in place at the junction with the Crumlin Road. The most recent newspaper mention of the protest appears to be this December 29th report in the Newsletter.
For more, including the “civil rights” board behind the barrel, see Twaddell Protest Camp | Civil Rights Camp | Supporters ClubLet Them Home.
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We Shall Not Sleep

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Three wraiths of dead WWI soldiers – one with its head wrapped in a bandage – rise from the grave to issue a final edict: Take up our quarrel with the foe; to you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep though poppies grow in Flanders’ fields.
For another WWI memorial in Shankill Graveyard see The Great War.
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The Lamps Are Going Out All Over Europe

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Approximately 10 million military personnel and 7 million civilians died in WWI, with massive losses coming in August-September-October of 1914, as German forces invaded Belgium and northern France, before being stopped at the Marne and entrenching at the Aisne; both sides then attempted to out-flank one another in a “race to the sea” (WP – InvasionWP – Casualties). The dead of those first months – including German forces (see third image, below) – are commemorated in a new monument, a granite stone with six sides, like a rock from the Giant’s Causeway, in Woodvale Park (BelTel | NewsLetter). A searchable database of 10,000 Irish soldiers who died in Belgium is now available at the In Flanders Fields Project.
Video of the launch on 2014-10-17
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9K2qkzU6oo]
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text: X02337 X02338 X02339 the great war we shall not see them lit again in our time sir edward grey british expeditionary force 1914 lost generation armée française generation perdue mons 23 august le cateau 26 august marne 5 september aisne 13 spetember yser 17 october ypres 19 october kaiserliche deutsche armee gott mit uns verlorene generation belgish leger verloren generatie angel of mons belfast city coat of arms