Spared To Testify To Their Glorious Deeds

A history of the 36th (Ulster) Division in three panels along Knockwood Crescent in south Belfast:

1914 – Sons Of Ulster Answering The Call – 1915: “Ulster Division – a great military parade will take place at Belfast on Saturday, May 8, 1915. The troops of the Ulster Division numbering 17,000 men will be on parade. Cavalry, infantry, pioneers, engineers, signallers, cyclists corps, Army service corps and Army medical corps. Men and women of Ulster come and see the greatest military display every helf in Ulster, and do honur to your own Division. God save the King.” The original poster can be seen at Wartime Memories. “‘Quit yourselves like men and comply with your country’s demands.’ – Sir Edward Carson.” With a picture of “the inspection of the 36th (Ulster) Division by King George [V] 30th September 1915.

1916 – For God, For King & For Country – 1917: “The Battle of Albert (1st – 13th July) 1916. The leading battalions of the 46th (Ulster) Division) had been ordered out from Thiepval Wood just before 7.30am and laid down near the German trenches … At zero hour the British barrage lifted. Bugles blew the “Advance”. Up sprang the Ulstermen and without forming up in the waves adopted by other divisions, they rushed the German front line …… By a combination of sensible tactics and Ulster dash, the prize that eluded so many, the capture of a long section of the German front line, had been accomplished. During the Battle of the Somme the (Ulster) Division was the only division of X Corps (British Army) to have achieved its objectives on the opening day of the battle. This came at a heavy price, with the division suffering in two days of fighting 5,500 officers and enlisted men killed, wounded or missing. Of nine Victoria Crosses given to British forces in the battle, 4 were awarded to 36th (Ulster) Division soldiers.” With quotes from Wilfrid Spender (see I Would Rather Be An Ulsterman), and the poem We Shall Keep The Faith by Moina Michael. Please get in touch if you can identify the photo of soldiers going off to war at the top.

1918 – Their Name Liverth For Evermore – 1919: “Whether town dweller or country lad, volunteer or regular, officer or other rank, Catholic or Protestant, the sons of Ulster knew a comradeship and a trust in adversity that should be a lesson to us all.” “36th (Ulster) Division 32,186 killed, wounded, missing. The [Ulster] tower is dedicated to the glory of God in grateful memory of the officers, non commussioned officers and men of the 36th (Ulster) Division, and the sons of Ulster in other forces who laid down their lives in the Great War, and of all their comrades in arms who, by divine grace, were spared to testify to their glorious deeds.”

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Men From The Fountain

All three major WWI memorials with relevance to Ulster – Thiepval Memorial, Menin Gate, Ulster Tower – are brought together in a gallery in Londonderry’s Fountain as part of a tribute to the “Men from the Fountain who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War.”

“Thiepval Memorial: The Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme is a war memorial to 72,195 missing British and South African servicemen, who died in the battles of the Somme of the First World War between 1915 and 1918, with no known grave. It was built in red brick and limestone between 1928 and 1932. It is near the village of Thiepval, Picardy in France. A visitors’ centre opened in 2004.”

“Menin Gate: The Menin Gate memorial to the missing is a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, dedicated to the 54,395 British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown. The memorial is located at the eastern exit of the town and marks the starting point for one of the main roads out of the town that led Allied soldiers to the front line. The Menin Gate memorial was unveiled on 24 July 1927.”

“Ulster Tower: The Ulster Tower is Northern Ireland’s national war memorial. It was one of the first memorials to be erected on the western front and commemorates the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division and all those from Ulster who served in the First World War. The memorial was officially opened on 19 November 1921 and is a very close copy of Helen’s Tower which stands in the grounds of the Clandeboye estate, near Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland. Many of the men of the Ulster division trained in the estate before moving to England and then France early in 1916. The Tower is staffed by members of the Somme Association, which is based in Belfast.”

Previously the site of In God We Trust.

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Ghosts Of The Somme

A memorial stone has been added to the fading mural of soldiers of the 15th battalion heading to France in 1915, beginning a list of former members of the Rathcoole Friends Of The Somme (Fb). For the names of the five portraits, and the mural in better condition, see Many Did Not Return.

The title of today’s post is the title of Jonathan Evershed’s book (youtube).

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Our British Identity

Various changes and additions have been made to the Ulster Volunteers/UVF mural in London Road, east Belfast, compared to the version that replaced a religious mural (Jesus Strong Man) in 2017. The ‘hooded gunman’ board seen in the image above previously replaced a Union Flag in London Road (see East Belfast Ulster Volunteers) but has now been moved to the main Our Lady’s Road: “Our British identity cannot & will not be sacrificed to appease the Irish Republic – East Belfast Battalion [UVF]”.

The side-wall has been modified, to include a UVF emblem and larger lettering for “East Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force”.

For close-ups of the WWI portion, painted by Mark Ervine, see Between The Crosses; for a close-up of the four portraits of volunteers Seymour, Long, Cordner, and Bennett, see Ulster’s Brave.

Images courtesy of Paddy Duffy.

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Moving In Marches Upon The Heavenly Plain

The stencil is in Mount Vernon, which is also home to a series of metalworks – see They Sleep Beyond Ulster’s Foam. That title, as well as the title of today’s post, comes from Binyon’s poem For The Fallen, the fourth stanza of which is often cited in memorial for the dead of the Great War: “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 will remember them.”

The stencil is perhaps not only a memorial to the dead of WWI – the planes appear to be WWI models such as the Hurricane or Spitfire (as in A Miracle of Deliverance); most WWI planes were biplanes.

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The Dead We Honour Here

“The dead we honour here made the noble sacrifice for a cause that should never be forgotten.” A new board has been added to the memorial to the Ulster Volunteers on the Newtownards Road at St Leonard’s Crescent (the old Newcastle Street) over the bricked-up windows of the Belvoir Bar (see previously Not For Sale). The annual parade of the Belvoir Somme Association took place at the end of September (youtube)

The portrait of Carson was previously on the corner of Welland Street. The UVF Band mural is to the right of the memorial: see The Great War and They Said We’d Never Last.

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Ulster’s VC Heroes david nelson ernest wright alexander william mcfadzean edmund de win richard annesley west hugh colvin james somers jams duffy robert morrow edward barry stewart bingham thomas hughes robert hill hanna robert quigg john spencer dunville eric norman frankland bell james crichton geoffrey st. george shillington cather james anson otho brooke john alexander sinton dedicated to the women of east belfast that served in wwi and wwii

The Great War And The Recent Conflict

“In remembrance of all those Ulster men and women from the greater Dunmurry area who died during the Great Wars 1914-18 and 1939-45. Also those men and women who died during the recent conflict. Lest we forget.” These are the same words as appeared on a plaque on the previous memorial, which included the Special Constabulary. In the background is a “Welcome to loyalist Seymour Hill” board with a 2021 tarp “Seymour Hill says no to the Irish Sea border” – both with flags and poppies.

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Because He Loves What Is Behind Him

The Shankill Somme Association’s garden of reflection has added a number of new boards.

The board shown above is JP Beadle’s painting “Battle of the Somme: Attack of the Ulster Division”, which hangs in Belfast City Hall (militaryprints.com). It replaces a painting of a soldier in a field of poppies, seen in The Great War.

To its left is John Singer Sargent’s painting “Gassed”, showing the “aftermath of an indiscriminate mustard gas attack on British forces during the Battle of Arras 21st August 1918” (which also forms a part of a memorial in east Belfast) with the GK Chesterton quote “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is front of him, but because he loves what is behind him”.

Also new – and somewhat out of place – is the Northern Ireland Centenary board featuring James Craig: “It would be rather interesting for historians of the future to compare a Catholic state launched in the south with a Protestant state launched in the north and to see which gets on the better and prospers the more”. There are other “floreat Ultona” boards/murals in the Village (focusing on the B Specials and UDR) and in Rathcoole (where “Ulster welcomes her King and Queen”).

There are also three insignia on the gates (compare with M05717), to the Royal Navy, the Ulster Volunteer Medical & Nursing Corps, and the Royal Flying Corp.

Previously (c. 2017), the undead soldiers of We Shall Not Sleep were replaced with an image of the Cross Of Sacrifice memorial – the original is in Ypres, Belgium but there is also one in the City Cemetery – see One In Design And Intention. At the same time, the poppy plaques for individual local soldiers and the image of the Menin Gate were also added.

The Flanders Field board appears to have survived since 2012 – see Somme Memorial.

The final image below shows the new stone surround for the main memorial. See (again) Somme Memorial and for a close-up of the frosted glass, Reflections On The Somme.

For the 20th anniversary electrical box on the footpath outside, see Shankill Somme Association.

With thanks to Paddy Duffy for the photographs.

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Remembrance Day

For November 11th – Armistice Day/Veterans Day/Remembrance Day – this giant tarp showing light pouring through the Thiepval Memorial was placed on the Shore Road, surrounded by 12 white crosses.

For the memorial to the right, which includes the 10th and 16th Divisions along with the 36th (Ulster) Division, see In Defence Of The Citizens Of Belfast.

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The Brave Men From The Fountain

This mural was previously on the side of the youth club (and before that was one of the WWI boards on the front wall that replaced some graffiti (News Letter)), but was removed when the club was extended and given a ‘Swiss façade‘ as part of an Urban Village redevelopment last year (2021) (BBC).

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.” “This mural, funded by the Housing Executive, has been re-located by the Cathedral Youth Club. It is a reminder of the brave men associated with the Fountain area, who served in World War One.”

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