Part of the most recent development of the upper streets in the Village was not to rebuild the two rows on houses on Ebor and Nubia/Moltke streets and in their place construct a park – the Village Green – and playground. This new board on the outside railings make the park a “community park of remembrance” for WWI, showing an Ulster Banner with a Union Flag in the canton. There was formerly on this site an image of Thiepval Tower and a UVF stone.
Street artist Emic (web | tw) was commissioned by Up! Culture And Arts (and SASH and the Shankill Somme Association) to produce a series of large portraits – based on photographs from the time – of soldiers from the Shankill who fought in WWI, including brothers William and James McKendry, and Richard Mussen, son of the Richard Mussen whose funeral cortège is painted as a mural lower down the Shankill. The portraits were placed in the Shankill and West Kirk graveyards (the West Kirk photographs include poppies). On March 16th, the photographs were lit up and an ‘Angel Of Mons’ was projected onto the Spectrum Centre (Up! Fb).
“In Deo speramus”. “Edgarstown Remembers” “our forty-two fallen sons who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their tomorrow for our today in the Great War 1914-1918.” “Dear Lord, I am just a soldier, a protector of our land/A servant called to battle when my country takes a stand./I pray for strength and courage and a heart that will forgive/For peace and understanding in a world for all to live./My family’s prayers are with me, no matter where I roam./Please listen when I’m lonely and return me safely home – Unknown”
“This park is dedicated to three brothers who made the ultimate sacrifice defending their family, town and country in the Great War: Private Alexander Hayes, Private John Hayes, Private William Hayes.” Lurgan Ancestry would appear to give the third brother as Wesley, rather than Alexander. He and John died on the first day of the Somme.
Four of the 700 NHS staff in the UK to die of Covid during the pandemic have come Northern Ireland, the most recent being dementia specialist Alan Henry in Antrim hospital (Express | BelTel | iTV). In the south, Defence Forces have been deployed to three nursing homes while 6,400 health workers are off sick (Irish Times). The mural above shows a masked nurse and doctor among a field of poppies. For the black-and-white boards above, see Connswater Commemorates.
Carrickfergus castle was built in 1177 and has seen multiple battles in the intervening years, including the Battle Of Carrickfergus in 1597 in which the MacDonnells and O’Neills defeated the forces of Elizabeth I (WP). Its military history makes it a fitting spot for a remembrance of the dead of WWI from the 36th Division.
The war memorial garden in City Way (Sandy Row) commemorates those from the Great War, World War II, and “Continuing Conflicts” which includes the “Troubles”. There is also a fourth, smaller, stone, with John Maxwell Edmonds’s memorial epitaph.
“The Great War 1914-1918: In memory of the fallen”, with John McCrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Fields‘.
“Second World War 1939-1945: Freedom is the sure possession of those have the courage to defend it. Their ideal is our legacy. Their sacrifice is our inspiration.”
“Continuing Conflicts: We remember those who have given their lives. The wounded and those who serve in continued conflicts around the world.”
“I am not an Ulsterman but yesterday, the First of July, as I followed their amazing attack, I felt that I would rather be an Ulsterman than anything else in the world. – Wilfred [Wilfrid] Spender – The Somme 1916”. Spender was born in England but served as quartermaster of the Ulster Volunteers and general staff officer of the 36th (Ulster) Division. He won the Military Cross for actions at Thiepval, and became Cabinet Secretary of the new “Northern Ireland” in 1921 (WP). His words are on one of three new murals in Belvoir Park, alongside two large flags – the Union Flag and Ulster Banner. Above the WWI mural old RHC lettering is causing the paint to fall away.