Operation Banner

On February 21st, 1988, 23 year-old Aidan McAnespie was shot in the back by 18 year-old Grenadier Guardsman David Holden at a British Army checkpoint in Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone as he (McAnespie) walked to the nearby GAA club. In November (2022), Holden was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence (BBC | Belfast Live) and he was sentenced yesterday to three years, suspended for three years, thus avoiding jail unless he is sentenced for some additional crime (BBC | BelTel | UTv | Irish Times). He is the first British soldier convicted since the Agreement of a Northern Ireland killing; he might be the only one, as legislation is pending in Westminster that would end prosecutions (RTÉ video | Sky New video). The legacy legislation was discussed previously in Was This Lawful? | Soldier A-Z | Come For One, Come For All | Paras Fight Back | Stop The Witch Hunt.

The banner shown above was hanging on the railings at Laganside Courts, Oxford Street: “Operation Banner supporters group, Belafst and Scottish branch. Our veterans are heroes, not criminals. Leave our Operation Banner veterans alone and stop appeasing Sinn Fein/IRA terrorists.” “Operation Banner” is the name given by British forces to their operations in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 2007; since then, the depoloyment of British forces in Northern Ireland has been known as “Operation Helvetic” (Irish News).

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100 Years

On the left of this memorial board in Carrickfergus are five portraits from the later life of the child who began life in Greece as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. The family was exiled during the Greco-Turkish War. He ended up in Britain where he later joined the navy and stopped using his titles when he became the British subject, Philip Mountbatten. When he married Elizabeth he became Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His life-time matches that of the Northern Irish state (see in the second image): he was born a month after its creation and died in 2021 at the age of 99, a month shy of its centenary.

Albert Road and Thomas Street, Carrickfergus, near the Orange lodge, for which see On Foreign Fields.

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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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Loyalist Movilla

Here is a gallery of images from the junction of Upper Movilla Street and Georges Street in Newtownards. In the image above, a handdrawn UDA emblem can be faintly seen, behind the modern board that has fallen down (possibly off a house in Wallaces Street). In a separate post, see IRA Council Demands.

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Welcome To Antiville

“Antiville” is perhaps derived from the Irish “an tigh bhile, “the house of/by the sacred tree” (rather than just “the house of the old tree”, as on the board below). The two boards shown here are at the Linn Road entrance to the estate: above is the UDA’s welcome, below is the welcome from the Bonfire committee and Antiville Partnership (Fb), showing a tree. The 2022 Antiville bonfire was torn down after the death of one of its builders, John Steele – see With Heart And Hand.

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Gertrude Star

Gertrude Star flute band (Fb) celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2021 and to mark the occasion this (2022) May, the two side-walls were painted with the emblems above and immediately below. For the mural, which was painted for the 50th anniversary in 2011, M08166.

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Uplit Sunnylands

“Loyalist Sunnylands & Woodburn celebrates 100th anniversary Northern Ireland”, and the silver jubilee/25th anniversary of the Ulster Grenadiers flute band (Fb), 1996-2021, and salute Captain Sir Tom Moore, hero fundraiser during the Covid lockdown. The Maintain The Union wall in Woodburn was featured previously; added here are close-ups from the fence and also the same boards in Sunnylands.

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Our Murdered Brethren

Orange Order Victims day is an annual commemoration (on September 1st) of the 339 members who were killed during the Troubles. The stained glass window reproduced in a board on the Newbuildings memorial garden is in the Museum of Orange Heritage in Schomberg House, south Belfast.

Compared with the garden in 2020 (see Newbuildings Victoria), there is a new NI Centenary board, and on the outside (replacing the tarps giving thanks for the NHS and commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE day) there is a celebration of the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. On the electrical box, there is a stencil in support of Bloody Sunday’s “Soldier F”, who continues to face murder charges (for the killings of William McKinney and James Wray) and five attempted murder charges after the PPS’s decision to discontinue prosecution was quashed in March (Guardian); the PPS has appealed (News Letter).

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339 Orange Order members killed during the Troubles.

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The Six Counties

Of some interest in this Mersey Street NI Centenary board is the use of St Patrick’s saltire (in the background). The saltire is an anglo symbol of Ireland and was included in the Union Flag when the union was between Britain and Ireland and thus – like the word “Ulster” – has been reduced to meaning Northern Ireland after partition.

There is also an anti-Irish Sea border board on the next house along – see An Act Of Betrayal. This features the Union Flag together with flags representing the “home countries”: the Welsh dragon, the English St George’s Cross, the Scots St Andrew’s Saltire, and the Northern Irish Ulster Banner.

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The Famous

Sons Of KAI flute band (ig) re-formed in 2006 (youtube | Coin Talk) but here claims as its origin date “1972” which is when the “tartan” gang (History Ireland) ‘Rathcoole KAI’ was formed.

One of the founders claims that the gang was named after a (not-famous) Danish soccer player Kai Johansen (WP), who played for Rangers from 1965-1970 (IWM) but then (BelTel) and now (Irish News | Slugger) “KAI” is understood to stand for “Kill All Irish”.

A 1982 image of the Rathcoole KAI “red devils” mural can be seen in the Ciaran McGowan collection at IWM.

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