“… It will be too late to fight when the enemy is at your door.” In 1914, at the time of the Larne gun-running – see the mural in the second image and (previously) Amazing Night At Larne – the enemy was the threat of Home Rule and its enforcement by British Army forces and RIC that would remain under British control for at least three years after the commencement of home rule (Home Rule And Ulster’s Resistance p. 9). A bill to amend home rule by excluding some or all of the Ulster counties was introduced in July, 1914 (WP), but both Home Rule and the amendment were put aside when the Great War began; the enemy of Unionists then became the Central Powers. The contemporary enemy is the NI Protocol and Brexit, with the powers in Westminster again suggesting a separation of Britain and (Northern) Ireland.
“Off to France our boys were sent. All gave some, some gave all – In memory of the loyal 36th.” The first phrase might come from the Rangers’ song ‘We’re Coming Down The Road‘. The second phrase dates not to WWI but the Korean War in the 1950s (Reference). Kitchener Drive, the Village.
John Meeke signed the Ulster Covenant in Dervock Orange Hall in 1912 and went to war with the Ulster Volunteers. Willie Redmond, brother of John Redmond, had been jailed three times and was a nationalist MP at Westminster when, at age 53, he signed up for service.
Major Redmond went over the top with the 16th (Irish) Division at Messines Ridge and was hit by machine-gun fire. Private Meeke, a stretcher-bearer with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in the 36th (Ulster) Division, found and stayed with Redmond under heavy fire, taking two bullets himself.
Redmond would die that night. He was awarded the Legion Of Honour by the French. His East Clare seat was taken by Éamon de Valera. Meeke survived after several surgeries. He was awarded the Military Medal by the British. After the World War, he joined the Specials and LOL 1001 in Benvarden before dying of TB in 1923 (NALIL | Irish Times | WP | BelTel).
The 10th (Irish) Division fought only briefly “in Flanders fields”, towards the very end of the war, having spent most of its time in Gallipoli (in the Ottoman Empire), Macedonia, Egypt, and Palestine. The 16th took part in the Somme, especially at “Guinchy” [Ginchy] and Guillemont, while the 36th were deployed on the first day (the Battle Of Albert).
The poem in the middle is the first half of John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields: “In Flanders fields the poppies blow/Between the crosses, row on row/That mark our place, and in the sky/The larks, still bravely singing, fly/Scarce heard amid the guns below.//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.”
“We in Ulster will tolerate no Sinn Féin but we tell you this – that if, having offered you our help, you are yourselves unable to protect us from the machinations of Sinn Féin, and you won’t take our help; we tell you, we will take the matter into our own hands …. ” A quote from Sir Edward Carson (probably, 12th of July, 1920 rather than 1912 – Treason Felony | RTÉ) replaces the previous “free men” quote (see M03378); the poppies between the emblems in the main panel are also new, as is the plinth the hooded gunmen are standing on, which reads “1912 East Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force” (also, “1981 Gareth Keys 2008″). In other words, the mural has been softened (slightly) by adding historical elements.
In memory of the dead from the 36th (Ulster) Division in St Leonard’s Crescent (the old Newcastle Street) in east Belfast. The four main panels show the men of the 36th going over the top on the first day of the Somme (1st July 1916), the “angel of Mons” (WP), Ulster Tower (This tower was dedicated to the glory of God. In grateful memory of the officers, non commissioned officers and men of the 36th (Ulster) Division, and of 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. “Throughout the long years of struggle …. the men of Ulster have proved how nobly they fight and die” – 16th November 1918 King George V), and Thiepval Memorial (Dear men and brothers, going out/to fight for Ulster’s need/we hail you with a mighty shout/brave friends, and true in deed.//Your country holds you in renown/your names will never be dead/and some sweet angel has a crown/for each dear, manly head.)
In the old style of calendar (prior to 1752), the Battle Of The Boyne took place on July 1st, the same date as the Battle Of The Somme (in the new style of calendar). It is reported that some soldiers from the 36th Division wore their Orange Order collarettes into battle. In the image above, they defend their trench from a German assault.
Carson signing the 1912 Covenant is the second of the pair.
“This plaque was presented by the officers and members of the Randalstown Sons Of Ulster flute band on Saturday 17th April 1999 in memory of all the loyalist people of Ulster who have suffered at the hands of the enemies of our land.” All of the plaque, the arch, the ground painting, and the 36th Division board are sponsored by the Randalstown Sons Of Ulster flute band (tw). Neilsbrook Road, Neilsbrook Park, and Blackthorn Way, Randalstown. For more images from the estate, see Loyalist Neilsbrook.