This time last year, Portadown True Blues flute band (Fb) was preparing for a trip to Toronto, Canada, for an international celebration of the Twelfth (News Letter) but it was cancelled on account of the pandemic. This blue board was an update of their long-standing purple mural in Edgarstown next to the Somme mural, also featured below (and previously in In Answer To The Echo Of Alarm.
This is a vintage board in Milltown (south Belvoir), carved and painted with the YCV/UVF emblems but with “MYV” instead of “YCV”. The band’s last on-line presence seems to be from a decade ago, playing in Rathcoole.
Social distancing was hard to maintain in some areas (BelTel) but many people celebrated the 12th from home this year, thank in part to messages such as appear on this pair of paste-ups in Olive Street and Glenvale Street off the Woodvale Road. “This year the bands are coming to you!” “This year’s 12th is about the battle with the [coronavirus] bug.”
Ballyclare Comrades football club – motto is ‘Nihil nisi optimi’ [nothing but the best] – was founded in 1919 by members of the local Great War ‘comrades’ association. That heritage is used here for the Ballyclare Protestant Boys flute band. In the centre, between images from WWI, the flowers of the four ‘home nations’ are joined by orange lilies, and in the shield are the lion and the unicorn from the coat of arms of the UK.
“To Flanders fields some men in our town were sent and along their way many would repent their priority goal to keep Ulster free that we may have freedom both you and me as part of Great Britain they fought and died and their names we will remember and remember with pride. Lest we forget. Comrades from Ballyclare. Nihil nisi optimi. The Comrades.” “Ballyclare Protestant Boys Est. 2004”
“William ‘Billy’ Hanna” murdered 21/6/1978. We will remember. Pride Of Ardoyne FB.” On the 40th anniversary of his death, a memorial plaque and cross were mounted at the top of Ardoyne Road to Billy Hanna, founder member of the Pride Of Ardoyne. The word “murdered” is notable. Hanna was shot in an SAS ambush of a PIRA attempt to bomb the Ballysillan post office depot; it is alleged that the SAS snipers opened fire without warning and discharged 170 rounds (An Phoblacht). An alternative interpretation of the event might put the focus instead on Hanna being caught in the crossfire (BBC-NI) or mistaken for an IRA member (Sutton).
Ronnie’s hardware shop in east Belfast, vacant for many years and the site of Our Brave Defenders, was finally torn down last year and a pocket park created with murals commemorating east Belfast volunteers who died in the Great War and the UVF Regimental Band (tw), this year celebrating its 50 anniversary (video of the launch). See previously: 40th anniversary banner at the same spot (Belvoir Bar).
The 8th battalion of the RIR was drawn from east Belfast’s Ulster Volunteers in 1914. The board shown above, on the practice hall of Rising Sons Flute Band (Fb), shows the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme – the heroes that in whose footsteps the band claim to march.
Dee Stitt resigned last week as chair of Charter NI citing the strain on his family caused by negative media attention (BBC-NI | Irish News). At the end of 2016, Stitt was criticised for remarks describing his North Down Defenders (tw | Fb) as the “homeland security” of the area and describing working-class estates as “jungles” in which there is always a “big guy” (Guardian video 8 min mark ff.| BelTel | ITV) . The mural above does not directly indicate ties to the UDA/UFF, except for the red fist. For a more explicit NDD board further down the estate, with UDA, UFF, UYM, and LPA flags, see North Down Defenders.