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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The Central Antrim Regiment

As this plaque in the Factory area of Larne indicates, the 2nd battalion of the Central Antrim regiment (of the Antrim division) of the Ulster Volunteers was drawn from Larne. Edward Carson reviewed the entire regiment at Drumalis in Larne on July 11th, 1914, (here is a postcard depicting the review) where he was presented with the colours of the 2nd from a Lady Smiley of First Larne Presbyterian. (The colours of the 1st and 2nd battalions are included below; the colours of the 3rd (Carrickfergus) Battalion can be seen at Sam’s Flags.) In the Royal Irish Rifles of WWI, Central Antrim became the 12th battalion (War Time Memories Project); its members included Larne man Rifleman Robert King.

“The Clydevalley flute band [Fb] proudly remembers all who served in the [Antrim Division,] Central Antrim Regt, 2nd Larne Battalion, Ulster Volunteer Force. Lest we forget.”

The plaque is on the gun-running mural and next to a King Billy mural in Greenland Drive. Both murals were seen previously in 2016; see Amazing Night At Larne and Civil & Religious Liberty.

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The Flax And The Lily

The orange lily and the (pale blue) flax flower take their place around the Ulster Banner alongside the English rose and Scottish thistle, and the Irish shamrock is retained even in the presence of the lily. The flax is perhaps included because we are in the Factory area of Larne, near the site of a (former) linen mill. The Welsh daffodil is excluded. The detail above is part of a wider board “Boyne Square celebrates 100 years of Northern Ireland”; the flanking emblems of the Boyne Defenders (LOL 1297), Rangers Supporters club (Larne Branch) – which also uses the shamrock – Boyne Square Bonfire Forum, and Larne & District Great War Society and included below; the emblems of three flute bands can be seen in Norman Anderson and The Gunrunners.

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The Gunrunners

“Operation Lion” was the code named for what is commonly known as the Larne Gunrunning on the Clyde Valley (which had been renamed the Mountjoy II for the occasion WP) and is now the name of a flute band in the area. The hooded gunman on the right is carrying a more modern rifle, rather than surplus German and Italian WWI rifles that came ashore in April, 1914 (Full 30).

For a wide shot containing both pieces, see Norman Anderson.

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Norman Anderson

RUC Constable Norman Anderson was set upon and executed in 1961 by the IRA on the Fermanagh border as he returned from visiting his Co Monaghan girlfriend (SEFF) but he and his family hailed from Larne and he is remembered by the Constable Anderson Memorial flute band (emblem below), which was formed in the same year (Fb), and the Auld Boys (emblem above). These are two of three flute bands in the Factory area of Larne, along with the Clyde Valley flute band – see The Gunrunners.

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Marching Band

In this board the Rising Sons Flute Band (“RSFB”) portrays itself as following in the footsteps of the Ulster Volunteers who joined the British Army and specifically the 8th battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles in the 36th (Ulster) Division, which was drawn from east Belfast’s Ulster Volunteers in 1914. The insignia for the battalion is usually shown as dark blue rather than the black shown here – see the mural of 36th Division insignia in Canada Street. There is a similar board outside the band’s practice hall in Castlereagh Street.

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Whiterock FB

The Whiterock flute band (Fb | spotify) was founded in 1962 and the band’s mural in Brookmount Street contains a ‘brief history’ and photographs from different decades, to which was added (on the right) a list of members past and present. The most recent addition to the wall was a memorial – shown below – to band-member Alex Thompson, who died in May 2019 after 56 years in the band. (Also, the advertising hoarding above the mural has come off.)

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Forever Young

On this date twenty years ago (November 11th, 2001 – Remembrance Sunday) sixteen year-old Glen “Spacer” Branagh was killed by the premature blast of a pipe bomb he was carrying during a riot with New Lodge nationalists. He was affiliated with Tigers Bay First flute band – which held a memorial parade for him on October 16th (youtube) – and the UDA/UYM – for which see the old “Young Guns” mural on the site of the current Duncairn community garden. Distant relative Kenneth Branagh was also born in Tigers Bay (An Phoblacht), before leaving at age nine with his family in 1969 (WP); his film Belfast will be released in the USA tomorrow.

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Portadown True Blues

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.

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Milltown Young Volunteers

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.

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