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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X08768 X8767 thiepval memorial

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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X08591 [X08592] X08593 X08589 [X08590] N Queen St

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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X07885 X07913 [X07912] [X07914] [X07883] X07882 [X07881] [X07909] [X07910] [X07911] X07884

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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X07899 Ballycairn Rd

Pride Of The Park

Pride Of The Park (Fb) is the local flute band in Armoy. Practices are usually on Monday nights in Park Orange Hall. The lettering is at the junction of Gracehill and Drones roads.

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#SafeShankill

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.”

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Pride Of The Shore

“Pride of the Shore flute band [Fb]. In memory of past members. SRT [Shore Road Tartan].” Part of the Joint Forces memorial on York Road.

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Nihil Nisi Optimi

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”

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X06941 X06942 [X06943] main st 

Billy Hanna

“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).

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X06614 X06612 X06613 h/t Tony Crowley