Spirit Of ’93

The house in Bond’s Place was torn down last summer and rebuilt with a piece of street art on the gable that has been used since at least 1982 for images of the Commonwealth, King Billy, and, since 1996, Eddie The Trooper. The board that was the wall has been moved one neighbourhood over, into Lincoln Court. It was the first to include the words “Spirit Of ’93” – presumably a reference to the Greysteel Massacre in which eight people in the Rising Sun bar were killed in reprisal for the Shankill Bombing (BelTel). The “raid” was planned, and both gunmen rented rooms, at the UDP office on Bond’s Place, just across Bonds Street (NI Judiciary).

Eddie has his own Visual History page.

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Bullets Travel Also Through Time

“South Belfast – time for truth – exposing collusion – Ormeau Road – ‘Bullets do not only travel distance but also through time'” [Based on a quote by James Kennedy’s father: “The bullets that killed James didn’t just travel in distance, they travelled in time. Some of those bullets never stop travelling.” (Irish Times)]

Police Ombudsman Marie Andersons’s report into various murders and attempted murders in south Belfast was released yesterday (February 7th, 2022) and presented a list of “collusive behaviours” between the RUC and loyalist paramilitaries. Among the incidents investigated was the killing of five people “murdered for their faith” at the Sean Graham bookies’ office on the Ormeau Road in February 5th, 1992; the report found that one of the two UDA gunmen was a Special Branch informant and that a Browning pistol used in the attack had been supplied by the RUC (as had previously been revealed in the 2010 HET Inquiry report) and that records relating to the weapon had been withheld from investigators (Irish Times | Belfast Live). For the 30th anniversary, relatives of the five men killed and of five more who were injured displayed their portraits next to the small memorial garden, which itself was updated to mark the third decade since their deaths: “1992-2022” (Belfast Live).

The plaque on the far left is to Charles Jospeh McGrillen, shot by the UDA/UFF in 1988 at his work in Dunne’s on the Annadale embankment (Sutton). Next to the bookies’ parlour is a plaque to Fian Jim Templeton.

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Standing Stone

The bricked up first floor of the Tudor Lodge (formerly the Telstar) is still standing at the bottom of Gray’s Lane, with UFF graffiti that goes back a decade. For even earlier (2005) graffiti around the Tudor Lodge, see Sinn Féin Toadies.

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Honour, Loyalty, Liberty, Sacrifice

A new backdrop – of a field of poppies beneath a blue sky– has been added to the UFF memorial garden in Tigers Bay. The four stones/plaques in the garden are shown below in the order that they were added to the garden, starting with two to the North Belfast Brigade that were present in 2008 (see M04397). The third was a roll of honour of the “Scottish Brigade North Ayrshire”. The fourth is generically to “those we have loved and lost” but contains a strand of barbed wire, symbol of POWs.

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Order Restored

Rangers went into administration in 2012 and the “new” club played in the 4th tier of Scottish football. After four years, they had played themselves back into premiership football. Ten years after their previous league championship, they topped the table at the end of the 2020-2021 season, prompting the board shown above “order restored”. See also: 55 | F*ck Your Ten In A Row | Blues Brothers | We’re Back (and Legends Never Die).

The area in front of the Tiger’s Bay Flute Band mural bears an “Anfield Road’ street sign; and there is a Chelsea FC crest on the house across the street (not shown).

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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 Tiger’s 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 Tiger’s 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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A Place For Everyone

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“I loved it here, and still miss it. The characters that came into the shop … and I miss the craic!” The advertising hoardings at the corner of Ligoniel and Crumlin roads have been replaced with this community alcove with pavers and a space for “sharing positive stories together” at “the turn of the road” from Ballysillan towards Ligoniel village. The plaque to the UDA’s Bill Reynolds, which stood on the building where he was killed until the building was demolished (see the old plaque) and then replaced with a new plaque next to the hoarding, has been included.

“In loving memory [UDA] Lt. Col. Bill Reynolds murdered [by the IRA] 7-7-87. Always remembered by his family, friends and comrades. Quis separabit.”

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Defending Freedom From Hate

Compared to the UVF, the UDA more strongly detect an existential threat to loyalism and evince a siege mentality that provokes the need for armed resistance. Hence the more frequent presence of armed gunmen in UDA murals (which is also due in part to the UVF being able to “re-image” around the Ulster Volunteers and the Somme). With Brexit and the Protocol, however, armed gunmen have recently been appearing more frequently in UVF murals – see, for example, If Our Shores Are Threatened | Bang Up To Date | Our British Identity.

“Springmartin–Highfield–Glencairn Ulster Defence Association est. 1971. Defending freedom from hate.” As the companion mural (We Will Take Nothing Less) makes clear, the hate is coming from a “fascist republican enemy” (“Sinn Féin/IRA”, presumably) and the government of Ireland. Graphically, this mural is the same as the previous one on this wall: Under The Protection Of The UDA.

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Past And Present

The Castlereagh (4th battalion) UDA memorial garden behind the Bunch Of Grapes has changed over the years from painted murals (M | X) to spray-painted boards (We Forget Them Not) and now again to tarps within red frames. As far as content is concerned, the UFF, LPA (“We forget them not – past and present”) and UYM (“They shall not grow old etc”) remain but Tim Collins – a product of re-imaging – is out (see On That Journey) and Eddie The Trooper is in. The side wall of the pub has also been employed for the first time, with more hooded gunmen (see the third image, below). Two small plaques have been added to the outsides of the memorial wall.

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Rathfern Remembers

For the centenary of the end of WWI (in November 2018) a small board was added to the UFF’s South East Antrim Brigade mural in Rathfern.

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