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.”
“… 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.
This Village board celebrates the Covenant, Ulster Volunteers, and the 36th (Ulster) Division, with photographs both vintage and contemporary.
For the photograph of Carson signing the Covenant, and an earlier mural, see Betting Office. For the photograph of the car-mounted gun, and an earlier mural recreating the photo, see UVF 75th Anniversary. For images akin to the contemporary photos, see these BelTel galleries one | two of the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Ulster Volunteers.
The 62 year-old painter John Singer Sergeant went to the western front in 1918 to find a scene suitable for painting on the theme of Anglo-American co-operation during the war. On the 21st of August, however, he witnessed at Arras British soldiers blinded by a German mustard gas attack, one following behind the other in a human chain, each group being directed by an orderly towards a dressing station. The War Memorials Committee agreed to change its commission and Sergeant received 600 pounds (about 34,000 in today’s money) for his painting, Gassed(WP). This copy is in St Leonard’s Crescent, part of the 50th anniversary garden and mural for the UVF regimental band and memorial for east Belfast volunteers who joined the 36th Division (which did not fight at Arras as it had been disbanded in May, 1918). The plaque below list the nine counties of Ulster and reads “To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield. Sons Of Ulster RBP 375.”
“Aye ready they stood, aye ready they fought, through conflict, blood and tears, loyal to the end, every one, the Scottish volunteers.” “Aye ready” was the motto of the 59th Scinde Rifles of the British Indian Army (and later of the Canadian Navy) but is best known from the label of Camp Coffee, in which a Highlander was served a cup of Camp by a Sikh servant (nowadays, they both have a cup of their own). In this new mural and plaque at the newly-christened “Scots Corner” (see final image), a Scottish soldier plays the pipes over a list of the “Battalion Of The Dead”, Scottish volunteers from the (modern) UVF. The list is led by William “Big Bill” Campbell, who has had a small plaque in his memory at this spot since (at least) 2014. Preacher and DUP politician George Seawright (see A Crown Of Life) is also included – he was born in Glasgow in 1951.
The Union Flag/UVF side-wall is a new addition to the Ulster Volunteers/UVF memorial in London Road, east Belfast. The main panel shows WWI soldiers going over the top (see Between The Crosses) while the four portraits to its right are of deceased UVF volunteers of the 70s and 80s – Seymour, Long, Cordner, and Bennett – (see Ulster’s Brave).