Our British Identity

Various changes and additions have been made to the Ulster Volunteers/UVF mural in London Road, east Belfast, compared to the version that replaced a religious mural (Jesus Strong Man) in 2017. The ‘hooded gunman’ board seen in the image above previously replaced a Union Flag in London Road (see East Belfast Ulster Volunteers) but has now been moved to the main Our Lady’s Road: “Our British identity cannot & will not be sacrificed to appease the Irish Republic – East Belfast Battalion [UVF]”.

The side-wall has been modified, to include a UVF emblem and larger lettering for “East Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force”.

For close-ups of the WWI portion, painted by Mark Ervine, see Between The Crosses; for a close-up of the four portraits of volunteers Seymour, Long, Cordner, and Bennett, see Ulster’s Brave.

Images courtesy of Paddy Duffy.

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Still Ready & Willing

The UVF 1st East Antrim Battalion is “Still ready & willing to defend the people of Ulster against all foes” including the British government that – even as Northern Ireland marks its centenary – has “deserted” it over the NI Protocol that involves checks on goods moving between Britain and Ireland (whether north or south) but no (new) checks on goods moving between north and south (gov.uk). The “still” goes all the way back to 1912, when the British government of the day proposed (for a third time) “Home Rule” for Ireland and the Ulster Volunteers were formed – though the original “deserted” postcard and previous murals show the date as 1914.

The PSNI board was seen previously: In The Pocket Of Sinn Féin.

Davys Street, Carrickfergus. For the same comparison in Belfast see, Deserted! Well, We Can Stand Alone, and in Moygashel, see Belfast Agreement, Null And Void.

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Heeding The Call

“Where so ever, how so ever or whenever we are called upon to make our exit, we will do as proud men.” This is quite a different message from the one produced within the Rathcoole estate for the 50th anniversary of the Red Hand Commandos, which stated that despite its venerable age, the four Rathcoole companies of the RHC “Await In The Shadows“. (That mural also depicted the kneeling men with sticks (on the left of today’s mural) and the linked post also contains the original photograph.)

It’s not clear who or what within loyalism might call upon the RHC to stand down; loyalist rhetoric at the moment is full of anger at the protocol and warnings/threats about of a return to violence (e.g. BelTel | BBC).

For the use of “Lamh Dear Abu” as the slogan, see Ulster Says “Tá”.

O’Neill Road, Newtownabbey.

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Peace Or Protocol

Agriculture minister Edwin Poots’s directive to stop checks on goods coming from Britain to Northern Ireland – which did not come into practical effect – was struck down on Friday, and reverting the policy to what it was under the NI Protocol and Brexit deals. The High Court judge who handed down the decision did so on the grounds that Poots’s directive was politically motivated (BBC) – in other words, it was taken as part of the DUP’s opposition to the Protocol, which next (in February, 2022) involved collapsing the executive.

Sales from GB to NI increased 7% (about 1 billion pounds in value) in the year after the Protocol came into effect (BBC | BelTel) but money isn’t everything (the “erosion of our identity” is “non-negotiable“) and protests persist, offering the bargain of “the peace” (i.e. the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement) or “the proticol”. Efforts continue by the UK government to reach a new deal with the EU and/or to pass a bill allowing unilateral changes (News Letter).

Glenmore St and Gawn St, Belfast.

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S Company, C Company

Joe Coggle and Paul McClelland were arrested as they sat with weapons in a car on the Falls Road in 1991; they were jailed for 18 years (Independent) but released under the Agreement. The Sunday World also report that the pair were involved in the killing of David Braniff in 1989. Both UVF men are said to be deceased; Coggle died in September.

Coggle had previously served 18 months for running over and killing Elizabeth Masterson in Beechmount in 1986 and her descendants objected to the mural (Irish News | BBC).

S Company was a predecessor to C Company, existing from 1969 to 1974, when C Company was formed (see M08105 for an older S Coy – C Coy mural in Ballygomartin). A previous UVF uzi can be seen in M01186.

Replaces Here Dead We Lie. For mural of five volunteers to the right (in the wide shot), see C Coy Street.

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Your Local Supplier

The North Down and East Belfast branches of the UVF come within a stone’s throw at the top end of the Bowtown (Newtownards) estate. Above and immediately below, North Down signage; below that, three of the East Belfast installation on the fence across the Movilla Road.

Both portraits on the fence are of Dennis Hutchings, the former British Army soldier who died this year while on trial for the killing of John Pat Cunningham in 1974 (BBC).

The tarp is against the ‘Irish Sea border’, in the style seen in the image at the top of this Irish Times article about checks at ports.

The “erosion of our identity” board on the right can also be seen in east Belfast.

For another pair inside the estate, see previously: Bowtown UVF, and on either side of Abbot Drive, compare Our Cause Will Always Remain The Same with North Down UVF.

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The Enemies Of Ulster

Mark Quail, of the UVF, was “murdered by the enemies of Ulster” – that is, shot by the UDA – at his Rathcoole home on November 1st, 2000. His was the fourth death in four days (after David Greer, Bertie Rice, Tommy English) (Irish Times) as the UVF-UDA feud that began in the Shankill with the infamous “loyalist day of culture” in August 2000 spread to north Belfast and Newtownabbey (though the BBC says they are unrelated). There were also attacks in east Belfast (BelTel) before the feud ended in mid-December (BBC | Guardian).

See also Jackie Coulter (and Bobby Mahood) and Sam Rockett “Murdered By Cowards”.

This is a repainted mural; for the previous version see Marky Quail.

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Shared Space

More “turf” markings, at the entrance to the Glen estate, Newtownards; above and directly below, a North Down UVF and graffiti, while directly above it (final image) two UDA hooded gunmen take aim at the viewer on the pavement.

Also in Glen: a UVF hooded gunman at the bottom of the estate – Neighbourhood Watch – and UDA gunmen at the top of the estate – Hope That It Will Get Better.

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Death’s Parade Ground

The bugler in period uniform and the language of the poem are reminiscent of WWI but all of the UVF mural, roll of honour, and reproduction of an old YCV mural refer to the modern UVF and in particular to William Millar [sometimes given as “Miller”], Bobby Morton, and Tommy McAllister. Millar and Morton were ambushed by the RUC on the 16th of March 1983 – Millar died and Morton was injured (Long Kesh Inside Out). Millar was included in an old Cregagh mural – see C00956). Morton died in 2016 (Young Conquerors), hence is portrait shows him as an older man. The same is true of McAllister’s portrait, though no information about him is readily available.

“As the bugler blows/O’er the graves in rows/As reveille sounds/Over death[‘]s parade ground/Where our fallen comrades lie/With our standards proud/Once their deathbeads shroud/We will come from far and near/To salute our dead/And the roles they played/With the Ulster Volunteers.”

The mural was launched on March 19th (ACT) in Pine St. Below the new mural are a roll of honour and a board reproducing a former mural by Gareth Keys one street over, in Walnut Street – see The Young, The Brave, The Fearless.

The vintage graffiti (second image) is across the street.

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Fallen Not Forgotten

What’s most unusual here is the tree cross-section (or “tree disk”) (on the left) that has been decorated with a hooded gunman and the insignia of the (east Belfast) UVF and YCV – the final image shows a close-up.

“The uniform may have changed but the cause remains the same. Ulster Volunteer Force. Fallen, not forgotten.” There is a very close variant of this wording on a mural in Bowtown (Newtownards).

For the Tom Moore mural to the side, see You’ll Never Walk Alone.

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