“If our shores are threatened/We will take up arms/To defend our loyal cause/Our culture and our heritage/Our freedoms and our laws.” Moygashel’s own (William) Wesley Somerville, a member of both the UVF and UDR, was killed by a bomb prematurely exploding as he placed it on the minibus of the Miami Showband in July of 1975. Three members of the band died, one of them Protestant, along with volunteers Somerville and Harris Boyle from Portadown (WP). “He died for Ulster” (on the plaque).
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.
The Cupar Way “peace” line, home to graffiti-art/wild-style writing and patronising slogans from around the world, is also home to a single Troubles-related memorial plaque, to Plum Smith (one | two) of the UVF/RHC and subsequently the PUP, which thus far has resisted the artists’ can and the tourists’ Sharpie. It is not known whether the “Plum” graffiti (and previously “RIP Plum Smith”) is by locals or by a visiting writer.
The “Ulster’s Finest” mural in Monkstown was remarkable for its depiction of two female volunteers, carrying Uzis, the only depiction of female loyalist volunteers (see Rolston ‘Women on the walls’ in Crime Media Culture 14.3, 2018, p. 373). It was plastered over in 1996 because the gable is next to Hollybank primary. Some of the pebbledash wore away in January/February to reveal the mural – still in good condition – beneath (Vintage_UVF).
The previous UVF mural in Carrington Street (Volunteering | On Your Side) was paint-bombed in October (Keep It Local) but has been quickly replaced by this computer-generated board showing the Harland & Wolff cranes, a Long Kesh watch-tower, and a hooded gunman from the UVF’s East Belfast Battalion.
The UVF mural in Carrington Street has been paint-bombed. Given the location and the extent of the paint, it’s likely that this was the result of some local (PUL) grievance. It will be interesting to see if it is restored, or replaced or painted out.
“I am not an Ulsterman but yesterday, the First of July, as I followed their amazing attack, I felt that I would rather be an Ulsterman than anything else in the world. – Wilfred [Wilfrid] Spender – The Somme 1916”. Spender was born in England but served as quartermaster of the Ulster Volunteers and general staff officer of the 36th (Ulster) Division. He won the Military Cross for actions at Thiepval, and became Cabinet Secretary of the new “Northern Ireland” in 1921 (WP). His words are on one of three new murals in Belvoir Park, alongside two large flags – the Union Flag and Ulster Banner. Above the WWI mural old RHC lettering is causing the paint to fall away.
William McFadzean won a VC for sacrificing himself on the morning before the Battle Of The Somme (in WWI) and is commemorated in several murals. He shares a plaque here with “Vol W Miller”, who is perhaps the (modern UVF) volunteer Billy Miller from Donegall Pass who was killed in an RUC ambush in 1983 (Long Kesh I/O). The two names on the newer plaque are unknown on-line, perhaps having survived the Troubles and recently deceased.
The title of today’s post comes from the Laurence Binyon poem For The Fallen.
The “cowards” in this case are the members of the UDA who killed Rockett in front of his girlfriend and 18 month old child in an attack on her house in the lower Oldpark, during the feud between the UVF and UDA, sparked by Johnny Adair’s “loyalist day of culture” and removal of the UVF from the lower Shankill. In response to the purge (and attacks on the Rex bar), the UVF killed Bobby Mahood and Mr Jackie Coulter. Rockett was killed by the UDA in retaliation for their deaths; 1,000 people attended Rockett’s funeral (Irish Times). After Rockett died, the UVF killed David Greer, and the UDA then killed PUP member Bertie Rice in Tiger’s Bay on October 31st.
“In proud and loving memory of Vol. Samuel Rockett, ‘B’ Coy. 1st Belfast battalion, Young Citizens Volunteers. Murdered by cowards 23rd August 2000. “At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember him.””
“[Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous.] In war you can only be killed once. In politics, many times. [ – Winston Churchill, 1903] Our British identity is non-negotiable! UVF East Belfast Battalion.” Hooded UVF volunteers are shown in active poses (as compared to the cradled rifles in The Erosion Of Our Identity) ready to resist any compromise in the still-unresolved tension between Brexit and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement of 1998.