Dan McCann

Although originally from Clonard in west Belfast, at the time he was shot by the SAS in Gibraltar (along with Mairéad Farrell and Sean Savage) IRA volunteer Dan McCann was living in the New Lodge, site of this recently-added plaque in his memory. (He was previously included in a 3rd battalion Belfast Brigade mural on New Lodge Road.)

There are also new plaques to TC Campbell and Seamus McCusker.

“Óglach Dan McCann: On March 6th 1988 Dan was gunned down in Gibrlatar along with two IRA comrades Óglach Mairead Farrell and Óglach Sean Savage.”

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Pat And Dan Duffin

The IRA shot dead two members of the British Auxiliaries, Ernest Bolan and John Bales, in Donegall Street in Belfast city centre on April 23rd. Just before midnight, Pat and Dan Duffin were shot to death by men who entered their Clonard home. Another brother, John, was upstairs and not harmed and when he approached the scene he found not only his dead brothers but the station dog of the Springfield Road RIC barracks (GB Kenna | Glenravel history of Milltown). DeValera led the funeral cortège along the Falls. Joe Devlin would include the Duffin murders in a Westminster speech in June, following the killings in a single night of Alexander McBride, Malachy Halfpenny, and William Kerr (Hansard). The RIC in west Belfast under CI Harrison, DI Nixon, and in this case DI Ferris (Aiken et al.), would continue their killings into 1922 – see The RIC Murder Gang.

“In memory of volunteers Pat and Dan Duffin, murdered by the RIC in thei home at 64 Clonard Gardens 23rd April 1921. Erected the by the Greater Clonard Ex-Prisoners Association.”

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Teach Ghráinne

“Óglach Tony ‘TC’ Campbell was shot dead by the British Army as he walked along Edlingham Street on February 4th 1973 as he returned home from celebrating his 19th birthday. TC was one [of] six New Lodge residents murdered which was later referred to as the “New Lodge Six Massacre. … Tony lived in 13D Artillery House [now Teach Ghráinne].” Campbell was hit 17 times (BBC).

“Óglach Seamus McCusker was murdered by members of the Workers Party [as part of the PIRA-OIRA feud] on this spot [New Lodge Road outside Artillery House] on the 31st October [1975]. At the time of Seamus’s killing he was on his way to deal with a local resident’s complaint.” McCusker was killed two days after the PIRA shot Robert Elliman in the Markets; a few hours after McCusker’s death, Tom Berry of the OIRA was killed in Short Strand.

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Bella’s Bench

“In loving memory of Isobel Bamford 18.09.1954 – 03.02.2014 from family and friends in Kirkintillock LOL 206, KRSC [Kirkintillock Rangers Supporters Club], City of Glasgow ABOD and POTNFB [Pride Of The North Flute Band].” Kirkintillock is eight miles outside Glasgow, Scotland. This memorial bench to Bella Bamford is in the pocket park just above the King William III mural on Sandy Row.

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We Have Hit Five

The Westrock bungalows were aluminium prefab houses built in 1949 during the post-war housing shortage next to Springhill and Ballymurphy. British troops fired on the area from the high position of Corry’s timber yard in the summer of 1972; their bullets could go through the walls. Five people were shot dead, including a priest. The plaques shown are in the memorial garden in Westrock Drive.

“On the evening of July 9th 1972 British marksmen mounted an unprovoked and sustained attack on this community. Among the snipers[‘] victims lay five dead. Gunned down during efforts to bring aid an succour to the wounded. Still waiting for justice to their memory and for freedom of the truth.”

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Michael McCartan

“Michael was born 4th March 1964 to parents Charlie and Molly. Charlie was originally from Raglan Street and Molly was from Stanfield Street and they move to 13 Artana Street in February 1963. They had seven children: Michael, Sean, Dermot, Martin, Conor, Marie and Roisin. Michael was educated at Holy Rosary PS and St Augustine’s Secondary School and was due to start an apprenticeship in joinery and plastering. Michael was a typical teenager. He loved spending time with his mates but as the eldest child he was very helpful to his parents. On the day of his murder he had been helping his father paint the house. On 23rd July 1980 Michael, aged 16, was playing cards with his mates in the ‘nook’ at Ormeau Bridge. Getting bored, Michael got some paint and painted a slogan on the adjacent wall. He was seen by two plainclothes RUC men in an unmarked van. Without warning, Michael was shot by one of the RUC men and died shortly after. Nobody was ever convicted of Michael’s murder. Unveiled by his mother Molly 4th March 2019.” Father Raymond Murray, who with Fr Dennis Faul wrote a report on McCartan’s death, was also at the launch.

The killing of Michael McCartan by an RUC officer named McKeown was long ago (in the 1980s) depicted in a mural in Oakman Street: They Murder The People And Have No Shame.

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Herbie McCallum

The memorial to Brian “Herbie” McCallum at the top of Ainsworth Avenue received a major upgrade late last year, with two new plaques and a mural (shown above) along with a side wall that will be featured in a separate post. The long plaque reads: “June 1993 brought extreme Republican violence and agitation surrounding the annual Orange Whiterock parade, which was travelling its traditional route past this very spot and onto the Springfield Road. The threat being so severe to this community, the 1st Belfast Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force deployed several armed active service units. Herbie being Herbie was first to volunteer for duty. Realising the grenade he had been issued with had malfunctioned and giving absolutely no consideration for his own safety, he carried the device to a safe location, away from men, women and children. This one selfless act costs Herbie his life when the grenade detonated prematurely. Volunteer Brian “Herbie” McCallum died 29th June 1993. Sadly missed by his family friends and comrades. Rest easy soldier your duty is done. For God and Ulster.” McCallum died three days after the explosion.
The plaque from the original memorial (which dates back to 1994) has also been retained (above the one shown next, below): see Some Day Soon We’ll March Proudly On Parade.
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“There is discipline in a volunteer/You can see it when he walks/There is honour in a volunteer,/You can hear it when he talks/There is courage in a volunteer,/You can see it in his eyes/There is loyalty in a volunteer/That he will not compromise.”

“We will remember him. The officers and members of Sweeney’s ‘A’ Company 1st Belfast Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force.”

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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Shankill Brigadistas

After the Nationalist coup in 1936, the UK and US continued to recognise Spain’s Republican government but did not intervene militarily. Individuals from these counties thus participated in the conflict by joining the British and Lincoln battalions of the XV International Brigade, fighting alongside Balkans, Belgians, and Cubans at Jarama, Brunete, and the Ebro river, among other battles. For background on Belfast socialism of the period see this article by Stevie Downes.
“International Brigades – Spanish Civil War 1936 – 39. Commemorating all those who served and died with the XV International Brigade in the fight against fascism including the following Brigadistas from the Shankill area: William Beattie … Bill Henry … William Laughran … Henry McGrath … James Isaac Hillen … Joseph Lowery … Andrew Molyneaux. No pasarán. Unveiled by Tommy and Freddie McGrath, nephews of Henry McGrath, and Baroness May Blood, trade union & community activist. International Brigade Commemoration Committee. Saturday 1st February 2014.”
Previously: Plaque to (Protestant) Beattie and (Catholic) O’Neill | Belfast Socialists marching at Bodenstown (though possibly those from the Shankill were excluded) | Derry Brigadistas | a bust to the International Brigade in Writers Square, Belfast. Also: Guernica | Derry Guernica.
The plaque is in the Shankill Road Library.
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Republican Prisoners Memorial Wall

James Connolly was executed on May 12th, 1916. Both the (freshly painted) Connolly plaque shown above and the Martin Meehan mural on the adjacent wall paint the struggle of the republican prisoners and the Provisionals of the ‘Troubles’ as descendants of 1916’s Easter Rising. Several name-plaques have been added to (what is now officially titled) the ‘Republican Prisoners Memorial Wall’ compared to the number seen in September.
For close-ups of the door and sculptured rocks, see Father Time.
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