Muralist Gerard ‘Mo Chara’ Kelly (whose catalogue of work can be seen in a separate site) and others from Gael Force Art (Fb) have mounted a three-piece memorial for the centenary of the Falls Road Massacre in which four people were killed – one of them being Mo Chara’s great uncle Jimmy Shields – in a 5-minute shooting spree by a “special patrol” on the night of the funerals of three men killed by the ‘RIC Murder Gang’ (see the 2007 post). For more background see the memorial’s Facebook page.
“These four innocent local men were murdered by an RIC/British Army death squad near this spot in [September 28th] 1920: James Shields, William Teer, Robert Gordon, Thomas Barkley.” With perhaps the first appearance of a hashtag on a plaque: #fallsroadmassacre1920
“The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality” – Che Guevara Lynch. The INLA’s Kevin Lynch died in the second hunger strike after 71 days. He is buried in Dungiven, where this memorial sits on the main road between Derry and Maghera.
“I ndíl chuimhne ar Óglach Kevin Lynch a fuair bás ar stailc ocrais ar son saoirse, 1ú Lúnasa 1981 [who died on a hunger strike for freedom, 1st August 1981]. Erected by the Irish Republican Socialist Ex-Prisoners Memorial Committee.”
“This plaque is dedicated to those men and women of the Orange Institution who volunteered to fight in the Great War for king and empire and who made the ultimate sacrifice on foreign fields.” A WWI commemorative plaque has been added to the Orange hall in Carrickfergus (seen previously in M05249).
The fact that there are three memorials to the Balmoral Furniture bombing speaks to the shock felt at devastating bomb on a busy Shankill Road. The oldest is the small circular plaque: “Balmoral Furniture Showrooms bombed 12.25pm Saturday 11th December 1971. 2 adults & 2 babies killed”; then the Poppy Cross “in memory of the two men and two babies murdered at this spot by a no warning sectarian IRA bomb attack on the Balmoral Furniture shop on 11th December 1971.” and finally the traditional plaque, which names the victims: Colin Nicholl, Tracey Jane Munn, Harold King, Hugh Bruce.
“Active service” on paramilitary plaques means death by a premature bomb explosion rather than at the hands of enemy forces. All three of the IRA volunteers named here died in this way: Paul Fox in King Street in 1975, Sean Bailey in nearby Nansen Street in 1976, and Paul Marlowe on the Ormeau Road later that same year (Sutton). The central plaque (shown below) has been in place since at least 2006 but was augmented last year with portraits. The fourth is Tony Campbell, also from the 2nd battalion, dead by natural causes in 1985.
“I ndíl chuimhne ar Óglach Paul Fox A-Coy 2 Batt Belfast Brigade, died on active service 1-12-1975, Óglach Sean Bailey A-Coy 2 Batt Belfast Brigade, died at this location on active service 13-2-1976, Óglach Paul Marlowe A-Coy 2 Batt Belfast Brigade, died on active service 16-10-1976, Óglach Tony Campbell died of natural causes 4-8-1985. I measc laochra na hÉireann atá siad. In every generation we have renewed the struggle and so it will be to the end. When England thinks she has trampled out our blood in battle, some brave men and women rise and rally us again.”
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.
“Ar an 9ú Iúil 1972 maraíodh Margaret Gargan 13 bliana d’aois, David McCafferty 15 d’aois, John Dougal 16 d’aois, Paddy Butler fear pósta le 6 clainne aige agus sagairt áitiúil an tAthair Noel Fitzpatrick, scaoilt ag Arm na Breataine. B’as Clós Adhmaid Corry’s sa cheantar Springhill/Westrock a bhí na saighdiúrí ag feidhmiú.” “‘And I’ll keep on praying for Ireland/The way I pray for you’ – from the poem “The Springhill Massacre” by Martin Dudley”. The new plaque was launched on July 9th, 2019 by Dudley and Brian Pettigrew, both of whom were wounded in the attack. Here is a gallery of images from the launch from Relatives For Justice.
A home-made sign on cardboard “NHS – stay safe” has been attached to the mural to IRA volunteers Bobby McCrudden, Mundo O’Rawe, and Pearse Jordan, and the wall below it painted with the message “Stay home – Protect the NHS – Save lives”.
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.””