An Attitude Of Revolt

The Tommy Roberts mural at the top of Westland Street, Derry, has been expanded, with a new central image – which now includes a portrait of Stevie Mallon alongside Roberts, against a background of Free Derry Corner – and three additional plaques.

Both quotes (“Life springs from death, and from the graves of dead patriot men and women spring living nations.” and “As long as Ireland is unfree the only honourable attitude for Irishmen and Irishwomen is an attitude of revolt.” are from Patrick Pearse. The first quote was also used on a Gibraltar 3 mural in Belfast and an INLA mural in Strabane in 1990; the latter was used in a Belfast in the 1980s.

“In proud and loving memory of Tommy Roberts, former IRA volunteer, former POW blanketman, died 8th June 2017 aged 78. His courage and dedication will never be forgotten. As long as Ireland is unfree the only honourable attitude for Irishmen and Irishwomen is an attitude of revolt.”

“In proud and loving memory of Stevie Mellon, former IRA volunteer, former internee, former GAA referee, died 1st August 2018, aged 65 years. His courage and dedication will never be forgotten. Lay him away on the hillside with the brave and the bold.”

“In proud and loving memory of Veronica Taylor, a proud socialist republican. Born11th June 1943, died 16th December 2019, aged 76 years. Her tireless dedication to the republican struggle will never be forgotten. “The only people worthy of freedom are those who are prepared to go out and fight for it every day and die if necessary.””

“In proud and loving memory of Ruairí (Roddy) Carlin, former IRA volunteer, former POW, died 23rd March 2021. A brave son of Ireland who fought for his country against continued British oppression and injustice, an uncompromised republican committed to the reunification of Ireland.”

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The Central Antrim Regiment

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.”

The plaque is on the gun-running mural and next to a King Billy mural in Greenland Drive. Both murals were seen previously in 2016; see Amazing Night At Larne and Civil & Religious Liberty.

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Gone But Not Forgotten

Robert Dougan was commander of the UDA South Belfast Brigade and lived the Oranmore Drive (BelTel). He was killed by the IRA on February 10th, 1998 while sitting in a car outside Balmoral Textiles in Dunmurry, which led to a month-long expulsion of Sinn Féin from the talks (L.A. Times); two months later the Good Friday Agreement was signed. There had been attempts on his life in 1993 and 1994 (Irish Times).

The plaques, from left to right, are to Rodney McBride (1996), Alec Legge (2007), Jim Bradshaw (2008), Robert Dougan (1998), Greg Bradshaw (2014), David Pollock (2015). Harry Haggan (2010), William Stevenson (2008).

Tildarg Avenue. There is a mural to Dougan on Sandy Row – see Everyone’s Friend.

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Murdered By Death Drivers

“In loving memory of Seamus, murdered by death drivers 3rd August 2019. Deeply regretted by his wife, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, brothers and sister.” This memorial plaque is on some railings on the Whiterock Road, close to the spot where Seamus Conlon was hit by a car as he attended a funeral. One Michael Loughran was sentenced to 10 years: after a night of alcohol and cocaine, he had stolen his uncle’s car and had been “joy”-riding for 90 minutes before losing control and crashing (BelTel).

See previously: Death Driving | Death Drivers | Where’s The Joy? | Car Crime Is A Growing Problem

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The Joy Of Our Hearts

The Newington tribute to Bobby Sands and the other deceased hunger strikers of the 1970s and 80s (see previously: Mol An Óige Agus Tiocfaidh Sí) has been augmented with four plaques to republicans from the area who died in the Troubles: (l-r) Martin McDonagh, Rosemary Bleakley, Colm Mulgrew, and Sean ‘Maxi’ McIvenna.

Unbeknowst to her parents (Lost Lives), Bleakley had joined Cumann Na mBan at 18 and was four days short of her nineteenth birthday when she and McDonagh were killed in a premature bomb explosion in the North Street arcade (Victor Patterson image of the blast), along with civilians Ian Gallagher and Mary Dornan (Sutton); 20 others were injured (Fortnight). Bleakley was not buried in the republican plot (in Milltown) but coincidentally in the plot adjacent to Dornan (BBC).

Bleakley was portrayed in the old New Lodge Volunteers mural.

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Charlotte Despard

Today’s images come from London but there is an Irish and a Belfast connection. Charlotte Despard was a novelist, suffragist, socialist, pacifist, vegetarian, and Sinn Féin advocate in the years around the Lock Out, the Rising, and the War Of Independence. She moved from London – where she worked to alleviate poverty among the children of the Battersea area – to Dublin after WWI and was classed as a “dangerous subversive” by the Irish Free State. The image above (which is a panel from a mural celebrating political radicals of Battersea, below) reproduces a photograph of Despard addressing the crowd at an anti-fascist/Communist rally in Trafalgar Square on June 11th, 1933 – four days before her 89th birthday. At the end of a very long of activism, she moved to Whitehead, County Antrim, where she died in 1939, and was buried in Glasnevin (WP).

A Battersea street is named after her – Charlotte Despard Avenue; the plaque is 177 Lavender Hill – the offices of the Labour Party in Battersea.

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We Are Albion Star

Albion Star (Fb | tw) is a soccer club founded in 2003. It fields youth teams for players ages 5 to 17.

The plaque in the top right corner is to Phil McDonnell of the OIRA and INLA, who died in 2017; Anthony MacIntyre has a profile.

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Bullets Travel Also Through Time

“South Belfast – time for truth – exposing collusion – Ormeau Road – ‘Bullets do not only travel distance but also through time'” [Based on a quote by James Kennedy’s father: “The bullets that killed James didn’t just travel in distance, they travelled in time. Some of those bullets never stop travelling.” (Irish Times)]

Police Ombudsman Marie Andersons’s report into various murders and attempted murders in south Belfast was released yesterday (February 7th, 2022) and presented a list of “collusive behaviours” between the RUC and loyalist paramilitaries. Among the incidents investigated was the killing of five people “murdered for their faith” at the Sean Graham bookies’ office on the Ormeau Road in February 5th, 1992; the report found that one of the two UDA gunmen was a Special Branch informant and that a Browning pistol used in the attack had been supplied by the RUC (as had previously been revealed in the 2010 HET Inquiry report) and that records relating to the weapon had been withheld from investigators (Irish Times | Belfast Live). For the 30th anniversary, relatives of the five men killed and of five more who were injured displayed their portraits next to the small memorial garden, which itself was updated to mark the third decade since their deaths: “1992-2022” (Belfast Live).

The plaque on the far left is to Charles Jospeh McGrillen, shot by the UDA/UFF in 1988 at his work in Dunne’s on the Annadale embankment (Sutton). Next to the bookies’ parlour is a plaque to Fian Jim Templeton.

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Rubicon

“‘Rubicon’ – the family home of Pte. William F. McFadzean, Victoria Cross, who gave his life to save his comrades at Thiepval Wood on 1st July 1916 immediately prior to the Battle Of The Somme.” McFadzean died when he threw himself on a fallen box of grenades; for this action he was awarded the VC (WP).

The plaque is on Cregagh Road at Cregagh Park. There’s a picture of McFadzean standing outside the house at Royal Irish.

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The Men From Whitehead

“At the going down of the sun.” The smaller of the two World War memorials in Whitehead was updated last year for the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion. The stone (shown last, below) was originally dedicated in 1996, for the 75th anniversary. The plate on the bench reads: “In memory of Mr Royal British Legion, Hector (Sandy) McGregor, 1920-2014. ‘Service not self'”

The larger memorial (shown above) was dedicated in 2019 (Mid&East Antrim) and replaced a smaller memorial which also had the names of the locals who were killed in the world wars. “Greater love hath no man – We will remember them. In grateful memory of the men from Whitehead who gave their lives in World War I & II.” With a wreath from LOL 968.

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