I Would Rather Be An Ulsterman

“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. My pen cannot describe adequately the hundreds of heroic acts I witnessed, the Ulster Volunteer Force, from which the Division was made, has won a name that equals any in history. Their devotion deserves the gratitude of the British empire.” The words of Wilfrid Spender, Plymouth-born newspaper manager, quartermaster of the Ulster Volunteers, general staff officer of the 36th (Ulster) Division, winner of the Military Cross for actions at Thiepval, and Cabinet Secretary of the new “Northern Ireland” in 1921.
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1 July 1916 KIA

The 12th battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles was drawn from central Antrim towns such as Ballymena and Ballyclare. There is a web site and a Facebook page dedicated to the battalion. For more pictures of the Ballymena arch, see Cross And Crown.
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May You Live As Nobly As They Died

Strandtown and District Unionist Club used to be at 4 Belmont Road (Strandtown Hall) and it erected this memorial to local casualties in the Great War in Portland stone on the adjacent wall,(Lord Belmont in NI) which is now part of a Christian Fellowship church. “Hereon are recorded the names of those men and women who in serving voluntarily their King and country, laid down their lives. Pass not this stone sorrow but in pride and may you live as nobly as they died.” The building currently houses Bennett’s On Belmont, a UUP headquarters, and the Victoria Ulster Unionist Association upstairs.
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Church & State

Henry VIII had himself declared head of the church in 1531 and the English monarch has retained this title since then (with the exception of Mary I who briefly restored the Pope and Catholicism). England has “no superior under God, but only your Grace” (Act Concerning Peter’s Pence). The current holder of both crown and office is Queen (“R” for “regina”) Elizabeth II. Shown today is another celebration of the 500th anniversary of “Pro-Testant Reformation” in Tigers Bay, next to the workers of WWI mural.
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The Poppy Trail 1917

The 1917 board in the Poppy Trail series (1914 | 1915 | 1916) celebrates female munitions workers as well as making local connections to the battles of 1917: George Cairns of Roden Street and Thomas Fitzpatrick of Cullingtree Road.
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Buster Keenan

A new mural to William “Buster” Keenan was unveiled this month – July 8th – coincidentally the anniversary of wife Eileen’s death. Both are listed on the UVF memorial stone (image #3) in front of the mural, along with David Ervine and the Long-Cordner-Bennett-Seymour quartet.
According to ACT, Keenan was involved in the Battle Of St. Matthew’s (in which Bobby Neill and James McCurrie were killed, along with Henry McIlhone). To the left (fourth image) is another “Ulster Volunteers” stone, a “Sydenham roll of honour – to those who gave their lives in the Great War”.

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text: X04331 X04330 X04332 X04333 inverary dr ycv east belfast battalion fusiliers rifles canadian inniskilling rifleman royal navy

Killed In Action 1st July

As the plaque in the third images shows, the mural was originally painted in 2006 for the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The side wall was painted last year for the 100th anniversary.
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They Sleep Side-By-Side

Bangor’s Finest” the Pride of Whitehill Flute Band marks its 40th anniversary (1976-2016) with a mural and two small boards dedicated to Ulster Volunteers and Young Citizen Volunteers in WWI: “When you go home, tell them of us and say “For your tomorrow we gave our today.” “They fought together as brothers-in-arms, they died together and now they sleep side-by-side. To them we have a solemn obligation.”
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The Sons Of Ulster

The Ulster Tower at Thiepval “is dedicated to the glory of God in grateful memory of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the 36th (Ulster) Division and of the sons of Ulster in other forces who laid down their lives in the Great War, and of all their comrades-in-arms who, by divine grace, were spared to testify to their glorious deeds.” The boards are next to Warszawiacy Berlinowi.
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To The Memory Of One Million Dead

Two wide shots of the junction of Northumberland and Beverly streets, where the new Kitchener board joins poppies for soldiers of the the 36th (Ulster) Division on the 100th anniversary of the Somme and the (repaired) John Henry Patterson – godfather of the Israeli army – board.
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