Ulster Volunteers

The Ulster Volunteers were formed in 1912 as a response to the threat of Home Rule. When WWI broke out they became the 36th (Ulster) Division and went over the top at the Somme. Shankill Road, Belfast.

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Copyright © 2005 Peter Moloney

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Ulster 1912-1914

These three murals are at the Rex Bar (Moscow Street, Belfast), celebrating resistance to Home Rule – Covenant Day September 28th 1912; the formation of the Ulster Volunteers, being reviewed at Fernhill House in Glencairn Park by Edward Carson; and “Deserted! Well I can stand alone – a Protestant farmer’s wife guards her husband against sectarian attack from across the border” (see also How Is Freedom Measured?)

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Copyright © 2005 Peter Moloney

90 Years Of Resistance

On the left, “this mural is a memorial to the volunteers of ‘A’ Coy 1st Batt who served the Shankill community so bravely during the years of conflict. Gone but not forgotten. Here lies a soldier.” On the right, landmarks in the history of the Ulster Volunteers and UVF: “1912 – newly formed Shankill Volunteers train at Fernhill Estate, Glencairn. 1916 – RIR (West Belfast UVF) go over the top at the Somme. 1969 – Volunteers defend Shankill community from republican attack. 2002 – At the crossroads?” with PUP leader David Ervine pictured holding a copy of the Good Friday Agreement. Canmore St, Belfast.

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Copyright © 2005 Peter Moloney

Robert Blair (Paddy) Mayne

Blair Mayne (1916-1955) was a WWII commando and one of the first members of the SAS (Special Air Service), participating in raids behind enemy lines in Egypt and Libya, and later, as SAS commander, in France, Belgium and other countries. His many decorations include the DSO (four times) and French Croix De Guerre and Legion D’Honneur. There is a mural (and a statue) to Mayne in his home town of Newtownards. The verse on the right is from Sassoon’s Suicide In The Trenches. “You smug-faced crowd[s] with kindling eye/Who cheer when soldier lads march by,/Sneak home and pray you’ll never know/The hell where youth and laughter go.” Newtownards Road, Belfast.

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Copyright © 2005 Peter Moloney

Their Sacrifice, Our Freedom

“At the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914, when Lord Kitchener, the War Minister, was desperately looking for men, he had asked Sir Edward Carson for a brigade consisting of four battalions. Carson offered him a division consisting of twelve battalions, uniformed and equipped at Ulster’s expense. The UVF was transformed rapidly into the 36th (Ulster) Division. On the 1st July 1916 the 36 (Ulster) Division took part in the Somme Offensive. Nine Victoria Crosses were awarded for acts of valour on that day. Men of the 36th (Ulster) Division won four of these. Of those, three were awarded posthumously. Of the 9,000 men of the Division who took part in the attack scarcely 2,500 answered roll call on the 3 July; while of 400 officers, more than 250 were killed or wounded. The Division lost 5,500 officers and other ranks killed, wounded and missing as a result of the first two days of the Somme offensive. The illustration depicted is derived from a drawing by Jim Maultsaid, an American citizen. He joined the 14th Royal Irish Rifles, which was drawn from members of an organisation called the Young Citizens Volunteers.” “As we scrambled over the trench the YCV flag appeared.” Thorndyke Street, Belfast. For more, see the Extramural Activity post on this panel.

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Copyright © 2005, 2007 Peter Moloney

The Dark Days

Paint-bombed mural to members of the Ulster Volunteer Force, Belfast Brigade, in the 36th (Ulster) Division, with (anachronistic) Ulster Banner and Union Flag: “they arose in the dark days to defend our native land for God and Ulster”, “And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee, though shalt smite them and utterly destroy them, thou shalt make no covenant with them nor show marcy unto them – Deuteronomy 7 verse 2”. Blythe Street, Belfast.

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Copyright © 2001 Peter Moloney