Craigavon House was the home of James Craig, a political centre during the (3rd) Home Rule crisis – an estimated 100,000 people congregated at Craigavon House on the 23rd of September, 1911, to hear Edward Carson’s inaugural speech as Unionist leader (McNeill Ch. 4 | We Will Take Nothing Else) – and a hospital during the latter part of WWI (Bangor Historical). It has fallen into disrepair, covered over by the fourteen panels seen here, in order to serve as the rallying point of the 100th anniversary commemorative parade in April (RTÉ | BBC).
Various people and units are portrayed: USSF, post house staff, motor car corps, young citizen volunteers, the Larne gun-running, Fred Crawford, Edward Carson, James Craig, the nursing corp, Ethel Burnside, the 36th Division, the Ulster Covenant.
The Ulster Volunteers of 1912 joined the 36th Division of WWI. After the war, many of them joined the B Specials, which was disbanded in 1970 and the UDR created. The modern UVF was formed in 1965. There is a Willowfield UVF memorial garden in Cherryville St (M04070).
Gertrude Star flute band was formed in 1961 and a new mural has been painted to mark the occasion, with Ulster Banners and Union Flags flanking the UK coat of arms – “Dieu et mon droit”, “Honi soit qui mal y pense”.
The following areas are listed: (left) Gertrude St, Clarawood, Templemore Ave, Woodstrock Road, Albertbridge Rd, south Belfast, Scotland, Antrim, Glengormley, Carrickfergus, Braniel; (right) Dee Street, Newtownards Rd, Cregagh Rd, Castlereagh Rd, Holywood, Ballybeen, Tullycarnet, Shankill Rd, north Down, Bangor.
This is the arch in My Lady’s Road, with Orange Order symbols (crown, ladder, star) surrounding a painting of King Billy and two small banners of Queen Elizabeth and the 36th Division going over the top, from the East Belfast Historical And Cultural Society and the Lagan Village Cultural Society.
These stencilled notices are on the outside of the Belvoir Bar in east Belfast: “Property of east Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force – Not for sale” alongside a plaque to “fallen comrades” Robert Bennett, Roy Walker, Joseph Long, James Cordner, and Robert Seymour. It seems that the bar has been shuttered since 2011 (Belfast Telegraph).
“We will not have Home Rule.” This mural is dedicated to the men and women of Willowfield. In 1912 the 3rd bill was introduced and passed by parliament and although defeated 3 times by the House of Lords it was sent for Royal assent. On 9th April 1912 over 200,000 unionists attended a rally at Balmoral including the Orange Order and Unionist Clubs which had marched from the city center. Here they were addressed by among others, Sir Edward Carson, leader of the Irish Unionist Party. On 28th September 1912 nearly 500,000 men and women signed the Ulster Covenant. Factories and the Shipyard in Belfast were idle and silent, allowing their workers the opportunity to attend church and then to congregate at the City Hall. 3,242 men and women from Willowfield signed the Covenant, some in their own blood. They then formed into the 2nd Willowfield Battalion of the East Belfast Regiment U.V.F. commanded by Dr. William Gibson. They drilled and trained in the Willowfield Unionist Club that was situated about half a mile from this spot. With the onset of WW1 in 1914, these same volunteers stood to the fore to defend the Empire as the 8th Battalion [East Belfast] in the 36th Ulster Division. Many did not return, but their bravery and honour will forever be remembered.
“They went with songs to the battle, they were young/Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow./ They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted/They fell with their faces to the foe./They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;/Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn./At the going down of the sun and in the morning,/We will remember them.”