Monday, 11 June 2012

Orange Banner - June 2012

Finally, Loughries True Blues LOL 1948, unfurled their new Orange Banner on Saturday 9th June 2012, in Mary Street Orange Hall Newtownards

I will blog in the next post the events of the day - however for this blog post I want to concentrate on the banner and why we choose what we did !

The following is an explanation of the banner - both sides.

This was prepared and delivered by: -

Stephen Rodgers LOL1948
Choosing a theme for a new banner is a difficult process – so many people have their own opinions and you have got to get it right as you will hopefully be walking behind it for many years to come.
I have been asked to give you an explanation of our banner design – the images we have chosen, our reasons for choosing them and the story behind each image.
Main Side – “Ulster. Defiant and Loyal”

With 2012 being the centenary year for the signing of the Ulster Covenant, the painting depicts events that occurred as a consequence of the covenant – with specific relevance to the Newtownards District. 
In 1911 the 3rd (Irish) Home Rule Bill threatened the Unionist people of Northern Ireland as it intended to provide self governance for Ireland which included Northern Ireland at that time.
                                                                                                                                               Sir Edward Carson campaigned against Home Rule. In 1912 he formed the first loyalist paramilitary group - the “Ulster Volunteer Force” in an attempt to counter the threat of Home Rule.
On 28th September 1912 he was the first signatory on the Ulster Covenant, which bound its signatories to resist Home Rule – and this is one of the images that we have chosen.  
The Covenant was signed by over 237,000 men, and the Declaration by over 234,000 women of Northern Ireland.
Despite its opposition in Northern Ireland, the Home Rule Bill was passed by the Commons on 25 May 1914 and it was awaiting Royal assent when the outbreak of the First World War led to its suspension until the end of the war.
Following the signing of the covenant the Ulster Volunteer Force received a large arms cache from Germany in 1914. 
On the night of 24th April a decoy ship (SS Balmerino) was sent to Belfast, where it was intercepted by Customs. Meanwhile a ship full of munitions, the Clydevalley, arrived at Larne where it was unloaded by the Larne Harbour section of the Ulster Volunteers.
Here some of the munitions where to be loaded onto two additional ships for transfer to Bangor and Donaghadee. The Innismurray was the ship selected for the transfer to Donaghadee and the next image depicts the unloading at the harbour.
It was the job of the 2nd battalion of the North Down Regiment (the Newtownards and Comber volunteers) to collect the shipment at Donaghadee under the direction of James Craig (Unionist Leader and future Prime Minister of Northern Ireland). Up to 1000 Ards men turned up for the operation.
It was reported that the Innismurray reached Donaghadee at 5:30am and the entire cargo of over 70 tons, was safely transferred from the vessel to waiting cars in a couple of hours. The ship then left the harbour and the cache was driven off to Newtownards, to be concealed for a time before being re-distributed throughout the district.
The Ulster Volunteer Force had pulled off the feat of the century that night by landing 25,000 rifles and three million rounds of ammunition in a single night.  And, most importantly of all, it was the means by which Ulster’s future could be assured.
At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Carson announced that an “Ulster Division” would be formed from the 80,000 already armed members of the Ulster Volunteer Force, and the 36th (Ulster) Division was swiftly organised.
There were three existing Irish regiments based in Ulster at the time - the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the Royal Irish Fusiliers and the Royal Irish Rifles and the Ulster Division raised thirteen battalions for these three regiments.
Our next banner inclusion depicts the 13th (Service) Battalion (1st County Down) Royal Irish Rifles going over the top in the Great War.

The 13th  battalion formed in County Down in September 1914 from the Down Volunteers, they trained on the Clandeboye Estate and came under orders of  what was the 108th Brigade in 36th (Ulster) Division.
On 1st July 1916 the entire 36th Ulster Division suffered losses of 5104 men. The heaviest losses within the Division were the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles which reported 595 casualties. Total British losses for that day amounted to a horrific 19,240 dead, 35,493 wounded, 2152 missing, and 585 prisoners.
It is reported to be the greatest ever British loss for any one single day during the war.
Our next image shows the  ULSTER TOWER -  near Thiepval, France
The Ulster Tower is a memorial to the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division.  And is a very close copy of Helen's Tower which stands in the grounds of the Clandeboye Estate where the men of the 108th Brigade of the 36th Ulster Division trained before moving to England and then to France early in 1916.

Our Central Image is the CARSON STATUE
In July 1932, Carson and 40,000 others witnessed the unveiling of a large statue of himself in front of Parliament Buildings at Stormont. It was erected by the loyalists of Ulster as an expression of their love and admiration for Lord Carson.
We have included an inscription that reads – “This we will maintain” –
As this story has told us – Ulster has remained defiant and loyal for over 100 years.
As so many before us have given so much for their country -  
As Protestants, Orangemen and Orangewomen we must maintain this loyalty to our Queen & Country and continue to defend our protestant faith.
As this story has told us – Ulster has remained defiant and loyal for over 100 years.
As so many before us have given so much for their country -  
As protestants, Orange men and Orange women we must maintain this loyalty to our Queen & Country and continue to defend our protestant faith.
The Reverse side - King William side

The Reverse side - King William side
As you all know, all of our orange banners have an image of King William III (King Billy) to lead us to the demonstration field on the 12th July.
Our chosen image is of - what was at the time - “Prince William of Orange”, landing Torbay in 1688 to depose James II from the throne of England.
James was a Roman Catholic, most English - who were predominantly Protestant, disliked him.
In July 1688 a group of prominent Englishmen invited Prince William of Orange and his Wife Mary (who was James II’s protestant daughter) to come to England with an army and help the people rise against King James.
William landed at Torbay on 5th November, 1688 with an army of 15,000 and quickly gathered support as he crossed the country. At the same time King James’ support dwindled and the eventually fled to France.
In January 1689, it was declared that James II had abdicated, and King William III and Queen Mary II were declared joint sovereigns.
Being a Roman Catholic, James had a lot of support in Ireland so he returned there in 1689 in an attempt to recover his throne. A series of events eventually lead to his Jacobite army taking on the Williamite army at the battle of the Boyne on 1st July 1690 – and we all know the result of that one!
This is the explanation of our banner.

S. Rodgers

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