News

Easter closure

The Northern Ireland War Memorial gallery will be closed for Easter on Friday 18, Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 April 2014.

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Wreath laid for victims of 1941 German attacks

Belfast Blitz – a sea of fire the like of which we’d never seen

A memorial wreath was laid to the victims of the Belfast Blitz yesterday, 73 years after Nazi bombs began raining down.

The commemoration was attended by dozens of guests, including some from the Royal British Legion and survivors of the atrocities.

The Luftwaffe launched three attacks on the city, of which the ones on April 15
and May 4, 1941, were the most devastating.

In the first attack, around 160 German aircraft were diverted from their planned target of Clydebank to strike the industrial heart of Ulster.

CT Hogg, the 76-year-old chairman of Belfast’s NI War Memorial, said the city was
woefully under-prepared, with no emergency supplies of water and enough bomb
shelters for just a quarter of the city.

The first raid alone saw 29,000 incendiary devices and 200 tonnes of explosives dropped onto the city, and was so extreme that 13 fire crews from south of the Irish
border even came up to help.

The second raid was worse still, and yesterday’s gathering was told that one German airman recalled: “We stared into a sea of fire, the like of which we’d never seen before.”

Mr Hogg said: “The main message of today is a thankful remembrance of the quiet
determination with which the citizen’s of Belfast carried on irrespective of the bombing.”

By the time the German airforce had finished, more than 1,000 were. dead, and 15,000 made homeless.

Belfast-born Brigid Pegnam, 83, was in Dublin at the time of the blitz, and lost an
aunt and sister in the carnage.

Her sister, Philomena Henry, 82, remained in the city, describing the events
simply as “terrifying”. For a video on the event, see: www.newsletter.co.uk

Wreath Laid

Wreath Laid

Reproduced from the News Letter, Wednesday April 16 2014

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Poignant date for city as it remembers lives lost in two tragedies

It’s a date tinged with sadness from two different eras in Belfast’s history.

Yesterday two poignant ceremonies were held to remember those who died on April 15 in separate tragic episodes to hit the city decades apart.

The first saw people come together to remember more than 1,000 victims when the horrors of the Blitz came to Belfast. On the night of Easter Tuesday, April 15
1941, 200 German bombers attacked the city.

Yesterday’s commemorative event was held at the Northern Ireland War Memorial Building and was attended by the Henry sisters from Dublin.

Mary, Brigid, Philomena, Peggy and Patricia lost their 15-year-old sister Suzie in the attack.

Mary Byrne (87) told the Belfast Telegraph it was comforting to have the War Memorial Building in Talbot Street to visit.

The Henry family were originally from Belfast but had moved to Dublin. Suzie was in Belfast on the day of the Blitz, however, for work.

“We were in Dublin on holiday at Easter and Suzie came back to Belfast on the Tuesday night,” Mary said.

“She was going back to work on Wednesday morning.

“We didn’t know that Belfast was bombed because it was late and you didn’t get word as quickly as you do now through the radio and news.

“It was the next morning when we got a telegram to say that my
sister and my aunt were killed, and a friend.”

Belfast was unprepared for Nazi air attacks, with insufficient anti-aircraft guns and shelters, and subsequently half of the housing stock in the city was destroyed.

Meanwhile, a wreath-laying ceremony and a minute’s silence were observed at the Titanic Memorial Garden in the grounds of Belfast City Hall to mark 102 years since
the ill-fated liner sank in the Atlantic.

The sinking of the Belfast-built vessel with the loss of more than 1,500 people remains one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in modern history.

Relations of those who died gathered for the service, including president of the Belfast Titanic Society John Martin, whose great uncle Dr John Edward Simpson
lost his life.

“Some with a direct family connection to people on board are here today, some who were perhaps related to people who built the ship, and then there are others who are more interested in why she sank, so it’s important for a lot of people,” he said.

“But the importance of today — the anniversary – is very much about the people who died that day, and that’s what we are here for.”

Poignant Date

Poignant Date

Reproduced from The Belfast Telegraph, Wednesday April 16 2014

By Amanda Ferguson

 

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New Visitor Calendar of Events

The new Visitor Calendar of Events for the Northern Ireland War Memorial has been published. Download the Calendar of Events.

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73 Anniversary of Belfast Blitz

The 73 Anniversary of Belfast Blitz is on Tuesday 15 April at 12.30 – all welcome.

Download the 73 Belfast Blitz Anniversary event programme.

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How Many Miles to Babylon?

From the 23 April NI War Memorial are presenting a small display relating to the Lyric Theatre production How Many Miles to Babylon in the NI War Memorial gallery.

How Many Miles to Babylon?

How Many Miles to Babylon?

'How Many Miles to Babylon?' event details

'How Many Miles to Babylon?' event details

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New Display at NI War Memorial 18 March – 28 April 2014

As we approach the 73rd Anniversary of the Belfast blitz,  follow the story through the eyes of a schoolboy. The War memorial gallery presents a temporary display of a remarkable selection of scrapbooks from the John Potter Collection. The events of 1941 were recorded by JohnPotter, who was then a schoolboy travelling through Belfast. These first-hand accounts vividly describe burning and damaged buildings, broken glass with press cuttings, drawings, illustrations, poems and personal annotations. There are 15 scrapbooks in the collection, which spans throughout the war. A selection of scrapbook entries will be presented in the gallery. Be inspired by the collection to make your own scrap books with examples and fact sheets available.

Gallery open Monday – Friday, 10.30am to 4.30pm.

Scrapbook Display

Scrapbook Display

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Gallery closure on 3rd April

The War Memorial Gallery will be closed to the public until 1.30pm on Thursday 3 April 2014 due to filming in the gallery.

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Job opportunity is now closed

That the position of Finance and Administration Officer has now been filled.

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Scrapbook excerpt 01

F is for First-hand accounts

As we approach the 73rd Anniversary of the Belfast blitz, follow the story through the eyes of a schoolboy. The War Memorial gallery presents a temporary display of a remarkable selection of scrapbooks from the John Potter Collection. The events of 1941 were recorded by John Potter who was then a schoolboy travelling through Belfast. These first-hand accounts vividly describe burning and damaged buildings, broken glass with press-cuttings, drawings, illustrations, poems and personal annotations. There are 15 scrapbooks in the collection, which spans throughout the war. A selection of scrapbook entries will be presented in the gallery. Be inspired by the collection to make your own scrap books with
examples and fact sheets available.

On display from Tuesday 18th March 2014.
Gallery open Monday – Friday, 10.30am to 4.30pm.

Scrapbook excerpt 02

Scrapbook excerpt 02

Scrapbook excerpt 03

Scrapbook excerpt 03

 

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