News

Christmas closure

In the wind down to Christmas the Northern Ireland War Memorial will be open every day this week until 1.00 pm. The gallery will be closed from Monday 22 December onwards over the holiday period,  re-opening to the public in the New Year on Friday 2 January between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm. Normal operating hours of 10.00 am to 4.00 pm will fully resume as usual on Monday 5 January 2015. We hope you have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

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Visitor Notice – Thursday 11 December 2014

The NI War Memorial gallery will be closed this afternoon from 1.00pm but will reopen on Friday 12 December at 10.00 am as normal. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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Ulster in the First World War by Jonathan Bardon

H is for History

History of Ulster in the First World War. This book was published to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. The book is written for the general reader who would like to know more about the experience of the people of Ulster, both at home and overseas, throughout a conflict which was on such an unprecedented scale that it became known at the time simply as the Great War.

 

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Ulster and the First World War by historian Jonathan Bardon

Ulster and the First World War by historian Jonathan Bardon and published by the Northern Ireland War Memorial, will be launched this evening at NIWM.

This book is about the experience of the people of all of Ulster, both at home and overseas, throughout a conflict which was on such an unprecedented scale that it became known at the time simply as the Great War.

The book is for sale and is available to buy in the Northern Ireland War Memorial gallery priced £10, or alternatively copies can be purchased online from Wednesday 3 December at www.amazon.co.uk.

Ulster in the First World War by Jonathan Bardon

Ulster in the First World War by Jonathan Bardon

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Ulster and the First World War by Jonathan Bardon published by the Northern Ireland War Memorial

A new First World War book launched at the Northern Ireland War Memorial Date: Tuesday 2nd December 2014

When: The museum is open from 6.15pm, book launch event begins at 6.30pm

Where: Northern Ireland War Memorial, 21 Talbot Street, Belfast, BT1 2LD

Other: A lunchtime lecture by the author will take place the following day at PRONI

Web: www.niwarmemorial.org, www.proni.gov.uk

The book is for sale and is available to buy in the Northern Ireland War Memorial gallery priced at £10. The book is also available to buy from Wednesday 3rd December from amazon.co.uk.

The museum is open Monday – Friday 10.30am – 4.30pm should a short interview or photography need to be arranged.

Ulster in the First World War by Jonathan Bardon

Ulster in the First World War by Jonathan Bardon

Ulster and the First World War by Jonathan Bardon published by the Northern Ireland War Memorial

Ulster and the First World War is the latest book to be published by the NIWM, and the first in a series about the First World War.

What is the book about?

This book is about the experience of the people of all of Ulster, both at home and overseas, throughout a conflict which was on such an unprecedented scale that it became known at the time simply as the Great War.

Who is the book for?

Ulster and the First World War is published to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. This book is written not for the specialist but for the general reader who would like to know more about the role this corner of Ireland played in that conflict. Teachers wanting to inform their pupils about the war and its connections with a specific locality should find this volume especially useful. The author, however, has been able to draw on the research of the many experts in this field who have had their work published recently – books listed in suggestions for further reading.

Design

This short book, expertly designed by John McMillan, is lavishly illustrated in colour. The photographs, recruiting posters, photographs of artefacts and other images are as informative as the text. They have been sourced from various museums and archives, including the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum, the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum, Derry City Council Heritage and Museum Service, the Somme Heritage Centre, the Ulster Museum and the Imperial War Museum.

A review

Jonathan Bardon is a sure-footed guide to times which still resonate today, both in the political arena, with ‘the decade of centenaries’, and the depths of family memories. Jonathan Bardon successfully combines a longer view of the war with more specific personal particulars of service and, much too often, loss. The War Memorial is finding that there never has been as great a public interest in the era, and this publication is a splendid addition to our resources.

Ian Wilson, Chairman, NIWM

The book will be launched at an evening event in the Northern Ireland War Memorial gallery on Tuesday 2nd December. Jonathan Bardon will speak at a lunchtime lecture the following day (Wednesday 3rd December at 1pm) at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. Admission is FREE. Please contact PRONI to book your place at proni@dcalni.gov.uk . T: 028 9053 4800.

Ulster and the First World War is available to buy in the Northern Ireland War Memorial gallery priced at £10

An overview of the book

This book is about the experience of the people of all of Ulster, both at home and overseas, throughout a conflict which was on such an unprecedented scale that it became known at the time simply as the Great War.

Ulster and the First World War begins with the Ulster Crisis: bitterly divided opinions on whether Ireland should be given Home Rule had brought the province to the very brink of civil war – indeed some German and Austrian generals had convinced themselves that this would keep Britain out of the war. Actually, when the United Kingdom went to war in August 1914, Ulster immediately stepped back from the edge. Both the Ulster Volunteers and the Irish National Volunteers gave a warm farewell to reservists marching off to join their Colours.

Young men across Ulster responded enthusiastically to the call to arms. The author is at pains to demonstrate that recruitment was as brisk in Catholic areas as it was in Protestant ones, especially in Belfast. John Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, with the warm support of the West Belfast MP Joseph Devlin, was as energetic as the Unionist leaders, Sir Edward Carson and Captain James Craig, in calling on their supporters to volunteer.

The Ulster Volunteer Force was allowed to stay together in one new division, the 36th (Ulster) Division. However, the War Office hesitated to give the Irish National Volunteers the same status. In the end most Ulster Catholics joining up found themselves in the 16th and 10th (Irish) divisions being placed, for example, in the Connaught Rangers and the Dublin Fusiliers, most being trained in Fermoy in Co. Cork. In contrast, those joining the 36th were close to home, training at such places as Clandeboye, Ballykinlar and Finner.

Reservists and regular troops from Ulster, forming part of the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium, suffered dreadful casualties during the first weeks of the war. The United Kingdom desperately needed the service of the great new armies of volunteers now in training. The disastrous Gallipoli campaign in 1915 involved the first of these volunteers from Ireland to see action: men of the 10th Division fought alongside veterans of the Royal Irish Rifles and the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. While Allied troops made an ignominious withdrawal from Gallipoli in the spring of 1916, the British and French prepared to launch a great offensive along the Western Front at the River Somme.

The 36th Division was drawn up on either side of the River Ancre, a tributary of the Somme. After five days of the heaviest artillery bombardment the world had yet seen, the attack began on 1 July 1916. The shelling had failed to cut the barbed wire; Germans were well protected in their deep dugouts; and dangerously overextended and exposed to relentless machinegun fire, whole companies disappeared. This was the bloodiest day in the history of the British army. The 36th (Ulster) Division suffered a loss of 5,700 killed or wounded. A week later all over the province telegrams in small buff-coloured envelopes began to arrive. In fact the Battle of the Somme had only begun. In the middle of September the 16th (Irish) Division suffered 4,330 casualties.

Meanwhile on the Home Front, Ulster was making a crucial contribution to the Allied war effort. Harland and Wolff, the biggest shipyard in the world, and Workman Clark, built some warships but those two yards specialized in the production of merchant vessels urgently needed to replace those sunk by U boats. When Germany launched its unrestricted submarine warfare campaign in 1917, the Ulster Steamship Company, better known as the Head Line, lost 12 of its original 17 ships between March 1917 and January 1918. Belfast Ropeworks supplied half of the Royal Navy’s needs. Mackie’s Foundry produced an estimated 75 million shells. Arable land in Ulster was increased by more than 200,000 acres, much of it to grow flax. Linen mills worked at full stretch to fill government contracts for uniforms, tents, stretchers, aeroplane fabric and the like. The Derry shirt-making trade enjoyed a welcome revival.

Women had for long made up an exceptionally large proportion of Ulster’s industrial workforce. Now they were needed more than ever and were employed for the first time in engineering works, Mackie’s Foundry in particular. Many enlisted as Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses and served behind the lines.

On the Western Front especially the war was an inconclusive and bloody slogging match. In the summer of 1917 the 36th (Ulster) Division and the 16th (Irish) Division fought side by side at Wytschaete. The turning point came when the Germans launched a great offensive in the spring of 1918. The 16th (Irish) Division lost 7,149 men as the storm troopers advanced. But the Germans exhausted themselves and the Allies – now joined by the USA and equipped with tanks – turned the tide. Picking up a faint radio message at 6.30 am on 11 November, Enniskillen may have been the first place in the UK to hear of the Armistice.

How many gave their lives? The usual number quoted is 28,000 Irishmen (it is impossible to give an accurate figure of how many of these were from Ulster). The most recent figure agreed by experts is 49,646 Irishmen who made the ultimate sacrifice but that includes those of Irish parentage recruited from other parts of the world.

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A lunchtime lecture by Jonathan Bardon

A lunchtime lecture by Jonathan Bardon, author of Ulster in the First World War will take place at PRONI on Wednesday 3 December 2014 at 1.00 pm. For more information please visit PRONI’s website.

Ulster in the First World War by Jonathan Bardon

Ulster in the First World War by Jonathan Bardon

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A Wartime Christmas, Saturday 6 December 2014 10.30 am – 4.30 pm

Visit the Northern Ireland War Memorial to experience a Wartime Christmas for all the family. Try some Make Do and Mend Christmas crafts, sample our ration recipe Christmas cake and listen to a nostalgic collection of well-loved Christmas favourites by the famous stars of the 1940s.

A Wartime Christmas 2014

A Wartime Christmas 2014

 

 

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NIWM Christmas Closure

The Northern Ireland War Memorial will be closed to staff and public on the following dates:

  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

We will be open to staff and public on:

  • Monday 29th December
  • Tuesday 30th December
  • Wednesday 31st December

The War Memorial will be closed to staff and public on:

  • Thursday 1st January 2015

NIWM will reopen as normal on Friday 2 January 2015 at 10.00 am.

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Early gallery closure

The NIWM gallery will close at the earlier time of 4.00 pm today, Thursday 27 November. The gallery will reopen at the usual time of 10.00 am tomorrow morning. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

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Armistice Day, Act of Remembrance

Description of event: Act of Remembrance
Tuesday 11 November 2014
From 10.30 -11.30 at the Northern Ireland War Memorial, 21 Talbot Street, Belfast BT1 2LD
Free of charge and no booking necessary, members of the public are invited to attend

Window Display:
Two figures representing loss and grief are presented in a striking window display that compiles 25,000 poppy petals

Background:
On Tuesday 11 November at 11.00 the NIWM will hold a short but poignant ceremony to commemorate Armistice Day, and remember the men and women killed in both the First and Second World Wars

What is Armistice Day?
Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War One and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War One. This  took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning; the ‘eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month’ of 1918.

Press are invited to attend this ceremony that is being held in NIWM gallery at 21 Talbot Street, BT1 2LD.

This event will be attended by staff of NIWM, invited guests and members of the public.
Schedule:
10.00   Tea and coffee will be served in the gallery
10.30   All guests assemble in the gallery
10.45   Welcome by NIWM Chairman, Mr Ian Wilson
10.50   laying of the wreath by Museum Assistant Mr Bob Wright BEM, aged 91 and veteran of World War Two
10.55   NIWM  staff will recite the ‘Ode of Remembrance ‘ taken form Laurence Binyon’s
Poem ‘For the Fallen’
11.00   There will be a two minute silence
11.05   Kohima Prayer read by Mr Bob Wright BEM
11.10   A reading by the Chairman, ‘In Memoriam’ by First World War poet, Edward Thomas, Museum Assistant, Mr Bill Porter will turn a page in each of the two Books of Remembrance
11.15   closing prayer by Colonel C T Hogg

Quote from the NIWM Chairman, Mr Ian Wilson
‘In this centenary year of the start of World War One, in many ways it seems closer to us rather than getting farther away.

There is a huge public Interest in family history; Britain’s most popular hobby. The ease with which people can consult records on-line in their own home is such that largely forgotten servicemen and women, and their exploits and fates are coming back into focus.

The Northern Ireland War Memorial exists to perpetuate the memory of those who served in the forces and on the home front in both World Wars. Armistice Day is of course annually commemorated, but it is heartening to realise that the historical and personal stories are being heard more keenly than ever.’

‘Where Poppies Grow Now’ Handover of painting
Following the ceremony to commemorate Armistice Day, there will follow the official handover of a painting by Mr Lawson Wilson which will be added to NIWM collection. Mr Wilson, an accomplished artist, was inspired by the FWW centenary commemorations and has kindly presented this painting along with working drawings and sketches and his thoughts on this work.

The painting will remain on display in the gallery throughout November and December. From 2015 visitors will be able to view both the painting and working drawings by appointment in  the NIWM Archive .The chairman will accept the gift of this painting on behalf of NIWM. John Sherlock the distinguished sculptor will comment on the painting and talk briefly about the artist and the significance of the work being added to the collection.

Images of Remembrance ‘Lest We Forget ‘
Screened in the gallery for 1 month commencing on Armistice Day
Lise McGreevy is a photojournalist and visual artist who attended the WW1 Centenary Remembrance Service at City Hall on the 4th August, which was by the Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee and Belfast city Councilors. ‘To me, it was a very moving and touching ceremony where hundreds of members of the public turned up to participate in remembering the fallen on this momentous occasion. I knew that several other professional photographers would be there to cover the event and that many images would be taken of the dignitaries in attendance. As a people photographer, I decided to stay behind the scenes at the event, taking images of people at ground level, veterans and volunteers who were working at the city hall on that special day or members of the public who had given up their time to come and pay their respects and commemorate.’

‘I would therefore like to exhibit this body of work, “Lest We Forget…” in screen format as it is shown here at The NI War Memorial, or in exhibition format, in as many appropriate venues throughout Northern Ireland as I can during this centenary commemorative year. So that in my own small way I can make sure that the thoughts inspired that night would stay in the viewers’ minds longer than just that one evening. As my photographs for this body of work were taken from the centenary commemoration service at City Hall for the START of WW1, I feel it would be very poignant for the exhibition to be hosted in the museum during November which marks the end of WW1. Thus marking both commemorative dates during this 100 year anniversary.’

Please contact the Artist directly:
Lise McGreevy
Photojournalist/Visual Artist
07591101194
marielisemcg@yahoo.co.uk

Armistice Day Window

Armistice Day Window

 

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