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Knitting needles

K is for Knitting

Knitting for Victory

During World War Two those on the home front could contribute to the war effort by knitting for the troops.

Knitting was more than a hobby in wartime. Millions of women, children and even men in Allied countries were called to ‘knit their bit’. Countless knitted items were created throughout the war and they were put to good use, especially in the days before synthetic fabrics. Socks, sweaters, vests, gloves, balaclavas and scarves were produced by the ton. Patterns were widely circulated and aided the production of everything from steel helmet caps to amputation covers.

As part of our craft programme at the Northern Ireland War Memorial, on Saturday the 13th of February we will be hosting a beginner’s knitting workshop. This class ‘If You Can Knit – You Can Do Your Bit’ will teach you how to cast on, how to knit, how to purl and how to cast off as you make a simple bow tie.

The class is free and all materials will be provided on the day, however advanced booking is required as spaces are limited. If would like to come along please email Jenny Haslett at education@niwarmemorial.org or alternatively you can call us on 028 9032 0392.

Did you know – Knitting codes*

During the Second World War the Office of Censorship banned people from posting knitting patterns abroad in case they contained coded messages. There was one occasion when knitting was used for code. The Belgian resistance recruited women whose windows overlooked railway yards to note the trains in their knitting. Basic stuff: purl one for this type of train, drop one for another type.

*This extract was taken from an article printed in the Telegraph on the 18th of February 2014: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the filter/qi/10638792/QI-how-knitting-was-used-as-code-in-WW2.html

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NIWM support for Quigg V.C. sculpture

NIWM visited Bushmills in December to present the Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society with a grant award of £2,500 for their exciting sculpture project which will honour Bushmills’ famous great war hero…

Representatives of the Northern Ireland War Memorial (NIWM) visited Bushmills last week to present the Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society with a grant award of £2,500 for their exciting sculpture project which will honour Bushmills’ famous Great War hero.

The intention is that a life-size bronze sculpture of Sergeant Robert Quigg V.C. will be unveiled in his home town in July 2016 to mark the centenary of his courageous actions on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The sculptor, David Annand of Scotland, has already started work on the statue.

Leonard Quigg, Chairman of the Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society said: “On behalf of the Society, thank you to the Northern Ireland War Memorial for a most welcome and generous contribution to our sculpture fund.

This support comes at such an important time in our fundraising campaign as we reach the final stages and our ambitious project becomes a reality.”

Ian Wilson, Chairman of the NIWM added, “The Northern Ireland War Memorial is a charity which exists to commemorate the servicemen and women and those on the home front during two World Wars. The Board are delighted to be able to support what will be a magnificent tribute to such a brave man in the heart of Bushmills, where it will be admired by locals and tourists alike.”

The NIWM grant will be a tremendous boost to the work of the Society and they expect to be within £10,000 of their target very soon. Other large donations from local supporters are anticipated early in 2016 and a major fundraising programme has been scheduled in the months ahead.

For further information about the Northern Ireland War Memorial, please visit www.niwarmemorial.org. To learn more about Robert Quigg V.C., or to make a donation to the sculpture fund, visit www.robertquiggvc.com.

Reproduced from The Chronicle, December 24 2015

View the related Facebook post.

Quigg V.C. statue

Quigg V.C. statue

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Christmas Closure

Visitors to the Northern Ireland War Memorial, please note that the gallery will be closed over the holiday period.

The gallery will close at 1.00 pm on Wednesday 23 December and reopen at 10.00 am on Tuesday 29 December.

We hope you have a merry Christmas.

The gallery of the Northern Ireland War Memorial will also close for New Years Day on 1st January 2016, reopening as normal at 10.00 am on Monday 4th January 2016.

 

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

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Visitor Notice Thursday 10th December

Please note that the gallery will close at the earlier time of 12.30 pm on Thursday 10th December.

The gallery will reopen as normal at 10.00 am on Friday 11th December.

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Overhead and Over Here

Overhead and Over Here – The story of American military aviation in Northern Ireland during the Second World War

by Ernie Cromie 

A new Northern Ireland War Memorial publication.

On Thursday 3rd December 2015, the Northern Ireland War Memorial added another publication to its series of books about aspects of Northern Ireland’s contribution to the cause of Allied victories in two World Wars.  Overhead and Over Here is a succinct account of American military aviation in Northern Ireland during the Second World War, which was extensive in its scope.  In the course of twelve chapters, author Ernie Cromie describes the activities that took place at Langford Lodge and numerous other airfields throughout the country that were used by personnel and aircraft of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Naval Air Service and Lockheed Overseas Corporation.  More particularly, these included fighter defence, the training of bomber crews, combat operations against the U-boats, delivery of new aircraft from the USA, how they were modified for service in the United Kingdom and beyond and their subsequent onward delivery from Langford Lodge.

Other aspects of the story, which actually began well before the USA officially entered the war, include the socio-economic and cultural impact of the tens of thousands of American personnel, civil as well as military, who were stationed in Northern Ireland during the period concerned.  The final chapter in the book is a poignant reminder of the human cost of war, with reference to the US Military Cemetery at Lisnabreeny, near Belfast, in which 148 servicemen were buried, around half of whom were airmen.

Overhead and Over Here is available to buy in the War Memorial gallery priced at £8.

  • Alternatively you can purchase a copy on Amazon.co.uk or by completing a postal order form (downloadable from the Publications tab on our website).
Overhead and Over Here

Overhead and Over Here

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A Wartime Christmas

Saturday 5th December 2015

10.30am – 4pm

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 (made with Dried Eggs) and listen to a nostalgic collection of well-loved Christmas songs by the famous stars of the 1940s.

Family event with craft activities suitable for all ages.

Admission Free. No booking necessary

Wartime Christmas

Wartime Christmas

Wartime Christmas details

Wartime Christmas details

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No Elephants Allowed

But please bring us your memories of the Belfast Blitz.

16–23 November 2015

Throughout 2016 the Northern Ireland War Memorial will be commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Belfast Blitz. The population of Belfast was both physically and psychologically unprepared for the ferocity of the Blitz. There were four raids on Belfast between 7th April and 5th May 1941, with lesser attacks on Londonderry, Bangor and Newtownards.

The first raid on 7/8 April 1941 by eight bombers destroyed the aircraft fuselage factory and damaged the docks. The second raid on Easter Tuesday 15/16 April 1941 by 180 bombers lasted five hours. 673 bombs and 29,000 incendiaries fell mainly on residential areas in the docklands.

The third raid on 4/5 May 1941 by 204 bombers lasted three hours. Some 237 tons of high explosive and 96,000 incendiaries fell on the city and the docks.

Belfast was not prepared for these attacks. There were insufficient anti-aircraft guns and shelters. The results were devastating. One thousand people died and half the housing stock was damaged.

Through a series of gallery events, education and outreach activities we wish to learn more about this catastrophic event, and how it affected the lives of the people of Belfast. We would like to hear your stories, or those you may have heard from your parents, grandparents or relatives. Through times of separation, hardship and loss stories are emerging that have both shocked and surprised us.

This will help the Northern Ireland War Memorial to develop a collection of memories that in turn will enable us to continue to illustrate the story that we tell here. Your story, or a story that you may have heard is very important to us, no matter how small.

To start off this project we welcome you to the gallery to come and share your stories, you might even have some photographs or some objects. We are a small museum that tells a huge story, and you could be part of this story.

No appointment is necessary and the Curator and team will be available to talk to you, but what is more important is that we want to listen to you. If you are unable to visit us we can make arrangements to visit you at a later date.

Open Monday to Friday, Open Monday to Friday.

No elephants allowed

No elephants allowed

Memories of the Belfast Blitz

Memories of the Belfast Blitz

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Act of Remembrance

The Chairman and Trustees of the Northern Ireland War Memorial have pleasure in inviting you to an Act of Remembrance, Armistice Day at the Northern Ireland War Memorial Gallery, 21 Talbot Street, Belfast on Wednesday 11 November 2015 at 10.30am. Refreshments will be provided.

RSVP: Kerry McIvor at info@niwarmemorial.org orby telephone on +44 (0) 28 9032 0392 – Option 4

Lounge suits/medals may be worn.

Act of Remembrance

Act of Remembrance

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British Royal Legion Belfast Remembrance Shop

The Royal British Legion Belfast Remembrance Shop will be open to the public from Monday 26 October to Wednesday 11 November 2015. It will be located in the main gallery of the Northern Ireland War Memorial museum at 21 Talbot Street from 10am – 4pm, Monday to Friday, for supply of wreaths and other poppy merchandise.

British Royal Legion Belfast Remembrance Shop

British Royal Legion Belfast Remembrance Shop

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Special announcement

I regret to have to inform you of the passing of Mr Bob Wright on 20th October, who served for 27 years as an attendant at the Northern Ireland War Memorial. Bob only officially retired this year on his 92nd birthday, and was in many ways the public face of the organisation, both at Waring Street and the new gallery in Talbot Street. His smart appearance and demeanour, as befitted an army veteran, not to mention his collection of stories (often colourful) impressed the gallery visitors. Thousands of schoolchildren also looked up to Bob as an embodiment of the times and subject they were studying.

It is quite literally true that there were not many men like Bob anymore, and you will agree that the thoughts of all connected to the Northern Ireland War Memorial will be with his wife and family at this sad time.

His funeral will take place at Roselawn on Saturday 24th October at 11.00am. His family has asked for no flowers but donations in lieu may be made to The Royal British Legion.

Ian Wilson, Chairman

As from Monday 26 October a book of condolence will be available in the gallery  for people to sign, this will in turn be presented to the family.

Mr Bob Wright

Mr Bob Wright

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