Corporals David Howes and Derek Wood – Lest We Forget

Today marks 36 years since Corporal David Howes and Corporal Derek Wood, two British soldiers serving in the Royal Corps of Signals, were murdered by the IRA after being attacked by a republican hate mob in west Belfast.

The two corporals, serving on “Op Banner”, had the misfortune to run into a IRA/Sinn Fein funeral parade and their car was attacked by republicans, who wrongly believed them to be members of the special forces unit SAS.

It was just three days after loyalist Michael Stone (a volunteer with the UDA) launched his lone attack on the republican funeral at Milltown Cemetery, in West Belfast, killing three and wounding more than 60. The funeral was for the three IRA members killed by the SAS on March 6th in Gibraltar, known as “Operation Flavius”.

As the mob surrounded their car, Corporal Wood drew his pistol but instead of killing as many of the republican mob as he could, he fired warning shots over their heads: that prompted the mob to attack again and he and Howes were dragged from the vehicle.

The republican mob discovered an ID in Howes’ pocket marked “Herford” (where the Signals camp in West Germany was located, and where Howes had been based until the previous week). They mistakenly read this as “Hereford” – home to an SAS base in England.

The two Signals were stripped and beaten by the angry republican mob before being forced into a taxi and driven to waste ground where they were shot dead by an IRA unit.

For many years their was a mural to the two Corporals near the Newtownards Road in east Belfast, which was visited by H&D editor Mark Cotterill in the early 1990s (see photo below). Sadly due to redevelopment of the area the house on which the mural was painted is no longer there.

H&D has ties to the Royal Corps of Signals, with at least three of our subscribers having served with them in the 1970s and 80s.

One former Signal – Jeremy (Jez) Bedford-Turner – spoke at two John Tyndall Memorial Meetings (see photo below) organised by H&D in Preston.

They shall grow not 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.

From The Fallen, a poem by Robert Laurence Binyon, published in The Times newspaper on 21 September 1914.

Happy St Patrick’s Day 2024!

The H&D team would like to wish all our readers on the island of Ireland, and in Great Britain, in fact everywhere in the world, whether you are Irish, Northern Irish or Ulster-Scots/Scots-Irish, a very happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

St Patrick was not Catholic or Protestant, or even Irish but a Christian convert, from maybe Cumbria, or even North Wales, depending on what story you believe.

Sadly, Marxist Republicans have hijacked the saint’s day, and now mockingly refer to it as “St. Paddy’s Day.”  

In Dublin and Belfast, and many other city centres all over the British Isles it’s just one big “piss up” now.

The Cross of St Patrick Loyal Orange Lodge 688

In fact, as one of the articles that follows explains, St Patrick’s Day was turned into a massive party day of celebrations and parades in the USA, not the island of Ireland, which only followed suit years later. First by the Boston-Irish (both Catholic and Protestant), then by their kinfolk in New York City, and then in San Francisco, Chicago, Richmond and many other American cities, with Irish or Scots-Irish communities.

Of course this St Patrick’s Day, comes at a crucial time for Loyalists in Ulster and the rest of the United Kingdom. Rishi Sunak’s Conservative and no longer ‘Unionist’ Party has betrayed Ulster by agreeing what amounts to a border in the Irish Sea, as part of a surrender to the demands of Dublin and Brussels. Several ‘Unionist’ parties have cravenly fallen into line. But the Traditional Unionist Voice party has pledged to fight against any Irish Sea Border, and this weekend reached an electoral pact with Reform UK. The question of Ulster will once again be at the centre of the General Election campaign later this year.

St Patrick

So far as other UK ‘nationalist’ parties and groups are concerned, an Editorial from last year in issue #113 of Heritage and Destiny magazine remains relevant. The next issue of H&D will update our response to the developing situation.

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So the Supreme Court (which is made up of five law lords presiding in the highest court in the UK) has now finally slammed the door shut on any hope that the Northern Ireland Protocol could be overturned through legal means. The courts have however agreed that the Protocol contravenes the 1800 Act of Union, article VI of which states: “The subjects of Great Britain and Ireland shall be on the same footing in respect of trade and navigation… all prohibitions and bounties on the export of articles the produce or manufacture of either country to the other shall cease.”

But although the Protocol is contrary to the Act of Union, the courts say it is lawful because Parliament voted for it. This is obviously true: Parliament is supreme, and can make any decision it wants, and whatever it decides is the law. The Act of Union has, as the judges say, been “subjugated” by the Protocol – just as our treacherous government has allowed the UK to be subjugated by the EU both pre- and post-Brexit.

The legal challenge to the Protocol – in two separate cases – was made by a group of unionist and loyalist leaders and activists that included the pro-Union peer and former Labour MP Kate Hoey, the Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister, two former Ulster Unionist party leaders Steve Aiken and the late David Trimble, former Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster, former Brexit party MEP Benyamin Naeem Habib, and the former LVF POW, Clifford Peeples, who is now a Pentecostalist pastor.

Jim Allister, leader of Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV)

The group also argued that it had breached the principle of consent at the core of the 1998 Belfast Good Friday agreement, which most of them supported at the time, although probably regret doing so now. Jim Allister suggested those who had opposed the Belfast Agreement from the outset – as he did – had been vindicated by recent events, particularly the “constitutional change”  that followed Brexit, and after, the Protocol hearing, he rightly pointed out that the ruling “confirmed the protocol is dismantling the Union”.

However, what I find almost as shocking as the Protocol itself is the lack of support for our fellow citizens in Ulster from our little movement in Great Britain. Apart from a handful of individuals, British nationalists seem to have all but given up on supporting “Loyal Ulster”   – which has always been one of our key policies since the formation of the National Front in 1967.

These days most nationalist street and online activity seems to be concentrated on opposing LGBT+ groups, Muslim grooming gangs and hotels housing fake refugees and asylum seekers – all modish causes that nationalists are right to oppose. However, should we really leave it to people such as former Labour MP Kate Hoey, and Pakistani-born former Brexit Party MEP Benyamin Naeem Habib to oppose the Protocol? Surely not?

(above left to right) Former Labour MP Baroness Hoey, former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib, and TUV leader Jim Allister at one of several road borders between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

British Nationalists in Great Britain should be out on the streets opposing the Protocol and the Irish Sea border and demanding that Northern Ireland stays “British Forever” – just like we always did.

Of course, the only realistic long term solution to what our enemies call “the Irish problem,” would be a “United Ireland.” Not one where Northern  Ireland’s six counties join the Irish Republic but where the twenty-six counties of the Irish Republic would abandon their separate existence and re-join the UK. Just like London, anybody walking around Dublin these days will see what the horror of mass Third World immigration has done to that city. We need to be united once again and stand together if we are to win our nations back, because if we don’t it’s all over for the British and the Irish, in fact for all White people on these islands.”

———–

The H&D editor will no doubt be out in his local today to raise a glass or two to Saint Patrick, as will the assistant editor – who is not known for turning down a pint of Guinness – while proudly wearing a red and white St. Patrick’s cross pin badge!

Click here to read more from H&D about St Patrick’s Day.

Happy St Andrew’s Day

H&D wishes all our Scottish and Ulster-Scots readers, a very happy St Andrew’s Day.

William Macleod, a former BNP member, writes from Newry, County Down:

In case you don’t know, St Andrew’s Day is held every 30th November, and is celebrated not just in Scotland, but by Scottish and Ulster-Scots folk all around the world. 

In the early 1600s, Sir James Hamilton instituted a two-day Fair celebrating the occasion at Killyleagh, where he had his seat; the Belfast Benevolent Society of St Andrew has been providing philanthropic help to those in need for over 150 years; and St Andrew’s Parish Church in Glencairn, the historic seat of the Cunningham family in Belfast, was opened on St Andrew’s Day in 1971. 

The historical Andrew was one of Jesus’ Apostles and was the brother of Peter. They were fishermen in Galilee (now part of northern Israel) and when Jesus approached them on the shore he said, “Come with me and I will make you fishers of men”. 

After the Crucifixion of Jesus, Andrew continued to spread the Gospel message, but eventually he too was arrested, tried, found guilty and crucified, in the Greek city of Patras, around AD60. 

St Andrew is traditionally held to have been martyred on a large X-shaped cross – which he asked his captors for – because he felt he was unworthy to be crucified on a “normal” cross in the same manner as Jesus was 27 years earlier. 

So how did it come about that one of the Apostles, who lived and died in the Near East and never travelled anywhere near to Britain, became Patron Saint of Scotland. 

According to Scottish tradition, the answer lies in a battle fought close by the East Lothian village of Athelstaneford in the Dark Ages. 

An army of Picts under King Angus, with support from a contingent of Scots from Dalriada (the kingdom encompassing north-east Ulster and western Scotland), was invading Lothian (at that time still Northumbrian territory) and found themselves surrounded by a large force of Saxons led by Athelstan. 

Fearing imminent defeat, Angus led prayers for deliverance and was rewarded by seeing a cloud formation of a white saltire (the diagonal cross on which St Andrew was martyred) against the blue sky. 

King Angus vowed that if, with the saint’s help, he gained victory then Andrew would thereafter be the patron saint of Scotland. The Scots won and Andrew became Scotland’s saint, while his cross, white on a blue background became Scotland’s new flag. 

The Saltire, as it is known, is believed to be the oldest national flag in Europe. 

The story of the Battle of Athelstaneford and its legendary link to St Andrew and Scotland’s flag is told at the Parish Kirk in the East Lothian village. A monument telling the story of the Saltire flag was erected there in 1965. 

It includes a battle scene, carved in granite, showing the two armies facing each other between the St Andrew’s Cross in the sky. A Saltire is permanently flown from the flagstaff beside the monument. 

In 1996, a doocot (Scots for dovecote) behind the kirk, first built in 1583, was restored and converted into the Flag Heritage Centre, where visitors can enjoy a short audio-visual presentation of the traditional origins of Scotland’s flag. An adjacent viewpoint affords views over the reputed battlefield. If you enjoy history and are ever in the area, it is well worth a visit. 

Scottish BNP candidates at the 1997 General Election: sadly the BNP is now defunct, but H&D hopes soon to see a revival of racial nationalism in Scotland and across the United Kingdom.

When I was living in Glasgow during the 1980s and ’90s, I attended a number of St Andrew’s Day Rallies organised by the British National Party (BNP) and heard both John Tyndall and Richard Edmonds speak a couple of times. They were good days and hope it’s not too long in the future before nationalists (and I mean true racial-nationalists not the phoney nationalists of the SNP, who are a really sad and pathetic bunch) can again reclaim St Andrew’s Day, and the Saltire flag for the real Scots. 

30 years on: Remember the victims of the Shankill bombing

Thirty years ago today, IRA terrorists killed nine local residents, including two children, by exploding a bomb inside Frizzell’s fish shop on Shankill Road, Belfast.

Frizzell’s was one of those family-owned shops that are fast disappearing from the UK’s high streets (where it’s now unusual to find a specialist fishmonger, or indeed any store owned by a local family rather than by a big chain or immigrants).

Opened by Alan Frizzell in 1966, it was at the heart of the Shankill community for 27 years until it was destroyed by the IRA bomb, which was partly intended to murder senior officers of the Loyalist UDA who regularly met in a room above the shop. (They failed in this intention because the bomb exploded prematurely.)

By bombing Frizzell’s, the IRA also knew that they would kill and maim large numbers of civilians, including children, just as they had done eight months earlier when they exploded a bomb outside a McDonald’s in Warrington, Cheshire, killing two young children. The Warrington bombing (like the bombing of the Harrods department store in London) was almost certainly carried out in cooperation with the IRA’s militant left-wing allies in England, who organised ‘Anti-Fascist Action’.

Today we remember the victims of the Shankill bombing and all the Ulstermen and Britons who were killed by the IRA and other republican murderers.

And in remembering, we also resolve that we shall never surrender to the IRA’s subversive agenda of breaking up the United Kingdom. Quis separabit.

Will Labour save the Union?!?

SNP candidate Katy Loudon on her way to crushing defeat, with Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf

A few minutes ago Labour won a huge victory in the Rutherglen & Hamilton West parliamentary by-election, caused by a successful recall petition against the disgraced SNP MP Margaret Ferrier, who had breached pandemic regulations.

This is a constituency on the outskirts of Glasgow, and was one of many that swung heavily to the SNP in 2015. Labour briefly took it back with a tiny majority in 2017, before losing again to the SNP in 2019.

Given the circumstances of the previous MP’s departure, no-one was surprised by Labour’s win, but what was remarkable was its scale: a swing of more than 20%, with Labour taking 58.6% of the vote (up from 34.5% four years ago).

With the collapse in the Conservative Party’s vote – losing their deposit on only 3.9% after polling 15% here in 2019 – it’s perhaps surprising that Reform UK made no impact at all, taking only 1.3% (almost identical to the UKIP vote in 2019). This was the second bad result in 24 hours for Reform UK: they managed only 6.3% in a local council by-election in Tamworth, where their candidate is also standing in the forthcoming Tamworth parliamentary by-election and there has been intense activity in recent weeks promoting him. UKIP also fielded their parliamentary candidate in this local Tamworth by-election and polled only 1.6%.

Nigel Farage was dancing with former Home Secretary Priti Patel at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, while his friends in Reform UK were limping towards 1.3% in the Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election. Is the party over?

Back in Rutherglen, Niall Fraser from the Scottish Family Party fought an energetic campaign, opposing the absurd wokeness of the SNP and Labour on gender issues, but took only 319 votes (1.0%).

Perhaps the most significant aspect of this by-election result is that it is yet another signal of the end of SNP hegemony. Until the last year or two, many H&D readers might have been excused for being pessimistic about the future of the Union. But the SNP’s many crises look as though they might prove terminal for the cause of Scottish ‘independence’.

Another hopeful sign this week was a statement by Labour’s leader Sir Keir Starmer that he could not envisage circumstances where he would call a referendum in Northern Ireland on the future of the Union.

Of course H&D will continue to oppose Starmer and his party on almost all of their policies, and we can expect that (like the Tories) Labour will pursue policies that betray Ulster by stealth.

But that doesn’t stop us welcoming the total defeat of Jeremy Corbyn and his gang of IRA sympathisers, who had they somehow entered Downing Street would have betrayed Ulster to the IRA as well as abandoning our fellow Europeans to Vladimir Putin’s horde of barbarians.

The SNP are a less gruesome band of traitors, but their total defeat is again something to celebrate. One small step towards the renewal of the United Kingdom, which will of course also require the defeat of the other old gang parties!

IRA scum off our streets!

Editor’s note: The following is a report from one of our Scottish subscribers who attended the Loyalist counter-demonstration in Glasgow city centre on Sunday 23rd July.

A number of H&D subscribers were amongst a crowd of several hundred Scottish Loyalists and British Patriots who were counter-demonstrating against a pro-IRA march through Glasgow city centre on Sunday.

Around 300 hundred Irish Republicans and their supporters – including a number of SNP and Labour party members – marched through the centre of Glasgow to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the Maze Prison hunger strikes of 1981, where ten IRA/INLA criminals starved themselves to death.

Police arrested five people altogether, including three from our side, who have been charged in connection with public order offences during the march.

The march, which was organised by the extreme left-wing Cairde na hÉireann (Friends of Ireland) group started at 2pm on Wishart Street, near the Necropolis, and was met by staunch Loyalist opposition right from the start.

A poster advertising the pro-IRA event

Cairde na hÉireann was formed as a split from the West of Scotland Band Alliance (WoSBA) in 2004. The WoSBA supported dissident Republican groups like the Real IRA/ 32 County Sovereignty Movement, while Cairde na hÉireann stayed ‘loyal‘ to IRA/Sinn Féin. Their aim is a “32 County Socialist and a Republican United Ireland”

A statement on the group’s website about the events on Sunday read: – “Today, Cairde na hÉireann members and supporters gathered to hold our annual commemoration march to mark the 42nd anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike. The heroic sacrifice of the 10 H-Block Martyrs remains an inspiration to the Irish diaspora across the world and is marked accordingly wherever Irish people and their multi-generational descendents gather. Despite Police Scotland deploying an extraordinary number of personnel, several loyalists, football hooligans and neo-Nazis were allowed to throw bottles and other missiles, spit at and abuse marchers, and attempt at various times to have the commemoration stopped. In this last endeavour, they failed.
Republicans will continue to commemorate our dead and generation-defining events such as the Hunger Strike and no amount of abuse, threats or violence will deter us.
Cairde na hÉireann thank everyone who attended today, particularly for their dignified restraint under severe provocation.”

The march met further Loyalist resistance as it headed along John Knox Street onto Duke Street and down High Street before turning into Ingram Street in the Merchant City.

As the Republican march went towards Queen Street and George Square Loyalist counter-demonstrators were kettled in outside a pub by Police Scotland. Then onto St Vincent Street where another group of Loyalists were waiting for them.

Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland, Divisional Commander for Greater Glasgow, who allowed the pro-IRA march to take place said: “Five people have been arrested and charged in connection with public order offences following a planned procession, and counter-protest, in Glasgow City Centre on Sunday, 23 July 2023. “They are expected to appear at court at a later date and reports will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal. “Officers acted swiftly to prevent escalation and disperse those intent on causing significant disruption to the public in the George Square and St Vincent Street areas.”

H&D salutes all those Loyalists who attended the counter-demonstrators in Glasgow on Sunday. The IRA and their left-wing supporters must be opposed every time they venture onto the King’s Highway. No Surrender!

Flying the flag for the Union: friends of Loyal Ulster celebrate the 12th

Celebrating the 12th in Southport

H&D editor Mark Cotterill and assistant editor Peter Rushton were among the many supporters of the Union who turned out to fly the flag for traditional celebrations on 12th July.

Bad weather failed to dampen patriotic spirits in Southport, while many mainland loyalists once again marched in Benidorm where there is a large pro-Unionist community.

Mark Cotterill at the Southport 12th

The biggest celebrations were of course in Ulster itself, where Unionists are increasingly united against any potential betrayal of the province by Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal.

With the Conservative (and sadly no longer Unionist) Party struggling in the polls and facing almost certain defeat at next year’s general election, it is more vital than ever for friends of Loyal Ulster to stand together.

Preston Loyalist John Smith in Benidorm for the 12th

A far greater Tory Prime Minister than Sunak – Andrew Bonar Law – famously promised to resist the betrayal of the Union: “there will be no shrinking from any action which we think necessary to defeat one of the most ignoble conspiracies which has ever been formed against the liberties of free-born men”.

No doubt H&D readers would be denounced as ‘extremists’ or even ‘terrorists’ if we repeated Bonar Law’s words in 2023, but we similarly should not shrink from any action we think necessary to prevent the betrayal of Ulster by a 21st century government, whether Tory or Labour.

Unionists fly the flag in Bellshill

Billy Ross, British Unionist Party candidate for Bellshill, North Lanarkshire

With police investigations continuing, H&D cannot comment on the arrest of Nicola Sturgeon (former First Minister of Scotland) amid the continuing collapse of the Scottish National Party which she led from 2014 until earlier this year.

This entertaining shambles has already had an impact at the ballot box. This week in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire the SNP lost a council by-election to Labour, with a swing of more than 13% (enough to wipe out almost all of SNP’s Westminster seats if repeated at next year’s general election).

Labour of course are no friends of the Union either, but the Bellshill by-election was also good news for sincere patriots. As a recent Spectator article put it, the SNP is “sleepwalking into extinction”, facing “electoral nemesis”.

The British Unionist Party, formed in 2015 by activists from the Better Together campaign who successfully fought to preserve the United Kingdom in the 2014 Scottish referendum, won its first council seat in another North Lanarkshire ward in May 2022.

This week they contested Bellshill for the first time and despite a crowded ballot paper with no fewer than ten candidates, their candidate Billy Ross polled a creditable 4.3% finishing in fourth place. Mr Ross defeated the much hyped Alba Party (led by former SNP leader Alex Salmond), and various ‘protest vote’ parties. The anti-vaccination party Freedom Alliance and the much-diminished UKIP polled only 0.3% each: microscopic votes (just seven for Freedom Alliance and five for UKIP!) confirming their irrelevance.

Rishi Sunak was the fifth UK Prime Minister to hold office during Nicola Sturgeon’s tenure as First Minister of Scotland. But Sturgeon was arrested within months of losing power.

This latest result for the British Unionist Party – combined with a strong set of results for Traditional Unionist Voice in last month’s local elections in Northern Ireland – shows that well organised smaller parties can make an impact even if they only win small numbers of seats.

Unionists can begin to influence mainstream politics, preventing major party leaders from pursuing their subversive and cowardly agenda of breaking up the UK.

After years in which republicans and fake ‘nationalists’ appeared to have history on their side, the tide is beginning to turn.

And for H&D readers, there is some reasonably good news from the ballot box at last! Patriotic parties in England are in steep decline, but there has been good news in recent weeks from Northern Ireland, and now to a certain extent in Scotland.

Gains for TUV in Ulster council elections

Most results are now in from the local council elections in Northern Ireland, held on 18th May. These elections were postponed by a fortnight due to the STV proportional representation system, which meant that counting could not have been completed before the Coronation, had voting taken place on 4th May at the same time as the English elections.

As has previously been highlighted by H&D, Rishi Sunak’s supposedly ‘Conservative’ government seems happy to abandon the Union. Ministers made clear that they hoped unionist voters would swing away from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), led by Enoch Powell’s former campaign manager Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, towards parties that embrace Sunak’s sell-out agenda.

TUV leader Jim Allister (above right) with former Labour minister Baroness Hoey and former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib

In fact DUP seems to have held on to most of its support, while there were significant gains for Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV), the party that refuses to surrender sovereignty to Dublin and rejects a “sea border” between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

TUV won nine seats in total, a net gain of three. They held on to their five seats on the Mid & East Antrim Council; gained a seat in Cusher (a rural area of County Armagh); regained a seat in Ballymoney while gaining another in Causeway; and gained a seat in the Court area of Belfast.

The latter gain was especially symbolic, as Court DEA includes the Shankill and previously elected a councillor from the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), a party formerly aligned with loyalist paramilitaries but which in recent years has pursued a ‘woke’ agenda.

Until a few months ago, TUV might have expected even greater gains. But the party’s leaders would argue that it has succeeded in pulling DUP back towards its traditional agenda.

This election was a disaster for the two arms of liberal/leftwing unionism. The once-powerful UUP’s vote across the province fell from 14.2% to a new low of 10.9%, and it lost 21 of its previous 75 council seats. While the PUP disappeared from the electoral map completely, and its future now seems in doubt.

The legacy of St Patrick – two H&D articles from our archives

St Patrick

H&D wishes all our Irish, Northern Irish and Ulster Scots readers a very happy Saint Patrick’s Day – whichever part of the world you are in.

Editor’s note: The first article – “Saint Patrick the Patron Saint of the USA” – was written several years ago, but the same issues are still being discussed in Loyalist circles today – now mainly on internet forums. So, it was fitting that we republished it (in hard copy in issue #77 of H&D) on St Patrick’s Day 2017.

It was America that spawned the St Patrick’s Day parade, not Ireland, and its origins are both Protestant and British…

As March 17th approaches, the annual debate has reignited on whether Unionism should embrace St Patrick and the day set aside for his commemoration. Over the last five years there has been a slow emergence of Protestant participation on the date, though that has been via the creation of new events rather than involvement in existing ones. This article examines the origin of St Patrick’s Day parades, this new emerging trend, its motivation and where it may possibly lead.

The question ‘where is the biggest St Patrick’s Day parade in Northern Ireland?’ at first glance would appear easily answered. Belfast most would say, with a few probably suggesting the Cathedral City of Armagh or even where he was allegedly laid to rest, Downpatrick. What will surprise many is that the largest parade for the last few years by sheer number of participants has been in the small County Armagh village of Killylea. It is here since 2005 the Cormeen Rising Sons of William Flute Band have held their annual band procession and competition. Last year the Cormeen parade saw 42 bands take part (in comparison to the seven that paraded at the Dublin event), amounting to approximately 1800 band members. Thousands of spectators stood along the route, despite it being a bitterly cold evening.

Cormeen Rising Sons of William chairman Mark Gibson explains that the bands original motivation for the parade came more out of necessity than anything else. “The band season is very busy, and when trying to find a date for our parade it was difficult to define one that didn’t clash with other bands locally.” Some members suggested March 17 as a solution to the problem, but the band was nervous. “We were concerned about how a St Patrick’s Day parade would go down in our community, the parade in Armagh never was very welcoming, but we made a decision to try it and it has been a success.”


From that initial year where thirteen bands took part, the parade is now among the largest in the Province. It’s not only the number of bands participating that has increased, but also the crowds attending to watch, and the event is increasingly becoming a fixture in the calendar for many Unionists. Another band, the Ulster Protestant Boys Flute Coleraine, have started a similar event on the date that too is growing. The ever increasing scale of both processions indicates clearly that there is certainly a willingness within the PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) community to be involved in St Patrick’s Day. Where the schisms emerge are with the issues of why and how.

It is generally acknowledged that in the distant past Patrick was not a controversial figure for Protestants in Ireland or beyond. His ‘sainthood’ was never conferred by the Pope and pre-dates the reformation, so he was never seen as being the possession of ‘Rome’. St Patrick was seen as an evangelical Christian who had made personal sacrifice to spread the gospel in Ireland. The anniversary of his death was observed and commemorated by all Protestant denominations to different degrees, with the Church of Ireland in particular very active.

The shift from an anniversary of religious significance towards an ‘Irish’ event however first took place in the United States in 1737. In Boston that year the Irish Charitable Society, made up of Protestant immigrants (some of whom were British Soldiers), held their first meeting and dinner. The purpose was to both honour Patrick in the context of their Protestant faith and to reach out the hand of friendship to other Irish immigrants. The exercise obviously struck a chord and the practise spread, with the first recorded parade in New York in 1766, with again British Soldiers of Irish blood heavily involved. It was America that spawned the St Patrick’s Day parade, not Ireland, and its origins are both Protestant and British.

During that period in history the vast majority of Irish immigrants were Presbyterian, however from 1830 it was Catholic arrivals who were in the ascendancy. With that change began an emphasis towards anti-British sentiment in the demonstrations. In the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War anything portrayed as anti-colonial was well received, with even the many original Protestant immigrant descendants non-antagonistic of this motivation. Many British ‘Loyalists’ had left for Canada, and effectively the descendants of the original Protestant Irish settlers remaining saw themselves as primarily American in identity, with all that was left for their original ‘homeland’ of Ireland simply folk memory and sentimentality.

Orangemen with lambeg drums during 12th July Orangefest celebrations in Dromara, County Down, Northern Ireland

Mike Cronin, author of A History of St Patrick’s Day, states that whilst this tradition was developing, back in Ireland the first parades didn’t take place until the 1840’s and even then they were organised by Temperance societies. Mike emphasises the lack of public celebration “The only other major events in nineteenth century Ireland was a trooping of the colour ceremony and grand ball held at Dublin Castle.” So even as late as 1911 the largest St Patrick’s Day occasion in Ireland was still rooted in a joint Irish and British expression of identity. Protestant churches and some Orange Lodges throughout the island appear to have held minor functions on the date, but these were very subdued affairs, and essentially even post-partition very little changed. Catholic observance of the day continued to different degrees in different areas, as did the Protestant nod to Patrick.

Right up until the 1960s the primary theme of St Patrick’s Day in both Northern Ireland and the Republic still remained religious observance, with even from 1923 to then public houses and bars in the Republic of Ireland closed by law. A poll conducted in 1968 suggested that 20% of Northern Irish Protestants at this stage still considered themselves Irish. The onset of civil unrest in Northern Ireland coincided however with the importation of the American style to St Patrick’s events in Dublin and elsewhere. Now whilst a violent conflict was being waged in the name of all things Irish, St Patrick’s Day parades were starting to display the features that had developed in the United States. On these parades Irish identity was perceived by Northern Protestants as being defined as aggressively anti-British and anti-Protestant, with the disjointed and casual nature of the parades and the now integral alcohol element alien to PUL parading traditions and customs.

As the IRA campaign escalated, many Protestants simply could not divorce the fact that these celebrations displayed an exclusive form of Irish sentiment whilst a campaign was being waged against them in the name of Ireland. As the years progressed, in Northern Ireland in particular it became apparent that the day was being deliberately used in many instances as an extension of the Irish Republican war against Unionism.

Grand Orange Lodge Director of Services Dr David Hume reiterates the view that in the recent past it has been the nature of the parades and commemorative events that turned Protestants away. “The perception among Unionism is without doubt that Irish Republicanism and Irish Nationalism has used St Patrick’s Day parades as a weapon, effectively using the ‘shield’ of Patrick to express obvious militant anti-British and therefore anti-Unionist sentiment.” David believes that the manner and focus of these events is totally at odds with the purported motivation. “St Patrick’s Day should be used as a day of reflection on the religious significance of Patrick, something far removed from the aggressive and confrontational use of symbolism; and the huge emphasis on alcohol consumption that currently seems to be the case.” David bluntly states that the date isn’t an important one on the ‘Orange’ calendar, but recognises that it does have a place in society.

There remains one annual Orange Order parade related to St Patrick’s Day, which is held each year in Ballymena. One of the participating Lodges is The Cross of St Patrick LOL 688 which was founded in 1967. A lodge spokesperson describes the motivation behind its formation as being “to reclaim the heritage of Saint Patrick” explaining that “Brethren were concerned that Patrick’s heritage was being hijacked by Roman Catholicism and Republicanism.” The lodge’s concerns would appear to have been reflecting the growing sense of alienation the PUL community was feeling regarding St Patricks events.

The Cross of St Patrick LOL 688

There is no doubt that this alienation effectively forced many Protestants into an automatically negative position regarding St Patrick’s Day. With the advent of the IRA cessations of violence and the ongoing political process however, it has become apparent that many within Unionism have been able to reflect much more on the meaning of St Patrick’s Day for them. The ending of a violent ‘Irish’ physical campaign has given space to examine the date, with many now realising that it once was a date of relevance that they were forced into denying, and there is a willingness to make it relevant again. Nevertheless this reflection and willingness has not as yet manifested itself into significant participation in civic St Patrick’s Day parades.

With a few exceptions, such as the participation of an unashamedly Loyalist Blood and Thunder band in the 2003 Limerick St Patrick’s Band competition, Unionism still does not feel comfortable taking part in the modern version of a St Patrick’s parade. Concerns still exist regarding the involvement of militant Republicanism in such events along with the aggressive use of flags and symbols, but the problem seems to go much deeper.

Iain Carlisle of the Ulster Scots Community Network has a very straightforward and unambiguous answer regarding Unionist involvement in St Patrick’s Day events. Iain states very clearly “I don’t think there has to be ANY justification given for Protestants or Unionists marking Patrick’s day”, but goes on to say that “there is however a fundamental difference of approach to both Patrick as a person and the means of celebration within the Unionist community”. Iain’s comments would appear to reflect not just a general uncomfortable position with the overtly ‘United Ireland’ underlying St Patrick’s Day theme, but the actual motivation and method of celebration.

All historical examinations of Protestant Irish and their approach and relationship with Patrick indicates that for them he has never truly deviated from having a purely theological relevance. On St Patrick’s Day however the majority of Catholics, Irish Nationalists, Republicans, those of Irish descent and indeed anyone who wants a day out, St Patrick’s significance as a religious icon is purely tokenistic. St Patrick is merely a figurehead for overt Irish nationalism and a holiday. In turn the Unionist tradition of parading has developed from a military perspective and the American style parades are an alien concept, being perceived as being undisciplined and overtly casual.

Whilst new events have arisen, it is obvious that Unionism has no desire to abandon its central belief of Patrick’s religious relevance, and in addition is reluctant to embrace what it sees as an alien approach to parades. Even with the emergence of band parades on the date, they in themselves are a much more disciplined and subdued practise than their counterparts on the day. Whatever the future holds, it is clear that the PUL community is going through an ongoing examination of Patrick and his relevance to them. As journalist Chris Ryder recently pointed out “there will be no going back to the view that St Patrick was a Catholic, and a saint only for Catholics.”

The second article “Enoch Powell’s Suppressed Article Rediscovered”, on St Patrick, was published by us in March 2016 (in hard copy in issue 71 of H&D) it certainly added fuel to the (Loyalist) bonfire!

Enoch Powell’s Suppressed Article (on St Patrick, Ulster and the Scots Irish Identity) Rediscovered – with introduction by Peter Rushton, H&D Assistant Editor

After the Conservatives returned to government under Margaret Thatcher in 1979, Enoch Powell hoped Ulster’s status as an integral part of the United Kingdom would be reaffirmed. Some of the leading figures on Thatcher’s wing of the Conservative Party were Powellites, and until the eve of the 1979 election the Tories’ Northern Ireland spokesman had been Airey Neave – a strong and determined Unionist. Tragically Neave was murdered by a car bomb at the House of Commons in March 1979, and his successors pursued a very different policy: commitment to Ulster’s identity was progressively weakened through the 1980s.

Powell came to believe that the CIA had a hand in Airey Neave’s murder, and it is now established that MI6 and CIA operatives had been pursuing a deal with the IRA since the mid-1970s.

In January 1981 however (still believing that Thatcher’s government would defend the Union) Powell proposed that the Foreign Office should produce articles and booklets for the American public to explain Ulster’s distinct identity. It was agreed that Powell would write a brief article to be published in U.S. newspapers on St Patrick’s Day (17th March 1981) and that a 1965 booklet – Scotch-Irish and Ulster – would be reprinted, both with Foreign Office support.

Although Powell submitted the article and welcomed republication of the pamphlet, both were sidelined: the anti-Ulster faction in Whitehall and Washington triumphed. The article and related official correspondence remained classified until February 2015, and H&D now reveals the story for the first time after I obtained the documents from the National Archives.

Enoch Powell on the campaign trail

If St Patrick has a Member to represent him in Parliament, I must surely be that man. My constituency in the House of Commons is Down South, the southern half of the county of Down, which looks across the Irish Sea beyond the Isle of Man to Cumberland and Galloway. From that southern half there projects a peninsula which the ancient geographers were already calling Dunum, or Down; and Downpatrick, the town which stands at the isthmus of that peninsula, happily combines the name of the place and that of the British missionary with a late Roman surname who we believe brought Christianity from the largest to the second largest of the British Isles.

The peninsula where he landed, baptised his first converts, built his first church and laid his bones to rest has still a palpable individuality. When I drive into it – its traditional name is Lecale – from some other part of my constituency, I am always conscious of crossing a threshold. But the same is just as true of the whole north-eastern part of Ireland to which that peninsula is attached: it is distinct and separate from the rest, as if by a decree of nature. Geographically and geologically it had its own pattern, a mountain ring enclosing an inner central plain, long before man came there at all; and its earliest inhabitants were linked by blood and intercourse with the neighbouring mainland. The passage which St Patrick made was no voyage of exploration: he took a ticket on a two-way traffic route rather like that across the English Channel between Dover and Calais (which in point of fact is somewhat longer).

This north-east part was called “Ulster” centuries before Henry VIII (no friend of St Patrick’s!) used the word to dub one of the four administrative provinces into which he divided his Irish kingdom. Whatever elements, across the centuries, came to Ulster were drawn into its distinct identity. The Norman baron who, with a handful of knights and the king’s permission, rode north from Dublin into Ulster in the 1170s founded an independent principality – the earldom of Ulster, which is today held by the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Gloucester. Into Ulster flowed settlers from England and Wales as well as from Scotland, long before the Plantation of James I; and the separateness of the province claimed and enveloped them all.

St Patrick’s grave

That happened pre-eminently to those Scots who were the major element in the settlement of the forfeited lands at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Research has proved that they by no means displaced the earlier Ulstermen so comprehensively as was intended and is often believed. It is also true that they only represented one, albeit the largest, of a series of contingents earlier and later who returned across the narrow North Channel to the land from which the ancestors of many of them had originally come in remote, even prehistoric times. The great fact, however, is that, like the rest, they became part of Ulster.

The vocabulary of American history has called those people Scotch Irish. The truer name is that by which they liked, and still like, to call themselves – Ulster Scots. For they were indeed, and remain in virtue of many ties, Scots; but above all they were Ulstermen. This therefore was the Ulster, unique from its beginning, which contributed a disproportionate share – including at least ten presidents – to the foundation and to the spirit of the American nation right from the origins of its independence. It is a contribution as distinct from the rest, and as distinctive, as any other, whether Irish, English or Scots.

The modern search for national roots is, I believe, as healthy as it is popular and expanding. It has already brought many Americans, and not only those with demonstrable ancestral ties, to Ulster, to learn on the spot – the only sure way – the truth about its past and its present. Those who come are coming to the place which, of all spots on the globe, is peculiarly and forever St Patrick’s. On his day America is remembered in Ulster, as Ulster ought to be remembered in America.

Editor’s note: J. Enoch Powell (1912-1998) was Ulster Unionist MP for South Down, 1974-87, having earlier been Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West, 1950-74. His career in Conservative politics ended when he was sacked as the party’s defence spokesman in April 1968, following his famous “Rivers of blood” speech which criticised Britain’s racial transformation, which can be read online here.

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