36th (Ulster) Division Memorial L.O.L. 977
No. 3 District, Belfast
"The Ulster Division Lodge was destined to occupy a unique place amongst the lodges of the Imperial Province of the loyal City of Belfast. The fact that all the members had not only heard but had responded to their country’s call." Alderman Tyrrell 1919
To the brave men of the 36th (Ulster) Division.
The 36th (Ulster) Division Memorial LOL 977, Belfast District No.3 (known as the Living Memorial) has its roots in the Military Lodge LOL 862 formed in Seaford, Sussex from the ranks of men from East Belfast Volunteers (8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles) in 1915. The first Worshipful Master was Lieutenant J T O'Neill. In the photo he wears the collaret presented to him by LOL 862. Brother David Catt, the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of England (GOLI) and the Grand Secretary, Louis Ewart, had visited Seaford especially in 1915 to confer warrants on most of the battalions in the 36th (Ulster) Division and the 4th Canadians. The 36th (Ulster) Division trained at Seaford during July and August Final training was at Bardon Camp during September before going to Boulogne, France from 3rd to 6th October 1915. It was at Seaford that a special relationship developed between the Military Lodge and the local Lewes Martyrs Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge 398 which continued with the formation of LOL 977 and right up to the present day. The photo of David Catt is at the top of page.
The Orange 12th July Parade in Seaford 1915
Sgt James Scott 1915
When going over the trenches on 1st July 1916, Military Lodge 862 members carried their collarettes in their knapsacks and brother John Crumlin who was later to become a founding Member and Worshipful Master of LOL 977, carried the Warrant also in his knapsack.
The Grand Orange Lodge of England at its meeting in Preston on 6th July 1916, reported: “Orange meetings are held in trenches, and have been held in Roman Catholic Schools and even convents.” The Military Lodge LOL 862 held at least one meeting in a Roman Catholic nunnery. Due to the need for secrecy during the Great War, locations were left out of lodge reports (only the word “somewhere” was used) but it is generally believed that the nunnery in which the lodge met was in Mouscron, Belgium. The building is now part of Saint Paul's School behind St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church in a neighbourhood of Mouscron called Risquons-Tout. It was built in 1900-1906 as part of the “ecole libre” held by the sisters of Saint Therese of Avila from Rollegem since 1890. A large photograph in Clifton Street Orange Hall of the Military Lodge LOL 862 in 1919 is actually taken from within what is now the school playground, but can’t be seen from the street. Unless the lodge also met in a second nunnery, we can assume that it was in the Mouscron nunnery that when a retreat was sounded the warrant (giving them authority to meet as a lodge) was left behind in the building. It was reported that under darkness, Brother John Crumlin crossed the battlefield through no-man's land to the nunnery and retrieved the warrant. The men of the lodge were later to receive every military decoration except the Victoria Cross. Brother John Crumlin is buried in Belfast City Cemetery. His sister Margaret Reid presented a Bible in memory of her two brothers, John and James Crumlin, Past Masters of LOL 977.
The same place. Today it is Saint Paul's School. neighbourhood of Mouscron called Risquons-Tout. 2015
Soon after the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916, the following resolution was passed: “Resolved, that we, the officers and members of the above lodge, assembled 'somewhere in France', will to the utmost of our power, defend and uphold the Crown and Constitution of Great Britain and Ireland, being Protestants united for the defence of the glorious freedom of the British Empire; will sacrifice, if needs be, our lives to revenge the foul deeds and murders committed by the butchers of Berlin: and that we further, for the future of mankind and for the sake of civilisation, will not sheathe the sword until the domination of Prussianism is fully destroyed. We the brethren, deplore the heavy losses sustained by the gallant Ulster Division in that glorious charge of July the First Thiepval Wood, and we do hereby convey our deepest sympathy to the relatives throughout Ulster of our gallant comrades who fell upholding the glorious cause and freedom of our Empire.”
A lodge flag was made by Brother James Murphy during July, 1917, and unfurled by Lieutenant Williams. At a meeting in Lewes on 4th November 1932, Brother David Catt, Grand Master of the Loyal Orange Institution of England was presented with the flag of the military lodge. Brother David Catt in accepting the flag said: "That flag (which was on the wall, just behind him), has been over the top. It has been in many a battle. It is the only flag that has been carried by a unit of the British Army since the days of the Crimean War, with one exception in the first Zulu War.” Brother David Catt in addition to being Grand Master of the the Loyal Orange Institution of England, held another office as honorary chief of the Sioux tribe of North American Indians. Mr. Catt said he was next to the Prince Wales in the list of honorary chiefs, and his title was Chief Mountain Catt. A Bible was presented by David Catt to No.4 Junior District LOL in Clifton Street Orange Hall in December 1932. After Brother Catt's death, the flag was returned to Belfast. The present location of the flag is unknown.
LOL 862 - Somewhere in the Rhineland
When the Division was disbanded at the end of the Great War, the military warrant was returned to the Grand Orange Lodge of England. When the men came back to Belfast, they decided to form a memorial Orange Lodge. On the 5th May 1919, a new warrant was granted to the 36th (Ulster) Division Memorial LOL 977. Membership originally was confined to those who have served overseas with his Majesty’s forces.
Shaftesbury Square, Belfast, 1919
The unfurling of the lodge's first banner took place in beautiful sunshine and a huge crowd assembled at Shaftesbury Square, Belfast on Saturday afternoon 5th July 1919 for the ceremony. Members first met outside the premises of Brother William Bridgett (the renowned banner painter) 96-98 Great Victoria Street. The brethren, headed by the Victoria Temperance Flute and McQuiston Memorial Pipe Bands, marched in military formation to the scene of the ceremony, where they formed a hollow square facing the wagonette which served as a platform. The chairman, Br. T. H. Mayes, Major E.R.H. May, D.S.O. late 10th (South Belfast) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, handed to Alderman John Tyrrell, on behalf of the lodge, a handsome penknife with which to perform the unfurling ceremony. Alderman John Tyrrell, to the accompaniment of hearty applause, cut the silk ribbon, and the handsome banner fell from its folds, all heads being bared while the National Anthem was played. The banner, which had been skilfully executed by Brother. William Bridgett, depicted on the front, the charge of the Ulster Division at Thiepval, on 1st July 1916 and underneath the King George V message to Edward Carson in December 1918: “ The men of Ulster have shown how they nobly fight and die.”
After the unfurling ceremony, Alderman Tyrrell, who was most cordially received; expressed his great delight at being asked to unfurl the first banner of the 36th Ulster Division Memorial LOL 977, which duty he performed to the glory of God and in grateful and affectionate remembrance of the imperishable deeds of their forefathers together with those of their own households, the men of the Ulster Division who fell in their country’s cause in the greatest war of all time. (hear, hear). Standing there under the shadow of the beautiful banner they were reminded of their indebtedness not only to the gallant men who fought for liberty and righteousness under the Prince of Orange in 1689 and 1690, but to the heroic men of the Ulster Division and the members of that lodge who played such a noble part at the battles, the names of which were inscribed on the banner, they renewed their covenant and vowed, God helping them, to be for ever true to the great principles for which they had fought and died. (Applause). Every time that banner floats in the breeze it would recall to the lodge and others the immortal achievements of the men who defended the cause of the right at Derry, Enniskillen, Aughrim and the Boyne. By the same steadfastness and self sacrifice the irresistible forces of Britain and the Allies, crushed German despotism and tyranny from 1914 to 1919. The Ulster Division Lodge was destined to occupy a unique place amongst the lodges of the Imperial Province of the loyal City of Belfast. The fact that all the members had not only heard but had responded to their country’s call.
On the 12th. of July 1919, over 250 brethren were on parade with the new Lodge. Parading with No.3 Belfast District, they received a tremendous reception from those who lined the route to Ballymenoch Park, just a short distance from Holywood, County Down.
The lodge grew in strength taking its membership from the forces of the crown. As an act of thanksgiving and in memory of the fallen of both world wars and subsequent conflicts, the lodge holds a memorial church service on the Sunday nearest the Ist July each year. Also on the evening of the 1st July, the lodge joins with Thiepval Memorial LOL 1916 and parade from Belfast Orange Hall to the City Cenotaph in the grounds of the City Hall where a short remembrance service and wreath laying ceremony is held.
In 1937, new Memorial Colours were commissioned to replace the banner. They were made by the Royal School of Needlework in London and were unfurled and dedicated at Windsor Park, Belfast (the home of Linfield F.C.) in the presence of all the lodges in Belfast. Over the years the lodge has paraded proudly behind the Memorial Colours all over the United Kingdom. In 1927, the lodge attended the Liverpool “12th” and presented a painting of the Battle of the Somme which still hangs in the Provincial Hall on Everton Road.
On the 3rd October 2015 in bright sunshine, over 150 Orangemen and women took part in a parade, church service and the unveiling of a plaque to mark the departure of the 36th (Ulster) Division from the south of England during October 1915. The 36th (Ulster) Division, encamped at Seaford from July to the end of August 1915. Also taking part were a good representation from the 36th (Ulster) Division Somme Association from Corby.
The parade was led by Kilcluney Volunteers Flute Band from Markethill in Co Armagh. LOL 977, helped assist the Sussex District LOL 88, in organising events in Seaford. The plaque is in tribute to the 36th (Ulster) Division and in appreciation of the kindness shown to the Division by the people of Seaford.
The then Worshipful Master, Billy Dickson BEM informed the gathering that on the 12th July 1915, an Orange parade was held in Seaford by the 36th (Ulster) Division and now he said, "100 years later, Orangemen will again parade through the streets of Seaford.”
The events on 3rd October started at midday, when a wreath was laid and a short service held at Seaford’s war memorial led by Worshipful brother, Ian Smart, District Master of Sussex District LOL 88. Later at 1.30pm, those on parade walked a mile along the sea front from Martello Tower before Councillor Mark Brown kindly unveiled the memorial plaque on the Bonningstedt Promenade sea wall.
The parade continued through the streets of Seaford to St Leonard's Parish Church for a service at 3pm. Councillor Mark Brown had made his way to the church and was standing at the church gate as the parade approached with the band playing the regimental marching song of the Royal Sussex Regiment, “Sussex By The Sea”. Mr. W. Ward-Higgs, produced this marching song while living at Bognor Regis and it is believed to have been first sung by an officer in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, in about September, 1908 at concerts in Ballykinlar Camp, County Down. Yet another Sussex and Ulster link!
The links with Sussex are acknowledged by LOL 977 every year during the 12th July parade when the members call out for “three cheers” as they pass the Royal Sussex Regiment plaque at Donegall Place, Belfast where the 3rd Earl of Donegal raised the Regiment in 1701.
The Memorial Colours of LOL 977 were carried into the church and received by Rev Pauline Lucas. Rev Colin Rudge, an Ulsterman preached the sermon based on the question: “In whom do we trust?” He explained that the Bible reading would be from the King James Version of the Bible as it was the version that the men of the (Ulster) Division would have been familiar with and in its words they would have found comfort and strength. The Bible reading was from the Gospel of John Chapter 15: 1-17. Among the hymns were, O God, our help in ages past and I vow to Thee, my country. The church very kindly provided refreshments after the service and a number of gifts were exchanged. The Rev Colin Rudge then closed the proceeding with prayer, thanking God for all His goodness to us on what was a very special day.
As a result of our commemoration in Seaford, there is a view expressed by local historian, Kevin Gordon, who said he would like to see the area where the plaque is located, becoming a focus for remembrance to others who served in Seaford. This would include the 22nd Division, British West Indies Regiment, 4th Canadian Division and the RAF.
Among the many distinguished past members of LOL 977 was Brother Walter Williams who was Grand Secretary of the GOLI. Walter was a prime mover in seeing the headquarters develop from a terrace house in Bedford Street to the establishment of a new purpose building at the same location and named the House of Orange. He would have been delighted to see the new Museum of Orange Heritage in Schomberg House, Cregagh Road officially opened on Wednesday 24th June 2015.
Walter Williams on the left.
Another deserving mention was Brother Samuel James Stevenson who fought in the Second World War and was probably one of the smallest soldiers to serve in the British Army; Samuel was just under 4'9” He was born on 11th August 1916 and died in his 99th year on 6th October 2015.
One name that is mentioned frequently is that of Brother John Jamieson who was a founder member and looked upon as the “sergeant major of the lodge”. He made sure that military discipline was carried on into LOL 977. RSM John Jamieson was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal serving with the 9th Royal Irish Rifles in 1917. During parades, he would look at the lodge reflections in shop windows to make sure everyone was in step.
The previously mentioned military warrant for LOL 862 was presented by LOL 977 to the Museum of Orange Heritage at a Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland meeting held in Ballintra District Orange Hall, Co Donegal on 9th December 2015.
On this 100th anniversary year of the Battle of the Somme, the 36th (Ulster) Division Memorial LOL 977 will again proudly carry the Memorial Colours as a tribute to the brave men of the 36th (Ulster) Division. Finally, we hope that many more men will join the lodge to ensure that we continue as a Living Memorial well into the future. If you would like to talk about joining the lodge, then please email the lodge secretary by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.
Billy Dickson BEM
Derek Parkhill (Secretary)
Thank you for taking the time to look at our website. Past members of the lodge -like those in the photograph- would be delighted to know that the 'Living Memorial' is still in existence. With the knowledge that we have a direct link with the men who went to the Great War, we believe it is our duty to continue to honour their memory by supporting the 'Living Memorial'. If you are interested in joining us then we would be delighted. If you would like to talk to one of the officers first, then please just send us an email: email@example.com
Roman Catholic Nunnery, Risquons-Tout, Belgium 1919
On the 13th of July 2009 at the Orange Hall in Clifton Street Belfast we were treated to a small insight into how LOL977, 36th (Ulster) Division Memorial conducted parts of their meeting. All the visiting Brethren were amazed to see a chair, draped with the Union Standard and a Sword placed across it, in between the Worthy Master and the Worthy Deputy Master. It was explained that because the Lodge was a Memorial Lodge “The Empty Chair” was a representation, a mark of respect, reserved for all those who had fallen, past and present. As LOL 1012 are also a Memorial Lodge it was agreed that we will also adopt this practice. At our very next meeting an “Empty Chair” was positioned in the lodge room.
LEST WE FORGET.
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From the website of the English Lodge, Lt. Col R.B. Mayne Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge 1012.
"I am not an Ulsterman but yesterday, the 1st July, as I followed their amazing attack, I felt that I would rather be an Ulsterman than anything else in the world."
Captain Wilfred Spender after the Battle of the Somme