Saturday, November 30, 2013

Remember our Real Patriots

Dr John Coulter with a piece on Armistice Day that initially featured in the Irish Daily Star on 11 November 2013.

Irish people must use Armistice Day to commemorate its real patriotic dead, not terrorist killers.


On this day in 1918, World War One's guns fell silent. The so-called war to end all wars cost the lives of tens of thousands of Nationalists and Unionists who fought and died side by side.

These Catholics and Protestants – not the terrorist gang who planned and planted the Poppy Day Massacre in Enniskillen in 1987 – are the genuine Irish patriots who should be remembered at 11 o'clock this morning.

That was also the agreed time on November 11th, 1918 when the Great War would be officially declared over.

I will be remembering my great uncle William Holmes, whose surname I carry as one of my middle names.

Great uncle Willie has no known grave. Each Remembrance Week, the Royal British Legion plants on the family's behalf a small wooden cross bearing his name at Belfast City Hall.

Willie died at the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917, just under a year before the war ended.

That bloody battle on the Western Front was famed for the British using tanks for the first time in a major offensive.

Bachelor Willie had agreed to give his home leave to a married chum so that his pal could go back to Ireland to visit his wife and family.

Taking his friend's place, Willie went 'over the top' as he had done on so many occasions since the outbreak of war three years earlier in 1914.

But as Willie advanced with his comrades, he was hit by a German shell and literally blown to bits. There was no body to recover and no grave for our family to visit in a well-kept, tranquil military cemetery.

For years when I lived in Clough Presbyterian Manse in Co Antrim, the only family memory of Willie was a framed portrait in the guest bedroom.

While Willie perished, another of my great uncles, Billy Coulter, survived the horrors of the trenches.

Billy went on to become one of Scotland's leading Freemasons. When he stayed with us at the manse, he would tell me stories about the history of the masons.

Billy loved his 6 am tea, and I would sneak down to sit with him in the kitchen as he proudly showed me his collection of Masonic certificates and medals.

It was a scene straight from the Hollywood blockbuster National Treasure where hero actor Nicolas Cage recalls identical stories from a Masonic relative.

But there was one topic that was completely out of bounds for the soft spoken great uncle Billy – the Great War and the things he suffered while fighting; the machine-gun bullets, the gas attacks, the shelling, and the loss of so many friends in his regiment.

Ireland needs to remember that the bullets, shells and gas did not differentiate between Unionists and Nationalists. Many Catholics and Protestants suffered the same fate as great uncle Willie during these bloodbaths.

It is these men that are the true patriots of the Emerald Isle, not the Martin Meehan IRA types plastered on banners in Ardoyne.

Next year, Ireland will commemorate the centenary of the start of World War One. But today in Ireland, we should all remember that we have freedom because of Willie and his comrades.

Willie and Billy simply can't be compared with the two IRA men killed by their own bomb in 1973 who were celebrated with a parade in Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

27 comments:

So he wants the UDA/UFF and the UVF to stop holding their remembrance parade every year? Since they are nothing to do with the military at all.

Well for you and uncle billy had a Manse to live in.Some of the others hadnt time for 6am tea they had to run to mackies and the shipyard to scrape a living.we cant all be heros thered be nobody on the cribbies to CLAP.

John-

" Was famed for the British using
tanks for the first time "

Any wonder great uncle Willie has no known grave as that great brute of a tank ran him over and crushed his soft body under the
mud-the first victim of a tank-A
foot-note in the Coulter family history-your clan must be so proud
-you were told a different yarn of
what happened because your clan knew that you blushed to easily-

have a look at what happened to catholic ex-servicemen, including a man who was awarded the VC, when they returned home to belfast
eurofree.wordpress.com "catholic ex-serviceman don't count"
Unfortunately it doesn't include the story of patrick Mc Veigh, an ex-serviceman who was shot by the a member of an undercover British Army Unit see "Britain's Secret Terror Force" on the same website

Wonder wat uncle willie would think now.OH i forgot hes dead so is your thinking john as bob sang the times are a changing.then again if scotland goes the right way ule miss the seacat .

Interesting comment you made '' that we have freedom because of Willie and his comrades''. Freedom from What? One cousin replacing the other in WW1 as head of state? That is not my idea of freedom.
But a lot of wise Irish people both Catholic and Protestant wanted Freedom from both of the above. And while a terrible war was fought so that ''small nations might be free''.
I believe Willie and Billy fought for that principle as its was one of the major recruiting slogans.
And it is fitting that they should be recognised along with the millions of other tragic heroes on all sides.Including the German and their allies that died having fought for the version of freedom that they were told.
Our tiny nation wanted the same.
The British Government for 40 years before the outbreak of WW1 knew this. And so as an appeasement they offered home rule.
But for some home rule was not enough - only complete freedom like little countries like Belgium wanted.And that is the people that rose at Easter in 1916. And in their proclamation they wanted freedom for all, Orange and Green. And knowing the would be defeated, they lit a flame of patriotism that still is carried on today by the ones termed dissidents. And please note that one of the major dissidents of this last 40 years is Deputy Minister of the NI Assembly.And Dr Coulter people have as much right to commemorate their fallen as you have to commemorate your brave fore bearers. No matter how much you or I disagree with their methods.My Grandfather Fought in WW1 and was wounded and sent home. He joined the IRA after 1916. He had 2 pensions books, one from the British army and one from the Irish Government. (My Grandmother claimed that he had an IRA pension book). He tore up the British army one in disgust at the murders of the Black and Tans.Talking of whom - some people want to honour them.
So the year I wait for is 1916. So I can commemorate the Martyrs OF Ireland. And I don't see any difference between Padraig Pearse or Alan Ryan the young Irish Republican Murdered by Drug Dealers in Dublin in 2012

I remember Armistice Day as the IRB rescued my grandfather from certain death in HM Prison Cork, enabling me to testify these very words to the present day.

yesterdays wonderful show of strength from the south east antrim UDA band carrying UFF flags and banners to remember John Gregg. Stopped outside Carrols to abuse customers with sectarian comments. I thought this protest was suppose to be free from terrorist involvement. Plus the 2 UVF flags carried at the very front of the protest. Does Dr John condemn this?

The knockbracken raven casts his shadow once again. John do you per chance, do cartoons.

Maitiu, you do understand that the reason given to the Parades Commission for yesterdays protest had sweet fcuk all to do with the 'fleg' or loyalist's losing anymore of their British identity..? But it was against, PSNI brutality, harrasement of loyalist communities etc..

Republicans organise marches for the same reasons. Has anyone ever thought of having a joint protest against the RUC/PSNI..?

That would be a major wake up call to the Folks on the Hill.

More of the same apologist, imperialist war mongering balderdash from Coulter.
He must have bought his doctorate from Bob Jones' university. Astounding!

Great idea Frankie!

Frankie
Despite what they claim it was about, they should not have had UFF flags at it. There is zero police brutality on video at all. Just mindless thugs acting like white trash and being sectarian bigots.

Maitiu,
You called the PUL-ers who attended Saturdays protest..Just mindless thugs acting like white trash and being sectarian bigots.

Not to disimilar to what I was called on Saturday by a Loyalist..you are wasting your time trying to talk sense to this bitter twisted cowardly anonymous, self confessed buggery supporting, republican atheist scumbag.

Personally Maitiu, hurling insults at each other, doesn't advance anything. Like the HET investigations, they are counter productive and simply keeps the flame of sectarianism alive.

Maitiu, take two pieces of paper and on one write Republican gripes and on the other Loyalist gripes, then start listing the gripes both sides of the oxymorons have..I'll hazzard a guess the two lists are almost identical.

What I'm saying is both sides have more in common than they think..An example is recently on the TPQ republicans voiced their anger at Seamus Kearney being sent down for two years and the arguments used where exactly the same as Beano Niblock used in the jailing of Bobby Rodgers.

Frankie,

with people who made that type of comment the old adage holds good: what was not reasoned in will not be reasoned out

I laughed at it, in fact i almost knocked over a bottle of wine I laughed that much..

I was called whatever because I questioned anothers loyalist's rational when he put Lenny Murphy & Basher Bates and humanitarian in the same sentence. During the 1974 burning of LongKesh, they arrested an OIRA volunteer in the prison hospital at the time. I suggested they (Murphy & Bates) simply followed orders form the UVF leadership.

I tried to explain that what Joe McCann did in not shooting dead three UVF volunteers he had arrested was humanitarian.. Joe's reason simply 'How could you shoot themn they are working class like ourselves'..Even Gutsy Spence acknowleded Joe's act of compassion..

But all the name calling from what ever side is more a kin to school yard politics than anything else (IMO)

Frankie,

I remember referring to Basher Bates as a war criminal which is what in my view he was. Billy Mitchell was not pleased at that. We discussed it at some length. I liked Billy quite a lot but there were many things we did not see eye to eye on, particularly when we served on the editorial board of The Other View. But that was no bad thing. When he died I attended his funeral in Carrick.

Anthony,
I actually used your orbituary on Billy Mitchell you posted on the Blanket (while getting called whatever, by who ever) to students in a Pittsburgh uni..They asked were any friendships forged either inside or outside prison between Republicans & Loyalist's..

Frankie.

This nonsense that they are going on about in regards to human rights is beyond facetious. I had to study a good bit of the 1998 UK Human Rights Act last year at Uni so I have a bit of background in it. Not one part of their theory is presented in the act. For these people to turn up with banners wishing for human rights whilst carrying banners with the name of a UFF commander John Gregg and UFF/UDA flags is laughable.
I remember the young lads shot dead on Greggs orders in Glengormley and the other innocent lad walking home from the Bellvue Arms.
The UDA continue to destroy working class areas. They continue to put fear into locals to control them. They have not changed at all in the past 20 years.
Their presence at Saturdays parade is rather insightful to their involvement.
I watched the videos of the police being attacked, women screaming with the most horrendous language. These people for the most part are underclass people who hold themselves back in life.

This nonsense about lack to education is absurd. My mother grew up in a working class loyalist are and went on the achieve a PhD. I went to a rather crappy North Belfast school and have gone on to University, same for a few others I grew up with. So there is a chance for education if they actually accept it and go for it. Student grants and loans are also there.
Most of the people I knew growing up lacked any form of ambition and left with zero education. That needs to be tackled yes but the opportunities are there for the youth.

Frankie,

just read it again there. Thanks.

Maitiu,
I am aware of the strangle hold the UDA etc have over their communities. By the same logic, Republicans at times didn't think to much about human rights. During the 1981 hunger strikes, republicans were calling for the prisioners human rights to be respected while dissapearing who ever got in their way..

The point I'm trying to make (maybe badly) is if people 'peeked' over to the otherside of the oxymorons, there isn't a lot of difference. And instead of doing a MIchael H and slagging them, wouldn't it be more constructive if both sides pooled their energies into welfare reform, social housing, employment etc..

If what they told the parades commission was true, then why not try to reach out to working class trade unionist's and organise a march free from poilitics but based on real bread and butter issues. Personally I have a problem in seeing the difference between someone on the Falls Road not having a pot to piss in and their Shankill Road neighbours.

What I do know is West Belfast constantly tops the 'poverty league'....

@Anthony,

The Blanket was an eye opener for me and a great education. And I still enjoy reading it. Kudo's to you.

From Beano Niblock

Frankie,

The rationale that Billy Joe used with you - on Basher and Murphy - on LKIO was that there was a difference between being in jail and not in jail at that time in terms of principles-unwritten rules-Long Kesh codes etc ... I too am in no doubt-having been there that night-that many Provie "psychos" had to be "ordered" not to attack Loyalist prisoners. You also use the word arrested in relation to the Official IRA prisoner-who had been in from before political status was granted - I believe he was sentenced for possession of guns found in the Lower Falls curfew in June 1970. He wasn't arrested. He was escorted from the hospital which was subsequently looted and burned - and taken to a safe place - one of only 2 compounds still left standing C 14 - which housed Loyalist Internees.

Frankie
I see exactly what you are trying to say and I agree that very little stands in the way of working class Protestants and WC Catholics. I have no doubt that the English government maintain a sectarian mindset here to curb the communities coming together and demanding they own up to their horrific treatment of us here.
We may have British citizen on our birth certificates but we are not treated as equal on any level.
We have these benefit cuts and many other laws being passed that are going to force many more into poverty and instead of fighting this, our useless idiots at stormont are banging on about tribal rubbish. I am lost at what these loyalist protests are really about beyond the PUP manipulating the community towards voting for them.
I have never voted and seriously doubt I ever will.
Though how do we change things here? We are up against a huge mountain of a challenge.

Beano,
Thanks for that. But it wasn't an act of compassion shown by Murphy or Bates as Billy Joe implied. More they were simply following orders. As I said in my reply to Billy Joe, I wouldn't have stopped at 'provo psycho's' killing Loyalists within the cages/compounds given the chance. They (provisionals) had already killed Paddy Joe Crawford by then, and didn't Murphy poision Mervyn Connor around the same time in Crum? ..So by my understanding these "principles-unwritten rules-Long Kesh codes etc where selective on at least two occassions.

Beano, betwwen us, can you explain to Charlie if you ever get the chance that I'm not a "bitter twisted cowardly anonymous, self confessed buggery supporting, republican atheist scumbag."..He has a real problem in grasping that. Today charlie reckons I am a "belligerent, dishonest, devious and totally cowardly output from the professional, anonymous bitter twisted republican, black propagandists"..

Turth is Beano, I'm simply a Belfast Rockabilly who grew up in Ardoyne and I'm trying to understand what happened between 1968-1998...

Frankie

Lenny Murphy and his gang were not exactly following UVF orders in the murders they carried out as the " butchers". The brigade staff knew what they were doing and never stopped it but from what I know, they never officially sanctioned it. No doubt that Murphy was a psychopath. FBI even said he would have likely been a serial killer regardless of which country he lived in.
Many say the UVF leadership were scared of him.

Maitiu,

Beano was refering to the burning of longkesh in 1974 and the 'arrest' or other of an OIRA volunteer at the same time. Not the butchers killing spree..

It has to do with a post I made on the site longkesh inside out..

No problem, sorry mate. Got mixed up. I do not visit the other site.Will have to check it out sometime.

Maitiu,

I vist the LKIO because it is the best way for me to understand things from a loyalist perspective. In the same way you pose questions/opinions here. You post here to understand the conflict from a republican point of view.

I get named called by one poster but it is water of a ducks back..

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