Memorial to the 36th Ulster Division:

The 36th (Ulster) Division was a division of Lord Kitchener's New Army formed in September 1914. Originally called the Ulster Division, it was made up of members of the Ulster Volunteer Force who formed thirteen additional battalions for three existing Irish regiments; the Royal Irish Fusiliers, the Royal Irish Rifles and the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The division served on the Western Front for the duration of the war. Its insignia was the Red Hand of Ulster.

On Saturday 19th November 1921, in dedication to the contributions of the 36th Ulster Division during World War I, the Ulster Memorial Tower, was unveiled by Field-Marshall Sir Henry Wilson in Thiepval, France. The Ulster Memorial Tower marks the site of the Schwaben redoubt, against which the Ulster Division advanced on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The tower itself is a replica of Helen's Tower which is situated at Clandeboye, County Down. It was at Helen's Tower that the men of the then newly formed Ulster Division drilled and trained on the outbreak of World War I. For many of the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division the distinctive sight of Helen's Tower rising above the surrounding countryside was one of their last abiding memories of home before their departure for England, and subsequently, the Western Front.
Views of the outside and inside of the tower
Captain Wilfred Spender of the Ulster Division's HQ staff after the Battle of the Somme was quoted in the press as saying, "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."

The final sentences of Captain Wilfred Spender's account furthered his viewpoint: "The Ulster Division has lost more than half the men who attacked and, in doing so, has sacrificed itself for the Empire which has treated them none too well. The much derided Ulster Volunteer Force has won a name which equals any in history. Their devotion, which no doubt has helped the advance elsewhere, deserved the gratitude of the British Empire. It is due to the memory of these brave fellows that their beloved Province  shall be fairly treated."

After the war had ended, King George V. paid the following tribute to the 36th Division saying, "Throughout the long years of struggle ... the men of Ulster have proved how nobly they fight and die ..."

Victoria Crosses awarded to Members of the 36th Division::

  • Captain Eric Norman Frankland Bell, 9th Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Died 20 years old, July 1st 1916, Battle of the Somme.
  • 2nd Lieutenant James Samuel Emerson, 9th Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Died 22 years old, December 6th 1917, La Vacquerie.
  • Lance Corporal Ernest Seaman, 2nd Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Died 25 years old, September 29th 1918, Terhand Belgium.
  • Fusilier Norman Harvey, 1st Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Awarded for actions during October 25th 1918, Ingoyghem, Belgium.
  • Second Lieutenant Edmund De Wind, 15th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles. Died 34 years old, March 21st 1918, Second Battle of the Somme.
  • Rifleman William Frederick McFadzean, 14th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles. Died 20 years old, July 1st 1916, Battle of the Somme.
  • Rifleman Robert Quigg, 12th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles. Awarded for actions during the Battle of the Somme on July 1st 1916. Also awarded the Medal of Order of St. George (Fourth Class), the highest honour of the Russian Empire.
  • Lieutenant Geoffrey Cather 9th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles. Died 25 years old, July 2nd 1916, Battle of the Somme
  • Private Robert Morrow, 1st Btn Royal Irish Fusiliers. Died 23 years old, April 26th 1915, Battle of Messines
These photographs were taken on the 11th November 2008.