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  • © Nicolas Bryant

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  • © Nicolas Bryant

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    Rendez-vous at the Ulster Tower

    On 1st July 1916, at 7:30am, men from the 36th Ulster Division went into battle in their sector of operations, which stretched from the edge of Thiepval Wood to the village of Hamel.

    The Division took a German strongpoint called the "Schwaben Redoubt", making the furthest advance of any Division north of the Bapaume road, but were forced to withdraw in the face of German counter-attacks.

    The 36th Division suffered over 5,000 casualties on that day - approximately one man in four was killed, injured, went missing or was taken prisoner.

    The Ulster Tower now stands at the place where men from Ulster fought and died. The memorial is a replica of Helen’s Tower from the Clandeboyne Estate in Ireland, the place where the Ulster Division trained.

    Built in 1921, thanks to public subscriptions, this mock gothic style tower is a memorial to the soldiers of the Ulster Battalions (Royal Irish Fusiliers, Inniskilling Fusiliers, Royal Irish Rifles) who fought here on the 1st July 1916. In the park, a plaque has been placed by the "Royal Irish Rangers" to the memory of the soldiers of the 36th Irish Division and to the 9 Victoria Cross winners.

    One of the men is Private Robert Quigg, from Bushmills, who searched No Man’s Land looking for his officer Sir Harry Macnaghten.

    At the end of the park, a gate gives access to a memorial commemorating the Irish men from the Orange Order who fought here. It was inaugurated in 1994.

 
 

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