New First World War Memorial opens on the Shore Road, Belfast
The Royal British Legion for Seaview started a campaign to reclaim a piece of land on the Shore Road in Belfast which can not be used for anything else due to it’s shape.
Jim Crothers, manager of the Hubb Community Resource Centre explained how the development came about, Around two years ago Hubb made a successful bid for funding with Belfast City Council’s Local Investment Fund for £24,000 and the Alpha Fund for £47,500.
The same Hubb organisation now also owns the land. There will be two parts to the redevelopment – one is a pocket park called Thiepval Wood Peace Park for children and local residents, and the other is Seaview RBL memorial garden which will include a granite memorial to soldiers from all over Ireland who fought in WWI. Mr Crothers said: “What is unique about this is – to make it a shared and inclusive space – on the piece of granite there will be the names of the 36th Ulster Division, 10th Irish Division and 16th Irish Division. “It has brought the whole community together to an area which had previously been unused.”
As the memorial was under construction one media outlet angered residents by implying that it could commemorate loyalist paramilitaries. Mr Crothers hit back: “This has got nothing at all to do with paramilitaries. “We’ve done everything by the book to buy the land and develop it. “We’ve created a shared space for the community and a dignified memorial in honour of all the soldiers involved in the First World War.”
A second plinth is to be added to commemorate WWII soldiers including the home guard.