December 2014

World War One Exhibition: Across the Hawthorn Hedge the Noise of Bugles
11th September - 31st December 2014

1914ORG - First World War CentenaryThe Braid - Mid-Antrim MuseumKey themes will be explored through original sources and artefacts. This is the first exhibition planned as part of the Mid-Antrim Museums Service ‘On the Brink: The Politics of Conflict 1914-1916’ project, in partnership with Causeway Museum Service. This project will explore, through heritage sites, artefacts of the period, and engagement with local communities, the impact and legacy of the outbreak of the First World War, the Battle of the Somme and the Easter Rising in the Mid and East Antrim and Causeway areas.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Across the Hawthorn Hedge The Noise of Bugles: Exploring the impact of the outbreak of the First World War on communities in Mid and East Antrim and the Causeway exhibition is provided through the On the Brink: The Politics of Conflict 1914-1916 Project, delivered by Mid-Antrim Museums Service with Causeway Museum Service, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For more information please visit The Braid - Mid-Antrim Museum

Venue : The Braid - Mid-Antrim Museum, The Braid 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, BT43 5EJ.

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Newcastle - Museum - A Higher Purpose: Newcastle University at War
Talk by Ian Johnson, Archivist in Newcastle University Special Collections
18th December 2014 from 6.00pm to 7.00pm

LivingLegacies 1914-18 Logo (Aug14)

Newcastle - Museum - A Higher Purpose: Newcastle University at War (Talk by Ian Johnson, Archivist in Newcastle University Special Collections)

2014/12/18 # LL # Newcastle # Ian Johnson, Archivist in Newcastle University Special Collections‌Lecture – by Ian Johnson, Archivist at Newcastle University Special Collections, 6.00 pm
To be held in the Robinson Library, Level 1, Room 152.

Newcastle University’s Robinson Library warmly invites everyone to a talk on 18 December on the experience of the University during the First World War. Entitled ‘A Higher Purpose: Newcastle University at War’, Archivist Ian Johnson explores how the buildings were requisitioned and became the 1st Northern General Hospital, treating over 40,000 servicemen from 1914 to 1919. Find out what life was like on these wards, the work of a surgeon who went on to invent Lucozade, and some of the stories of the estimated 276 students, alumni, and staff who lost their lives in the conflict.

This hour long talk will commence at 6pm on level 1 of the Robinson Library, Room 152. There will also be an opportunity to view the exhibition and additional unique and rare material that wasn’t included.


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Newcastle - Museum - Screaming Steel: Art, War & Trauma, 1914-1918 (Exhibition)
20th September 2014 - 13th December 2014

LivingLegacies 1914-18 Logo (Aug14)2014/09/20 # LL # Screaming Steel Art, War & Trauma, 1914-1918

Newcastle - Museum - Screaming Steel:
Art, War & Trauma, 1914-1918 (Exhibition)

The horrors endured by soldiers during the First World War led to the coining of 'shellshock' as a term for psychological trauma resulting from intense mental and physical bombardment. This exhibition explores creative responses to the industrialised killing fields of Europe 1914-18, which resulted in some of our most important 20th-century art and literature. The exhibition will explore how artists and writers such as Paul Nash, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen captured the trauma of their experiences in work that resonates with us to this day.

There will be a series of workshops, poetry readings and other events taking place over the course of the exhibition.

Please see web site for more information: -

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Entrenched (A Work in Progress) - Newcastle
9th December 2014 from 7.00pm

LivingLegacies 1914-18 Logo (Aug14)2014-12-09 # LL # Newcastle # Entrenched (A Work in Progress)‌‌

Newcastle - Creative Arts - Entrenched
(A Work in Progress).
Miscreations Clown Company.


The Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts invites you to a work-in-progress performance of 'Entrenched', a new one-person clown show from Miscreations Theatre. The show is inspired by the First World War sketch journals of Major Guy Laing Bradley from Hexham, who fought in the front-line trenches. The performance will also contain animation and filmed elements, and will be of particular interest to writers and those working around issues of performance. As the performance is a work in progress, the director and performer will be seeking feedback and comments from, and to engage in discussion with the audience to explore the extent to which clowning can effectively interpret this kind of challenging material. Further information on the work is available here:

The performance will take place at 7pm on Tuesday 9 December in Culture Lab, Newcastle University. Entry to this event is free of charge, and includes a pre-show supper, but please contact Melanie Birch ( to reserve a place.


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Launch of Ulster and the First World War by Jonathan Bardon
2nd December 2014 from 6.30pm RSVP

2014/12/02 # Ulster and the First World War‌‌


Ulster and the First World War by Jonathan Bardon published by the Northern Ireland War Memorial

Ulster and the First World War is the latest book to be published by the NIWM, and the first in a series about the First World War.

What is the book about?

This book is about the experience of the people of all of Ulster, both at home and overseas, throughout a conflict which was on such an unprecedented scale that it became known at the time simply as the Great War. 

Who is the book for?

Ulster and the First World War is published to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.  This book is written not for the specialist but for the general reader who would like to know more about the role this corner of Ireland played in that conflict.  Teachers wanting to inform their pupils about the war and its connections with a specific locality should find this volume especially useful.  The author, however, has been able to draw on the research of the many experts in this field who have had their work published recently – books listed in suggestions for further reading.


This short book, expertly designed by John McMillan, is lavishly illustrated in colour.  The photographs, recruiting posters, photographs of artefacts and other images are as informative as the text.  They have been sourced from various museums and archives, including the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum, the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum, Derry City Council Heritage and Museum Service, the Somme Heritage Centre, the Ulster Museum and the Imperial War Museum.

A review

Jonathan Bardon is a sure-footed guide to times which still resonate today, both in the political arena, with ‘the decade of centenaries’, and the depths of family memories. Jonathan Bardon successfully combines a longer view of the war with more specific personal particulars of service and, much too often, loss.  The War Memorial is finding that there never has been as great a public interest in the era, and this publication is a splendid addition to our resources.

Ian Wilson, Chairman, NIWM

The book will be launched at an evening event in the Northern Ireland War Memorial gallery on Tuesday 2nd December.  Jonathan Bardon will speak at a lunchtime lecture the following day (Wednesday 3rd December at 1pm) at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. 

Admission is FREE
Please contact PRONI to book your place at . T: 028 90534800

Ulster and the First World War is available to buy in the Northern Ireland War Memorial gallery priced at £10

An overview of the book

This book is about the experience of the people of all of Ulster, both at home and overseas, throughout a conflict which was on such an unprecedented scale that it became known at the time simply as the Great War. 

Ulster and the First World War begins with the Ulster Crisis: bitterly divided opinions on whether Ireland should be given Home Rule had brought the province to the very brink of civil war – indeed some German and Austrian generals had convinced themselves that this would keep Britain out of the war.  Actually, when the United Kingdom went to war in August 1914, Ulster immediately stepped back from the edge. Both the Ulster Volunteers and the Irish National Volunteers gave a warm farewell to reservists marching off to join their Colours.

Young men across Ulster responded enthusiastically to the call to arms.  The author is at pains to demonstrate that recruitment was as brisk in Catholic areas as it was in Protestant ones, especially in Belfast.  John Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, with the warm support of the West Belfast MP Joseph Devlin, was as energetic as the Unionist leaders, Sir Edward Carson and Captain James Craig, in calling on their supporters to volunteer.

The Ulster Volunteer Force was allowed to stay together in one new division, the 36th (Ulster) Division.  However, the War Office hesitated to give the Irish National Volunteers the same status.  In the end most Ulster Catholics joining up found themselves in the 16th and 10th (Irish) divisions being placed, for example, in the Connaught Rangers and the Dublin Fusiliers, most being trained in Fermoy in Co. Cork.  In contrast, those joining the 36th were close to home, training at such places as Clandeboye, Ballykinlar and Finner.

Reservists and regular troops from Ulster, forming part of the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium, suffered dreadful casualties during the first weeks of the war.  The United Kingdom desperately needed the service of the great new armies of volunteers now in training.  The disastrous Gallipoli campaign in 1915 involved the first of these volunteers from Ireland to see action: men of the 10th Division fought alongside veterans of the Royal Irish Rifles and the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.  While Allied troops made an ignominious withdrawal from Gallipoli in the spring of 1916, the British and French prepared to launch a great offensive along the Western Front at the River Somme.

The 36th Division was drawn up on either side of the River Ancre, a tributary of the Somme.  After five days of the heaviest artillery bombardment the world had yet seen, the attack began on 1 July 1916.  The shelling had failed to cut the barbed wire; Germans were well protected in their deep dugouts; and dangerously overextended and exposed to relentless machinegun fire, whole companies disappeared.  This was the bloodiest day in the history of the British army.  The 36th (Ulster) Division suffered a loss of 5,700 killed or wounded.  A week later all over the province telegrams in small buff-coloured envelopes began to arrive.  In fact the Battle of the Somme had only begun.  In the middle of September the 16th (Irish) Division suffered 4,330 casualties.

Meanwhile on the Home Front, Ulster was making a crucial contribution to the Allied war effort.  Harland and Wolff, the biggest shipyard in the world, and Workman Clark, built some warships but those two yards specialized in the production of merchant vessels urgently needed to replace those sunk by U boats.  When Germany launched its unrestricted submarine warfare campaign in 1917, the Ulster Steamship Company, better known as the Head Line, lost 12 of its original 17 ships between March 1917 and January 1918.  Belfast Ropeworks supplied half of the Royal Navy’s needs.  Mackie’s Foundry produced an estimated 75 million shells.  Arable land in Ulster was increased by more than 200,000 acres, much of it to grow flax.  Linen mills worked at full stretch to fill government contracts for uniforms, tents, stretchers, aeroplane fabric and the like.  The Derry shirt-making trade enjoyed a welcome revival.

Women had for long made up an exceptionally large proportion of Ulster’s industrial workforce.  Now they were needed more than ever and were employed for the first time in engineering works, Mackie’s Foundry in particular.  Many enlisted as Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses and served behind the lines.

On the Western Front especially the war was an inconclusive and bloody slogging match.  In the summer of 1917 the 36th (Ulster) Division and the 16th (Irish) Division fought side by side at Wytschaete.  The turning point came when the Germans launched a great offensive in the spring of 1918.  The 16th (Irish) Division lost 7,149 men as the storm troopers advanced.  But the Germans exhausted themselves and the Allies – now joined by the USA and equipped with tanks – turned the tide.  Picking up a faint radio message at 6.30 am on 11 November, Enniskillen may have been the first place in the UK to hear of the Armistice.

How many gave their lives?  The usual number quoted is 28,000 Irishmen (it is impossible to give an accurate figure of how many of these were from Ulster).  The most recent figure agreed by experts is 49,646 Irishmen who made the ultimate sacrifice but that includes those of Irish parentage recruited from other parts of the world.

Time: The museum is open from 6.15pm, book launch event begins at 6.30pm

Where: Northern Ireland War Memorial, 21 Talbot Street, Belfast, BT1 2LD

Other: A lunchtime lecture by the author will take place the following day at PRONI



For Visitors:

The book is for sale and is available to buy in the Northern Ireland War Memorial gallery priced at £10

The book is also available to buy from Wednesday 3rd December from

For Press: NIWM Contact is Curator, Ciaran Elizabeth Doran, who will direct enquiries to the author where possible. 

T: 028 9032 0392 Option 2

M: 07711417412



The museum is open Monday – Friday 10.30am – 4.30pm should a short interview or photography need to be arranged.

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