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36th (Ulster) Division Memorial

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36th (Ulster) Division Memorial
On 3rd October 2015 Seaford hosted a ceremony and dedication completed by the unveiling of a memorial plaque in memory of the period in 1915 when the newly-formed 36th (Ulster) Division was stationed and trained in the town, before it headed for the battlefields of France. The pictures below are of the part of the ceremony in which the plaque was unveiled.

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Colour Party on Seaford sea front, with Seaford Head in the background.
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Silhouetted against a calm Seaford Bay.
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The Colour Party arrives.
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The Unveiling Ceremony.
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The Dedication.
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The Dedication.
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The Unveiling.
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The Ulster Memorial beside Seaford's Bönningstedt Twinning plaque.
The memorial includes the Division's badge and Red Hand of Ulster and is mounted on the sea wall at Bönningstedt Promenade, overlooking Seaford Bay.
Two Ulstermen who died here in August 1915 are buried in Seaford Cemetery, alongside other servicemen who died before reaching France.

Military Lodge 862 was that of the East Belfast Volunteers; their Lodge warrant was returned on demobilisation. The 36th (Ulster) Division Memorial LOL 977 was established in 1919 and included many members who had fought in France. As indicated on the plaque, it remains active as a 'living memorial' to the men of the Ulster Division.

"The story of 977 goes back to Seaford Military Camp in Sussex, England where the 36th (Ulster) Division were completing their training prior to being posted to France and the fateful 'Battle of The Somme'. Military warrant 862 was obtained from the Grand Orange Lodge of England and meetings were regularly held near the camp with many new candidates being initiated."   (Source: http://www.36ulsterdivisionlol977.co.uk/ 6 Oct 2015 )

"Early in July [1915] the Division moved to Seaford, on the Sussex coast, leaving the 9th Inniskillings to recruit at Ballycastle from the shameful disease of German measles! But a small proportion of those 15,000 men had ever previously crossed the Irish Sea." They were inspected by Lord Kitchener on 27 July, and by Kitchener and King George V on 30 September. "In the first days of October the Division crossed the Channel, the mounted portion and transport to Havre, the dismounted to Boulogne. The year of preparation for battle was over."   (Source: Cyril Falls - "The History of the 36th (Ulster) Division", Chapter I)

"While the [Ulster] Division was training at Seaford, military lodges were established under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orange Lodge of England for the duration of the war. Five lodges were formed initially but each Battalion in the Division ultimately acquired its own lodge. For example: East Belfast Volunteers LOL 862 (8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles), South Antrim Volunteers (11th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles), North Belfast Volunteers LOL 864 (15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles), Hope of Ulster and South Belfast Volunteers LOL 869(10th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles), Inniskilling True Blues LOL 870 (11th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers) and Young Citizen Volunteers LOL 871(14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles)."   (Source: https://www.facebook.com/LOL688/posts/971481396205815:0 6 Oct 2015 )

Seaford's North and South Camps were capable of holding a maximum of 18,000 men, so the Ulster Division would have filled most of the available space during their 3-month stay in Seaford. For further information about this Memorial and the Ulster Division contact the Sussex Branch of the Orange Order.

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