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Ulster's V.C. Heroes of the Great War...

30 June 2016

On Thursday 30th June at an event hosted by Speaker of the NI Assembly, Robin Newton MLA, the Ulster-Scots Agency officially launched an exhibition of paintings on ‘Ulster’s V.C. Heroes of the Great War’ at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

During the Great War, 628 Victoria Crosses were awarded to servicemen from the UK and its overseas Empire: 19 of these were awarded to men from Ulster families, fighting with British, Canadian and New Zealand forces on land and sea. Incredibly, 4 were earned in one day, 1st July 1916.

To mark the achievements of these gallant Ulstermen, the Ulster-Scots Agency commissioned a series of portraits by renowned local artist Philip Armstrong, which form the basis of a touring exhibition.  The portraits were also used to create a poster depicting all 19 Ulster V.C. winners together, which (along with a poster reproducing the famous JP Beadle painting of 1st July 1916) was issued to every school in Ulster in the summer of 2016.

In addition to the exhibition of paintings, the Agency has produced an accompanying booklet on the Ulster V.C. Heroes of the Great War and a new website on Ulster and the Great War (

To launch the project, the Ulster-Scots Agency also organised a programme of Ulster-Scots entertainment on a Great War theme.  Entertainment included performances by the Schomberg Fife and Drum, Kirknarra Highland Dancers, Ulster-Scots Juvenile Pipe Band, an extract from ‘Tommy’s Story’ by Hilary Singleton, delivered by the Mid Armagh Community Network and a poetry recital by Nelson McCausland MLA.

The ‘Ulster’s V.C. Heroes of the Great War’ exhibition of paintings will remain on display at the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont for several weeks.  The exhibition will then be put on display in the Discover Ulster-Scots Centre, The Corn Exchange Building, 1-, 9 Victoria St, Belfast, Antrim BT1 3GA from Monday August 1. The Discover Ulster-Scots Centre is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and entry is free.