Victoria Park

In Sydenham, East Belfast. I used to play in this park as a child in the 1960s and 1970s. This view is from an earlier era and that definitely looks like an Olympic class liner in the background, Olympic, Titanic or Britannic?


5960 Private Moses Dickson, Royal Irish Fusiliers

My great uncle Moses died at Ypres 100 years ago today. He was 21 years old.


For the Fallen

Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published in The Times newspaper on 21stSeptember 1914.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

More RAF choir

The RAF station at Mullaghmore (do follow this link to


RAF Choir

In Northern Ireland 1944/5…

RAF Choir 1
RAF Choir 2
RAF Choir 3
RAF Choir 4

Christmas 1943

The menu for Christmas Day 1943…



And her parents…


ARP lapel badge & chevrons


I believe each chevron represents a year’s service.

Machine Gun Corps

Cap badge from WWI…


From a picture of the grandfather I never met…


It’s a crown with crossed Vickers machine guns, although I must admit it looks like something else.

Swift Matches

By Maguire & Paterson (N.I.) Ltd.



Unit Routine Orders 22/9/1943

My father’s housekeeping skills were a little better than mine…

Senior School Certificate 1940

This is the Latin paper my mother took on her 18th birthday, 72 years ago today…

Stormont 1937

No difficulty in recognising the building behind my mother this time… it’s the Northern Ireland Parliament Building better known as Stormont…

In 1937 the building was just five years old and the Portland stone is brilliant white. After the air raids that devastated Belfast in April and May 1941 it was decided to camouflage Stormont with a coating of bitumen and cow dung as can be seen in this photo from the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum‘s collection…

Although this was removed after the war, the stone was permanently stained and it never looked as bright again.

Helen’s Bay, Co. Down. August 1936.

This is a photo of my mother as a bridesmaid at a family wedding in Helen’s Bay…

My mother had written the location and date as above in the album it was in. I thought I’d try  to find a more exact location. Being a wedding, Church St seemed a good place to start looking and with Google Street View I rapidly found this house opposite the Presbyterian Church. It’s lost a chimney sometime in the last 76 years but I believe it’s the one in the background above.

Donegall Square, Belfast ca 1953

In this anaglyph my mother and brother are seated in the grounds of Belfast City Hall…

The grounds are layed out differently now and the building directly behind them has either been demolished or greatly altered, but the Scottish Provident Building on Donegall Square West (on the left here) amd what’s now the Co-operative Bank on Donegall Square North (right) are recognisable in this 2008 Google Street View…

Instructions to Students 1938 and 1940

In addition to the School Certificate papers I blogged earlier I have the Senior School Certificate papers my mother took in 1940. I will scan and blog them in the future, but for now I thought I’d draw your attention to the three extra Instructions that had been added in 1940.

First the 1938 version…

Now, in the 1940 version, see the additional instructions IX, X and XI…

1938 School Certificate Examinations

In 1938 my mother was a sixteen year old pupil of Methodist College, Belfast and these are the examination papers she took to obtain her School Certificate (Junior). Roughly equivalent to O Levels or today’s GCSEs the main difference was that all subjects had to be passed to get the certificate. One could simply pass a subject, get a credit or at best a distinction, but if a discipline was failed that was that.

Monday 20th June, 1938 was my mother’s sixteenth birthday. She had a three hour Latin exam in the morning followed by another three hours of History in the afternoon.