A strong voice for NI Veterans

Ulster Defence Regiment collection of paintings – story board life in a Home Regiment during Op Banner.

Exploring the rich tapestry of the Ulster Defence Regiment’s history, this web post delves into a captivating collection of paintings held by the Schomberg Society in Kilkeel. Unveiling the intricacies of home life within the Regiment during a turbulent era, these artworks vividly depict the inherent dangers faced by both part-time and full-time UDR soldiers.

Through compelling visuals and narratives, we illuminate the challenges of balancing life at home with service in Northern Ireland, during the Troubles. Additionally, we shed light on the enduring impact on families who continued to reside in the conflict zone that took their loved one away, providing a poignant glimpse into their lives and the profound effects on their well-being.

These paintings were produced by the Schomberg Society, Kilkeel, in conjunction with a number of local Mourne, B Company, 3 UDR veterans, towards the end of Operation Banner.  They were painted by a local artist Ivan Pearson and local veterans worked along with Ivan to help design and produce each painting.

The series of paintings tells the story of a part-time UDR soldier, based in the heart of rural Mourne, from normal life before he enlisted through to his time in service, his death at the hands of terrorists and a young widow and family left behind to carry on the farm, as was the case in many rural areas throughout Northern Ireland during the period known as Operation Banner.

1. A typical Mourne farming family out in the fields, depicting life before enlistment in the service during Op Banner.
2. The farmer/husband is reading his local newspaper about The Troubles and wants to play his part to help keep peace and order in the community.
3. The farmer heads off to his local recruitment office to enlist and serve as a part-time soldier in the Ulster Defence Regiment.
4. Out on patrol locally searching vehicles for weapons and explosives, the UDR soldier has been recognised by his neighbours.
5. A typical vehicle check point with the Ulster Defence Regiment.
6. The farmer searches for booby trap devices under his car before he leaves home or before his wife takes their children to school.
7. Out on patrol with his platoon, the soldier is searching woodland for hidden terrorists, arms and munitions.
8. On a weekend operation at the border, the farmer/part-time soldier is off with the rest of the Company to help relieve the regular soldiers.
9. While on duty in a border town, the part-time soldier is caught up in explosion.
10. A helicopter has landed to rush the soldier off to hospital.
11. Unfortunately, the soldier has lost his life and his wife and family are left grieving at his graveside.
12. In the final painting, the young widow and family is left to carry on with the farm and rearing her young children.

These paintings serve as a poignant reminder of the times during Op Banner, and offer a vivid portrayal of life as a home service, Ulster Defence Regiment soldier. They intricately capture a backdrop of challenges, sacrifices and the unique experiences that shaped the daily existence of those dedicated individuals serving at home.

Thank you to the Schomberg Society, Kilkeel, and to the local Mourne, B Company, 3 UDR veterans who created these pieces, so they could share their reality at the time (and after), with the generations who live in peace now due to their service and sacrifice.

A strong voice for NI Veterans