Nothing is sacred Lesson No. far too many

The War Memorial in the Diamond Londonderry has been vandalised for the second time in a week (subs required).

  • seabhac siulach

    “Nothing is sacred Lesson No. far too many”

    Huh? Is this a stream of consciousness title?

    Lots of things seem to be going on in Derry these days…e.g., hoax bomb today, etc.
    Anyone know if there is a reason for the increase in activity there?

  • they closed a ‘peace line’ gate (read ghettoisation / Berlin Wall) recently as some soccer shirt clad gent broke some one’s arm…I can’t find the link. I’d appreciate if someone posted a link.

  • ben

    Oh, and we hear condemnation from the DUP, who have been notable for their complete silence as their people have rioted, burned people in effigy, and celebrated vicious sectarian murder in their usual style. Throwing paint on a war memorial — now THAT gets you shower upset, doesn’t it? Because real, living people don’t matter if they’re subhumans on the other side; names on a bit of stone are SACRED and must be WORSHIPPED if they belong to your religion.

    I don’t think anyone needs the input of the Orange Lodge/UFF mob about what’s “Sacred”. “Sacred” to them means Rangers FC, the Shankhill Butchers, and a rousing chorus of “Simply the Best”.

  • Chris Donnelly

    seabhac siulach

    I posted last week about this issue. Derry seems to be the scene of a particularly high level of sectarian incidents so far this year.

    FD has pointed to the British war memorial being vandalised on a number of occasions in the past week. Similarly, a republican memorial commemorating the Hunger strikers was stolen by loyalists and placed on top of the 11th night bonfire in the Fountain (pics in todays Daily Ireland.)

    There have also been a high level of attacks at the interface on the cityside, with unionists and nationalists being targeted in recent days and weeks.

  • joeCanuck

    That is stooping pretty low.

    And Ben, cut out the whataboutery. It says more about you than the people you are trying to demonize.

  • McGrath

    What suggestions can sluggers offer (in theory)regarding “culturally neutral” war memorials?

    Or is that just too ridiculous?

  • joeCanuck


    Don’t you think there some (a lot?) of young catholic boys who went to their deaths in those horrible wars (one of which was unnecessary).
    I grew up in a mainly Cathoilc town, from a nationalist background. There was always a respectable number of people who marched to the war memorial, the majority of them being Cathoics that I knew from Church.
    We always wore our poppies too.
    We were not glorifying the British Government or kings nor celebrating the wars.
    We were simply paying our respect to the dead.
    Bit like Cemetary Sunday really.

  • joeCanuck

    Well, how do you do, Private William McBride,
    Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside?
    And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
    I’ve been walking all day, and I’m nearly done.
    And I see by your gravestone you were only 19
    When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916,
    Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
    Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

    Did they Beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly?
    Did the rifles fir o’er you as they lowered you down?
    Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus?
    Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?

    And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
    In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?
    And, though you died back in 1916,
    To that loyal heart are you forever 19?
    Or are you a stranger without even a name,
    Forever enshrined behind some glass pane,
    In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
    And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

    The sun’s shining down on these green fields of France;
    The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance.
    The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
    No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
    But here in this graveyard that’s still No Man’s Land
    The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
    To man’s blind indifference to his fellow man.
    And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

    And I can’t help but wonder, no Willie McBride,
    Do all those who lie here know why they died?
    Did you really believe them when they told you “The Cause?”
    Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
    Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
    The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
    For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
    And again, and again, and again, and again.

  • McGrath

    “Don’t you think there some (a lot?) of young catholic boys who went to their deaths in those horrible wars (one of which was unnecessary).”


    Of course I do, Catholic relatives of mine included. Desecration of a war memorial is a reflection of utter human depravity. The only way to stop it happening is to educate and consequential include those who are doing it. So, maybe I should re-phrase the question, how do we educate and include those who would otherwise desecrate a war memorial?

  • Carson’s Cat

    From what I have heard the memorial has been damaged beyond repair.

    Another brave blow dealt for a united Ireland.

  • joeCanuck


    Sorry. I thought you were referring to the (stupid) statement on a lot of war memorials “For King and Country”.
    The only suggestion I have is Talk Talk Talk.
    We are now into the first or second generation who have no comprehension of the evil that one stalked the earth, Nazi-ism and Communism both (don’t reply Comrade Stalin).
    Those older among us have to keep the memory alive. I’ve already done so with my 9 year old grandson.
    The message should be ” we may differ in many ways, colour, race, religion, whatever, but we are all human and entitled to equal respect”.


  • Prince Eoghan


    The version that I have sung for years is different in parts to yours, any idea why?

    Well, how do you do, young Willie McBride,
    Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside,
    And rest for a while neath the warm summer sun,
    I’ve been workng all day and I’m nearly done.
    I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen,
    When you joined the great fallen in nineteen sixteen,
    I hope you died well and I hope you died clean,
    Or young Willie McBride was it slow and obscene.
    Did they beat the drum slowly, did they play the fife lowly.
    Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down,
    And did the band play the Last Post and chorus,
    Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest.
    2. And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind,
    In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined.
    Although you died back in nineteen sixteen,
    In that faithful heart are you forever nineteen.
    Or are you a stranger without even a name,
    Enclosed and forever behind the glass pane,
    In an old photograph, torn and battered and stained
    And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.

    3. The sun now it shines on the green fields of France
    There’s a warm summer breeze, it makes the red poppies dance.
    And look how the sun shines from under the clouds
    There’s no gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
    But here in this graveyard it’s still no-man’s-land.
    The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand,
    To man’s blind indifference to his fellow man,
    To a whole generation that were butchered and damned.

    4. Now young Willie McBride I can’t help but wonder why
    Do all those who lie here know why they died.
    And did they believe when they answered the cause
    Did they really believe that this war would end wars.
    Well the sorrows, the suffering, the glory, the pain
    The killing and dying was all done in vain.
    For young Willie McBride it all happened again,
    And again, and again, and again, and again.

    I can’t help but thinking that mine is the original version, and yours suited to others tastes. Pleased to hear from you on this.

  • Donnacha

    Prince Eoghan, Joe Canuck’s version is the original Eric Bogle version,a s he wrote it. Your own version is the one popularised by the Fureys. The thing about songs is that they change according to who is singing them, it’s how the folk tradition works. Look at Scarborough Fiar, for instance, a song that has mutated hugely from its original. I don’t think there is anything sinister at work…;)

  • skinbop

    ben – take it you’re not from the city in question?
    only halfway through the muppet season…

    dont they have cameras in the Diamond?

  • Ben, wind yer neck in, it is well know there are plenty of Catholics remembered on that memorial.
    Some pretty high profile people have relatives on it.
    Go and have a look at it next time you’re in town.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Fair while since I’ve been in Derry (great result last night in Sweden) but is this the memorial which shows one man bayoneting another?

    I always thought it a pretty obscene statue meself.

  • joeCanuck


    The majority of the young men and boys who were killed in the First World War were either blown to bits or machine gunned. A lot were bayoneted.
    The obscenity does not lie in the War memorial but in the fact that these young folks died needlessly to serve the vanity of the 3 cousins.
    Nothing justifies the desecration to the memory of these young people (nor their young German, French etc counterparts.

  • Agreed Joe, it is the war that was obscene.
    This memorial is not just a grave or a list of the dead. It shows the grim reality of war and servicemen suspended forever in their “duty”.
    As far as I know (I’ll have another look later) the infantryman has his bayonet poised ready to strike at an invisible foe.
    The sailor is braced against an imagined storm facing forward into a gale.
    The sadness of this whole thing is that the idiots who did this are ignorant of their own city’s history and don’t realise (care about)their forefathers role in that terrible conflict, meanwhile they string out this terrible conflict.
    Oh, and speaking of which, if you like obscene statues, there is a nice masked INLA gunman complete with rifle and shades staring out over City Cemetery.

  • fair_deal


    Somehow I don’t think it was aesthetics or obscenity that motivtaed the attack

  • Tochais Siorai

    Indeed f_d, I doubt it too, but if the memorial needs to be replaced would you be in favour of an exact replica or maybe something a bit less gruesome?

  • fair_deal


    I must admit I like the Diamond war memorial as it is more than the bog standard war memorial ie stone plinth with statue on top.

    Also on the bayonetting bit, is it a glorification of a violent act or a honest representation of the brutality a war involves?

  • CaveCanem

    Oh, by the way, on checking, the bayonet has gone….anti-war protestors strike again?!? They weren’t throwing teddy bears and tickling each other with feathers in those trenches.