First Nomadic, now Maidstone

It seems everything is happening down at the docks these days. The Andersonstown News has launched a campaign for a commemoration to mark the spot where the Maidstone prison ship was docked in the 1970s. The Managing Director of the paper, Mairtin O Muilleor, has written to the Belfast Harbour Commissioner requesting a commemorative plaque and monument as a method of remembering “nationalist heritage” in the city.

  • harpo

    ‘for a commemoration to mark the spot where’

    LOL

    Now here we have it.

    After all these threads about the supposed lack of unionist culture/heritage, we have nonsense like this that is supposed to be something to do with ‘nationalist heritage’.

    Is this the best that NI nationalists can come up with as places of heritage? As with the campaign to get a H-Block retained, is NI nationalism so bereft of heritage sites that all they can fall back on are places where some violent nationalists were locked up?

    I think this is not really about NI nationalists at all, and is more to do with Irish Republcians having some sites dedicated to what they did. But of course unlike real armed forces who have things dedicated to them, all that IRs can look to are places where they were killed or where they were locked up. They have no bases or any of the other infrastructure that normal armed forces have that can be named in honour of their fighters. So they go scratching about for things like this – the spot where a prison ship was docked.

    How sad, and yet how typical of the Irish Republicans and their pathetic campaign.

  • I thought he’d be blogging about it if he ‘s that serious. Daily Iraland must be hard up for stories today.

  • RedPaul

    It’ll be interesting to hear Tommy Gormans thoughts on this as a famous escapee from the Maidstone.

  • I thought I’d Google a bit and…

    Maidstone was built by John Browns at Clydebank, launched 21st October 1937 and completed 5th May 1938. This is a ship that deserves a website all of her own to do her justice! During the war Maidstone served initially at Rosyth with 3rd Flotilla from May 1940 to Sept 1940. In March 1941 she took up residence at Gibraltar with the 8th Flotilla, then, after taking part in Op. Torch (invasion of North Africa) from Nov 1942 to Nov 1943 worked at Algiers. In March 1944 she set up shop at Trincomalee and in September 1944 moved on to Fremantle. From May 1945 to Sept 1945 she was at Subic Bay in the Philippines and then went to Hong Kong, arriving – with six submarines – just before the Japanese surrendered. After her return to the UK she later became the Flagship of C-in-C, Home Fleet from 1956 to 1958. Reconstructed 1958-1962. Based at Faslane with refits at Rosyth until August 1968 when she joined the Reserve Fleet at Rosyth before returning to Portsmouth. From 1969 to 1977 she was used as an Army accommodation ship and then prison ship at Belfast.On 23rd May 1978, after forty years service, Maidstone arrived at Inverkeithing to be broken up.
    source – http://web.ukonline.co.uk/chalcraft/sm/depot.html

  • Sounds like pure whaterboutery from Mairtin O Muilleor, if you ask me.

    As poster says above the DI. must be sorely pressed for a story, if this is what they come with.

    Wouldn’t the SS. Argenta be a better choice, or is there already a memorial ?

  • I’m still Googling…

    HMS MAIDSTONE

    When a cumbersome looking craft loomed over the horizon off the West Australian coast in September 1944 and exchanged identification there was a certain flurry on the MILDURA’s bridge. We had never previously encountered HMS MAIDSTONE and a search of the books showed her to be a submarine mother ship. Much of our activity during the next few months was to be spent exercising with the RN subs she supported and which were soon to be busy attacking the Japanese supply lines many miles north.

    We were to meet up with the MAIDSTONE again in the Philippines at the end of the war when we hastily honed our minesweeping skills in preparation to enter Hong Kong harbour to take the Japanese surrender. The initial Japanese surrender took place on the deck of the MAIDSTONE.

    The MAIDSTONE, a Royal Navy submarine depot ship, 13,000 tons,displaced 8,900 tons with a complement of 502 including 43 as a replacement submarine crew. She had a speed of 17 knots with a primary armament of eight 4.5 inch guns. Maidstone. . Built 1939. Lbd 497 x 73 21.2 ft. Badly damaged when fire broke out at North Wharf, Fremantle, 17 January 1945. The ship continued in service until the 1970’s.

    source – http://home.vicnet.net.au/~mildura/war_years_2.htm

    Interesting history!

  • Chris Donnelly

    Harpo

    In the midst of your bile, you actually raise an important point. The fact that Ireland was ruled by Britain for centuries meant that prominent roads, buildings and other locations were- and to a large degree remain- dedicated to important figures from within the British military, political elite and royal family.

    With the creation of the Free State came the typical post-colonial moves of re-dedication of such sites to figures from within the nationalist tradition in that part of Ireland.

    However, given that the six counties remains under British jurisdiction, such official legitimacy has never been conferred on the nationalist tradition.

    Unionism, on the other hand, did not face such problems.

    Our political leaders to this day pass a statue of Carson, while his successor had a new town named after him (Craigavon.) Streets, bridges and buildings in the north remained named after important figures to unionism. Throw in the British war memorials in virtually every city, town and village and you should get the picture as to why nationalists have begun in recent years to lobby for some recognition of important nationalist figures in this post-Good Friday Agreement era.

  • Chris Donnelly

    last line should read “some recognition of important nationalist figures and their collective experiences…”

  • McGrath

    Harpo

    “I think this is not really about NI nationalists at all, and is more to do with Irish Republcians having some sites dedicated to what they did.”

    Its got little to do with nationalists, and everything to do with republicans. Most nationalists are looking forward, republicans are looking backwards.

  • Loyalist

    Unfortunately nationalist and republican “culture” is wholly based on negativity. Drive around any nationalist area and you will see this borne out in murals. Thus they only remember negative events, bloody sunday, the famine, hunger strikers, and now…er a ship, oh sorry where a ship docked (Which raises the question, what about the other ports it docked at?) :S

    Unionists on the other hand CELEBRATE their history, the glorious battle of the boyne. Their industrious heritage, and their heroes like blair mayne etc

    chris donely

    “you should get the picture as to why nationalists have begun in recent years to lobby for some recognition of important nationalist figures in this post-Good Friday Agreement era.”

    er….i thought is was “where” a ship docked not even a real ship like the Nomadic, but a “x marks the spot” sorta thing ?, unless chris you class a ship as a homo sapien ?

    [play the ball – edited moderator]

    Let them put it up, i think the locals will relocate it to davy jones’s locker anyway.

  • harpo

    ‘and you should get the picture as to why nationalists have begun in recent years to lobby for some recognition of important nationalist figures and their collective experiences in this post-Good Friday Agreement era.’

    Yeah, I get it. Some nationalists want some recognition of all the violent losers who did their best to rip the place apart. No surprise there.

    As for ‘collective experiences’ I didn’t know that every nationalist was imprisoned on the Maidstone, or thatevery nationalist smeared their shit on the walls of an H-Block cell, or committed suicide within the H-Blocks.

    I’d have said that was the experience of a small minority of nationalists – violent IR ones in fact.

    Again I’ll say it. This is just stirring up shit in order to get things dedicated to members of the various IR groups whose campaigns were defeated.

    Don’t nationalists have any actual important figures who weren’t shit-smearing sucide bomber fanatics? How about men of peace like John Hume? Austin Currie? Gerry Fitt? They have done more for NI than any amount of crazy fanatics like skinny Bobby Sands and all those other terrorists.

    Shouldn’t it be people who contributed to the place who get honoured, instead of the furniture store bombers like skinny Bobby Sands who did nothing but try to destroy?

  • frank

    “Unionists on the other hand CELEBRATE their history, the glorious battle of the boyne. Their industrious heritage, and their heroes like blair mayne etc”

    So its ok for the orange order & unionist community to celebrate and commemorate loyalist paramilitary mass murderers like Shankill butcher Bobby ‘Basher’ Bates, who slaughtered dozens of catholics during the 70’s or uda commander Joe Bratty, who murdered at will during the 80’s & 90’s.

    I have yet to hear any unionist condemnation of the glorification of loyalist murderers by their community during their 12th celebrations last week.

    Why is that ??

  • Bobby ‘Basher’ Bates, got a glowing in memorium notice in last months Shankhil Mirror, from his nephew. if i remember rightly …..” a dear, caring,understanding & thoughtful man” Maybe prison did change him ?

  • John Maynard

    Now that you have all agreed that two wrongs make a right, time for bed said Zebedee.

  • McGrath

    Harpo / Loyalist:

    Unionists dont see a distinction between nationalists and republicans?

  • McGrath

    I’ll give you my distinctions:

    Nationalists…

    Would like to see a United Ireland through a peaceful and democratic process, in the meantime an equitable Northern Ireland will do.

    Will tolerate Orange / Loyalist marches as long as loyalist terrorist elements are eliminated.

    Think the West Belfast Festival is a load of shite and would no more attend a republican parade that an orange parade.

    Don’t erect flags.

    Supports the police (remain suspicious of some elements within it).

    Considers the GAA to be about Gaelic football and hurling, disapprove of the republican elements within it who give themselves contentious names etc and otherwise draw negativity towards a pretty decent game of football.

    AND, are mostly convinced that 30 years of violence achieved nothing except a lot of misery and further polarization, and has delivered the country into the hands of gangsters.

    Republicans:

    Paint murals on walls.

    Erect flags.

    Erect memorials.

    Commonly resort to violence.

    Throw bottle of piss at orange marches.

    Waffle on about the importance of the Irish language, when most of them cant speak a single sentence.

    Don’t support the police and have no respect for any other kind of authority.

    Form “republican flute bands” (good grief)

    Mostly live in Belfast and other large towns in NI.

    Want to erect plaques about some boat that most nationalists dont give a feck about.

  • frank

    And yet those who commemorate and glorify loyalist murderers insist on marching through or past nationalist areas.

    Can unionists please explain the historical signifigance of the shankill butchers(uvf), Joe Bratty(uff), Brian Robinson(uvf) & the other sectarian killers (rhc,lvf,uda) who are commemorated by mainstream unionism during the ‘orangefest’.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Why not commemorate the Maidstone by paying tribute to all those who served and died on her while fighting the forces of fascism in World War 2 as well?

    Then wouldn’t we all be happy?(!)

    Alternatively, as Gerry Adams frequently tells everyone else – move on.

  • puzzled

    frank “Can unionists please explain the historical signifigance of the shankill butchers(uvf), Joe Bratty(uff), Brian Robinson(uvf) & the other sectarian killers (rhc,lvf,uda) who are commemorated by mainstream unionism during the ‘orangefest’.”

    I dont know, but maybe they view these volunteers in the same way that nationalists view the hunger strikers, dont know for sure, but sounds like it.

  • Belfast Gonzo
    Why not commemorate the Maidstone by paying tribute to all those who served and died on her while fighting the forces of fascism in World War 2 as well? …apart from the people trying to do something worthwhile with the Nomadic.

    Isn’t it a a real boat, that’s really there?

    I’m wondering what about the Nomadic offends the Loyalists/Republicans?

    I hope that by 2012 the Nomadic is the No1 tourist attraction in N.I.

  • Moochin photoman

    Dunno if it’s “Whataboutery” seems more like Tit-for-tatery!

  • nmcf

    McGrath

    Think the West Belfast Festival is a load of shite

    So, all nationalists don’t like Echo and the Bunny Men then? Amusing.

  • qubol

    Loyalist: “…you will see this borne out in murals. Thus they only remember negative events
    …Unionists on the other hand CELEBRATE their history”

    Loyalist, wind your neck in – On the whole Nationalist murals are way more forward thinking and aspirational than Unionist murals. Nationalist murals that do look back at history will of course have a negartive perspective due to the repression and discrimination suffered by Nationalists at the hands of Unionists/British.
    Most Unionist murals of course celebrate nothing other than sectarian killers, Prepared for Peace ready for War kind of rubbish. Indeed even Unionist murals which attempt to celebrate great Unionist moments in history are often only vailed sectarian propaganda – UVF Somme murals; like the UVF flags, are of course all about the modern day UVF. This thought struck me the other day when I noticed the new ‘Women of Substance’ mural in the markets probably the closest thing in a Unionist area is the ‘beautiful’ Princess Diana, Queen of Hearts masterpiece on the Shankill.

    Chris
    Really good point, it especially annoys me when modern buildings are given British names that have little to do with the geography or history of our land.

  • heres hoping

    mc grath
    Will tolerate Orange / Loyalist marches as long as loyalist terrorist elements are eliminated.

    in what sense do you mean eliminated in the way joe bratty was

    Mostly live in Belfast and other large towns in NI.

    that sounds like there are more republicans than nationalist… but of course you know that

  • McGrath

    Heres hoping

    “in what sense do you mean eliminated in the way joe bratty was”

    Sorry, poor choice of words on my part, how about “permanently removed” or “effectively prohibited”

    “that sounds like there are more republicans than nationalist… but of course you know that”

    No, I dont know that. I think that question isn’t as easy to answer as some may think. The most vocal group inst necessarily the largest group. A large number of nationalists vote for SF only because the SLDP suck.