An exhibition paying tribute to Orangemen and women who served during the First World War has been launched at the Museum of Orange Heritage.
The ‘Service and Sacrifice’ project marks this year’s Armistice centenary, and chronicles the stories of members of the loyal institutions who enlisted to serve at the front.
The exhibits include items relating to Orangemen who served with the 36th (Ulster) Division, as well as a replica of a Royal Naval Armoured Car – ‘The Ulster’ – which was deployed on the Western Front in 1915.
The display also features a walk-through imitation World War One trench.
The exhibition was officially opened by David Wilsdon, whose great uncle David Russell fought with the Royal Naval Division in Russia during the Great War, and whose medals are on display.
It is estimated 200,000 Orangemen and women from across the world served during the First World War, with thousands seeing action at the Somme and other key battles. At least five Orangemen were awarded the Victoria Cross, including Robert Hill Hanna from Kilkeel, Co Down.
Many Orangewomen assisted the war effort by enlisting in the medical and nursing units, including Jean Victor Bates, who served with the Ambulance Corps, and was recognised for her service by both the Belgian and Serbian governments.
Deputy grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland Harold Henning said it was “honoured” to showcase such an exhibition, the only one of its kind marking the centenary of the Armistice.
“The involvement of Orangeism across the globe to the First World War effort cannot be overstated,” he said.
“The selfless service and sacrifice of Orangemen and women was truly incredible; their bravery and heroism shining brightly in the darkest theatres of battle.”
The exhibition will run from 10am-5pm, Tuesday to Saturday, until December 15.
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