South Street Arch Unveiled
An Arch was unveiled in South Street on 11th August 1933. Sir Knight and Brother R H Bell, District Master of Portadown Royal Black District Chapter, presided over the ceremony. The Arch was described as “a beautiful piece of work carried out entirely by voluntary labour”. The woodwork was made by Mr James R McCullough and the painting was completed by Mr John Rowe. There was a team of volunteers who helped complete the Arch; Mr R Wright, Mr D Wright, Mr S Wright, (three brothers who served in the Great War), Mr James Flanagan, Mr Joshua Jones, Mr Sydney Black, Mr Alfred Hutchinson and Mr Albert Magee.
The Arch was painted to bear the words; ‘Death before submission: Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen and The Boyne’ and ‘Fear God Honour the King.’
The residents of South Street had decorated South Street and Hanover Street with flags and bunting. A large crowd gathered around a platform which was beside the Arch.
A parade procession of Apprentice Boys, led by Corcrain Conservative Prize Band, marched from Carleton Street Orange Hall. The parade was headed by Brother John Hughes (President of the Parent Club), Brother W J Johnston (President of the Mitchelbourne Club), Brother Thomas Shanks (President of the Browning Club), Brother R Barnes (Secretary of the Mitchelbourne Club), Brother W Wilson (Vice President of the Mitchelbourne Club) and Brother W J Cardwell (Past Master of Hamilton District, Ontario).
In a speech by Brother R Bell, he stated that the ‘Apprentice Boys were as determined as the men of 1688 to resist any attempt to put them under the rule of their enemies’ and he hoped ‘the younger generation would not be lacking when called to defend their father land, their faith and their king’.
The Arch was then unveiled by Brother W J Johnston, who was one of the oldest Apprentice Boys present. Brother Johnston congratulated the local people on the ‘Magnificent Arch’ and said he had ‘never seen anything more appropriate’. Continuing his speech, he went on to say that; ‘The Arch is a credit to the District, and he greatly appreciated the honour they had done him in inviting him along that evening. He hoped they would always have it to span that thoroughfare on each succeeding 12th August and 12th July’.
Act of Remembrance
The opening ceremony of the Arch was closed with the band playing the National Anthem. The procession reformed and marched, via Thomas Street, to the War Memorial. At the War Memorial a wreath was laid in memory of the fallen of the Great War. It was laid by the Presidents of the three Apprentice Boys Clubs; Brother Hughes, Brother Johnston and Brother Shanks.
There was a large crowd present. An act of remembrance followed and Bugler R Wright, who had served with the Royal Irish Rifles in the Great War, sounded the Last Post and Reveille. The band led the singing of the National Anthem. The Bells of St Marks Church played ‘Abide With Me’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’. The Crimson Banner of the Apprentice Boys of Derry flew from the tower of the church.