The Twelfth of July 1919: Carrickblacker, Portadown
The Orangemen of Portadown District celebrated the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne at Carrickblacker. A ‘Monster Demonstration’ for the Twelfth celebrations was held in the grounds kindly placed at their disposal by Lieutenant Colonel Blacker.
There was a very large crowd present and the proceedings were characterised with all the enthusiasm associated with the celebration of a great and historic event.
At 10:00am, the Lodges of Portadown District began to assemble at Carleton Street Orange Hall. An hour later the procession started.
“The procession was a most imposing one and afforded striking evidence of the strength and influence of Orangeism in the District. Parkmount’s fife and drum band headed the District, and many of the Lodges displayed artistically designed banners bearing the potraits of distinguished leaders in the movement”.
At 2:00pm the meeting commenced. Worshipful District Master Brother W H Wright presided. The Reverend R B White opened the meeting with prayer, and the reading of a portion of scripture.
“At the end of the dark period through which our country has passed, I am sure we are all pleased to meet together to thank God for the great deliverance he has given us. I am pleased that our meeting should take place in grounds where successive generations of Orangemen have met to celebrate deliverance of the past. The grounds of Carrickblacker and the name of Blacker have an honoured place in the history of Orangeism”.
DISTRICT MASTER- W H WRIGHT
A number of speeches continued, and the resolutions were read by Lieutenant Colonel Allen.
“We can never forget what the First of July 1916 meant, and would mean for many a long year, to Ulster when the men who from childhood days had been taught the cry of ‘No Surrender’, how they went over the top calling it out, and how they went into the fight determined that whatever happened they would show that Ulstermen were ready to lay down their lives for faith and freedom and truth”.
Lieutenant-Colonel Blacker extended a cordial welcome to the Brethren. He said it was a great pleasure to him to see them all there and the pleasure was enhanced by the fact that this was the first celebration after the signing of peace.
“The glorious victory that was achieved had been won at an enormous cost, and I am glad to know that Ulster and the members of the Orange Order have contributed to the victory in no small measure. They have done their share and more than their share. As the commander of the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers I can say that there was no more gallant, fearless men in that Battalion than the members of the Orange Institution. They brought the spirt of unity, comradeship and determination, that under God won us the victory”.
Blacker also thanked the local Portadown community who had supplied the 9th Battalion with comforts and packages from home. “There was no battalion in the whole British Army in France better looked after in the way of comforts than the 9th Battalion”.
The home comforts and care packages were organised by District Master Brother W H Wright and Brother David Rock Worshipful Master of LOL 56. They helped keep the supply chain going from the town to the front.
Colonel Blacker then produced the battle flag carried by the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in France and Flanders. Blacker stated that ‘no one had a better right to that flag than the Orange Order in Portadown’.
It was presented to the Orangemen of Portadown to be kept in Carleton Street Orange Hall as a loving reminder of the old battalion which many members of the local Orange Order joined.