Ravings From The Bog

War and Peace and a Family Tradition
August 21, 2008, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Family, Fun, History, Life, Memories, Thoughts, War | Tags: , , , , , ,

Many years ago, in the late 1960s, my father took my brother and I on trips from Belfast to Bangor in the summer evenings. The trips I remember best were the ones in which we visited Ward Park. A regular highlight was time spent on or near the submarine gun, which had been erected as a monument in the 1920s. My dad used to lift me, or Eugene, up onto the barrel of the gun, which seemed much further from the ground than it does today.

I have always had a fascination for all things historical and especially stuff with a military background. This gun fits the profile perfectly. I like to imagine the travels of the gun on the deck of the UB19 around the North Sea, The English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean commanded by Oberleutnant Erich Noodt, and it’s last battle in which the ship was lost, it’s recovery and it’s journey to Bangor in the 1920s.

The inscription fitted to one side of the gun reads:

“This gun taken from German submarine UB19 was allotted to Bangor (County Down) by the Admiralty in recognition of the valorous conduct of Commander the Hon. Edward Barry Stewart Bingham of H.M.S. Nestor at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. For which he received the Victoria Cross.”

The gun is a very striking sight, situated as it is, in front of the Bangor War Memorial. It was even more striking at one point during the 1980s when local vandals painted the gun pink, although council workers speedily removed this.

Many years later, I was delighted to take my own son, Chris, and set him on the barrel. It felt me as though I was completing a rite of passage. I wonder how many other families have a personal connection with this piece of military hardware over the years


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