Ulster Tower

On Saturday 19 November, 1921, in dedication to the contributions of the 36th Ulster Division during WWI, the Ulster Memorial Tower, was unveiled by Field-Marshall Sir Henry Wilson in Thiepval, France. The Ulster Memorial Tower marks the site of the Schwaben redoubt, against which the Ulster Division advanced on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The tower itself is a replica of Helen's Tower which is situated at Clandeboye, County Down. It was at Helen's Tower that the men of the then newly formed Ulster Division drilled and trained on the outbreak of World War I. For many of the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division the distinctive sight of Helen's Tower rising above the surrounding countryside was one of their last abiding memories of home before their departure for England, and subsequently, the Western Front.  

1st July 1916

"I am not an Ulsterman but yesterday, the 1st. July 1916, as I followed their amazing attack, I felt that I would rather be an Ulsterman than anything else in the world."

Quotes by Cpt.W Spender

"The Ulster Division has lost more than half the men who attacked and, in doing so, has sacrificied itself for the Empire which has treated them none too well. The much derided Ulster Volunteer Force has won a name which equals any in history. Their devotion, which no doubt has helped the advance elsewhere, deserved the gratitude of the British Empire. It is due to the memory of these brave fellows that their beloved Province shall be fairly treated". 

In Memory of the 36th Ulster Division

Ulster Tower, Thiepval

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon 1869-1943

36th Ulster Division





First day of the battle of the Somme

"The leading battalions (of the 36th (Ulster) Division) had been ordered out from the wood just before 7.30am and laid down near the German trenches ... At zero hour the British barrage lifted. Bugles blew the "Advance". Up sprang the Ulstermen and, without forming up in the waves adopted by other divisions, they rushed the German front line

..... By a combination of sensible tactics and Ulster dash, the prize that eluded so many, the capture of a long section of the German front line, had been accomplished". Martin Middlebrook - Military Historian