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Militaria

Militaria

The History department's collections contain the following categories of specimens on the theme of military history in the period 1600-2000:

In addition to a range of ceremonial and military uniforms there are uniform items relating to the constabulary from its establishment in the mid-19th century - RIC, RUC, 'B' Specials, and PSNI etc. For the post-1969 period there is a damaged RUC riot helmet & shield.

The military selection extends over the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and indicates the role of Irishmen in theatres of war both at home and abroad.
The collection has been recently updated with the addition of a cap, brassard etc of Lt-Gen. Vincent Savinho, who served in the Irish Armed Forces' UN peacekeeping role in Africa, Middle East and Kosovo. Further back in time, there is also evidence of the Volunteer and Yeomanry movements of the last quarter of the 18th century, most notably the 1790s.

 

Henry Joy McCracken’s Volunteer Coat

Henry Joy McCracken’s Volunteer CoatThis coat belonged to Henry Joy McCracken, an iconic figure from the failed Rebellion of 1798.  The son of a Belfast ship owner and rope maker, he became an officer of the Green company of the Belfast regiment of Volunteers, a newly formed radical group, in 1792.


Having served in the Volunteers, he then made the progression that many did and subscribed to the United Irish movement, formed in Belfast in 1791.  Following a series of arrests and some cases of cold feet by other leaders, he found himself at the head of the United Irish forces at the Battle of Antrim. Afterwards he fled into hiding on Cave Hill, and was on his way to take ship into exile when he was recognised by two members of the yeomanry and captured. 


McCracken was hanged in Belfast Cornmarket on 18 July 1798 for his part in leading the rebels at the Battle of Antrim.  His last hours, and his walk to the gallows, are poignantly recorded by his sister Mary Ann McCracken, whose evidence would be an appropriate contemporary voice: "I took his arm and we walked together to the place of execution ... Clasping my hands around him (I did not weep till then) I said I could bear anything but leaving him". 

 



Firearms Firearms
    Image: MauserAn extensive collection of over 300 hand-guns, pistols and rifles from the 18th to the 20th centuries (listed on Firearms certificate). There is also a large field-gun/cannon, reputed to have seen action in the Williamite Wars, 1690s. During the museum's closure i...

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Edged Weapons Edged Weapons
This extensive collection of named and general-issue ceremonial and service edged weapons includes swords, bayonets, polearms, including early pikes, kukris and daggers. An important sub-collection relates to late 18th century Ireland and the United Irishmen, Yeomanry and Volunteer movements. T...

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Medals and Badges Medals and Badges
There are over 250 war and service medals. These include the collection of Major-General Robert Ross (of Rostrevor, County Down) for his part in the Anglo-American war 1812-14 during which he commanded the British force that burned down the White House.He himself was killed on the retreat but the...

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Miss Louisa Nolan's Military Medal Miss Louisa Nolan's Military Medal
A remarkable story surrounds the Military Medal awarded to Miss Louisa Nolan for the part she played as a civilian in helping British soldiers involved in the Easter Rising, 1916. Specifically it was in recognition 'for her bravery in tending wounded officers and men at Mount Street Bridge during...

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Civilian World War 2 Militaria Civilian World War 2 Militaria
The Second World War involved the civilian populations of Europe on a scale never previously envisaged. This was attributable largely to bombing from the air. There is in the Museum collections range of accessories associated with the protection of civilians, including gas masks (adult and childr...

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Belt Plates Belt Plates
There are some 180 Volunteer and Yeomanry belt plates associated with individual corps established over a wide geographical area in Ulster c.1780-1830s. The collection has 153 Yeomanry and nearly 100 Militia items. A recently-acquired belt plate exemplifies the nature of the rest of the collect...

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Volunteer Material Volunteer Material
This category also includes the banner of the Braid Volunteers, a tricorn hat, Guidons of the Londonderry and Coleraine Volunteer corps and the Belfast Yeomanry Drum. The drum originally belonged to the Belfast Volunteer movement, begun in the early 1780s. Later, a good number of Volunteers becam...

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Contemporary Collections Contemporary Collections
The Ulster Museum's Contemporary Collecting policy is focused on adding to the materials already acquired associated with paramilitary armies in N. Ireland post-1960, a balanced selection of which was displayed in 'Conflict: The Irish at War' exhibition from December 2003 until the museum's recen...

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