Orange Order hold Armistice Day remembrance service

Harold Henning, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, lays a wreath on behalf of the Institution during the Armistice Day service of Remembrance at Schomberg House, Belfast
Harold Henning, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, lays a wreath on behalf of the Institution during the Armistice Day service of Remembrance at Schomberg House, Belfast

An Armistice Day remembrance service, organised by the Orange Institution, took place today in the Garden of Remembrance at Schomberg House in east Belfast.

Deputy Grand Master Harold Henning told those attending that they gathered to remember the fallen and to pay tribute to those who made the supreme sacrifice to protect this country and democracy around the world.

Paying their respects at the murdered brethren memorial window at Schomberg House are (from left) Rev Mervyn Gibson, Grand Secretary; Nigel Lutton (whose father, Frederick, was murdered by the IRA in 1979) and Harold Henning, Deputy Grand Master

Paying their respects at the murdered brethren memorial window at Schomberg House are (from left) Rev Mervyn Gibson, Grand Secretary; Nigel Lutton (whose father, Frederick, was murdered by the IRA in 1979) and Harold Henning, Deputy Grand Master

"We are also here to pay tribute to the families of those who have lost loved ones and to let them know that they have our support," he said. "The men and women who wear the uniform of our armed forces, the police and other law enforcement agencies, do so with a pride that hides their true bravery.

"It is an honour and privilege for me in my role as Deputy Grand Master to represent the Orange Institution on Armistice Day. In this ongoing decade of centenaries, our commemoration is particularly poignant, as we reflect on the courage and selflessness of those who fought and died during the First World War.

"One hundred years later we think especially, this year, of those who bore arms at Vimy Ridge, Messines and at Passchendaele. In those three significant battles alone - in excess of 600,000 men were killed, wounded or missing in action presumed dead.

"Many were members of this Institution who took their Orange ritual and tradition with them to the trenches; with some even wearing their sashes as they went over the top. Their heroism was equal to that of their peers, from all backgrounds and traditions, who fought valiantly in unison for King and country. Today, we remember and pay homage to them all.

The Orange Institution held its annual service of Remembrance at Schomberg House, Belfast, on Armistice Day

The Orange Institution held its annual service of Remembrance at Schomberg House, Belfast, on Armistice Day

"It is also appropriate we pause and acknowledge the fallen of other Great War battles and those who paid the supreme sacrifice during the succeeding Second World War, and more recent conflicts. We recall all those who died in the service of the British Crown many thousands of miles away from home. Among them many Ulstermen and women, playing their part in the defence of our democratic way of life.

"And we will never forget our murdered brethren. Those members of our Institution who donned the uniform of the Ulster Defence Regiment, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and other law enforcement agencies, who courageously and selflessly resisted the threat posed by armed terrorists during the darkest days of the Troubles.

"Many of our brethren were callously killed by republicans simply because they were Orangemen. At this time of year their loss is all the more poignant and we think of their families and loved ones who still are denied the justice they so crave. As an Institution, they are assured of our enduring support in their legitimate quest for the truth."

Continuing, Mr Henning said on this the week of the 30th anniversary of the Enniskillen bombing, we think of those innocent civilians, including two Orangemen, murdered in the heinous IRA atrocity on Remembrance Sunday.

"We remember them and all the victims of terrorism. We also owe a debt of gratitude to the personnel of the security forces, who despite facing a vicious campaign by those intent on genocide, ensured extremism did not prevail," he went on.

"On this the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, it is only right that we pause, reflect and remember all those who gave their today so we could have our tomorrow. As we stand secure in their memory, we will never forget them and their sacrifice."