When the guns fell silent in November 1918 there was a determination that the sacrifice of the Great War would never be forgotten.
Over the next 10 years memorials to the fallen began to appear across the British Isles. These took a variety of forms, from small Rolls of Honour in churches, town halls, and public parks, to permanent and visible memorials in public spaces. Some even took the form of buildings, including Orange Halls. At least 19 Orange Halls or extensions were opened as War Memorials in the 1920s and 1930s.
For the community in Ulster, political circumstances added to the need to commemorate. Many felt that the Orange Family had been to the forefront of both service in the Great War and in the campaign against Home Rule. Just as Orangemen had fought for freedom during the war, so they would defend the new State of Northern Ireland.
This concept is reflected in the memorial stone at the Orange Hall in Templepatrick and on the war memorial tablet in the Orange Hall at Muckamore, both of which contain this verse:
“THESE DO NOT NEED OUR PRAISE OR TEARS, WE NEED THEIR COURAGE THROUGH THE COMING YEARS.”
As the years progressed there was a growing desire to ensure that the Orange sacrifice during the Great War, especially at the Battle of the Somme, would never be forgotten. On the Eightieth anniversary of that awful battle, a new Lodge of Limited Purpose was created by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland – Thiepval Memorial LOL No. 1916.
This lodge draws its members from right across the Global Orange Family and since its creation it has taken the lead in promoting the memory of the Orange contribution at the Battle of the Somme and the Great War as a whole.
Orangeism was incredibly important to thousands of Allied soldiers. The dying words of English Orangeman Private F Holt, a member of LOL No. 782 who was serving with the 4 Kings Liverpool Regiment, summed up such sentiment: “I have done my duty to my King and Country and I have not forgotten the Orange obligation I took in 782.” He died of his wounds after fighting in the area around Neuve Chapelle on 14 April 1915.
Thiepval Memorial LOL maintains a memorial to those members of the institution who paid the supreme sacrifice during the battle. This is located to the rear of the Ulster Tower and provides a focus for the World Orange family and commemorates those who fought during the 141 days of bloody battle in the Somme sector.
The inscription on the Orange Memorial reads:
“This Memorial is Dedicated to the Men and Women of the Orange Institution Worldwide, who at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of man by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in Freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten.”