OK folks if you are quick enough you may be able to secure a copy of this booklet for FREE...
New book about Falls Road soldiers A new book chronicles part of the forgotten history of soldiers from west Belfast.
6th Connaught Rangers – Belfast Nationalists & The Great War tells the story of the 600 men from the Falls Road, who joined the British Army during the First World War.
The boom and bust of the industrial economy in Belfast had always made the prospect of an army career attractive to both Protestants and Catholics.
But with Home Rule on the statute books in 1914, the men from the Falls were never going to join a regiment which would form part of the 36th (Ulster) Division.
So they followed the bidding of their political masters at the time, John Redmond and their MP, Joe Devlin, to fight for the freedom of small nations, including Ireland.
But when they came home, Ireland had changed.
“You can’t take them out of their dashed hopes, you can’t separate them from what they fought for and the promises that were made to them,” said Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Tom Hartley.
“I still think we have a bit to go in understanding this period, because many of these soldiers came back and joined the IRA.”
On the Falls Road today, you will find many murals, but none to the men of the Connaught Rangers.
Harry Donaghy, from the 6th Connaught Rangers Research Project said: “It was part of the history, but it was a part of the history that was either buried or ignored for nearly ninety years."
But things are changing on the Falls and there is a huge reclamation memory happening within families.
The research in this book is helping other writers, who have embarked on similar historical projects.
“I think in particular it shows the many reasons that men had for joining the British Army in the first world war.
It wasn’t necessarily to fight for king and country, the nationalists of West Belfast did it because they thought it was the best way of getting home rule,” said Dr Richard Grayson Goldsmiths from University of London.
“Others did it because they simply needed employment, so it shows how complicated the past was and gets beyond some of the myths.”
The authors say that Belfast Nationalists and the Great War is a continuing work in progress, and are currently working on 6700 names of people who were born or resident in the Belfast, that were killed in the great war.
The book, The 6th Connaught Rangers – Belfast Nationalists & The Great War, is free and available from: