|The Ulster Peoples Army
The Ulster Volunteer Force has a long history. It was formed initially in 1912 but reconstituted in 1966. The UVF of 1966 to the present day is a very different organisation to what was originally formed in 1912, but the original principles still apply.
The UVF was formed in 1912. It was recruited in order to defend Ulster Protestants, and prevent their homeland becoming part of a Roman Catholic Irish Nationalist State. Over 400,000 Ulstermen signed a solemn league and covenant promising to take up arms in defence of their country and people, these people were formed into the UVF. In the event conflict in Ulster did not happen, the First World War in Europe came first and it was that threat to Ulster's freedom that the UVF engaged. The UVF became the 36th Ulster Division of the British Army and fought in many battles during the First World War, most notably was the battle of the Somme where thousands of its members were killed on the 1st of July 1916, the first day of the battle. After the First World War the threat of Irish Home Rule became a reality however most of Ulster remained a part of the United Kingdom as a majority there wanted. Three counties of Ulster however were made part of the separatist Ireland and this was regarded as the great betrayal among the Ulster people. The six counties of Ulster that remained a part of the United Kingdom still suffered attack, continual undermining tactics and territorial claim by the aggressive new Irish Free State. This situation led to the reconstitution of the Ulster Volunteer Force in 1966, by a small number of Loyalists.
The Ulster Volunteer Force was created and did not come to fruition on a wave of popular support or general rising, it was a need recognised by a small cadre who formed it as the Ulster peoples army bound by the principles of the Solemn League and Covenant that had been signed by so many in 1912. The UVF remained and still remains an elite secret army for the defence of Ulster. It has been very active over the past 30 years in Ulster.
|YCV and RHC
The Young Citizen Volunteers (YCV) is the youth wing of the UVF and is named after a section of the 36th Ulster Division who fought in WWI. The Loyalist Prisoners Welfare Association (LPWA) exists to provide support for UVF Volunteers incarcerated during the Ulster conflict. The Red Hand Commando (RHC) was a group formed in the early 1970's but merged with the UVF shortly after it was set up.
The Ulster Volunteer Force is one of the Oldest Organisations in Ireland (even older than the I.R.A). The U.V.F was originally formed by Lord Edward Carson as a response not only to threats from Republicanism, but as a force to take Ulster by Force if necessary, during this time in the Westminster Parliament the Liberal Government were trying to force through a home rule bill for Ireland, this would have left the Loyalist and Unionist people at the mercy of violent republicans. In order to help the Ulster Peoples army (U.V.F) to defend their community, 50,000 rifles were brought into Larne on the MV ClydeValley. The British Parliament saw that the Home Rule bill was a travesty and voted against it, in annoyance at the uprising of the U.V.F, the British government ordered British Forces in Ireland to prepare to put the U.V.F. down, British Officers refused and threatened to mutiny as they could not in their consience attack fellow British citizens. The U.V.F remained quite untill WWI, were it's large numbers were formed into a military division (36th Ulster) and it was given over to the command of the British Army. The gallant men of the 36th fought and died heroically at the Battle of The Somme. In the years following the end of the Great War, the British Government and Irish Republicans agreed the Partition of Ireland act, Britain was to keep Six counties as a Homeland For Ulsters Loyalist and Unionists, it appeared Ulsters position was secured, so the U.V.F, was quietly scaled down.
The U.V.F were resurrected again in the mid 60's by a handful of Loyalists on the Shankill Rd, threats against the Stormont Government and Republican violence required that the Ulster people be prepared to defend themselves. The U.V.F promptly began to re-arm and to target Republicans in preparation for a return to war, little was known about the U.V.F at this time, only those who were chosen could have the honour of joining. Then in 1969, the IRA and other Republicans started an upsurge of anti-British and anti-Loyalist/Unionist sectarian murders and bombing's which heralded the start of the troubles. In response the UVF began their taks of not only attacking Republicans, but also of defending Loyalist people and Loyalist areas from rampaging Republican mobs, a task that has lasted (and still remains) until now. The U.V.F has had many succesful campaigns against not only Republicans, but also against the Irish Government who, in the past, have sought to attack Ulster and usurp the British Government. Indeed, in the 1960's the Irish Army was preparing to invade Northern Ireland to try and steal it from Britain and to expell the Loyalist people. The IRA has operated with relative impunity within the Republic of Ireland, in fact, at the start of the present conflict, not only did the Irish Government give the IRA sanctuary and freedom of operation, but they also armed and trained the IRA. This is the mantle of the Irish State and why they must not be trusted, the U.V.F is the Ulster Peoples army, and we need them to defend us against forces who would see us slaughtered. Many of the details of U.V.F operations can not be made public, but we know that they have fought and protected Ulster from murderous Irish Republicanism and will continue to do so should the need arise.
A memorial to all the brave Volunteers and Commandos who have given the supreme sacrifice so that we may live in freedom
Principles of conflict.
There is nowhere in the world that could face long term violence against their people. Ulster is no exception and in successive generations the Ulster people have been murdered undermined and attacked simply because of their religion of birth. They are told to leave their country, they have nowhere to go. Their homeland is their birth right and that they intend to retain. The real question is not why the Loyalists defended their homeland but rather how they were so resilient and measured in response to attacks against them.
With the exception of the Ulster Volunteer Force in 1912 there has been no standing army prepared to defend the Ulster people with widespread and complete support across the country that the UVF had in 1912. The reason for this is not apathy, but rather a willingness to exhaust every other means of finding a solution regardless of how hopeless this seems. The Loyalist people have not invited conflict and indeed the paramilitaries have never wanted to exist, it is only by necessity that they emerged and that they continued to survive.Loyalist paramilitaries have never had the goal of being a revolutionary army, they are not terrorists in the sense that they are not killing to impose their political will, rather they are simply reacting as best they know how in defence of their homeland their people and their culture. That defence has been brutal, often as brutal as the initial attacks on Ulster. The sheer frustration of fighting an enemy whose only motivation is reasonless hatred has taken its toll and Loyalists have retaliated matching the intensity of the onslaught against them. .
Loyalists have shied from using conflict to further political aims. Their purpose has fundamentally been the defence of their country, they want the creation of their countries future to be left to democratic politics. To facilitate this Loyalists have called numerous ceasefires over the past 30 years to allow exploration of political solutions, equally the intensity of their conflict has been dependent on the current climate of conflict - i.e. the greater the threat, the greater the intensity of their response. It seems logical however, that in the future Loyalists will be less likely to allow room for political movement, the lack of honest dealing over the past ceasefire backed up by terrorist threat, may have an effect on future Loyalist strategy. The manipulation, threats and terrorist blackmail in recent years has shown the influence terrorists hold over the political arena. The initial short termism of community defence and pro-active defence that developed in later years is likely to be extended again, to meet the threat of a Machiavellian style, 'Long War' . The old days of looking round the corner hoping for a quick fix appear to be dead and buried.
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