Belfast Telegraph

Over 10,000 expected to attend Operation Banner 50th anniversary commemoration in Lisburn

On guard: a soldier during Operation Banner guarding a north Belfast peace wall
On guard: a soldier during Operation Banner guarding a north Belfast peace wall
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

More than 10,000 people are expected to mark the 50th anniversary of Operation Banner — the name given to the Army’s campaign in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

It will be held in Lisburn on Saturday, August 17, to mark the UK’s longest continuous military operation, running from 1969 to 2007.

The commemoration will begin with a Drumhead Service at 11am, conducted by Rev Edwin Fraser and Rev Andrew Thompson.

Following the service, Troubles veterans will then parade from Wallace Park through Lisburn,  laying wreaths at three memorials — the Lisburn Half Marathon Bomb Memorial, the UDR Memorial in Market Square and the War Memorial in Castle Gardens.

The parade will then return to Wallace Park where the Wellington Silver Band will conclude the ceremony.

As part of the commemoration event, visitors can also make their way to Lisburn city centre where an Operation Banner Veterans Museum will be set up in a marquee in Market Square.

A Westland Scout helicopter from the Ulster Aviation Society and old military vehicles will also be on display outside the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum.

Ian Simpson of the Northern Ireland Veterans Association, which is hosting the commemoration, described the anniversary as a “milestone” in the country’s history.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to remember the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice and died in service during the Troubles,” he said.

All proceeds from the event will go towards the Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s chosen charity, Air Ambulance NI.

Thousands died in the violence of the Troubles
Thousands died in the violence of the Troubles

Mayor Alan Givan said: “Being a garrison city, it is fitting that Lisburn has been chosen by the Northern Ireland Veterans Association as the location to remember and commemorate those servicemen and women who tragically lost their lives and the many who were injured during this period.

“We welcome and encourage both the people of Lisburn and Castlereagh and visitors from further afield to attend this poignant event.”

Alderman James Tinsley, the council’s veterans champion, served in Northern Ireland during Operation Banner and added that the council was pleased to see veterans from both sides of the border being represented.

“I understand the significance of this commemoration event in giving families and friends the opportunity to remember their loved ones who lost their lives during the conflict,” Mr Tinsley said.

Public car parking is available across the city and additional car parking will be available at Friends’ School on the Magheralave Road.

For more information about the event go to www.nivets.org.uk or email info@opbanner-50thanniversary.uk

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph