WW1 U-Boat Victims Remembered
Published: Mon, 9 Nov 2015
A stunning new wall art installation was unveiled at Barrington Gardens on Remembrance Sunday 2015 to commemorate the sinking in 1914 of HMS Hawke.
Five sailors from the Donegall Road area went down with the Hawke, and the story of their bravery and sacrifice is told on a new mural, supported by us through the Greater Village Regeneration Trust, which has been hand sewn by members of the local community in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday.
The HMS Hawke art installation uses a net and rope framework, created by local Sea Cadets, and 524 hand-made satin poppies - one for each victim of the sinking - which together form a visually stunning and unique memorial to the lost seamen.
Most people associate the U-Boat with World War Two and the Battle of the Atlantic, but in fact Germany used some of its earliest submarines to deadly effect during World War One. The sinking of HMS Hawke had a big impact on Northern Ireland as 49 of the 524 sailors who died were from here.
Jennifer Hawthorne, the Housing Executive’s Head of Cohesion, was delighted with the artwork and commented:
“This project has seen the local community take ownership of a gable wall which previously was a site of racist and sectarian graffiti.
“This unique artwork has achieved the groups’ aims of creating a poignant reminder of local people’s sacrifice during WW1. I commend the local community’s enthusiasm and wholehearted backing for this initiative.”
The Greater Village Regeneration Trust (GVRT) facilitated the innovative community-led project and Angela Johnston from the Trust explained:
“We wanted to do something which reflected this area’s great love for the Remembrance poppy and all that it stands for. Creating the ‘poppy wall’ gave members of the local community - many of whom have relatives with a service connection - a real hands-on involvement in the project.”
The project’s designer, Pete Bleakley, said:
“The Donegall Road was one of WW1’s biggest suppliers of fighting men and the loss of HMS Hawke hit the Donegall Road and Greater Belfast hard. It is fitting that, just over a century later, they now have a memorial dedicated to their honour, service and sacrifice.”