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Event takes place in MEA to commemorate 80th anniversary of the Battle for the Hitler Line

Military personal and the band of the royal Irish regiment marching through carrickfergus

 Images: McAuley Multimedia.


The 80th anniversary of the Battle for the Hitler Line was commemorated in Mid and East Antrim this weekend.

 

The Battle for the Hitler Line in Italy in 1944 was a pivotal event, which breached Nazi defences and paved the way for ultimate victory.

 



The North Irish Horse - which had many soldiers from the Borough in its ranks - supported the 1st Canadian Division in a frontal attack on the Hitler Line, which stretched across central Italy. Success came at price though, with the loss of 36 men and 32 tanks.


Military personal and the band of the royal Irish regiment marching through carrickfergus

Military personnel and the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment marching through Carrickfergus.

Military personnel and the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment marching through Carrickfergus.

 

In recognition of the support they received, the Canadian government awarded the North Irish Horse the honour of wearing the Maple Leaf and each year Maple Leaf insignia is presented to underline this unique tradition.

 

To remember this momentous anniversary, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council organised several key events which were hosted in Carrickfergus.


A church service at St. Nicholas Parish Church in Carrickfergus

 

On Friday evening (17th May), military historian Richard Doherty delivered a keynote address in Carrick Town Hall. The author of twenty military history titles, and a well-known historian and broadcaster, Mr. Doherty spoke on the subject of ‘The North Irish Horse at the Hitler Line’.

 

Earlier today crowds lined the streets as a parade of military personnel set off through the town, led by the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment. A church service followed at St. Nicholas Parish Church.


Churchill IV tank on display in Carrickfergus - the town where they were built during the Second World War.

Churchill IV tank on display in Carrickfergus - the town where they were built during the Second World War.


The North Irish Horse commemorate the battle each year in Carrickfergus, close to the Churchill IV tank which was built in the town during the Second World War. The Churchill tanks were used by the regiment in Europe and often had the names of Ulster towns displayed on their livery.

 

In 2016 the members of B (North Irish Horse) Squadron of the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry had the Freedom of the Borough conferred on them in recognition of the longstanding connections with the area.



Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna welcomed the troops to the borough.

 Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna welcomed the troops to the borough.

The Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim

The Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim.

The Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim

The Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim attended the commemoration today, as well as former members of the North Irish Horse and current serving members from Northern Ireland and Scotland.


The Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim talking with troops

 

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said:


“We are honoured to be hosting this event, which marks the incredible contribution of the North Irish Horse, who Council previously bestowed the Freedom of the Borough on.

 

“Throughout the 80th anniversary weekend, we will remember and reflect on one of the hardest-fought battles in the history of a local regiment.

 



“The bravery of all those involved in the battle resonates strongly within our community today, and I welcome our residents to join us to reflect on their sacrifice.”

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