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VIDEO: Coastal defence gun salute at Helen’s Bay to mark WWI centenary

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A coastal defence gun long silenced was fired at 1pm on Monday to mark the centenary of Britain’s entry into the First World War.

Hundreds of people attended the event at Grey Point Fort where Environment Minister Mark H Durkan called for volunteers to help with the NI Environment Agency’s (NIEA) Defence Hertiage Project.

The project started in 1997 to help co-ordinate work by the Department of the Environment and volunteers to record sites of defence heritage interest across Northern Ireland.

These included structures from the First and Second World Wars, as well as Cold War and other defence heritage features.

Speaking at Monday’s event, the minister said: “Today,100 years on from the outbreak of the First World War, many of us will have a renewed interest and appreciation of those events. With this interest and appreciation, I hope there will also be greater understanding of the events at that time, many of which have shaped the lives of our families over the past hundred years.

“It is therefore fitting that I am today launching Phase 2 of the Defence Heritage Project at a state care monument with direct connections to that time. Central to the project is the participation of the wider public, working with my Department, to find, record and share the defence heritage structures across our landscape.”

Mr Durkan added: “These sites have direct, and often poignant, connections to past generations, whose lives were shaped and affected by conflicts that engulfed Europe. Through public participation I hope there will be greater awareness of the rich legacy of heritage features that still survive, helping us understand the times past and protect them for future generations.”

“Since then a small number of dedicated volunteers have collected an impressive record of sites, from plans and surveys to the sharing of memories about the sites. Many sites, particularly those associated with the First and Second World Wars, have, as a consequence, been given special statutory protection.”

 

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