Reported in the News Letter on December 19, 1956: ‘Protestant people will not be coerced or intimidated by force’


The Rev J A Kirkpatrick, minister of Balteagh Presbyterian Church, Limavady, was the special preacher at the service commemorating the 268th anniversary of the Shutting of the Gates of Derry, held yesterday in St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry, as part of the celebrations.

Mr Kirkpatrick referred to the [IRA] outrages in Northern Ireland, and declared: “By our continued vigilance we will make clear the same determination shown so many times by the Protestant people of Ulster that we will not be coerced or intimidated by force or by the threat of force.

“As we approach Christmas,” he continued, “when we remember the Christ Child who came to the humble manger at Bethlehem and the Angels who heralded to mankind the message of peace, good will toward men, it is regrettable that the peace of our land should be broken by the violent outrages of recent times.

“The supreme desire of our vigilance should be our continued wish for peace and goodwill and the preservation of our Christian faith.”

Several thousand members of the Apprentice Boys of Derry and Loyalists from all parts of the Province travelled to Londonderry yesterday to take part in the celebrations.

The Apprentice Boys assembled on Mall Wall under the shadow of the Governor Walker Memorial from which was suspended the 18-foot-high effigy of Lundy, and paraded to the Cathedral.

At dusk the effigy of Lundy, weighing 18cwt, was set alight.