Co Armagh Somme memorial carved with pride from fallen tree

The carved memorial stands in the centre of Dollingstown
The carved memorial stands in the centre of Dollingstown

A Orangeman has said that he and his brethren will feel a special sense of pride this Twelfth, after having installed a new monument to the Battle of the Somme in his lodge’s village.

An oak tree carved into the shape of a World War One soldier was unveiled last month by Dollingstown LOL62 and Dollingstown Ulster Scots, a community and heritage group.

It stands by the war memorial on the main road in the centre of Dollingstown, to the east of Lurgan, close to the Co Down/Co Armagh border.

The tree – estimated by organisers to have been about 100 years old – was bought from the Caledon Estate after apparently having been blown down.

Bruce Kidd, a member of LOL62 (known as Wickliffe’s Invincible Morning Star) said that Orangemen will parade through the village en route to Dromore on Tuesday.

He said: “We’ll be very proud to be walking past it, and we’ll be thinking of the men that went off to fight for our freedom and democracy today.”

He said they will be remembered “for ever more”.

The carving was unveiled on June 17.

In addition, a roll of honour plaque with the names of 89 men from the village who volunteered and fought in World War One, had also been unveiled. Of this contingent of 89, 20 of them were killed.

A new Orange banner was also dedicated to the memory of the fighting men of Dollingstown and a memorial tree was also planted.

In total, all these commemorative items cost up to £7,000.

They had received funding from Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council for about £5,500 for both the soldier carving, and the roll of honour plaque.