Field Notes and Despatches
Here we look at some interesting stories from the Second World War.
A Sash ‘takes off’
The Belfast Newsletter records that an Orange Sash was presented to the members of the RAF’s only Ulster Squadron at a special gathering of the squadron on 12 July 1944. This squadron was part of Coastal Command and had a diverse membership from Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia, Cyprus, Canada, South Africa, Fiji and, of course, Northern Ireland.
Orangeman ‘blessed’ by the Pope
In 1944, after the Germans fled Rome, Pope Pius XII extended an invitation to soldiers from Irish Divisions to meet him in Vatican City. While most were of course Roman Catholic, at least one Orangeman was in attendance, wearing his regalia below his uniform – a Sergeant-Major in the London Irish!
Sash saved at Dunkirk
In late May 1940, as Allied forces waited to be evacuated from Dunkirk, a young soldier, Samuel Paterson from Glasgow, took cover from German machine guns. As he and his comrades sheltered under a lorry, he noticed an Orange Sash under another lorry some distance away. Under enemy fire and ignoring shouts from his superiors, young Paterson ran over and retrieved the Sash. “To get that sash was worth it all...” he told his commanding officer. The sash was later returned to LOL No. 1955 in Belfast.
In July 1940 the Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland and the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland presented two Ambulances for the war effort.