Home Guard / B-Specials

1924 Greeting Cards from “B-Specials”

Shooting Notes

The following is an extract from the Lisburn Standard dated 6th February 1925

“B” Special Shooting Notes (by Observer)
Rejoicing in Stoneyford

Stone ford “B” Specials deserve great credit for the high standard of shooting which they attaned in their recent competitions with Knocknadona. In their team shooting they obtained 464 points out of possible 480. In the individual scores, out of a possible 80 points, Sergeants Geddis and McKnight topped the list with 79 points each. Next in order of merit came the brothers Tinsley with 78 points each. Whilst Constable Herbert Conway closely followed with a score of 77. Last and least was a score of 73 points by Constable Wm. Leckey.

A start for Brookmount

Brookmount have commenced operations on their indoor range. Their new commandant has promised prizes for competition. So I expect that under the care of Sergeant Instructor McClenaghan, they will soon have a team to meet Knocknadona and Stoneyford in friendly rivalry.

“Lurganure- Fall in and follow the band”

It was only last autumn that I had the pleasure of seeing the Lurganure men firing the heavy ammunition at both Dunmurry and the Maze.

Judging by the fine show they made should surely be easy to start work on the minature range.

The men are intelligent and have plenty of determination and full of enthusiasm.

Honour for Dunmurry

Constable Sam Wright of the Dunmurry Specials, won the Royal Ulster Rifle Association Cup and Gold Medal on the Kinnegar at 800 yards’ range, last summer, is one of the team selected to represent Ulster at Bisley, in July.

Shooting Competition

The following is an extract from The Lisburn Herald Supplement Saturday September 21st 1929.

B Specials.
Shooting competition at Crumlin

For the shooting competition for the sub district teams of No 2 District B Specials, hald at Langford Lodge rifle range, each of the nine sub districts had a team of seven to represent them, and after a keen competition the Muckamore team won the District Cup and medals with a score of 269 for the three practices. Randalstown were second with 246 points and Dundrod third with 193.

The individual best scores were – S Sgt F Reford, Muckamore, 46; S Con T O’Neill 44; S Sgt J Reford, Muckamore, 43.

Colonel Pakenham CMG., DI., kindly entertained the teams to tea after the shooting, and the cup medals, and prizes were handed over to the winners by Mrs Molloy, MBE.

Amongst those present were Colonel and Mrs H R Charley, Captain and Mrs Booth, Miss Molloy, Captain R Thompson, DC, No 2 District; SDC’s D Bill, W Nixon, A Robertson, J Campbell and G Thompson.

B Special Constabulary miniature range championship

The following is an extract from The Lisburn Standard, Friday March 28 1930

B Special Shooting Notes
Glenavy win championship cup, by Observer

The final of the B Special Constabulary miniature range championship of County Antrim took place in Ballymena Town Hall on Wednesday evening.

Four teams took part, two representing the North and two the South.

Ballycastle and Clough (North) and Glenavy and White abbey (South) lined up at the firing point in charge of Captain Gaussen, Commandant, City of Belfast. Head Constable J. Lyle, Belfast, was marker and Mr. L. Hulme, Commandant’s Office, kept the records.

Three practices were fired – grouping, application and snap.

In the first lap it was evident that Ballycastle and Glenavy were going to make a hard fight for supremacy. This round ended with Glenavy four points ahead, Constable T. Watson having made a good opening for Glenavy. Sergeant E. Johnston put up a tip top score, finishing with two points better than Watson. In the meantime the second Ballycastle man was putting them in the right place and drew almost level with the Lough Neagh men. Archie Johnston followed in his brother’s footsteps and kept up a good average, but the North men were steadily pulling up.

Fourth Round

In the fourth round, Sergeant T. Matier commenced well, but came a cropper at the last fence. Brotherly love will always continue and Matier’s brother, George, relieved him at the fifth round and showed no mercy. Ballycastle broke down under the strain and were completely overwhelmed in the counterattack.

At this juncture Ballycastle sat up and tool a little nourishment, but, like a famous anti prohibitionist, Glenavy was still going strong.

Sergeant W. Harbinson (Captain of the team) gave a wonderful display of marksmanship and got a 56 out of a possible 60 points. His understudy, S-Constable H. Bell, who is the youngest marksman, finished up the seventh and final round with the same score as his good example.

Glenavy thus ran out winners and are now holders of the Championship Cup.

The total scores: – Glenavy, 377; Ballycastle, 314; Clough, 311; Whiteabbey, 299.

Four men tied for Individual championship, 56 points out of a possible 60.

To reach the final, Glenavy, 240; Knocknadona, 228; Stoneyford, 277; Dunmurry, 194; Brookmount, 192. Only two practices were fired in this round; highest possible score 245.

In the second round they defeated Ballylurgan and Carrickfergus.

Thirty-three teams competed in the County.

Shooting Notes

The following extract is from the Lisburn Standard dated Friday 23rd May 1930.

B Special Shooting Notes (by Observer)

We are now on the eve of the opening of another session on the Rifle Ranges, and No 1 District will soon launch out with the intention of retaining the trophies which they have won in the past musketry year. They are now holders of the all County of Antrim trophies, namely the District Cup, South Antrim Shield, the County Cup, also the Cup for the County Championship on the miniature range. By winning these trophies they were eligible to represent County Antrim in the Six County Championship at Newtownards in October last.

At this great meeting they tied for first place with County Fermanagh. They have also a gold medallist for the best individual shot in Ulster and another of their members holds the County Championship medal.

Naturally enough they feel proud of their achievements, and there is a tendency to slack down and take things easy, but gloating over the past glories in itself will not retain them, so it is up to themselves, – officers and men alike – to make strenuous efforts to do better, if possible, in the coming year, and eradicate all slackers. With the introduction of new blood there should be a general tightening up.

The District Commandant has decided that every man should have his course fired before the end of June, and has made out the following programme -Aghalee 27th May, 28th, 29th and 30th. June – Lurganure 2nd and 3rd; Knocknadona, 4th and 5th; Brookmount, 9th and 10th; Stoneyford 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th; Glenavy 23rd, 24th, 25th and 36th.

Lisburn and Dunmurry will fire at Wilmont on each Wednesday and Saturday afternoon during the month of June. The District Cup Competition will be fired for at Glenavy on 26th July.

There should be some hidden talent brought to light on that date. It would be futile for me to try and forecast the first and second placings in the event.

Glenavy intend coming well forward, and if they put up the same form as they did in the final at Ballymena, it will take a good team to beat them.

Our old champions, Stoneyford have got new blood and if the new arrivals support Geddis, McKnight and Tinsleys, Stoneyford will be put in block letters in the map of Ulster. I would like to see Knocknadona really trying. So roll up with a full team and give the boys another fight as you did in February last.

Just a whisper about their neighbours in Brookmount, whose Commandant has given them every encouragement during the past winter, I know they are silently making preparations for the big day, and should give a good account of themselves.

Lurganure has a steady well-balanced team and always have their rifles in good order, which is half the battle. Aghalee has been team building and with a little more weeding they should show good bloom. I don’t want them to depend upon hardy annuals. One of the veterans has shown a good example by getting his son to take his place. I assure him that his confidence has not been misplaced, as his successes has already made a good score in competition.

Dunmurry intends to keep on “keeping on” they with such an array of talent to meet? Time alone can tell.

Last, but not least, there is Lisburn, who had their name on the cup for two successive years. Their Commandant has notified his men to finish their course in June. He will pick the team afterwards on their merits. Lisburn won’t fail him, I am sure.

Shooting Competition

The following extract is from the Lisburn Standard dated Friday 15th August 1930.

South Antrim Specials Shooting Competition.
Seven sub-districts take part.
Keen Struggle between Dunmurry and Glenavy.

The members of No. 1 District shot off their inter Sub-District Competition for cup and medals, presented by the County Commandant, District Commandant, and Sub District Commandant respectively.

The competition took place recently at Glenavy, on a range kindly lent for the occasion by Mr. James Ross. The teams were detailed to the targets in the following order:-

Aghalee, Knocknadona, Lurganure, Glenavy, Lisburn, Brookmount, and Dunmurry.

The first practice “Application” finished with Dunmurry leading, having made 19 bulls, 15 inners, and 1 mag. – total score 123. Glenavy was the next best with a total of 110. Brookmount 100, and Lisburn 99.

In the second round “Rapid” Glenavy scored 106, Dunmurry’s score being 105.

In the third and last round “Snapshooting” Glenavy and Dunmurry scored 99 points each the total scores being – Dunmurry (winners) 197; Glenavy (runners up) 285 points. The remainder finished in the following order:- Lisburn, Brookmount, Lurganure, Knocknadona and Aghalee.

At the conclusion of the competition Sub District Commandant A. Ross, Glenavy, extended a cordial invitation to the teams, their officers and friends to the Protestant Hall, where a sumptuous tea was provided by his wife and himself.

Captain A. Ronald Booth, Adjutant, occupied the chair, on his left, being Mrs Booth, Miss Wilson, and Mr. Fergus Wilson, of Springfield. On his right were Captain Gaussen, Adjutant, City of Belfast and his daughters. Before giving out details of the competition Captain Booth read out apologies for absence from Colonel Pakenham, Langford Lodge, and one from Colonel H R Charley, County Commandant, who was unable to attend owing to illness. Before the giving out of prizes, Captain Booth congratulated Dunmurry on their victory and also Glenavy on giving them such a run for first place.

Mrs. Booth graciously presented the medals to the winning team also the individual prize to Special Constable T. Watson, of Glenavy, being only one point behind Constable McCappin.

Votes of thanks were proposed by Sub District Commandant D Benson, of Knocknadona, to Mr. And Mrs Ross for the splendid tea, Mrs Booth for the gracious manner in which she presented the prises, Mrs. L. Waring and Mrs. G. Elliot for their great assistance at the tea tables. These were passed by acclamation, and acknowledged on the ladies’ behalf by the Adjutant, District Commandant, Capt. L. Waring, and Sub District Commandant A. Ross. Judging by the expression of satisfaction, Mrs. F. Farr is to be congratulated on making the tea, everyone being loud in their praises of the beverage.

The singing of the National Anthem brought a happy meeting to a close.

Crumlin Constable Awarded Damages

The following extract is from The Lisburn Standard, Friday 13th June 1934.

Crumlin Constable awarded damages.

Damages of £2500 were awarded by consent in the Ulster High Court on Monday to a special constable Clement B. Davies, of Camlin Gardens, Crumlin, for injuries to his brain received at Langford Lodge on August 12, 1957, while instructing another special constable in the use of a Sten gun.

The claim was against the Ministry of Home Affairs, and it was alleged by Davies that the Ministry had been guilty of negligence in not having provided proper equipment. While instructing a fellow constable on the use of the weapon, said Davies, it exploded, and a piece of metal entered his brain, causing permanent injury.

Mr. Justice Sheil, approving the settlement order, said that £2300 already in court should be paid out.

Mr. C. Stewart, Q.C., and Mr. W. J. Staunton (instructed by Mr. H. McPartland) appeared for Davies; and the Attorney-General and Mr. R.W.B. McConnell (instructed by Mr. R.F. Sheldon, Chief Crown Solicitor) for the Ministry.

Social Function

The following is an extract from The Lisburn Herald Saturday November 1st 1941

Glenavy Home Guard and Specials
Successful Social Function

Under the Auspices of Glenavy B Specials and Home Guard, a social and dance was held last Friday evening, the success of the function reflecting much credit on the organisers. The proceeds were in aid of the Red Cross and a very substantial sum was subscribed.

The attendance included Group Captain S. Waring J.P., and Lieutenant J. Lyle, M.M., and the arrangements were capably carried out by the following committee – Mrs Armstrong, Mrs Ingram, Mrs Marsden, Miss R McCullough, Miss Johnston, Sergeant Marsden, A- Sergt T Moore, Special Constables Camlin, Kennedy and Beckett.

Rifle Shooting at Langford Lodge

The following is an extract from the Lisburn Standard dated Friday August 6th 1948

Rifle Shooting
Lisburn Specials Victory at Langford Lodge

Lisburn won the Ulster Special Constabulary (South Antrim District) Cup for rifle shooting at Langford Lodge, Crumlin, on Saturday, scoring 297 points. Seven teams took part.

Other scores were :- Drumbeg 294, Dunmurry 297, Brookmount 260, Glenavy 254, Knocknadona 226 and Aghalee 214.

The Lisburn team was: – P-Sgt. S. Walsh, A-Sgts. I. Vaughan, W. Turkington, T. Toole, A. Morrison, and S-Conts. T. Walsh and V. Fleeton. S.D.C. J. Elwood received the Cup on behalf of the Lisburn team.

In the individual competition the placings were:- 1. Drumbeg; 2, Dunmurry; 3, Lisburn.

Annual 303 Rifle Shooting Competition

The following is an extract from the Lisburn Standard dated 13th August 1954

Competition at Langford Lodge

The annual 303 rifle shooting competition at Langford Lodge in connection with Lisburn District of the Ulster Special Constabulary was held last Saturday, the following Sub-Districts taking part:- Brookmount, Dunmurry, Drumbeg, Knocknadona, Lisburn, Glenavy, Stoneyford and Aghalee.

There was a magnificent turnout of all ranks and the competition started in what promised to be a fine afternoon, but before very long the usual “summer” weather prevailed, wind, heavy showers and poor visibility being the order of the day. However, in spite of the conditions, the competition was run through at record speed and with the usual efficiency connected with all Special Constabulary training. The results were well up to previous standard, a real photo finish to the team Championship being a feature of the afternoon. This concerned Brookmount and Glenavy Sub-Districts. Going into the final practice (snap-shooting) Brookmount were leading by the slender margin of 5 points, and in this practice they scored a total of 117 to make a grand total of 395 points. The situation was one of tense excitement as Glenavy team took up position on the firing point, requiring a total in this practice of 123 points to win the Championship. The practice proceeded, with everyone trying to total up the score as hits on targets were signalled, and it was not until the official score came through from the markers in the butts that the result was known. Glenavy had scored a total of 121 points to become gallant losers by the narrow margin of one point. However, they were the first to congratulate Brookmount on winning the Championship, their third success in this event during the past five years.

Team championship results were as follows:-

1st Brook mount (SDC McNeice, 58; S/Sgt Hodgen, 60; S/Sgt Montgomery, 53; S/Con W Davis, 50; S/Con B Davis, 52; S/Con S Rosborough, 68; S/Con J. Rosborough, 54) 395:
2nd Glenavy, 394
3rd Lisburn, 360
4th Knocknadona, 356
5th Drumbeg, 321
6th Aghalee, 311
7th Stoneyford, 304
8th Dunmurry, 301

The Individual Championship resulted as follows:-

1st S/Con S Boxborough (Brookmount), 68
2nd S/Sgt L.Daly (Lisburn), 64
3rd S/Sgt S Hodgen (Brookmount), 60

An addition to the prize list this year was a silver cup presented by District Commandant I.R.M. Vaughan to be won outright by the District Individual Championship Shot, who, on this occasion, was S/Con S Boxborough (Brookmount).

At the tea at the conclusion of the competition, Capt. R.H. Hanson, O.B.E., County Commandant, congratulated the District on their magnificent turnout, both in numbers and dress. The shoot, he said, was one of the best he had ever attended in the County during his term as County Commandant and he congratulated those responsible or the excellent manner in which everything was arranged and carried out. The shooting was a great improvement on last year and he hoped that a team from the District would eventually go to Glenwherry and win the County Championship. He concluded by congratulating SDC McNeice (Brookmount) and his team on again winning the District Cup. He then presented the prizes to the various winners.

District Commandant I R M Vaughan, who was attending his first District Shoot as District Commandant thanked the County Commandant for coming along and presenting the prizes. He also congratulated all ranks on their splendid turnout and the Brookmount team on their grand win. He said great credit was due to the Sergeant Instructors, who had the hard job and responsibility of preparing for the shoot and seeing that everything went off with clockwork precision. On behalf of all ranks he thanked the ladies who were responsible for providing tea.

Officers present, in addition to those already mentioned were –

SDC T Williamson (Dunmurry)
SDC W McKeown (Aghalee)
SDC A Scott (Stoneyford)
SDC J Kennedy (Glenavy)
SDC S Greer (Knocknadona)
SDC W Calvert (Drumbeg)
SDC W Turkington (Lisburn)

In charge at the firing point was the County Commandant, who was assisted by the District Commandant, S/Instructor Monroe and Armourer/Sergt. N. Tulip (Sprucefield). In charge at the butts were: Sergt Instructors J. Clendinning and L. Glover (Antrim District) and in charge of scoring and records was Sergt – Instructor J Boxborough (Lisburn District).

Believed to be a member of The Home Guard at Glenavy No date (Kindly provided by the McKeown family)

Believed to be a member of
The Home Guard at Glenavy
No date
(Kindly provided by the McKeown family)

Lisburn Winners

The following extract is from the Lisburn Standard dated Friday 22nd August 1958

“Special” shoot won by Lisburn

The Lisburn District .303 shoot in connection with the Royal Ulster Special Constabulary took place at Langford Lodge on Saturday afternoon last.

Eight teams took part in the competition, the district represented being Lisburn, Knocknadona, Glenavy, Dunmurry, Brookmount, Stoneyford, Drumbeg, Aghalee. The contest was under the supervision of D.C. Ivan R. M. Vaughan, who officiated at the firing point, and he was assisted by Sergt Instructors Monroe and Rosborough. The officials in charge at the butts were Sergeant Instructors Allen and Glover. The competition produced some excellent performances, and at the close the Lisbrn contingent ran out easy and merited winners. The final scores were

1. Lisburn USC 382
2. Glenavy USC 363
3. Dunmurry, 348

In the individual shoot S.C. Rosborough, Dunmurry, took first prize with a score of 65. S.C. H Bradley, Lisburn, also scored 65, but was relegated to second place through dropping a point in the snap shooting, and SDC Montgomery, Brookmount, took third prize with a score of 62.

Subsequently the teams were entertained to tea and the awards were presented to the various winners by District Inspector R Montgomery, R.U.C. Lisburn.

B-Specials Poster

A poster in possession of an ex B-Special issued on the disbandment of the B-Specials.

A poster in possession of an ex B-Special issued on the disbandment of the B-Specials.

The poem reads:

“Sons of Ulster, stalwart “B” Men
Closed now is your stirring page,
Ended is your valiant story
To placate an unjust rage.

Half a lifetime’s blameless record
Cast aside by scheming men,
And the work of years extinguished
By the politician’s pen.

Born as Ulster faced the gunman
Fighting for her very life,
Born as murder stalked the highways
And our land was torn by strife.

Curfew tolled its sober warning
And the “Specials” stood to arms,
At the cross-roads, on the hill-sides
Through the long night of alarms.

Stood to guard the homes of Ulster
Thwart the hidden killer’s aim,
Loyal service marked your history,
Won for you a well-loved name.

Feared and slandered by detractors
With God’s help you kept us free,
Upright, friendly, Ulster “B” Men
Cherished will your memory be.”

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