In September 1914, the Ulster Division was formed from the Ulster Volunteer Force which raised thirteen battalions for the three Irish regiments based in Ulster: the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the Royal Irish Fusiliers and the Royal Irish Rifles. A unique situation existed. This summary is from Ray Westlake’s “Kitchener’s Army”:
“It took several weeks after war was declared that permission to form an Ulster Division was granted. The Ulster Volunteer Force, a Protestant organisation created by Sir Edward Carson as a force to counter the threat of the Home Rule Bill, was already in existence and its members were as eager as any to join the war. However, due to the political situation in Ireland, things were held up. Many volunteers refused to wait and either crossed to England or Scotland to enlist, or joined the 10th or 16th Divisions already being formed by the War Office in Ireland.
With over 80,000 members, it was clear that the UVF was in a position to make an important contribution to the recruitment of the New Armies. Lord Kitchener met with Sir Edward Carson in London who, although eager to help was concerned at how the situation in Ireland might turn while his force was away at war. The Government were not able to give any guarantees that might put Sir Edward’s mind at rest. However, he later agreed to raise a Division, without any conditions, and within days had placed an order for 10,000 uniforms with a London firm of outfitters.
The UVF was not only organised, but trained to some extent as a military force, and had been armed. It was therefore considerably more advanced as a formed body of men than the similar formations of the New Armies now being created elsewhere.
These battalions were clothed and administered by their raisers in the same way as the locally raised New Army battalions in Great Britain, although the UVF was at a high state of readiness in August 1914 as a result of heightened tensions in connection with the Home Rule debate that had occurred earlier in the year".
taken from The Long, Long Trail
This mural states:
"The Ulster Tower is a memorial to the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division. It was officially opened on 19th November 1921 by Field Marshall Sir Henry Wilson. The Tower is located close to the Schwaben Redoubt at the edge of Thiepvel Wood, France, which the Ulster Division attacked at 7:30am on 1st July 1916."