March 17. Queen Victoria and the shamrock. Launch of HMS Belfast . Roll of Honour

HMS Belfast was launched on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March 1938 by Anne Chamberlain – the wife of then Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain – and spent 24 years in active service. The Irish Brigade in 1945 – Brigadier Scott: “We were in the line on St Patrick’s Day. ‘Jon’ produced an excellent ‘Two Types’ cartoon in the ‘8th Army News’ depicting an officer wearing a caubeen and hackle cutting a shamrock out of a billiard tablecloth – presumably to make ‘flashes’ for the Irish Brigade.” The caption stated – “It may be St Patrick’s Day, but I think that’s going a bit too far”. A Veteran’s story of Michael McGuigan’s service with North Irish Horse in WW1 makes for an interesting read for St Patrick’s Day. The records of those who died in service on this day are reminders of the high cost of freedom paid by service men and women, and their families.

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