“Friday 19th November 2021, marked the Centenary of the opening and dedication of the Ulster Tower on the Northern Fields of France, close to Thiepvel Wood. Standing 70 feet tall, the Ulster Tower is a replica of a well-known local landmark, Helen’s Tower situated in the heart of the Clandeboye Estate within the North Down constituency, which was built in 1867. The Ulster Tower is a lasting and very poignant tribute, to the men of Ulster who gave their lives, during the 1st World War and a permanent reminder of their heroic charge at the Battle of the Somme, with an estimated 5,000 casualties on the first day alone. For many of the men of the 36th Ulster Division, the distinctive sight of the Helen’s Tower, rising above the surrounding countryside was one of their last abiding memories of home before their departure for England and the subsequent Western Front, with many of those who gave their lives being drilled and trained in the shadow of Helen’s Tower.
Much has changed, over the last 100 years in Northern Ireland, but we must never forget the service and sacrifice, of those who gave up their lives for our freedoms, that we enjoy today.
I would like to acknowledge and commend the work of the Somme Association, who have worked so hard in maintaining the Ulster Tower and the Thiepvel Wood to so many visitors every year and for future generations, including the excellent Somme Museum in Conlig.
Having had the privilege of visiting the Tower, and I know many colleagues have also, I think it is right and proper to commend Carol Walker MBE, Director of the Somme Association, for all of her efforts along with her parents Teddy and Phoebe, and all of the team, and also the late Dr Ian Adamson OBE, for his work over many years in ensuring this memorial remains for generations to come. On this Centenary, we say thank you - We Will Remember Them.”