2015 Festival

Belfast Boys: How Unionists and Nationalists fought and died together in the First World War

Published: August 14, 2019 by source

Richard Grayson in conversation with John Horne

This is the story of men from either side of West Belfast’s sectarian divide who went to fight in the Great War. Richard Grayson follows the volunteers of the 36th and 16th divisions who fought on the Somme and side-by-side at Messines, recovering the history of the forgotten West Belfast servicemen, and the traumatic lives they endured after the war. In so doing, he tells a new story which challenges popular perceptions of the war and explains why remembrance remains so controversial in Belfast today.

September 2015 marks the centenary of the death of Grayson’s own great-uncle from Lurgan who served and died on the Western Front in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles.

Richard S. Grayson is Professor of Twentieth Century History at the University of London. John Horne is Professor of Modern European History at Trinity College, Dublin.

Recorded at Printworks, Dublin Castle on 26 September 2015.