'Recce Lines, Hastings Street, Royal Anglian Regiment, Belfast', Northern Ireland, 1972
Oil on board by Ralph Lillford, 1972.
This painting of a young soldier writing a letter is based on a drawing from life. The soldiers' Spartan accommodation at Hastings Street, Belfast, was in a former flour mill. The term 'lines' for any accommodation where troops were quartered probably dates back to the days when the Army camped in lines of tents on campaign.
It was the task of each battalion's Reconnaissance (Recce) Platoon to keep track of crowd movements and report on any perceived threat. The 3rd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, arrived in Belfast in April 1972, and initially all seemed quiet. However, within 48 hours there were seven shootings, an armed robbery, three bomb hoaxes and two crowd disturbances.
Between 1971 and 1976, drawn by an interest in the civil conflict, Ralph Lillford made repeated trips to Northern Ireland to draw what he saw in the streets.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection