'Soldiers in a church, Belfast', 1971
Oil on board by Ralph Lillford, 1972-1973.
With the rapid increase in the number of troops stationed in Northern Ireland from 1969, living space for the Army was a problem. Accommodation was in very short supply and soldiers were often billeted in old, empty buildings such as mills and factories: consequently, the living conditions were usually quite basic.
Early on Easter Sunday morning in 1971 the artist encountered the discordant sight of a company quartered in a Belfast church. The church had been converted into a makeshift barracks, fitted out with tables and beds, while the soldiers had made a clothes-line out of a light cord.
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