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The Ulster Protestant Volunteers was a loyalist and fundamentalist Christian paramilitary group in Northern Ireland.[1] They were active between 1966 and 1969 and closely linked to the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee (UCDC) and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), established by Ian Paisley and Noel Doherty in 1966.

The Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV) were founded in 1966 by Rev Ian Paisley and Noel Doherty. The UPV were commonly linked with other groups, such as the Ulster Constitutional Defence Committee (UCDC) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), with which they often acted alongside.

The organisation's inaugural meeting took place in Belfast's Ulster Hall, which would later become the UCDC. Their first incidents quickly followed.

In the spring of 1966, members bombed an all-girls primary school in Ardoyne, where talks to better relations between Protestants and Catholics were to take place. In May of that year they had their first kill in Shankill, although it was unintentional. The victim was 70-year-old Matilda Gould, a Protestant who the volunteers mistook for the Catholic living next door.[2] Shortly after this, the UVF and UPV took part in the killings of two Catholic men not far from the scene of the first attack. Following the 1967 trial of the UVF's leader Gusty Spence, the two groups were classified as illegal organizations.


1969 bombing campaignEdit

In the spring of 1969, the UPV took part in a bombing campaign across Belfast. The series of bombings took place on 30 March, 4 April, 20 April, 24 and 26 April. These attacks targeted electricity substations that would remove power from the east and south parts of Belfast. Other attacks targeted the water supply. A separate bombing was also planned to target a hydroelectric plant in Ballyshannon. As a result, Irish troops moved toward the border alongside ambulances, and British troops moved into the area as well.

Shortly after the failed attack in Ballyshannon, a message was issued by the groups:

"We wish to state that an active service unit from Northern Ireland was dispatched to undertake this task. So long as the threats from Éire continue, so long will the Volunteers of Ulster’s People’s Army strike at targets in Southern Ireland."

Several attacks followed, including ones in Bodenstown and Dublin.


On 11 October 1969 in Belfast, a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was shot and killed by Loyalists during rioting near Shankill road.[3] The events that followed his death would become known as The Troubles

The troubles were a conflict that started when Catholic nationalists began a violent campaign against the paramilitary protestant forces of Northern Ireland. It also involved British military and police forces. After 30 years, it ultimately ended with 3,500 casualties consisting of both civilians and military forces.[4] Several thousand more were injured. The conflict ended with the signing of the Good Friday agreement in 1998.[5] The Ulster Volunteer Force and Protestant Volunteers are largely thought to have started the conflict by the police. The conflict was mainly conducted through firefights and bombings.   


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "CAIN: Abstracts of Organisations - 'U'". Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  2. ^ "Getting their retaliation in first: 1969 and the re-emergence of paramilitary loyalism". History Ireland. 2013-03-06. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  3. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1969". Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  4. ^ Hammer, Joshua. "In Northern Ireland, Getting Past the Troubles". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  5. ^ "Northern Ireland's violent history explained". BBC Newsbeat. 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2019-05-10.