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Soldiers in a Church, Belfast

© the artist. Photo credit: National Army Museum

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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.

National Army Museum



Soldiers in a Church, Belfast




oil on board


H 119.4 x W 96.5 cm

Accession number

NAM. 1989-08-26

Acquisition method

gift from the artist, 1989

Work type



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National Army Museum

Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, Greater London SW3 4HT England

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