Leaving a Legacy

History is all around us, in our own families and communities, in the living memories and the experiences of older people. We have only to ask them and they can tell us enough stories to fill a book.

Growing up in Northern Ireland, everyone has a story to tell about their life which is unique to them. Some people have been involved in momentous historical events like the Second World War, while many others been involved in events that are important to them and their families. Regardless of age or importance we all have interesting experiences to share.

If you would like to share your story, or that of a loved one, regarding growing up in Northern Ireland, please email approximately 500 words, and a photograph, to [email protected]

The story will appear on this page and will also be added to our website. It is our hope that these stories will leave a lasting legacy of those men and woman who helped make Northern Ireland what it is today.

Marcus George Beattie
1921 – 2019

2021 would also have been my Dad’s ‘Centennial’/100th Birthday and I wanted him to be remembered in some way so am very grateful to NI100 Centenary for permitting me to include this (very brief) story about his long life.

Marcus George Beattie was born in Belfast on 19th March 1921, not an inventor or famous, just someone who was to become a loving brother, husband and father. I know little about my Dad’s childhood but guess it was as normal as possible during those post WW1 times.

In 1939, aged 18, he joined the Army and spent most of WW2 on the front line, a Lance Corporal with the Royal Ulster Rifles (2nd Battalion-London Irish) he fought in various battles including the North African Campaign in 1943 and from 1943-1945 in the Italian Campaign. In 1944, ‘The Rifles’ were involved in the Battle of Monte Cassino, the Battalion took a leading role in the breaking of the Gustav Line, he was injured and hospitalised which accounts for an eye problem he suffered from some years later.

Being of a generation that didn’t talk much about the war, these extracts from Dad’s diaries found recently give an indication as to why.

19th March 1945 reads: “My Birthday, wonder where next, that’s my 3rd one here.”, and some days later, “Be good to wake up and find this was only a dream and a horrible nightmare”.

One story Dad seemed proud to share was about marching into Rome and seeing the Pope (Pius XII) in St Peter’s Square, this was shortly after the Monte Cassino battle.

Post war Dad worked in the bakery in ‘Newforge’ (later to be Spiller’s-Winalot dog biscuits), here he met my Mum, Kathleen Dickson, and they married in 1953.

In 1961 Dad became a postman, the walking variety, i.e. no van or bicycle, probably may explains knee problems in later life, he was known as ‘Geordie’ for anyone reading this and may remember him.

Although quite young I have a clear memory of him leaving home very early in the morning but back in time to make my breakfast before I went to school. He was also in the Territorial Army so regularly away on ‘jollies’!

He was a postman for over 24 years from 1961 to 1986 when he retired, we still have the carriage clock the Post Office presented him with.

After retiring, Dad suffered from various health issues but always ‘bounced back’, even aged 98, being strong willed, he tried his best to keep as fit and active as possible, doing various exercises (despite a ‘dodgy’ knee and needing a second hip replacement) and was as sharp as a pin!

This photo was taken on Dad’s 98th Birthday (19th March 2019), two weeks later he had a bad fall at home, spent a week in hospital, five weeks in a nursing home for physiotherapy and recovery and then readmitted to hospital, seemed to be recovering after a week but then suffered a stroke and, sadly, passed away three weeks later on 13th June 2019. He certainly was a tough cookie and missed every day.

Thanks again to NI100 for publishing this.


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