In order to separate crowds of protesters and offer some protection to security forces and members of the opposite community, a series of mobile sight screens were introduced; constructed out of hessian and timber and mounted on the side of a 4-ton truck, imaged above. The resulting screens were 16 feet high and each had two wings which opened out to give 40 feet length.
A total of 20 Mark 1 Mobile Sight Screens were constructed for the Protestant march of 1 July 1972. They proved to be very effective in preventing any ‘agro’ as the march passed through the New Lodge area, where 18 of the screens were deployed.
Subsequently a stronger Mark 2 screen was designed by Capt. TJ Ludlam (34 Field Squadron Royal Engineers. Drawing number 34/NI/72/3) and 34 of these constructed for the marched on 12 July 1972. The Mark 2 screens were stored in 325 Engineer Park, Antrim.
Each Mk. 2 sight screen required the following materials:
- Timber sawn, 7″ x 2″, 14 ft
- Timber sawn, 3″ x 2″, 42 ft
- Timber sawn, 2″ x 2″, 570 ft
- Plywood, ½” x 8′ x 4′, 1 sheet
- Nails, 4″, 6 lbs
- Nails, 2″, 70 pcs
- Woodscrews, 4″, 24 pcs
- Woodscrews, 2″, 72 pcs
- T-hinges, 12″, 8 pcs
- Hessian, 4′ wide, 56 yds
- Nails clout, 1″, 6 lbs
- AIP, 6′, 6 pcs
- Coach bolts, 3″ x ⅜” dia, 5 pcs
- Bolts, 3 ½” x ⅜” dia, with nuts and washers, 6 pcs
- Welding electrodes, no. 8, 20 pcs
- Screw eyelets, 11 pcs
- Cordage, 1″, 130 yds
The information and plans in this article was gathered from the Royal Engineers archive and library at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, Kent in May 2017. I am currently unable to reference the black and white image of the screens deployed. I will update this once I source the originator of the photograph.