New Digitized Photos
Gusty Spence, who is credited with reviving the Ulster Volunteer Force in the 1960s, died on October 2, 2011. Early on in the “Troubles” era in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a loyalist paramilitary organization originally founded in 1913, declared war on the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the nationalist paramilitary organization. Spence was sent to prison for his role in the murder of barman Peter Ward, one of the first victims of the Troubles. It was in prison that he began to think and talk about politics. Upon release he played a key role in forming UVF thinking and, indirectly, in the development of the political wing, the Progressive Unionist Party. In 1994 it was Gusty Spence who made the announcement of a ceasefire on behalf of the Combined Loyalist Military Command, an umbrella group for loyalist paramilitary organizations, including the UVF, the Ulster Defense Association, and the Red Hand Commandos. In 2007 Spence was chosen to announce the decommissioning of weapons of the UVF.