Blair Mayne Statue - Conway Square, Newtownards
The statue of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Blair "Paddy" Mayne DSO & Three Bars stands in Conway Square, Newtownards. Born in Newtownards, in 1915, Mayne was a British Army soldier, Ireland and British Lions rugby union international, lawyer, amateur boxer and a founding member of the Special Air Service (SAS). During the course of the Second World War he became one of the British Army's most highly decorated soldiers.
Text on stone panel beside the statue:
LT. COL. ROBERT BLAIR “PADDY” MAYNE
Lt Colonel Robert Blair “Paddy” Mayne was born in Newtownards and attended Regent House Grammar School. From an early age his talent on the rugby field was apparent, with successes playing for his school, his country and the British Lions. Blair Mayne is, however, remembered principally for this military prowess. He first served with the Officer Training Corps at Queen’s University Belfast where he was studying law. However, his military career began in earnest in 1939 when he obtained a commission in the Royal Artillery.
He went on to serve with the Royal Ulster Rifles, The Cameronions and the newly formed 11th Scottish Commando with which, in 1941, he first saw action at Litiani River in Syria and was mentioned in dispatches for this bravery. The offer from Colonel David Stirling to “L” Detachment of the newly formed Special Air Services followed and it was on a subsequent raid in the North African desert that he gained the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).
Later acts of outstanding bravery in Sicily, France and North Western Europe added three bars to his DSO and his regiment ended the war in Norway assisting with the surrender of German forces there.
Lt Colonel Mayne was also honoured by the French and Belgian nations when he was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Legion d’Honneur (with palme).
Following the war Blair Mayne continued to practice law and was appointed Secretary of the Law Society, although due to injuries sustained in combat he was unable to resume his rugby career.
He die in a car accident in Newtownards on 10th December 1955.
His funeral was the largest ever witnessed in the town ad was attended by senior military figures and other dignitaries. At his graveside his former padre said: “The gift of leadership and the ability to inspire complete devotion and loyalty were his to an exceptional degree.”
Blair Mayne is buried in the family plot in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards.
This stature was erected by Ards Borough Council and funded by public subscription with the assistant of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery Fund.