This picture is posted on a Facebook page collection marking the 400th anniversary of Derry’s Walls and shows a very different era in the city.
Fascism was in vogue in various nations throughout Europe and the salutes of these women welcoming Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini’s right hand man, General Italo Balbo, to Derry are testament to that. The red carpet was rolled out for the fascist general who landed in Lough Foyle with his 24 seaplane Italian Armada at around noon on July 2, 1933. He was on his way from Rome to Chicago to attend a ‘Century of Progress’ event for Italy and Fascism. Thousands of people turned out to greet the Armada both at its moorings near Culmore, and in Guildhall Square and Brooke Park, which were bedecked with flags and bunting to greet his arrival. Lord Mayor Dudley McCorkell, Minister of Commerce John Milne Barbour, City High Sheriff Sir Basil McFarland and Town Clerk Henry Miller were joined by local fascists and thousands of citizens for the reception. “After waiting impatiently for a month, Derry at long last had an opportunity of venting its excitement,” the Derry Journal stated.