The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Athletic Club was formed in June 1928, by Captain T. D. Morrison, M.C.D.I, to foster approved sporting activities for members of the force. It was affiliated to and operated with the Police Athletic Association (PAA) of Great Britain. The Club competed in the various PAA Championships staged at various centres annually throughout GB & Northern Ireland. In the 1920s and 30s the funds of the Association were used “to provide or assist in the provision of facilities & services for, or in connection with, any form of recreation or amateur sport for persons participating in or enjoying or viewing the same and encouraging social intercourse and wellbeing generally”.
The first major RUC Sports took place at Balmoral in July 1930 and over the next sixty years the sports attracted athletes such as American sprinter, Harrison Dillard, flying Dutch woman, Fanny Blankers-Koen and Jamaican Herb McKinney (all post-war Olympic Champions).
Paralleling the development of the sports was the development of a highly talented Athletics Team, which in 1950, held or shared nine Northern Ireland records. At the same time great Athletes emerged led by Shot-putter Davy Davidson, 440 runner Billy Dundas and future Olympic Champion Mary Peters.
The 1970's saw the beginning of the end for the sports as an international attraction however some years in the Pearl International Games, Mark Forsythe again wore the RUC colours and competed in two Olympics – Barcelona and Seoul.
Captain T. D. Morrison was Commissioned in the army in 1915. He served with the Ulster Division in the First World War, and the 9th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers from 1917 to demobilisation and joined the RIC in 1920 becoming District Inspector in 1920 before going to the Constabulary Depot and transferred to Belfast in 1922. Promoted County Inspector in 1939, he took over the Maintenance Branch of the R.U.C. and during the War, the Special Constabulary and Ulster Home Guard.
Today, Captain Morrison’s portrait may be viewed in the Morrison Suite above reception in the Newforge complex.
The Association has made efforts to display its Memorabilia within the Newforge complex. Many silver sports trophies, medals and historic programmes are on view within our corridors. The Association has a memorabilia display plan with numerous information boards displayed throughout the building to help explain the history of the Association and of sport in Northern Ireland since the 1930s. This memorabilia display is a work in progress with current displays charting sports activities from 1928 until the end of the 1960s. Plans are in place to continue these displays from the 1970s until the present day.