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Lieutenant Colonel Edward James Augustus Howard Brush  DSO CB OBE, known as Peter, (5 March 1901 – 22 July 1984) was a Northern Irish unionist politician and paramilitary leader. In later life Brush was also known by the nickname "Basil", as a joke based on the television puppet Basil Brush.[1]

Brush was born in Fermoy, County Cork, the son of Major George Howard Brush and May Florence Farrell. Educated at Clifton College[2] and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Brush spent his early teenage years at his father's citrus plantation in Canada, later returning to Drumnabreeze House, Magheralin, County Down.[citation needed] He had a distinguished career in the British Army and during the Second World War he was wounded in France in 1940 before being held as a prisoner of war for three years.[3] He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his actions during the defence of Calais in 1940.[4] By the time he retired from the army he had reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.[3] Settling in County Down he took up farming but remained involved in military activity with the Territorial Army.[3] He also served as deputy Lord Lieutenant of Down until resigning from the position in 1974.[5][6]

Brush first received public attention in 1973 when stories appeared in the press that he had been drilling his own right-wing loyalist private militia force. Claiming 5,000 members, the group, known as Down Orange Welfare, became involved in the Ulster Workers' Council strike of 1974, with Brush taking a leading role in planning the stoppage as a member of the Ulster Workers' Council's Co-ordinating Committee.[3] Brush was also president of the South Down Ulster Unionist Party Association and represented the constituency in the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention.[3] He left the public eye after a second less successful loyalist strike in 1977.[7]

In 1935 he married Susan Mary Torbett; they had one daughter, Maureen Rosemary Brush, who was born in 1940.[citation needed] He died, aged 83, in Dublin.


  1. Ian S. Wood, Crimes of Loyalty: A History of the UDA, Edinburgh University Press, 2006, p. 34
  2. "Clifton College Register" Muirhead, J.A.O. p340: Bristol; J.W Arrowsmith for Old Cliftonian Society; April, 1948
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 W.D. Flackes & Sydney Elliott, Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1993, The Blackstaff Press, 1994, p. 107
  4. [1]
  5. Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations: Parties, Groups and Movements of the 20th century, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000, p. 213
  6. [2]
  7. Ciarán Ó Maoláin, The Radical Right: A World Directory, Longman, 1987, p. 334
Unrecognised parameter
New title Member for South Down
Convention dissolved

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