This is an illustration of the military adapting what is available for their own purpose.
On looking at this wall I immediately realised that it looks very like a Pillbox and on looking at the other side my suspicions were confirmed as you van see the white paint from what was inside the structure along with signs on where the other walls stood.
This is the junction of Galgorm Street and North Road.
Railway Street, Ballymena
This building was the Bellis Brothers Factory which was involved in the production of Linen.
During the war this particular building was used as a billet by the Royal Engineers.
Harryville Camp, Ballymena
Some of the first soldiers to arrive in Ballymena were the Monmouthshire Regiment who used the Bellis Factory (Shown Above) as well as the Harryville Old School. (Thanks very much to Ed Luke for his help)
These pictures show the site of Harryville School of which the wall still remains.
Ballymena Territorial Army in Harryville, Ballymena
The 23 men in the photo above were all from Harryville and served with 26 Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery in the Middle East.
(Thanks to Ed Luke for picture and info)
Armoured Vehicles at Ballymena
This is a Valentine tank being operated by men of the North Irish Horse near Ballymena on 19th September 1941.
The Tank Commander is shows speaking with Officers during an Exercise. (Imperial War Museum Photograph)
Rolls Royce Armoured Car. (I.W.M. Photograph)
Services Club, Ballymena
The Services Club in Ballymena has this 1941 25Pdr Field Gun at the front door.
"Tanks For Attack" Ballymena
I believe this was a Fund Raising effort called "Tanks For Attack" and the first picture dates from 21st October 1942 with my comparison showing the same location today. (Thanks very much to Ed Luke for the picture and information)
St. Patricks Barracks, Ballymena
Shown above is the Reception Line of the first American Officers Dance given by Staff Officers of 34th Infantry Division on Army Day, 6th April 1942. It is taking place in the Gymnasium at St Patricks Barracks and my photograph shows the same location. ("After The Battle" Magazine picture)
The picture below was taken in March 1942 and shows American soldiers performing drill with British 25 Pdr Field guns. The path they are standing on became a running track in later years and my photograph shows the same position ( "After The Battle" Magazine)
Shown below are a few of the Second World War buildings within St Patricks Barracks
Above was the old Water Tower and the Keystone on the left is from the Accommodation Block shown below from the Parade Square.
The rather narrow stairs inside a Barrack Block and the overgrown entrance on the left.
The land for St Patricks Barracks was requisitioned by the Army in 1937 and it is interesting to note that there were initially a total of 5 separate camps with "Church Camp" being in the area of St Patricks Church (Shown Above) and it was in this area that both German and Italian Prisoners Of War were detained. "Lowfield Camp" was Headquarters 107 Brigade and was situated at what later became the Sports Field (As shown above). "Highfield Camp" held army housing with "Castle Camp" being at what was Ballymena Castle. This was used as the Officers Mess and also occupied by female soldiers. The site is where the Seven Towers Leisure Centre now stands!
Finally "Demesne Camp" later evolved into what became St Patricks Barracks.
Carrier Pigeon at Ballymena
A message written on rice paper is put into a container and attached to a carrier pigeon by members of 61st Division Signals at Ballymena on 3 July 1941.
(Imperial War Museum Photograph)
Brookvale House, Ballymena
Brookvale House in Ballymena was a Headquarters Building for the 34th Infantry Division.
The top picture shows an Entrance Gate with Sentry Box. Unfortunately a comparison picture is not possible as this is now the site of Ballymena Police Station which is the red building shown above however it is interesting to note that the Town's War Memorial and Garden is directly opposite.("After The Battle" Magazine photograph)
Beechfield House, Ballymena
As can be seen by the comparrison picture little has changed here although the perimeter wall has been re-designed to pass behind the tree. The pillar in the original picture shows damage as may have been caused by a military vehicle when passing through. (Picture on left from "After The Battle" Magazine)
American Personel used this building as a Headquarters from 1942 when a large number of U.S. troops arrived in Ballymena.
Records show these included 14th Ordnance Company (Medium Maintenance) 5 Corps and HQ 34th Infantry Division who arrived in 1943. Between 19th November 1943 and 12th March 1944 Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 307th Quartermaster Sterilization Battalion were in Ballymena with Quartermaster Depot Q-111BA being created on 23rd November 1943.
577th Army Postal Unit were here from 7th December 1943 to 10th March 1944 as well as 68th Station Hospital (250 Bed) from 22nd December 1943 until 25th May 1944.
Between 3rd April 1944 and 2nd June 1944 285th Military Police Company (Post, Camp or Station) were in Ballymena as well as 54th Finance Disbursing Section from 12th April 1944 until 8th May of the same year.
N.A.A.F.I. and American Red Cross in Ballymena.
There were a few locations in Ballymena where the Naval, Army and Air Force Institute (N.A.A.F.I.) provided facilities for Service Personnel.
77 Wellington Street and Dunclug on the Cushendall Road were two such places.
The American Red Cross also had a Club in Ballymena Masonic Hall which is shown here.
(Information from ww2 Telephone Directory)
Shorts Aircraft Production Facility Lambeg.
Shorts Aircraft Factory moved various sections of its production to other places outside the central Belfast area and there was an Electrical Workshop operated by Shorts at 17 - 23 Lambeg Road in Lambeg which is shown here.
Whitehead Railway Station
Whitehead Railway Station, which was the property of the Northern Counties Committee Railway, became Headquarters of Royal Engineers 8th Railway Construction Company who had an Armoured Rail Trolley which was marked to appear to be a Cement Wagon.
This trolley, which had a number of fighting slots, was propelled by a Leyland engine which powered both axles and the driver could see forward by using a periscope.
From October 1940 an Ambulance Train was kept at Whitehead Platform however I believe the only use was in 1941 following the Bismarck Action when wounded sailors were landed at Londonderry and this train was used to ferry them to Hospitals in Belfast.
The Hospital Train consisted of approximately 10 ward carrages which held a total of 40 patients. It also had a Treatment Coach which incorporated an Operating Theatre, Pharmacy and Utility Room which, if circumstances dictated, could be used as an Isolation Ward or indeed Padded Cell and the Kitchen Car could produce 400 meals.
Personel who worked on the train were from Number 15 Ambulance Train whose compliment was approximately 45 men with 3 Training Sisters.
From 22nd November 1943 until 17th May 1944 they were joined by United States Personel from 44th Hospital Train.
The personel were housed in local billets.
The train shown in these photographs is the Number 14 Ambulance Train at Whitehead and the photographs were taken in September 1941. (Many thanks to S.W. Joyner for the information)
The workings of a Hospital Train
This selection of photographs shows the workings of an Ambulance Train. - Shown above is the loading of a casualty
The loading is shown from both a Platform and Ground Level. The next picture shows the wounded on three tiers of beds on each side of a carrage.
Surgery takes place and then there is some recuperation before finally being permitted to leave. (Photographs from Imperial War Museum)
Hospital Train at Broomhedge
This photograph shows an Ambulance Train sitting at Broomhedge near Lisburn.
On the right is a Composition of how a Hospital Train was configured.
This final photograph shows the site of the Broomhedge Siding as it looks today when photographed from the Road Bridge.
The River Bann Defence Line near Portglenone
This Pillbox was part of the River Bann Defence Line.
There are two Loopholes at which Light Machine-guns would have been positioned.
It is pleasing to note that this Pillbox remains in great condition. (Thanks very much to Adam Kearney for bringing this Pillbox to my attention)
Portglenone Forest Park
This small memorial can be seen in the Car Park of Portglenone Forest Park where is says "Dedicated to the men of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division United States Army. Stationed here 9th December 1943 - 13th February 1944. WW2 Combat Campaigns Sicily, Italy, Normandy, Holland, Belgium, Germany"
United States Army records show that Portglenone was also home to both a Headquarters Company and Anti-Tank Company from 121st Infantry, 8th Infantry Division between 15th December 1943 and July 1944.
On walking through the forest you will find some concrete bases for nissen huts and concrete pathways.
These pictures show firing ranges on the North Coast. There is lots of concrete with a couple of red bricked buildings which could be described as "Soldiers Shelters". The shape of the ranges can easily be seen.
Its always great to find some signs or graffiti dating from the war years, and in this case written by military personel who were training prior to the invasion of occupied Europe.
Here are "C. Patton 1944", "D. Krawczyk" "R. Schtz" and "D Smiley" which has a swastika on the left. Directly above is some lettering which is dated on the 25th day of an unrecognisable month in 1943. Wording to the right appears to be "Boyhomme" and the brick shown to the left here says "New York" - A wonderful piece of unique history that makes me wonder how many of these young soldiers failed to return.
In the same area the U.S. Army carried out shooting practice with M-10 Tank Destroyer vehicles at Benbane Head. These vehicles were known as "Wolverine" by British Troops.
Thanks to some research by Jeff Clark I can identify C. Patton as Clydis J Patton, Master Sergeant, 1 Headquarters 507th, number 16051469 who had enlisted at Peoria, Illinois on 20th December 1941 having been a semi-skilled within the telephone / telegraph industry.
Torpedo Production and Test Facility, Antrim
In 1942 the Admiralty built a Torpedo Factory at Masereene Barracks in Antrim.
Torpedoes were initially developed by Messers. Stone Platts at their facility on Randalstown Road. Royal Naval Armament Depot later took over this role and it was here that electrically driven Mk 8 torpedoes were produced and tested. The structure in this picture was used for testing the torpedoes which were then recovered and towed back to what was later Masereene Barracks.
The picture on the left shows the platform as it looked during WW2.
It is now retained as it is home for a colony of Terns and can be seen from the Antrim Forum Car Park.
Drumadarragh House, Doagh.
This was used as the Headquarters Building for the 2nd Infantry Brigade of the Belgian Army.
The United States Army had its 53rd Medical Battalion, less A and B Companies, based here.
Home Guard, Ballymena
The Local Defence Volunteers / Ulster Home Guard had their Headquarters at the old Ballymena Academy which is now the site of Fairhill Shopping Centre.
Belgian Soldiers at Ballycraigy Camp
These pictures show Ballycraigy Camp and some of the Belgian Army soldiers who were based there.
2nd (Fusilier) Battalion of the 6th Infantry Brigade Deinze were based at Ballycraigy along with 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade, Yser who left the camp at the beginning of August 1945 prior to the arrival of above.
With various Brigades of the Belgian Army having been based in Northern Ireland it is worthy of note that their cloth patch incorporated a Shamrock as shown on the left.
The band shown above are The "Belgian Bally Boys".
(Thanks very much to Jean-Louis Marichal and Ronny Soetens for their help)
This is a Ticket to a Dance held by the Non-Commissioned Officers of 2nd Battalion, 6th Brigade Belgian Army. (Thanks to Ronny Soetens)
Personal photographs of Belgian soldiers standing at Larne Harbour and their Camp in Larne (Many thanks to Hugo Cox)
Small Group photograph of Belgian Soldiers in Northern Ireland. - The precise location where these two pictures were taken is currently unknown. (Many thanks to Hugo Cox)
Camp Ballyhamage, Doagh.
The Belgian Army had a Field Ambulance Unit based at what they called "Camp Ballyhamage"
This is what the site looks like today.
Gibraltarian Evacuee Camps - Broughshane
During the war many thousands of women, children and elderly men, who were residents of Gibraltar, were evacuated to the safety of various locations throughout the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland played its part and a total of 12 Camps were constructed to be used by approximately 5000 refugees.
The first 3 pictures here show Dunaird Camp and I think it is rather poignant to show a stove, fire and childrens game.
The remains of another location called Drummack Camp can be found a short distance away and are shown in the 3 of the pictures above.
The white building in the first picture appears to have been a meat cold store and the tall building incorporated a water tank in the top section. Both of these are regular features in the various camps.
There is another building beside the nearby river which may have been used to generate power.
The pictures above are from Aughacully Camp that is located at Aughacully Road. There were many more buildings on this site which have now gone with only some concrete remaining.
All these camps in the Ballymena area are marked with a small plaque such as this one which marks the location of Breckagh Bridge Camp.
I remember visiting Gibraltar some years ago and speaking with a Taxi Driver who told me he had been evacuated to Carryduff in County Antrim!
Seamount Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Battery
This Heavy Anti Aircraft battery is on the main Kilroot to Larne Road.
The field immediately beside the roadway had been a camp with a number of nissen huts however none remain today.
These pictures show the Control Building with a gun pit in front and the sea in the background.
This Aerial Picture shows the layout of this particular Gun Battery.
The four Gun Positions are clearly visible with the Control Building (Which is shown in more detail below) being to the Centre Left of the picture. (Google)
The wording which is painted on the wall beside the Hatch shown top right appears to say "DISP" and perhaps 1.
The Coat Hook number 5 which is inside the Fire Control. There are steps down into this building which has wooden doors and is an elongated "L" shape.
The picture below shows where the nearby camp once stood beside the road with the Anti-Aircraft Battery on the high ground a short distance away. Nothing remains of this camp today.
Lennymore R.A.F. Rescue Jetty
With there being airfields at Aldergrove, Nutts Corner and Langford Lodge in close proximity to the largest lake in the United Kingdom - Lough Neagh it was necessary to provide protection for any aircrew who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the water.
Royal Air Force Rescue craft were based here at Lennymore Bay as well as northeast at Aldergrove.
This jetty is also in close proximity to a Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery.
Lennymore H.A.A. Battery
Shown here are pictures of the Heavy Anti-Aircraft battery which can be seen near Langford Lodge at Lennymore.
Fire Control for this battery which is a different design pattern of other such places I have visited where the fire control would have been detached from the guns positions.
An impressive Gun Battery.
Islandmagee Radar Platform
This radar platform can be found at Ballyprior Beg on Islandmagee.
It has been constructed with a row of steps up the inside of the structure on the left wall which reaches the top.
There are also a number of metal pins in the ground around the structure which may have been used for camouflage.
The adjoining field holds the Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery mentioned below.
Islandmagee Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery
The H.A.A. Battery on Islandmagee at Ballyprior Beg has suffered from weathering over the years and all 4 of the shelters have collapsed as well as the strengthened Nissen Hut.
The picture above shows one of the gun battery positions in the rear right with 2 collapsed shelters in the centre foreground and background.
To the right is the base on which an artillery piece would have been mounted with the third photograph showing all 8 attachments still intact.
The 4 gun positions form the shape of a square with the accompanying nissen hut a short distance away. This location was known as "LR3"
This Type 22 Pillbox is overlooking the River Maine to the north of Lough Neagh.
The brickwork on the outside of the building is showing signs of decay and weathering although it remains a good example.
Glengormley Radar Platform and Anti-Aircraft Gun Battery
This is a radar platform and hardened nissen hut which is all that remains of a Light Anti-Aircraft battery at Glengormley.
The building is in a field on the opposite side of the road from the radar platform.
Unfortunately since these photographs were taken I have been told that the Radar Platform has now been demolished.
The hardened shelter shown here is probably the best example i have found so hopefully this will survive "Redevelopment"
R.A.F. Aldergrove Rescue Jetty
This is an old Royal Air Force Jetty.
With R.A.F. Aldergrove being so close to Lough Neagh it was necessary to have such a facility to provide a rescue capability in the event that an aircraft was unable to cross the largest fresh water lake in the United Kingdom! - It is now privately owned and not accessable.
Lisburn Castle Gardens
The Castle Gardens at Castle Street in Lisburn includes an Air raid Shelter from the Second World War which is shown here. This is very similar in design to another Air raid Shelter which can be seen in Ward Park in Bangor.
Shown here is a frontal view of the impressive Norman Castle in the town of Carrickfergus.
As with many other places throughout Northern Ireland the castle was put to good use during the Second World War.
There was a military garrison as well as an Ordnance Store from which ordnance was transported via a narrow guage railway from the castle down to the nearby Harbour for transportation to other parts of the United Kingdom. - The tunnel exit immediately beside the Harbour is shown here.
I have also seen reference to a Military Prison in Carrickfergus during the War which I can only suspect was housed within the Castle. A brick pillbox was built over the Water Gate.
Here you can see the Air raid Shelters inside the Castle and the arrival at Carrickfergus Harbour of the guns which were to be mounted at the Kilroot Battery.
The next one shows the same position as it looks today.
More information regarding the Kilroot Battery can be seen further down this page.
Military life at what had become known as "Kilroot Fort" came to an end when on 3rd january 1957 the 270th Indipendent Maintainance Battery Royal Artillery, the then residents of the Fort, were disbanded and the Fort was handed over to the 21st Married Families Hostel. The guns were soon removed for scrap.
My thanks goes to Graham Walton for providing these excellent photographs.
If there was no room in the Air Raid Shelter at the Castle you could always run to the .........Gasworks???
I expect that this Air raid Shelter was built with the workers of the Gasworks in mind however it was also made available to locals to use. The only question I have is if there is an Air Raid why would you thing of running to a gasworks?
For those who would like to visit the shelter is inside the "Flame Gasworks Museum of Ireland" which is accessible at Irish Quarter West and the best bit is that the museum is FREE.
U.S. Rangers, Carrickfergus
All Rangers were volunteers who began training at the "Sunnylands" Camp in Carrickfergus before going off to make history on the beaches of Normandy.
Nothing remains of the camp however the large stone shown here marks the spot.
The stone can be found at a housing development known as Sunnylands Avenue on the northwestern side of the town and the picture here shows the stone being unveiled by two United States Army Ranger Veterans.
Shown here are some photographs of Major William O. Darby who was the founder and Commander of the Rangers who referred to themselves as "Darby's Rangers" He is shown above in April 1944 when he was Commander if the 45 Division and as Commander of the 1st Ranger Infantry Battalion. (From http://www.army.mil)
Dating from the 1990's here we have some of Darby's Rangers Veterans on a television programme (Ulster Television) during a visit to various sites around Northern Ireland.
Following the departure of the American Troops Sunnylands became home to 1st Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Brigade "Rumbeke" of the Belgian Army who arrived there on 9th March 1945.
These pictures shows the United States Ambassador John G. Winant with Major General Hartle and General G. Cheney, Commander U.S.A.B.I. visiting 63rd Signal Battalion at Carrickfergus which included 122 Company, 3 Operating Platoon. (The picture above is from the tothosewhoserved.com website)
American soldiers on parade at Sunnylands Camp, probably wondering why the place is called Sunnylands when it always rains! (After The Battle Picture)
These are the Officers of the First Ranger Battalion which was activated at Carrickfergus on 19th June 1942.
(For more information visit The U.S. Rangers Centre)
Scoutbush House, Carrickfergus
The rather grand looking building shown here is "Scoutbush House" which stood off Trooperslane Road in Carrickfergus.
During WW2 the 3rd Battalion of the Ulster Home Guard, who were commanded by Lt. Colonel J.A. McFerran, were based here and were involved in training within the grounds as illustrated in this picture where they are watching a Mine Laying Demonstration.
The Ulster Home Guard soldiers are shown here outside the House during the War.
The colour photograph shows the entrance into the yard as seen in the top picture facing the Barn.
(My thanks goes to Ian Alexander for information and photographs.)
War Savings Week in Carrickfergus
I believe the original picture here was taken in 1943 during War Savings Week.
I have been attempting to identify the people in the picture and think the following is correct.
Front row left to right :- Unknown, Councillor Tommy Patterson (Wearing ribbon on his lapel), Unknown R.A.F. Officer, Councillor Ernest Burton, Prime Minister John Andrews, Walter McKeown (Who was Chairman of Carrickfergus Urban District Council) and the remaining are also unknown.
If you can help with the identification of people in this picture please contact me.
This picture shows from left to right Private Bernard Brilliant, Corporal May Officer, Private Catherine McCloskey, Private John Battafarano, Private Raymond Evans, Private Doris Evane, Private Henriette Officer, and Private Henry Kacvinsky at a St Patricks Day dance in Carrickfergus in 1942. (United States Army Signals picture from U.S. Army)
The "Valuation" notice on the wall is from Carrickfergus Urban District Council.
Victoria Cemetery, Carrickfergus
Private James Cameron, 21st Independent Parachute Company died on 26th September as the result of wounds received during the Battle of Arnhem and is buried in Appledorn, The Netherlands.
He had served with distinction in Italy and within two days of the black and white picture being taken would be dead.
On the seventh day of Operation Market Garden Private Cameron received a serious leg wound and was taken to the Casualty Clearing Station where he succumbed to his wounds.
Private James Cameron is standing second from the right. More information about the Irishmen in the 1st Airborne Division can be found in the book "Brotherhood of The Cauldron" by David Truesdale. See the "Links" Section of this website.
Sergeant Pilot Samuel James Millar was serving with 148 Squadron Royal Air Force when he was shot down and killed over Egypt on 6th June 1941.
Sergeant Flight Engineer Frederick Hubert Patten was serving with R.A.F. Bomber Command when he was Killed in Action over France on 25th July 1944.Joseph Martin Loughridge was a Sergeant Pilot with 87 Squadron Royal Air Force and he was killed at 23:30 hrs on 2nd September 1941 when the Hurricane IIC Z3576 which he was flying crashed at Kingsdown QL site in Wiltshire.
The aircraft had been tasked with searchlight co-operation and was orbiting the dummy airfield beacon when he had to turn suddenly to avoid collission with another Hurricane . The turn became a spin and he spun into the ground from 500 feet.
Not forgetting the Merchant Navy without whom Britain would have starved.
Castle Dobbs, Carrickfergus
Castle Dobbs was used by the Belgian Army 3rd Infantry Brigade R.A.S.C. Provisions Unit.
The Castle is also mentioned in the W.B.S. Troop Accommodations Northern Ireland District list as having a capacity of 436 Troops.
Little evidence remains of the use by Military other than the concrete shown above.
Kilroot Gun Battery
Kilroot Gun Battery is on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. The Kilroot Fort had 2 large concrete searchlight positions which are 2 levels rather than the single storey positions at Grey Point Fort on the opposite shore.
The pictures above and to the left show the two positions which remain in reasonable condition.
The complex included a selection of stores for the Royal Artillery as well as Oil and Paint Stores and a Workshop.
The fort was almost diamond in shape and contained a Guardroom, Cookhouse, Caretakers Quarters, Workshop, Latrines and Ablution Room as well as being defended by 2 pill boxes which had a compliment of 18 men.
Along with East Twin Island in the Belfast Harbour Estate, which is now completely gone and replaced by Belfast Dry Dock, Orlock Point, of which very little remains, (See County Down section) and the well preserved Grey Point Fort at Crawfordsburn in County Down these Forts were used to protect Belfast for many years including the Second World War.
Shown above are the steps down to the old Magazine along with a Shelter and Royal Artillery Store which would have been to the right. The R.A. Store, Guardhouse and Caretakers Quarters all remain in good condition.
The construction of the Kilroot Battery was deemed necessary by "The Revision of Armaments - Belfast" by the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers Works Committee dated 4th July 1888. Kilroot was to have one 6 inch (152mm) gun with three Machine-Guns for local defence and was finally constructed with completion taking place in 1910. After much discussion it was decided that the Battery would have two concrete gun positions for the barbette mountings of the guns with a magazine, shell store and shelter built underneath.
The battery was surrounded by a wall, similar to that which remains at Grey Point and the two Pillboxes, one on either side at the northern and southern ends of the diamond shape were designed to provide defensive fire along a ditch. Three portable Maxim Machine-guns where also available for defence.
Immediately prior to the start of the Second World War the Battery was manned by 188th (Antrim) Heavy Battery Royal Artillery.
It is worthy of note that on 4th August 1940 the Battery guns engaged an enemy aircraft!!
This is the final resting place of David Moore.
Although there is no reference to service in the Armed Forces on the Headstone this was Flying Officer David Moore, Service Number 55507 who served with the Royal Air Force.
Flying Officer Moore died on 31st December 1944.
Unfortunately I have been unable to find any other information regarding Flying Officer Moore.
Military Locations Around Carrickfergus
There were a number of Military Units based and operating in the Carrickfergus Area during WW2.
In 1939 there was a Royal Army Ordnance Corps presence in Antrim Street.
In 1940 the Royal Army Service Corps were at the Oil Depot at West Pier with the female soldiers of the Auxiliary Territorial Service at a Carpet Shop in High Street.
1941 saw a Royal Air Force Barrage Balloon Unit at East Pier as well as a Regimental Transport Officer (Transit) being based at Carrickfergus Railway Station.
Soldiers were Billeted at various locations around Carrickfergus including a number of streets in the Town Centre as well as a Band Hall in Thomas Street, the Salvation Army Hall and a Congregational Church Hall.
If you have any information regarding these or other places then please email me.
The Belgian Army at Dalriada
Soldiers of 3rd Infantry Brigade of the Belgian Army were based at Dalriada House.
This is an outstanding monument in all senses of the word.
Located on top of Knockagh Hill above the village of Greenisland in County Antrim the foundation stone was laid on 7th October 1922 with the monument finally being completed in 1936
“TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN PROUD AND AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE OF THE MEN OF COUNTY ANTRIM WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR. THIS MEMORIAL IS ERECTED BY THEIR GRATEFUL COUNTY. NOBLY YOU FOUGHT, YOUR KNIGHTLY VIRTUE PROVED YOUR MEMORY HALLOWED IN THE LAND YOU LOVED.”
Sadly within a few years of completion many more were to die in the Second World War and it was subsequiently rededicated to include those who also died.
The monument commands excellent panoramic views over Belfast Lough from Belfast to Carrickfergus and beyond.
Accessible through Greenisland village to Monument Road this is well worth a visit however beware that the road is unsuitable for large vehicles.
Slieveanee Mountain Military Training Area
Slieveanee Mountain was used as a Military Training Area during the Second World War and walkers in the area should not be surprised to find evidence of this activity.
Shown here is an explosive which was found on 2nd June 2014 by folks from the Glenravel Historical Society.
I believe that this may have been fired from a Spigot Mortar.
(For more information on the Glenravel Historical Society please visit http://www.glenravelhistoricalsociety.org/ Photograph from the Society)
Members of the Glenravel Historical Society unveiled a Memorial Plaque on the 75th anniversary of a Second World War air crash which claimed the lives of five airmen on Slieveanee Mountain.
The aircraft was a Royal Air Folce Hudson, serial No T9328 which was with 224 Squadron based at Aldergrove. This aircraft crashed on Slieveanee Mountain on October 16, 1940 killing all five crew members (Please see below as three of them are buried at Killead.)
A sincere Thank-you to all those at Glenravel Historical Society for this excellent project!
St Catherines Parish Church of Ireland Church, Killead
One of the famous visitors of the past to this Church was Glenn Miller!
There are currently 46 Airmen who have been laid to rest in the Parish Graveyard including Squadron Leader Dennis Wykeham-Martin D.F.C. who was killed on 15th May 1943 and whose gravestone says "Who gave his like in the Battle of the Atlantic"
Flying Officer Tony Tisdall was with Flight Lieutenant Francis Scott and Pilot Officer Ronald Davies in Hudson bomber T9328 of 224 Squadron based at Aldergrove. This aircraft crashed on Slieveanee Mountain on October 16, 1940 killing all on board.
Crashes took a considerable toll on Crews.
Garcia and Capel who are buried here were on Convoy Escort Duty on 10th August 1942 in Flying Fortress II A from Ballykelly when it crashed near Nutts Corner and the Depth Charges exploded.
Werner was flying a Blenheim Mk 4 from 254 Squadron R.A.F. when it crashed near Garvagh on 9th June 1941.
Linhart was a Pilot with 206 Sqn and was flying a Hudson to escort the "Australia Star" however the aircraft crashed near Aldergrove.
On September 20 another 224 Squadron Hudson T9326 took off from Aldergrove on an anti-submarine patrol however it crashed with the loss of all three on board who are named here.
Sergeant (Pilot) Arthur Gibbs from Ipswich and Sergeant Stanley Swann from Manchester were both buried at St Catherine’s, while Sergeant (Pilot) Kenneth Postgate was buried at Killead Presbyterian Church.
Dennis Fiennes Wykeham-Martin was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on the 31st of January 1939.
He was promoted to Flying Officer on the 31st of July 1940 and served with 53 Squadron based at Detling in Kent during the Battle of Britain before being posted to 1404 Meteorological Flight based at RAF St Eval in Cornwall where he and his crew operated Blenheim aircraft over the Bay of Biscay.
At 12.30pm on the 30th of June 1941 he was on patrol over the Bay of Biscay when he spotted a U Boat on the surface. The U Boat, U371 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Driver, mistook his aircraft for a German Ju88 so was slow to react.
At 12.25pm he dropped two 250lb anti submarine bombs and one 250lb general purpose bomb onto the U-Boat in a dive bombing attack from its stern and these were seen to burst 30 yards off the starboard bow.
The submarine began to crash dive but there was enough time to carry out another attack, this time from the port side with a single 250lb general purpose bomb which detonated over the bows however the submarine escaped without damage.
He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on the 31st of July 1941 and on the 12th of August 1941 took off from St Eval for a patrol.
He spotted a U Boat on the surface and, using cloud cover, attempted a surprise attack at 8.55am.
The U Boat, U372 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Heinz-Joachim Neumann, turned towards its attacker and proceeded to crash dive.
A 250lb anti submarine bomb landed 35 yards from the submarine and this was followed by another shortly after the vessel submerged.
The submarine appeared to have had trouble submerging as her stern was visible for a while until is disappeared in an oil patch leaving a large bubble behind it.
Although Wykeham-Martin and his crew claimed this as a victory U372 was able to return to Brest undamaged.
Interestingly he crew were commended by the Air Officer Commanding 19 Group for this action.
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross which was announced by the Air Ministry on the 2nd of January 1942. The citation read:-
"This officer's vigilance and alertness have enabled him to sight and attack enemy submarines on four occasions. All these attacks produced promising results; after one attack which Flt. Lt. Wykeham-Martin carried out large air bubbles and oil were observed. This officer has served with great distinction, and he has shown great skill when flying in adverse weather conditions".
He was mentioned in despatches on the 11th of June 1942.
He was later posted to command 86 Squadron.
At 12.26am on the morning of the 14 May 1943 Dennis Wykeham-Martin and his crew took off from Aldergrove in Liberator Mk III FK234-W for an operation but tragically one minute later the aircraft crashed, coming down at Hill Close, Aldergrove.
Four of the crew, Flight Sergeant Burney, Warrant Officer Carter, Flight Sergeant McGhee and Sergeant Leslie, were killed outright in the crash.
Sergeant Little was recovered from the wreckage with a fractured skull and other injuries from which he later died.
Dennis Wykeham-Martin was found alive but unconscious with a fractured skull and multiple injuries; he survived a further thirty-six hours before he succumbed to his injuries.
The two remaining members of the crew, Pilot Officer S. Neil and Flight Sergeant A. Cowan, had extensive injuries but recovered. The aircraft was sent for repair but was later written off.
(Information from http://www.hambo.org/lancing/view_man.php?id=62)
Sergeant Van Der Aa Kuhle and his Crew are also buried at St Catherines Church, Killead however I have decided to include him in this separate entry due to his Nationality.
On 20th September 1941, along with his Crew of Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Sergeant Robert Steel and Aircraftman Second Class Thomas William Vickers, they were in a 236 Squadron Blenheim, Number T2128 and taking part in Torpedo Training which incorporated flying with a second Blenheim in a practice formation over Lough Neagh.
Unfortunately Blenheim T2128 hit the water and sank immediately with the loss of all on board.
Two bodies were recovered on 25th September with the third being found two days later.
On researching this crash I have found Sergeant Van Der Aa Kuhle being identified as a Danish National (http://www.luftwaffe.no/Table2.htm) however his Headstone identifies him as being from South Africa whilst the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have him as being from Naivasha in Kenya.
Whatever his Nationality it is sad that both he and his Crew lost their lives in such circumstances.
Killead Presbyterian Church, Killead Village
Four Airmen from three Nations are buried in Killead Presbyterian Church Graveyard with a Soldier who was Killed in Action in Italy also being remembered.
Sergeant Kenneth Horton was serving with 220 Squadron and was a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner aboard Lockheed Hudson AM615.
On 1st February 1942 the aircraft had taken off from R.A.F. Nutts Corner for a Training Exercise where the Pilot was involved in carrying out Low Level attacks on soldiers.
The weather was poor with both low cloud and rain when the aircraft crashed at 11.20 killing all six Crew Members.
Two of the Crew are buried in Northern Ireland with Sergeant Falkner Cotton Young of the Royal Australian Air Force being laid to rest in St Catherines Parich Church of Ireland at Killead.
Sergeant Kenneth Posgate was serving with 224 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
On 30th September 1940 at 04.30hrs he was a Pilot on board Lockheed Hudson, T9326 which was coded QX-V which had taken off from R.A.F. Aldergrove for an Anti-Submarine Patrol.
The aircraft failed to gain height before losing power and crashing to the ground only a few miles from the Airfield killing all Crewmen on board. - Gibbs and Swann are referred to in the St Catherines Parish Church item above.
The photograph below shows the Lockheed Hudson aircraft photographed before delivery to the Royal Air Force. (From the Al Zeig Collection at 1000aircraftphotos.com)
Sergeant Richard Henry Sproge was with Number 2 Advanced Flying Unit and flying in Avro Anson Mk 1 MG385 during a Night Navigation Exercise in the early hours of 27th March 1944.
At 01.20 the aircraft crashed at Boehill Farm near Dundrod in County Antrim with Sergeant Sproge being the only fatality from the 5 Occupants of the Aircraft.
Flt Sgt Britt who had been a Crew member and was uninjured in the crash, later stated ; “At 00:21 we received a diversionary message from Ramsay instructing us to land at Bishop Court. The Pilot and Navigator were informed, and QDM’s were obtained from Bishop Court H/F D/F Station. A short time after that one of the engines cut, I think it was the starboard. The Pilot increased power from the other one, but a few seconds later that one failed. The Pilot ordered abandon aircraft at a height of about 2,500 feet. The 2nd WOP was first to leave followed by the Navigator and then myself. On the way down I saw the aircraft with its landing lights on and guessed the Pilot was looking for a place to force land.”
A subsequent Inquiry into the accident found that “ Both outboard cocks were in the “ON” position, both outboard fuel tanks were empty. Both Inboard tanks contained at least 15 gallons of fuel. Both cocks were OFF. It was considered that the engines failed because of shortage of fuel.”
Flight Sergeant Trevor Arthur Kemp was a Pilot on board Vickers Wellington Z1313 from 104 Operational Training Unit when the aircraft crashed onto Divis Mountain at approx 01.30 on 24th November 1943.
Sergeant Navigator Ebenezer F. Lurkins was seriously injured in the crash and subsequently died on 25th November 1943.
The Memorial Plate shown here is at memorial gates which were built at the entrance to the Howick Bowling and Croquet Club in Uxbridge Road, Cockle Bay, Auckland, New Zealand. These were donated by Arthur and Kate Kemp in honour of their son, Trevor.
(From https://nzhistory.govt.nz/keyword/rnzaf )
Lance Corporal James Williamson Benson was serving with the North Irish Horse, Royal Armoured Corps when he was Killed in Action on 23rd May 1944.
He is buried at Cassino War Cemetery, Italy.