The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

County Armagh Part 2

Tynan Abbey

Above are photographs of an American Quonset Hut which remains in what was known to the local Community as "The Gun Yard".  The difference in construction is obvious from the British Nissen Hut which stands nearby and is shown below.

On the Aerial Photograph above (Bing Maps) you can see some of the buildings along with a number of concrete bases of the Nissen Huts which were there in WW2.

American soldiers of 3rd Battalion, 133rd Infantry, 34th Infantry Division arrived at Tynan Abbey in 1942.

From 18th October 1943 until 11th April 1944 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry of 2nd Infantry Division were billeted there.

The Water Tank shown here was used in the Camp and water was pumped to it from the nearby Lake.

It is always pleasing to see some evidence of the soldiers who lived in such places and in one of the buildings remains a "No Smoking" sign as shown above while below is a Belgian Menu Board for the hungry troops which has been preserved and is in super condition.

This Menu Board was produced by men of 5th Infantry Brigade, known as "Merckem", 3rd Battalion of the Belgian Army who began arriving at Tynan Abbey from 4th June 1945 under the Command of Colonel Couvreur.

Shown above is all that remains of where Sir Norman Strong who lived in Tynan Abbey in the grounds of which the Americans were camped.

( Sir Norman Stronge, who was 86 years old and his son, Sir James,48 years old, were murdered while watching television in the library of Tynan Abbey on 21 January 1981, by members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, armed with machine guns, who used grenades to break down the locked heavy doors to force entry.

The impressive Stronge family home was then burnt to the ground as a result of two bombs which the terrorists had left as they escaped).

The Headstones of the two Murdered men are shown below along with a Memorial which is in the local Church.

Soldiers of the 60mm Mortar Section 133rd Infantry, 34th Infantry Division, United States Army training near Tynan Abbey. (Picture from After The Battle Magazine)

American Troops training with 37mm Anti-Tank Guns at a Camp. There is an Assault Course in the background however the precise location is not known. (Thanks very much to Clive Higginson)

United States Army M3 Stuart Tank photographed in the Tynan / Caledon Area. (Picture from www.worldwarphotos.info)

Chapel Hill Camp, Tynan

Shown here are the buildings which remain from the Camp which was built at Chapel Hill Road, Tynan.

The building in the picture below left was the "Enlisted Men Kitchen" as was painted on the entrance door (Below Right) and which is still readable!

You can visualise the "Chow Line"

St Vindic's Church, Tynan

This Memorial is on display inside the Church.


Flight Lt. Wilfred Ronald Maitland DFC was a member of the Royal Air Force serving with 156 Squadron.

He was a Crew Member on board Vickers Wellington Bomber Serial X3706 with Code GT-C.

The Aircraft took off from R.A.F. Alconbury at 00.27 on 30th May 1942 on a Mission to Gennevilliers, France and subsequently crashed at Dugny in northern Paris with the deaths of six Crew members.

Keady

This is 4th Battalion, The Welch Regiment on exercise in the Keady area on 22nd July 1941.

They had been at Banbridge from 22nd December 1939 but then moved to an old derelict Linen Mill in Keady.

(Imperial War Museum Photograph)

Field Marshall Sir John Greer Dill, Market Street, Lurgan

This Blue Plaque can bee seen in Market Street, Lurgan.

It is above the front window of a shop and is only a short distance from the junction with Union Street.

Dill was born here in 1881 and served in the British Army during both the First and Second World Wars.

During WW1 he received an amazing 8 "Mentioned in Despatches" and at the start of WW2 he was Commander of I Corps in France before being promoted to General one month later.

He died in Washington, USA in 1944 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

I believe that Dill Avenue in Lurgan was named after him.

(John Dill as shown in "The War Illustrated" Magazine).

American Mess Hall in Market Street, Lurgan

This U.S. Military Mess Hall has been described as being "Above The Pillars" in Lurgan which I believe means it was on the Dollingstown side of the town.

"The Pillars" is a very grand looking building in Market Street, Lurgan as shown here.

(The Black and White picture is a U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph. - Thanks to the Old Lurgan Facebook Page. 

My thanks go to Mr A. McCann for The Pillars photograph)

Lurgan Cemetery

Squadron Leader George Acheson Bowen Johnston was serving with 520 Squadron, Royal Air Force when he was killed. He is named on the Gibraltar Memorial.

Cecil Wilson was serving with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles when he was Killed. He is buried at Hermanville War cemetery in Normandy.

Pilot Officer William Frederick Dixon Charlton was serving with 408 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. 

On the night of 1st / 2nd June 1942 William Charlton was flying Hampden I from R.A.F. Balderton as part of a 1000 Bomber Raid on Essen in Germany when it was attacked and shot down over Ijsselmeer by Lt. Karl-Heinz Vollkopf.

Sergeant Eric Jenkinson was serving with 104 Squadron Royal Air Force in Malta when he was Killed in Action.

Sergeant William Quaile was serving with 104 Squadron, Royal Air Force. He was involved in Air Operations in Naples when he was killed. He is buried in Salerno Military Cemetery, Italy.

Fusilier Robert Harrison Turkington was serving with 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers when he was killed in Action.

He is buried in Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery west of Tunis.

Private William Arthur Brown was serving with the royal Army Service Corps and William Thomas Carson was serving with Number 1 Inland Water Transport Company of the Royal Engineers when they both died in 1941.

Private William Fryar was with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps whilst Rifleman Francis Cecil Hamilton was serving with 7th Battalion the Royal Ulster Rifles.

Private Walter Johnston was serving with the York and Lancaster Regiment when he died on 7th November 1941. Leading Aircraftman James Andrew Johnston was serving with 158 Squadron, Royal Air Force when he died on 17th September 1942.

Dougher Cemetery, Victoria Street, Lurgan

Warrant Officer Second Class James Patrick Haughey was serving with 407 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force as a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner.

He was on board Vickers Wellington Mk 12,  MP 503 Code Letters CI-O when it crashed.

Guardsman Arthur Lavery was serving with 1st Battalion, Irish Guards when he died.

Lurgan

Shown here is a picture of The 56th Signal Battalion of the United States Army making their way along Lough Road, Lurgan near the Railway Station and then the same location as it looks today. (B&W Picture from "After The Battle" Mag)

This photograph shows a group of American Soldiers who were stationed in the Moira area.

The photograph was given to Liam McCluskey's Mother by the Soldiers who became regular visitors to his Grandparents William and Elizabeth Harbinson's cottage between Dollingstown and Magheralin.

Liam believes they loved the home baked soda, wheaten and potato bread straight of the griddle on the open fire. 

Before leaving for the forthcoming Operation Overlord and the invasion of Occupied Europe the soldiers gave his mother this photo to remind the family of their time together.

(Thank-you very much to the "Old Lurgan Photos" Facebook page for permission to share this picture.)

Woodville House, Lurgan

Woodville House, Lurgan was known to the 63th Signals Battalion 5th U.S. Army Corps as "Greers Camp" - They are shown here. (Thanks to the Old Lurgan Photos Facebook Page)

Along with them was a Detachment of 205 Company, Military Police.


The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th companies as well as the Staff Company of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Rumbeke Infantry Brigade of the Belgian Army were also based at Woodville while their Heavy Weapons Company was at nearby Silverwood Camp.

The Camp is off Lough Road along which the soldiers are seen marching in the photograph above while here you can see Belgian Soldiers in Lurgan.

For more see http://www.zevenneten.be/leesvoer/oorlogen/ierland.html

(Many thanks to Ronny Soetens for his assistance.)

Belgian Soldiers in Lurgan

6th Belgian Infantry Brigade, 3rd Battalion of Fusiliers, Belgian Army on parade in Market Street, Lurgan.

The second picture shows the same location as it looks today. (Google)

This photograph of Belgian Soldiers is in the same immediate area as the picture above.

Here the men are standing at attention at the entrance to the War Memorial in Market Street whilst below is a Belgian Soldier at Camp

(Many thanks to Mr Hugo Cox for the photographs and information)

Lurgan Park

Here are two German First World War Field Guns which were on display as a Memorial in Lurgan Park following the end of WW1.

Such guns were seen in various towns around Northern Ireland however very few remain as most, like those in Lurgan, were cut up and smelted down for the War Effort during WW2.

Staying with Lurgan Park the photographs below show "Wilbert and Sarah Jane" taken on 5th May 1942, and the same location as it now looks.

(Thanks to the Old Lurgan Photos Facebook site)

These are the men of Ulster Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillert who were formed at Kings Park Camp, Lurgan in 1939. (Thanks very much to Clive Higginson)

Senior Non-Commissioned Officers of Ulster Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery 3rd Searchlight Regiment Royal Artillery formed Kings Park, Lurgan 1939.

(Many Thanks to Clive Higginson)

Grace Hall, Dollingstown

This grand building is Grace Hall which is located at Cottage Road, Dollingstown.

During the Second World War this building was used as Billets by 183 Company of the Royal Military Police as well as soldiers from the Royal Army Service Corps.

Tandragee

The village of Tandragee lies south of Portadown and to the west of the River Bann.

During the Second World War there were a number of lines of fortifications which were built throughout Northern Ireland to cope with any invasion. These were of considerable importance as it was suspected that Hitler could use 'Neutral' Republic of Ireland as a springboard into the United Kingdom through what would be a back door rather than directly from the occupied nations. (B&W Picture from "After The Battle" Magazine)

The picture above shows American Soldiers of the 6th Cavalry Regiment attending a Remembrance Day service at the war memorial in Tandragee in 1943. Other than the position of the War memorial having been moved slightly, if you visit the town you will see that little has changed.

Informative Notice Boards telling the story of the involvement of local of people from the Tandragee Area can now be seen beside the War Memorial as shown here.

John Rainey was serving with the Pioneer Corps when he died on 20th January 1944. He is buried in St Mark's Church of Ireland Church.

This montage shows a selection of photographs of the United States Army in Tandragee. (Thanks very much to Bracken Anderson for this)

Gilford Road, Portadown

The two pictures above show a pillbox on the Portadown to Gilford Road. It sits high in a field with a commanding view of the immediate area and is easily accessable however beware of the steep step down from the field to gain entry.

In great condition and certainly worth a visit. On leaving Portadown look for Pattersons Garage then the pillbox is at the top of the field immediately to your left.

Bann Bridge, Portadown

This small plate can be seen on the Bann Bridge in Portadown. Unfortunately the Air raid Shelter cannot be accessed.

Charlemont

During the week of 8th - 15th April in 1944 194th Quartermaster Gas Supply Company of 15 (XV) Corps was based at what is described by the United States Army as Charlemont Factory. - This Factory related to the Pig Industry however it has now been demolished.