The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

County Down Part 6

Lookout Post at Killough

The Lookout Post shown here is beside the old Coastguard Building at Killough.

Not the most spectacular of buildings but the design is interesting and on looking a little closer you can see that this is actually a Little Gem because a number of American Soldiers from WW2 have carved their Names and Home Cities into the Brickwork.

On the left is written "Cpl Joe Kirkpatrick, Laredo, Texas" with "Mack Luttrell, Sophia, West Virginia" on the right.

"John Malinowski, Pittsburgh, Pa" with possibly "Pvt" (Meaning Private) before his name is on the left with the next one saying "Tiny F****t" - Sadly the surname is difficult to read but he is from "Jackson City, Pa"

"Don Frederickson, Granite Falls, Minesota" - On researching this Soldier I have found reference on the Internet to his Widow having already been presented with a photograph of this brick which is commendable of all those involved.

The last photograph shows  "P F Mendosa, Amarillo, Texas" on the left side of this particular brick and what appears to be "Dorisl (?) Rochester NY, USA" to the right.

The last one shown below is difficult to read - There is "Thompson" with something which appears to be "Artkape" (Or similar), "S.D. (South Dakota) U.S.A."

I am aware that during 1942 there was one Company of 3d Battalion, 6th Armoured Infantry, 1st Armoured Division based in Killough however I have no precise location.

Any assistance in identifying these brave men would be very much appreciated.

Acton House, Poyntzpass

This is Acton House near Poyntzpass which is named on the "WBS Troop Accommodations Northern Ireland District" list as having a capacity of 964 Troops.

In 1944 Acton House became Acton House Camp for soldiers of the 4th Infantry Brigade "Steenstraete", Belgian Army

Drumbanagher House, Poyntzpass

Located at Newry Road, Poyntzpass this used to be a very large mansion and the grounds were used as billets by both American and British soldiers during WW2.

71 Anti Tank Regiment Royal Artillery as well as 68 Anti Tank Regiment 271 Battery were in residence using Nissen Huts which were erected in the grounds.

The house was sadly demolished in 1951 leaving nothing but this impressive archway entrance to illustrate the scale of the building

Dromantine House, Newry

Not far from Drumbanagher House on Drumantine Road, north of Newry is the site of Dromantine House.

Now a Religious Retreat and Conference Centre this location was used by 626 Ordnance Ammunition Company of the United States Army during WW2.

Michael Flood Blaney, George Cross, Newry

This building at 56 Bridge Street, Newry is where Captain Michael Flood Blaney was born.

Captain Blaney was serving as a Bomb Disposal Officer with the Royal Engineers and was killed on 13th December 1940 whilst attempting to defuse a bomb at 590 Romford Road, Manor Park, London.

This was immediately after defusing two other Bombs in the same area.

He was posthumously awarded the George Cross and there is now a "Blaney Crescent" named after him as well as a Memorial Plaque at Salisbury Road Primary School near where he gave his life.

Captain Blaney is buried in the Flood Family plot in St Mary's Cemetery between Chapel Street and the Old Warrenpoint Road in Newry.

St Mary's Cemetery, Newry

These two Airmen were killed on 27th September 1941 when the Hudson AE577 they had flown from Canada crashed in neutral Eire.

Having landed at Baldonnel near Dublin the aircraft was refuelled and then left for R.A.F. Aldergrove but sadly within 30 to 40 minutes it crashed in fog killing all 3 Crew.

Buried here are Flight Lieutenant Louis Romeo Dubuc and Radio Officer Samuel Raymond Kenny who was from Nova Scotia and served with R.A.F. Ferry Command.

Also buried here is Pilot Officer Air Gunner Francis Rogers who served with 218 Squadron R.A.F. Bomber Command.

He was based at Downham Market and the Squadron flew the Short Stirling Bomber.

Patrick Plunkett Doherty served with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and died on 21st March 1945

Holts Building, Newry

1 / 5th Battalion the Welch Regiment were billeted at "Holts Barracks" in Newry.

The Battalion had arrived in Portadown on 19th December 1939  before moving to Newry on 4th April 1940 from where they trained in the Mourne Mountains before leaving in November 1941 for Hereford.

This is where the soldiers were based. The Holts Building at the junction of Cecil Street and Edward Street in Newry. (Thanks very much to Swiper at WW2Talk for his help)

(Google picture)

Bernish Road, Newry

Southwest of Newry, near Camlough Wood is Ballymacdermot Tombe.

This ancient Burial Chamber remains in impressive condition for dating from around 3500BC.

The Notice at the site makes reference to an incident during WW2 when an American Armoured Vehicle, which was on a training exercise in the Area, crashed into the structure.

Fortunately little damage was caused.

Ulster Home Guard in Hill Street, Newry

This picture shows soldiers of the Ulster Home Guard on parade in Hill Street, Newry.(Picture from Book "Lifeline To Freedom")

Derryleckagh House, Newry

Derryleckagh lies to the East of Newry on the road to Mayobridge and was used by an Anti Tank Company and Cannon Company of 2nd Battalion, 38 Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, United States Army.

Two nissen huts remain to be seen.

AML Bombing Teacher Buildings, Greencastle

This complex is part of the greater Greencastle Airfield complex however these buildings are in such excellent condition it is only right to discuss them in their own right.

Situated on the Greencastle Road a short distance from Kilkeel, the complex consists of two AML (Air Ministry Laboratories) Bomb Teacher buildings, one of which is a double, as well as an ablution block and some other buildings.

Without doubt the Bombing Teacher Building is the jewel in the crown - The owner of the building told me it has been listed due to its super condition.

To explain how the Bombing Trainer worked I have included the drawing below from an old 'Flight' magazine.

The image is projected from the upper floor onto the lower through a square hole. - This is in the "Projection Room" as marked on the entrance door.

The information and illustration above are from Flight Magazine dated 3rd May 1934.

Here are the lower floor where the Pupil and Pilot were positioned as well as their Instructor. The steps to the Projection Room and an old Control Box on the upper floor.

Ballymartin Chain Home Low Radar Station

The Chain Home Low Radar Station in Ballymartin is a short distance out of the village on School Road and stands on a small hill.

Having located the concrete building it was pleasing to find this red bricked Air Raid Shelter nearby.

The bench seating has been removed from the shelter however the inside still looks bright after all those years.

Derrymore House, Bessbrook

Between Camlough Road and Derrymore Road in Bessbrook stands Derrymore House.

This was a base for 303 Quartermaster Railhead Company of the U.S.Army and was known as Q-111D, Quartermaster Depot between 23rd November 1943 and August 1944.

This was when there was segregation in the Army and this unit is identified as being "Coloured"

Some evidence remains with a Concrete road as well as the bases of a number of Nissen Huts on the Derrymore Road side of the estate, which is now owned by the Narional Trust.

Shown here is Sergeant William Johnston, Number  36012125, who served at Derrymore with 303 Quartermaster Railhead Company.

(Thanks very much to Liz Ironside for providing this photograph of Sergeant Johnston)

The Light Tank Mark 6 shown here is at Derrymore House, Bessbrook and is being operated by men of C Squadron Fife and Forfar Yeomanry on 25th March 1941.

(I.W.M. Picture)

Mount Caulfield House, Bessbrook

The village of Bessbrook had a number of places where the military were based during WW2 with one being Mount Caulfield House which is at Green Road in Bessbrook.

Officers of the U.S. Army were billeted in Mount Caulfield House which had been requisitioned from the Richardson family

Bessbrook Town Hall

Soldiers were based in the Town Hall (Shown here) as well as both the Technical School and Orange Hall.

Children covering a British Light Tank Mark 6 in the centre of Bessbrook Village. (Imperial War Museum Photograph)

Prisoner Of War Camp at Gilford

Elmfield Estate at Plantation Road, Gilford was used as a Prisoner of War Camp during WW2.

At that time it was owned by a Major Uprichard and the Camp was in a field northwest of the house.

Sadly nothing obvious remains to be seen.

Searchlight Battery near Banbridge

The building shown here can be seen at Corbet Road east of Banbridge. It is in reasonable condition and retains its white painted interior. It is interesting to note the sturdy roof to the entrance.

Miles Aircraft Factory, Banbridge

These pictures show the old Linen Mill at Castlewellan Road, Banbridge where the Miles Company produced their Aircraft.

This picture shows a Miles Magister involved in a Home Guard Training Exercise at Doncaster on 14th October 1940. (I.W.M. Photograph)

Ulster Home Guard in Banbridge

This is "A" Company, 4th County Down Battalion, Ulster Home Guard outside the old Baptist Church on Newry Road, Banbridge in February 1941 and on Parade through Banbridge town centre.

This picture shows the Ulster Home Guard in Banbridge availing of a Lorry for transport. The photograph was taken in 1940.

(The 3 photographs above come from Angela Dillon at the Banbridge Days Gone By Facebook Page)

Belgians on Parade in Banbridge

Here are Brownies marching past Belgian Soldiers who are standing at attention in Banbridge on Belgian Day 1944. (From Banbridge Days Gone By)

Ballywillwill

The Gate Lodge at the entrance to Ballywillwill Camp as it looked during WW2 and how it looks now.

On the right is a Vehicle Inspection Pit while the concrete bases with steps shown above were for the Nissen Huts which can be seen in the centre of the photograph above.

Ballywillwill was known as Q-111BW and was a Quartermaster Depot for the United States Army.

I hope you can see the mountains in the picture on the left as this is a fairly good comparison photograph of there the camp stood.

I received these black and white pictures from a Mr Lonnie Honeycutt whose Grandfather, Joseph W. Acy was from St Amant, Louisiana, United States and had been stationed at Ballywillwill with the U.S. Army.

The Camp at Ballywillwill covered an extensive area between the Ballylough, Ballywillwill and Clonvaraghan Roads.

Of the pictures shown above, the top one is a view of part of the Camp with the second showing a Generator however if you look to the between the generator and truck in the background you can see the spire of Ballywillwill chapel.

The final photograph shows American soldiers training in the Mourne Mountains with a Bazooka.

Bryansford

Bryansford House, which fell into disrepair and was demolished some time ago, was used as a Headquarters for the 5th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army between 15th February and 10th July 1944.

3rd Platoon Company F 28th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanised was there from 4th May 1944 and General Assignment Units 12 and 6 of the 166th Signal Photographic Company were in Bryansford from 26th May - 30th June 1944 and 12th June - 4th July 1944 respectively.

The picture shows the entrance gate closest to where Bryansford House stood.

Tullymurry Railway Station

This was the old Tullymurry Railway Station where soldiers travelling to and from Belfast would board or disembark from their train with the rest of the journey to or from Ballykinlar Camp being done on the march.

In June 1941 the North Irish Horse received 18 Mk. 1 Valentine Tanks at this Railway Station. They were delivered on rail flats by 17/21st Lancers who were commended by an Officer called Brooke who was a relative of Ulsters Prime Minister at that time.

The North Irish Horse trained with the Valentine Tanks at Ballykinlar and in the general area for some months.

(Many thanks to Bracken Anderson from the North Irish Horse for this information.)

Whyte Estate, Loughbrickland

It was very pleasing to see the notice shown above which has been erected on a building used by the Royal Artillery and 4th Belgian Infantry Brigade during the Second World War.

As well as this red bricked building, which may have been used as a Fuse Store, there are also other signs around the estate of its use during the war including various concrete paths and a Vehicle Inspection Pit.

Moira Demesne

The United States Army used Moira Demesne.

Soldiers from 3514 Ordnance Medium Auto Maintenance Company were based there.

The picture here shows the concrete bases of 6 Nissen Huts which had been constructed beside the main road through the Demesne. Unfortunately these have now been removed.


Copeland Islands

If you have an opportunity to visit the Copeland Islands off the northern County Down coast I suggest it is well worth a visit.

On going to the old cemetery on the island you will see the memorial shown here.

One of those mentioned is William Patton who served with the Merchant Navy during the Second World War.

He was on the SS Biela which was attached to a convoy crossing the Atlantic Ocean before heading for Buenos Aires.

The SS Biela was sighted by U-98 however the crew were aware of this and attempted to make for Cape Race.

On 14th February 1942 the SS Biela was sunk by torpedo attack and the body of William Patton was never recovered.

The memorial says "...Also my Nephew William Patton who was Lost at Sea through Enemy Action February 1942"


Killysuggan Graveyard, Newtownards

This is the headstone of Gunner William H. Murphy who served with 170 Battery, 57th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery.