The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

County Londonderry Part 2

Luftwaffe Photograph of Londonderry

This aerial photograph of Londonderry was taken by a German Luftwaffe aircraft on 31st December 1941.

They have then been able to identify Anti-Aircraft Gun Positions, Barrage Balloons and Military Barracks as well as shipping. (I.W.M. Photograph)

This photograph shows one of the Barrage Balloons which were positioned around the City of Londonderry.

There would be a winch in the back of the vehicle. (Londerry Sentinal Photograph)

Culmore Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Battery, Londonderry

Situated on Coney Road between Culmore and the border with the Republic of Ireland stands this Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery. As with the Groarty Road example shown below this site includes a Radar Platform however I have not seen anything like the design of this platform anywhere else.

The Radar Platform along with 4 columns on one side as well as the platform incorporating a Pillbox type structure with one loop.

The following two pictures show a view of the top of the structure where the radar would be positioned as well as the access point to the incorporated pillbox type structure.

In the panorama type picture above you are looking from the 4 Gun Pits along the access road past the Command and Control Centre towards the hardened accommodation building which, as usual, is closest to the roadway.

On this site the four Gun Positions are all very overgrown however the C&C Building is in good condition and as I have already mentioned the Radar Platform appears to be unique within all of the HAA sites I have visited.

U.S. Army Camp - Culmore

This was a United States Army Camp on the opposite shore from Lisahally Jetty on Lough Foyle.

The distinctive water tanks remain with only a couple of buildings.

Groarty Road Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Battery, Londonderry

On entering the field where the Battery is located you first see the hardened accommodation building (Shown below) which has blast walls covering both entrances.

There are a total of 4 Gun Emplacements with the Command Post facing the gun positions.

Shown here is the roof of the Command Post 

Directional markings as well as "Fire Point" and even the old disruptive camouflage paint can still be clearly seen.

On the left is a view through the Command Post and on the right is looking towards one of the Gun Positions.

This is the Radar Platform that is in the adjoining field and which is in super condition

City Cemetery, Londonderry

As you can see from the pictures above there are a considerable number of Commonwealth War Graces in the City Cemetery - 192 in total.

Three of the headstones from WW2 are shown below - A Woman from the Women's Royal Naval Service, A Canadian Sailor and a Dutchman.

U.S. Military Camp - Springtown

The creation of what was to become known as Springtown Camp began on 30th of June 1941.

362 technicians and 25 supervisory officers from the US Navy's Engineer Corps arrived to commence construction.

The project was rather sensitive as this was happening before the United States entered the war following the raid by Japanese on the Naval Base at Pearl Harbour on 7th December 1941.  (This photograph is available to EVERYONE at

The area has changed considerably since the Second World War and although the camp was put to use as housing following the departure of the American Forces I am unaware of any of the old structures which remain to be seen. - The 2 pictures here show Bob Hope signing autographs at Springtown in 1943 and Torpedo man Leo "Moose" Sangiolo and his mate at Springtown.


The picture on the left give some indication as to the size of Springtown Camp.

On the right is the Commissioning of Springtown Camp on 5th February 1943. The United States Marine is Captain Donald Kennedy ( After the Battle Magazine)

The Stuart Lee Rice Photographic Collection of Springrown Camp

This is Stuart Lee Rice who was from Elgin, Illinois and served with the United States Naval Reserve from 1942 until 1946 and was based at Springtown, Londonderry between April 1943 and October 1944.

The Galley and a "Chow Line" in May 1944 

Some of the Naval Personnel from Hut 214 and a picture from inside the hut.

Robert "Bob" Reiss in front of Hut 214 and an interesting form of transport.

The same location before and after some improvements had been made.

My sincere thanks to Ron Rice for sharing the above photos and story of his Dad, Stuart Lee Rice (1920 - 1968) who served with many other U.S. Naval Personnel at Springtown in Londonderry.

American Servicemen playing Football at Springtown Camp and a train passing the Springtown Camp. (From the excellent website)

Eleanor Roosevelt at Springtown House on Remembrance Day, 11th November 1942. (Picture from Londonderry Sentinel)

Secretary Knox and Admiral Harold R. Stark leaving the Chapel at Springtown in September 1943 when on an Inspection Trip

Bob Hope with Frances Langford at Springtown

The American Comedian Bob Hope with Frances Langford in Londonderry with the United States Marine Corps and United States Navy in 1943.

The photograph above shows Bob signing autographs at Springtown Camp.

(Photographs from the Derry Journal and

The United States Forces have always put considerable effort into having various Entertainers visiting Armed Forces Personel during various Wars. Bob Hope is shown on the right. He is on stage and by the look of the faces in the background he is getting a few laughs.

The photograph above shows two U.S. Marines with a local Farmer beside their base in Londonderry. 

Bombing Decoy Site - Corrody

This is a Bombing Decoy Site. From the pictures you can see that the mounds of earth which would have both camouflaged and protected the building have been removed however the inside is without doubt the best that i have found.

On entering the building the Electricity Generator Room is to the right. I was surprised to find the concrete bases for two rather than the more common one generator.

The room to the left retains its metal ladders up to the roof escape hatch as well as the small area where a fire / stove would have probably been in regular use!!


The “Uberus” was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1939 and subsequently armed. It is recorded as having been wrecked in Lough Foyle on 11th January 1941.

Fleet Tug H.M.S. Assurance was fitted out for ocean service and was used by the Royal Navy to tow vessels which had been damaged in German Torpedo attacks. H.M.S. Assurance was wrecked on 18th October 1941 and still lies on Bluick Rock north of Greencastle, Co. Donegal.

Middlesex Regiment ready for Action

Here is a Vickers Machine-Gun Team of soldiers from 2/8th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment photographed on 15th July 1941 (I.W.M. Photograph)

Training at Castlerock

5th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in an Exercise at Castlerock on 14 July 1941. Coming ashore is just the start - Then you have to climb the rocks! 

(Imperial War Museum pictures)

Belgian Soldiers training with Mortars near Castlerock

Two photographs of Belgian Soldiers training in the use of Mortars.

(Many thanks to - For more information please visit this excellent website)

Fincarn Glen Ammunition Storage Dump

A short distance from Drumahoe and in close proximity to both the airfields at Maydown and Eglinton as well as Lisahally (Lisahawley) Port is the huge Fincarn Glen Ammunition Storage Dump.

This facility was constructed by American Military Personel with the assistance of a considerable amount of local labour and was completed by May 1942.

The American influence on this site is everywhere to be seen as illustrated here. - The metal lid photographed clearly shows that it was manufactured in Los Angeles!

The metal used in construction of the buildings says "Armco Ingot Iron Manufactured by The American Rolling Mill Co Middletown, Ohio 2oz Coating"

When you consider the large loss of life and shipping when crossing the Atlantic I would always have thought that this was because they were transporting vital supplies of ammunition, military equipment and Service Personnel and so there was no option however my photograph here shows a Gully cover which is marked as having been manufactured in Los Angeles! - Could this not have been obtained in Northern Ireland? I sincerely hope that men were not lost for such a cargo.

Bunker being used an Air Raid Shelter for injured personnel. 

(This picture is from and is available to EVERYONE.)

This Bunker in Fincairn Glen is very similar to the Shelter in the photograph above.

The square yellow marking is the old British Hazard Sign system which has since been replaced by the orange coloured signs which can now be seen on everything from a box of explosives to the lorry delivering your heating oil!

In this case the number three in a black triangle refers to "Mass Fire with Minor Fragment Hazard"

This picture shows a clearer view of one of the Hazard Signs and illustrates some of the fire fighting procedures which were in place with the hooks for Fire Buckets and the sign referring to Stirrup Pumps which are now long gone.

Some buildings have a number of signs including the "Group Explosive" which may refer to a particular type of explosive stored there. Each has a group of letters and numbers above the door and in the third picture above it appears that repairs may also have taken place from the  "Serviceable" notice on a wall.

Due to the fact that this facility is heavily overgrown it is difficult to know the precise number of bunkers which exist however I believe there to be around 20.

These are markings on the inside of the Bunkers.

It is difficult to read however in the picture on the left the top line begins "Group..." and the second is "150" with something following which may end in "Lbs" however time has taken its toll.

This wording on the right relates to a Construction Company from Gulfport, Mississippi.

Men of C Company, 1st Provisional Marine Battalion, United States Marine Corps, who were based nearby at Beech Hill were some of the first personnel to perform guard duty at the site.

I believe this site was also a Chemical Depot known as C-910 and operated as this between 23rd November 1943 and 15th August 1944.

This amazing place is a little piece of the United States in County Londonderry.

I hope you can see the Cartoon which has been drawn of a man's head in the picture on the left.

"Armco Ingot Iron. Manufactured by The American Rolling Mill Company, Middletown, Ohio."

The door shown here is the original door to a generator Building on the site.

Drawings at Fincairn Glen

Shown here are some drawings which were left on the walls of some of the bunkers.

Above left is Adolf Hitler and what appears to be Churchill is above right.

Another character is shown here along with a "V" for Victory above.

All these illustrations are on the Armco Ingot Iron walls of Bunkers within the Fincairn Glen complex.

(Thanks very much to Peter Graham for providing me with these photographs)

Fincairn Glen Anti Aircraft Gun Position

At the top of the Glen is the Anti Aircraft Gun Position shown here.

It is Octagonal shape incorporating 2 Lockers which would have held Ammunition.

Warbleshinney Gibraltarian Evacuee Camp

To the south of the City of Londonderry between the villages of Drumahoe and New Buildings can be found one of the Evacuee Camps which were constructed to house people who had fled Gibraltar during the War.

There are 5 buildings which are easily located and of searching through a small wooded area there are a few smaller structures.

The cube shaped concrete building here is a Cold Store and you can see hooks hanging from the roof from which food would be suspended.

One of the more concealed buildings has clearly been used for living quarters and a 1930's style fireplace remains along with some bright wallpaper, blue painted walls and a yellow door!

Bombing Decoy Site Lisglass

I believe there was a Bombing Decoy Site such as the one shown below at Lisglass Southwest of New Buildings. Unfortunately I have no other details.

If you have information regarding this please email me.


Bellarena House at Seacoast Road between Coleraine and Limavady was used as a billet for 118 Infantry Regiment 1 Battalion, Company A of the United States Army.

151st Field Artillery Battalion, 34th Infantry Division U.S. Army were here in 1942 and Nissen Huts were constructed in the grounds of the estate.

General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, addresses officers on his trip to Northern Ireland. 

Press conference with war correspondents. L to R General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; Robert Nixon, INS; Rice Yahner, AP.

(From which is available to EVERYONE)

General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; Lt. General H. E. Franklyn, General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland British Forces; Mr. J. H. Andrews, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland; Mr. W. Averill Harriman, President Roosevelt’s personal envoy to Britain; Major General James E. Chaney United States Army Forces in the British Isles (USAFBI); and Major General R. P. Hartle, United States Army Northern Ireland Forces (USANIF), during their inspection tour of Northern Ireland. 

"Mr. Harry Hopkins, lend-lease administrator in Britain, addresses Officers during his visit to Northern Ireland."

Harry Hopkins was President Roosevelt’s personal representative in London. His reports to Roosevelt played a key role in the debate over the president’s ‘Lend-Lease’ bill to aid Britain by providing it (and eventually several other Allied nations) with weapons and supplies without requiring payment upfront. Hopkins spearheaded the rapid passage of the Lend-Lease Bill, first by the House of Representatives, on February 8, 1941, and then by the Senate a month later. Roosevelt appointed Hopkins to administer the Lend-Lease Program, with the vague authority to “advise and assist me in carrying out the responsibilities placed upon me” by the passage of the bill.

(Above from Available to EVERYONE)

This final comparison shows a still from the film "A Letter From Ulster",  (See more in the Main Menu), which was mostly recorded at Tynan Abbey however this scene is clearly Bellarena.

Some other evidence remains of the use of this location during the Second World War such as the Air Raid Shelter and Building shown here.

Christchurch, Limavady

These headstones can be seen in the Christchurch Church in the town centre of Limavady.

On visiting this churchyard I strongly suggest you walk towards the back of the modern Hall where I am sure you will be both surprised and impressed by the memorial you will find. - It is a Tail Fin from an Avro Shackleton MR Mk3 which was recovered from the former R.A.F. Ballykelly and refurbished at R.A.F. Aldergrove.

This memorial is dedicated to all those who served at R.A.F. Ballykelly, R.A.F. Eglinton, R.A.F. Limavady and R.A.F. Maydown and all associated Units throughout World War 2 and the subsequent Cold War period and commemorates those who made the supreme sacrifice. 

John Gouinlock Anderson and Frederick Dick Butland died on 13th July 1943 when the Wellington aircraft, HF838, they were flying crashed at Dickeys Glen, Curley Burn, Bolea.

They had been with 7 Operational Training Unit at Aghanloo Airfield, Limavady and three other Airmen were also killed in this crash. -One, John William Hughes of the Royal New Zealand Air Force is buried in St Mary's Cemetery in Limavady while the other two were Englishmen who were returned to their local Churches for Burial.

Sergeant Anderson died on 5th May 1943 when Wellington Bomber LB241 in which he was a Crew member crashed shortly after take-off in Drenagh Estate.

***See County Londonderry Part 4 for more information about Drenagh Estate***

Sergeant Colin Bruce Berger was on board Wellington HX430 on a Night Training Flight at approximately 9.15pm on 31st January 1943.

The Pilot of the aircraft, Bernard Edwin Samuels (See Carnmoney Jewish Cemetery in Belfast Part 5 Section of this website) appears to have lost control of the Wellington while on final approach to the runway and at a height of approximately 100 feet.

The aircraft rose sharply and then crashed into the ground killing all on board. 

Sergeant Vernon James Pither and Pilot Officer Wilson Twentyman were killed on 20th July 1942 when their Wellington Bomber DV772 crashed near The Giants Causeway during a Training Flight.

***Please visit County Antrim Part 2 Section to see Memorial at Crash Site***

Two American Airmen Buried at Christchurch, Limavady

The policy of the United States was that all of their Service personnel who had died in Northern Ireland were either repatriated to the United States or moved to the American Cemetery in Cambridgeshire.

The only other U.S. Armed Forces graves I am aware of in Northern Ireland are those of men who had survived the war and returned to Northern Ireland where they died peacefully in later years. - The two headstones are shown on this website.

With this Airman having served with Royal Air Force Ferry Command he has a Commonwealth War Graves headstone.

Captain Frederick Andrew Matson was from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a Pilot with R.A.F. Ferry Command.

On 12th April 1942 he was with Flying Officer James Whealdon Macdougall and Sergeant Ernest Edward Fraser at Number 1527 Beam Approach / Radio Aids Training Flight at Prestwick, Scotland.

They were flying Hudson III V9112 when the aircraft crashed in a forced landing at Cockainwell near Ballycastle.

Flight Sergeant (Pilot) William Benjamin Fry was from San Benito, Texas and had joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.

He was serving with 504 Squadron, Royal Air Force who at the time of his death were based at Ballyhalbert in County Down with the Squadron flying Spitfire aircraft.

On 26th September 1942 he crashed his Spitfire near Dungiven, County Londonderry.

(Information and picture from

Ballykelly Church of Ireland

These are the Second World War graves which can be found in the Church of Ireland Church in Ballykelly. All are Airmen representing the Royal Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force.

Among those buried here is Group Captain Harry King Goode (Distinguished Service Order, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Force Cross) - a very interesting character.

He was born on 22 October 1892 to Florence Annie King and was then adopted by Thomas and Margaret Goode of Ryton, Bulkin.

At the start of the First World War he joined the Royal Engineers on 8 September 1914 when he was 22 years old and became a motorcycle dispatch rider before transferring on 14 November 1917 to the Royal Flying Corps.

The Citation for the award of his Distinguished Flying Cross says "A brilliant fighting pilot who sets a fine example of courage and determination to the officers of his squadron. He has destroyed six enemy aeroplanes and two kite balloons."

In 1919 he received the Distinguished Service Order with the Citation “During the present offensive this officer has done excellent work, showing exceptional skill, gallantry’ and devotion to duty. He has destroyed five enemy kite balloons, three of which he had to continue to attack to the ground until they burst into flames. He has destroyed three enemy aircraft, which were standing on an enemy aerodrome and also attacked personnel, hangars and Mess Buildings of this aerodrome from 10 feet, causing the enemy to abandon eight machines they had on the aerodrome. This was all accomplished between 27 th. and 29 th. October. he has most successfully attacked transports and troops, and on two occasions reported two very large concentrations of enemy troops and transports. he is also officially credited with capturing fifteen enemy guns from the air. he has continually taken his patrol down to very low altitudes to bomb and machine gun enemy road movements with exceptional good results. In his last attack on enemy transport he was shot in the face while diving down to attack. he nevertheless continued his dive, taking his patrol down to 50 feet and dropping his four bombs, obtaining all direct hits, after which he continued to machine gun this transport until exhausting his ammunition. This officer has now destroyed seven enemy kite balloons and nine enemy aeroplanes and his example of bravery to others has at all times been exceptionally brilliant

Following the end of the First World War he remained in the Royal Air Force and after serving in the Middle East he was stationed for a time with 502 squadron based at Aldergrove before returning to RAF Hendon to command 24 squadron. He was promoted to Squadron Leader on 1 December 1935, and awarded the Air Force Cross in January 1939. From 24 squadron he took command of 60 OTU during late April 1941 as Group Captain (temp), and he decided to retire on 15 December 1941.

He joined the RAF Accident Branch and whilst visiting Northern Ireland on 21 August 1942 was killed in the crash of LV340/X a Liberator 111 from 120 squadron whilst on transit between Ballykelly and Nutts Corner in conditions of low cloud or sea mist. It hit a rock at around 1100 feet and crashed at 1150 hrs against the lower slopes of Big Trosk Mountain which is north of Waterfall Road to the Northwest of Carnlough killing all of the crew on board.

The headstone shown here is also at Ballykelly Church of Ireland and is that of Flying Officer Ian Lachlan Macfayden of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

His parents were from Scotland and he was raised in Port Arthur, Ontario in Canada.

Ian was in a crew of 5 in an Avro Anson which crashed into Mullaghclogha Mountain at Plumbridge in County Tyrone at approx 00.30 on 6th March 1945. He was 21 years old.

I have included this picture as it shows a shield shaped stone with the wording "In Loving Memory of Ian. Aunt Ann 3rd August 1945"

Garvagh Presbyterian Church.

Thomas Fleming was serving as an Aircraftsman 1st Class, 1795114, when he was killed whilst on Active Service on 10th April 1944.

This Headstone is at Main Street Garvagh Presbyterian Church.

St Patricks Church of Ireland, Kilrea.

Private William Henry Cottingham was serving with the Royal Army Service Corps when he died on 30th November 1941. 

Church of Ireland Rectory, Maghera

Ron Greenwood, who was later to become the Manager of the England Football Team, served in Northern Ireland with the Royal Air Force.

He was with a Mobile Radar Unit and for a time was billeted at the Church of Ireland Rectory in Maghera which is shown here.

(Thanks very much to Rhys Jones for his considerable assistance)

St Lurach's Church, Maghera

Immediately beside this church is the final resting place of James Hamilton Swain who served with distinction in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

His headstone shows that he won both the Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Service Cross.

Commander Swain saw action in the Mediterranean and played a major roll in Operation Pedestal ensuring the safe arrival in Valetta, Malta of SS Ohio containing much needed supplies.

This vital action ensured the continued dominance of the Allied forces in both North Africa and Southern Europe.

(Thanks very much to Rhys Jones for his considerable assistance)

Army Camps in Maghera

There were two Camps of soldiers in the Maghera Area.

On visiting the sites there is virtually nothing remaining however at one it was very pleasing to find some tree carvings.

Shown here is a picture of one of the trees where the date 6th March 1943 is clearly visible.

Air Crash Memorial Stone, Maghera

Commodore James Alexander Logan, Commander of the United States Navy in Londonderry, Captain Loren Lee Miles of the 8th United States Army Air Force and David Grimes who was Vice-President of Philco Radio Co. were on board Cessna UC-78 Bobcat Uility Aircraft Number 42 58314 when it crashed at Carntogher, Maghera on 3rd September 1943.

All of those on board were killed.

The Memorial at the Crash Site ans shown here is in a field on the left side of Tirkane Road.

On passing Slaghtneill Road continue until before the sharp right hand turn. As you approach you will see an entrance into the field on your left. Park here and walk directly ahead where you will find the Memorial.

(For more visit the following website -

Clonmore House, Maghera

Clonmore House at Upperlands near Maghera was requisitioned by Military Personnel on 21st July 1940. (Information from

Spring Hill, Moneymore

This is a particularly interesting site and I am sure many of the visitors to this National Trust property are not aware of the extent of the Second World War history which lies here.

Following the beginning of the Second World War the house was used as a billet for soldiers of The Berkshire Yeomanry and 119th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery.

In 1942 the first American Army personel arrived and these were 112th Engineers with Company L 519th Quartermaster Regiment arriving on 23rd December 1943.

"Tower Hill Camp" was part of the Spring Hill Estate but at the opposite end of Beech Walk from Spring Hill House.

During the Second World War racial segregation was a part of life within the United States Army and the "Colored" Battalions were not permitted to reside with the rest of the Troops.

At Spring Hill this ruling was illustrated by the construction of Tower Hill Camp which in October 1943 became home to Company D 544th Quartermaster Service Battalion (Colored) and later on 23rd December 1943 3991st Quartermaster Truck Company (Colored) who remained here until 18th May 1944. 

It was at that time that Northern Ireland suddenly emptied of all the Military Personel who had been here in their thousands but had now moved to the Southern Coastline of England in preparation for the invasion of Occupied Europe on what was known as D-Day 4th June 1944.

Back in Moneymore there soon became another use for Tower Hill Camp which was used as a Prisoner of War Camp in which German Prisoners were held and used to tidy the Estate with gardening and tree pruning!

Visitors to the site can still see what remains of Tower Hill Camp which is concealed within the trees to the right of the Tower when walking from the back of Spring Hill House.

The picture directly above shows one of the concrete floors of a nissen hut which had been constructed here and if you stand on the concrete and look towards the tower you will see that there are approximately another four or five of these bases which made up a considerable section of "Tower Hill Camp"

Moneymore Medical Supply Depot

The United States Army operated a Medical Supply Depot at Lismoney, near Moneymore.

Royal Navy "Wren" with U.S. Navy Yeoman and also U.S. Soldier.

Has the appearance of a Propaganda type photograph however I like the wording on the poster in the background! 

Described as US Navy yeoman and a member of the Women's Royal Naval Service at the US Naval Operations Base. (All from

In the first few pictures this WREN is seen with a U.S. Navy Yeoman however these pictures then show her with an American Soldier - But then in the next Picture the Soldier is seen with Two WRENS. (All are Life Magazine Photographs)