The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

County Tyrone Part 2

Knock-Na-Moe Castle, Omagh

Shown here is Knock-Na-Moe Castle, Omagh when it was 34th Infantry Division Headquarters photographed.

The photograph was taken on 5th November 1942 ("After The Battle" Magazine picture)

Knock-na-moe Castle was the home of the Campbell family before being requisitioned by the Army during WW2.

General Eisenhower visited on a number of occasions from 1942 until prior to the D-Day landings in June 1944.

Men of the 34th Infantry Division, United States Army were based here.

The small building which I have photographed is known as the "American Laundry" and is all that remains of what was later to become the Knock-Na-Moe Hotel. 

Erganagh Rectory, Omagh

This building was used as a Headquarters by 34th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army in 1942.

Shown here is part of a Trench which was constructed around the site.

From 31st January until 10th December of that year it was used by both a Military Police Platoon (34th Infantry Division) and 34th Signal Company (34th Infantry Division)

There is a concrete path which circles the old Camp while below is what remains of some of the facilities used by the Soldiers based here.

This is the old Fuel Store enclosed with a raised earth bank for protection from any Air Attack along with one of the camp Buildings.

(Thanks very much to the Owner for spending the time to show me around)

English Cricketers in Omagh

These two Soldiers are the Yorkshire and England Cricketers Second Lieutenant Norman Yardley on the left with Captain Hedley Verity on the right.

They were both serving with 1st Battalion Green Howards and are shown here during an Exercise at Omagh. (Imperial War Museum photograph)

Clanabogan Church of Ireland, Omagh

The history of the Royal Berkshire Regiment in Northern Ireland during the Second World War has an interesting reference to the Church of Ireland at Clanabogan, Omagh.

The 6th Battalion of "The Berkshires" had been in the Kilwaughter and Larne areas from June until October 1941 and then arrived in Coleraine where they carried out intensive training throughout the Winter months into the Spring of 1942 and it is recorded that "Their marching ability was unsurpassed, and Companies covering over 100 miles in two and a half days reported back Not unduly tired"

During an Exercise in August a group of soldiers found themselves in the churchyard of Clanabogan Church around which "hosts of the (Simulated) enemy poured and passed on." and as some soldiers became isolated their Commander drew their attention to the similarity with the Battle of Maiwand (Afghanistan) during the Anglo-Afghan War in 1880.

After a time a Signaller reported that he had entered the Church and had discovered a marble carving referring to the Berkshire Regiment.

When the other soldiers went into the Church they saw the artwork which shows the last men standing their ground at the Battle with a dedication to the memory of Colonel Galbraith of the Regiment who had lived nearby.

(For more details visit  http://maiwandday.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/conversions-v-colonel-galbraith-of-66th.html)

Lisnamallard House, Omagh

This building was a Headquarters for the 8th Infantry Division, United States Army during WW2.

It is now a Government Building used by Civil Servants and I was unable to gain access. (Google)



Aircraft Crash Site Memorial, Omagh

This Memorial marks the crash site of Catalina Flying Boat FP239 from 131 Operational Training Unit of the Royal Air Force based at Killadeas, County Fermanagh.

The crash happened at approximately 17.15 on 30th December 1942 resulting in the deaths of all on board and the memorial can be found on Reaghan Road between Omagh and Newtownstewart.

Sergeant Pilot John Samuel Orr, Sergeant Pilot Frederick Herbert Hilling, Flying Officer Robert Mercer Adams (R.C.A.F.), Sergeant George Wilson Lowther (R.A.A.F.), Sergeant William Nichol, Sergeant Arthur Horton Perkins, Sergeant Charles Bernark Ridge, Sergeant John Edward Slade, Flying Officer Matthew James Hall Newman, Sergeant Daniel Ward Yates and Leading Aircraftsman Leslie Greenhalgh.

Of those who were killed Orr, Adams, Lowther and Newman are all buried in Irvinestown. (Google)

Ballymagorry

There was a Ground Control Intercept Radar at the end of Ballydonaghy Road in the townland of Ballydonaghy.

Only some concrete remains to be see.

Aircraft Crash Site, Plumbridge

On the night of 5/6th March 1945 Avro Anson LV153 took off from RAF Wigtown, Wigtownshire, Scotland, at 2130 hours, to carry out a non operational night navigation exercise.

The aircraft crashed into Legnagappoge Glen, Mullaghclogha Mountain, in the Sperrin Mountains near Plumbridge, County Tyrone, at 00:30 hours.

Four of the crew were killed and Sgt Shaxson was seriously injured.

Crew:
RCAF PO McFadyen I L (Pilot)
RAAF 37399 Flt Sgt R H Gilllian, (Navigator)
RAF Sgt T M D Shaxson, (Air Bomber)
RAF WOI J Pennack, (Wireless Air Gunner)
RAF Sgt R A Button, (Wireless Air Gunner)

Flying Officer Macfadyen's Headstone is shown here.

On March 6 2011, the 66th anniversary of the accident, a memorial was erected at the crash site by Glenelly Historical Society and the unveiling ceremony was attended by Sgt Shaxton's widow, and his descendants.

The pictures above are from the Glenelly Historical Society. (For more info visit http://www.fuls.org.uk/glenellyhistorical/legnagappoge.html)

Strabane Cemetery

There are 6 Servicemen buried in Strabane Cemetery who lost their lives during the Second World War.

Sergeant William Alexander McKinley was with Number 5 Operational Training Unit, Royal Air Force.

On 29th March 1943 he was flying Beaufort AW277 in a Navigation Exercise when at 4AM the aircraft flew into electric cables on Colin Top Mountain killing all four Crew.

Two of the Crew are buried in England while Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Sergeant E.F.H. Stephens is buried in Belfast City Cemetery.

Flight Sergeant Daniel Breslin D.F.M. was killed on 18th July 1943.

He was serving with Number 1485 Flight based at R.A.F. Fulbeck and was in Wellington BK235 which was involved in a Gunnery Demonstration.

The aircraft was engaged in a Corkscrew Fighter Affiliation Exercise when the starboard wing broke off at the outside of the engine causing an immediate dive into the ground killing all 6 persons on board.

Trooper John Alfred Wasson was serving with the North Irish Horse within the Royal Armoured Corps - His headstone is above left.

Gunner Patrick Joseph Gallagher was with 332 Battery, 106 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. - His Headstone can be seen above.

From 18th September 1988 the Regiment had fought through Eindhoven and Nijmegen to Groesbeek in Holland before entering Germany on 11th February 1945.

American Soldiers in Strabane

The two Black and White pictures shown here are from the Film "A Letter From Ulster" which was made during the Second World War and relates to two American Soldiers who were based in Northern Ireland.

For More Please visit "A Letter From Ulster" Section of this Website.

They are shown in various locations around Northern Ireland and here the two are seen in Strabane where they call at Gray Printers.

Please note that Grey Printers is a National Trust Property and the National Trust should be contacted prior to visiting to ensure there is access to the Print shop.

Army Billets in Strabane

Soldiers from various Regiments were based in a number of Billets around Strabane.

One of these was the Porter and Company Abercorn Factory on Derry Road along with the old Technical College which is nearby and shown below.

Further along Derry Road is the site of the old Workhouse.

During the Second World War soldiers were also billeted there and although the site has now been totally redeveloped to become the local Council Office it is pleasing to note that parts of the original building have been retained at each end and can be seen in my photograph below.

Currabrack Firing Range, Gortin

This Firing Range was used during the Second World War.

It can be found near the junction of Glenpark Road with Lenamore Road and is a short distance into the woods.

Due to heavy vegetation I was unable to locate the Firing Line and these pictures show the area behind which the targets would have been located.

As can be seen from the second picture it appears that the Range was also used some time after WW2.

Lislap House, Gortin

Lislap House was used by the U.S. Army during WW2.

34th Infantry Division Reconnaissance Troop was billeted there for a time in 1942.

Beltrim Castle, Gortin

Between 22nd February and 16th May 1944 552nd Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Company Tank were based at Beltrim Castle.

Some Nissen Huts were constructed in the grounds and the building shown here was a Dining Area.

Fecarry Firing Range, Mountfield

The Firing Range at Fecarry Glen near Mountfield was used by American soldiers up until they left for D-Day.


The Range is heavily overgrown and difficult underfoot for the visitor however due to its location only time has taken its toll and much remains to be seen.

The two photographs below show one of the raised firing positions (On the left) with the corrugated tin of the position clearly visible while the second is a view down the range to a concrete wall which (fortunately) protects those troops setting the targets and behind this the back stop where little now grows due to the amount of lead lying around! - Above you can see where nothing can grow, even after all the years, due to the amount of lead in the soil!

Here is the Target Shed where all the Targets were kept. On looking inside you can see a number of the wooden frames on which targets were attached before being hoisted above the banking for shooting to commence.

Written inside the Target Store to the left of the targets is "Join The Ulster Home Guard".

In the picture on the left you can see the Target Store in the background.

This picture is taken on top of the bank immediately in front of where the targets were positioned on the wooden sections.

The next picture shows the view as seen by those men who were setting up the targets.

Loughmacrory

This is the trunk of a tree at Loughmacrory Lodge between Mountfield and Carrickmore.

It appears that 2 U.S. Army soldiers have taken the time to carve their details into the trunk.

The lower wording appears to be "H.P. Lowell, Mass" and on researching this it may be that H.P. was from the city of Lowell in Massachussettes.

The upper wording gives more information.

"Pvt J.H.(Possibly T) Kopec, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.

This man may have been Joe H. Kopec, Serial number 20635751 who enlisted at Grand Rapids, Michigan on 15th October 1940 as a Private in the Infantry of the Army National Guard.

I am keen to hear of any information relating to U.S. Military personel having been based at Loughmacrory.

(Thanks to Peter O'Brien for providing this photograph).


Black Lane, Dungannon

Off Brook Street in Dungannon is Black Lane where you will see the two plaques shown here on display on an attractive little Archway.

The first picture tells that during the Second World War the Dicksons Linen Mill changed purpose to the production of munitions in support of the War Effort.

This is an interesting little display and in the same area is a genuine First World War German Field Gun which was captured from the enemy and is now dedicated to soldiers from the area who were killed during the war.

Ballynorthland P.O.W. Camp, Dungannon

Shown above is the small row of buildings which remain of what was once the Ballynorthland Prisoner Of War Camp in Dungannon.

The 3d Field Artillery Observation Battalion of the United States Army were based at Ballynorthland for a short time.

Benburb Military Hospital

Shown above is a group photograph of British Military personnel at what was a Military Hospital on the site of the old Manor House at Main Street in Benburb.

The location was used by both British and United States personnel and was known by Americans as 7th Field Hospital between 26th October 1943 and 1st April 1944.

The hospital was equipped with 135 beds.

Stuart Hall, Stewartstown

Situated on Mountjoy Road, Stewartstown.

In the Spring of 1941 Stuart Hall, the home and grounds of The Earl of Castlestewart were gifted to the Ministry of Home Affairs "For the duration of the War" and were subsequently used to house Mothers and Children who had been made homeless during the Belfast Blitz.

This Newspaper article gives some detail regarding the use of Stuart Hall with the first photograph showing the construction of Nissen Huts in the Grounds.

The next picture shows that a slide and roundabout were included for the children with the final picture showing the effort being taken to make the site as welcoming as possible. 

(Thank-you very much to Claire Ruderman http://goorwitch.tumbler.com for permission to use these photographs).

Trew and Moy Railway Station

This is the old Trew and Moy Railway Station. - The buildings are now part of a private residence however during the Second World War this railway station was much used by the United States Army personnel who were based at the nearby Argory and Derrygally House.

Aughantaine Castle, Fivemiletown.

The grounds of this castle were used as a camp by 28th Field Artillery Battalion of the United States Army who were equipped with both 105mm and the larger 155mm guns. Their compliment included a Headquarters, Medical Detachment and Service Batteries as well as A,B and C Batteries.

The pictures here show a sturdy bridge and concrete area where equipment would have been stored.

These can be seen at Aghintaine Road, Fivemiletown.

Fivemiletown - Catalina Flying Boat Anchor

How about this for a fantastic item! 

This is the anchor from Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina Flying Boat Z of 209 Squadron, Royal Air Force piloted by Flying Officer Dennis Briggs at approx 10.30 on 26th May 1941 at position 49º 20´ north, 21º 50´ west in the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Ireland.

Please refer to the County Fermanagh Section of this website for more information regarding the Bismarck - And note the spelling mistake on the brass plate.

(Thanks very much to Beverley Weir for her assistance with this item).

Blessingbourne, Fivemiletown

Between 16th December 1943 and July 1944 Blessingbourne was Headquarters and Headquarters Battery of 8th Infantry Division Artillery who were joined between 21st December 1943 and 29th June 1943 by 45th Field Artillery Battalion of 8th Infantry Division equipped with 105mm Towed Howitzers.

56th Field Artillery Battalion of 8th Infantry Division were here with their 105mm Howitzers from 27th December 43 until 29th June 1944 and on the day of their arrival they were accompanied by 708th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company 8th Infantry Division.

Soldiers are shown above setting the Fuse on an Artillery Shell above then firing a Field Gun below at Blessingbourne.
(Please note that these images are from a Video which you can view through the Video Section of this website!)

Clogher Cathedral

Captain / Reverend Alan Alexander Buchanan of 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment was from County Tyrone and served as Padre to the Regiment.

Buchanan saw service in Sicily before Operation Market Garden at Arnhem where he saw service and was taken prisoner to be sent to Stalag XIB in Fallingbostel.

He received a "Mentioned in Dispatches" for his actions at Arnhem and following the war he became Archbishop of Dublin.

A memorial window was unveiled to him at Clogher Cathedral in 2000.

Anti-Tank Troops in Clogher

During 1942 an Anti-Tank Company of 135th Infantry, 34th Infantry Division, United states Army were based in Clogher.

I believe they were billeted off Main Street.

If you have any information regarding this then please contact me at the E-Mail address given below.