Belfast Blitz Memorial
This simple Memorial can be seen in Shankill Road Cemetery.
The Memorial is built on red brick of the same type which many of the houses in Belfast were constructed from and of which so many were destroyed on the "Darkest Night".
On the left you can see the Headlines of the "Belfast Telegraph" newspaper on 8th April 1941 following the Air Raid. Please look at the Street Scene in the Newspaper and my photograph shows the same scene as it looks today.
****For More "Then and Now" type photographs please click on "Belfast Blitz Then and Now" ****
Royal Ulster Constabulary Glenravel Street and other Fatalities
The following 5 Police Officers were killed when their Police Station at Glenravel Street in Central Belfast was struck and destroyed by a bomb during the Air Raid on 5th May 1941.
Constable Martin Robert Armstrong 24 years, Constable Hugh Campbell 22 years, Constable William John Lemon 19 years, Constable James McKenna 22 years, Constable Robert Reid 22 years.
Shown here is Constable Robert Reid. The photographs were taken shortly after he had Passed Out of the R.U.C. Depot on completion of Initial Training.
(Thanks to James Craig who is the Nephew of the late Robert Reid.)
Constable Reid was buried in Ballymena on 14th May 1941. This photograph appeared in the Ballymena Weekly the following day.
The following police officers of the R.U.C. were killed during the German Air Raids on Belfast
16th April 1941 James Meaklim, 38 years old, was killed when a Parachute Mine exploded outside the Police Station at York Road in North Belfast when he was inside. - The station was destroyed.
5th May 1941 Detective Sergeant Robert John Wilson, 42 years old, was killed whilst off duty during an Air Raid.
(Thanks to James Craig who is the Nephew of the late Robert Reid.)
Special Constable Maurice William Howe, 9 Indiana Avenue, died on 16th April 1941 at his home.
(Thanks very much to Brian Reid for the photograph of this Memorial)
East Twin Island, Belfast Harbour
East Twin Island had been an old Fort at the entrance to Belfast Docks which was upgraded during the First World War with two 12 Pounder Quick Firer Guns along with 2 Searchlights and 2 Machine-gun Positions.
After the war in 1921, with this Battery being considered surplus to requirements it was returned to the Belfast Harbour Commissioners however with the outbreak of the Second World War it was again needed and three 3 Inch Anti-Aircraft guns were positioned between East Twin Island and the nearby Power Station. These Guns were operated by 175th and 176th Light Anti-Aircraft batteries, Royal Artillery.
The Fort shown in the Plan above was positioned at the top of East Twin Island which is shown in the Aerial photograph (Bing) Nothing now remains of the defences and the site is a busy Dry Dock.
Luftwaffe Reconnaissance Photographs and Target Details
It is interesting to see the Targets which had been identified my the Luftwaffe for Bombing. Harland and Wolff Shipyard, Sydenham Airfield and Shorts Aircraft Factory are all included.
Shown on the left is the Aircraft Production Building as marked with a "C" on the Luftwaffe Photograph above with an old "Co 2" Marking which has been painted on the wall of this building for the attention of Fire Fighters.
The upper photograph shows that the Luftwaffe have identified the Gas Works for Bombing whilst below this is a Report showing the Targetting of various locations around Belfast. (For more visit http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/17159-belfast-blitz-luftwaffe)
The photograph above shows a very busy Belfast Docks in November 1944 with below showing the Musgrave Channel with lots of shipping (I.W.M. Pictures)
Belfast Blitz Mural, St Aubyn Street, Belfast
32 Carncaver Road
The Brass Plaque shown here marks the fact that James Magennis had lived at this address for a few years.
During the War the Pollock Dock was exclusively for Admiralty use and 20 extra Mooring Dolphins were installed on the Eastern side of the Herdman Channel at Sinclair Road for use by the Trawlers used for Convoy Protection.
Templemore Avenue Auxiliary Fire Service Training Exercise
The photographs above show an Auxiliary Fire Service training exercise taking place in Templemore Avenue on 22nd July 1941. (DO NOT COPY THESE PICTURES)
Auxiliary Fire Service Display at Mays Market
(DO NOT COPY THESE ORIGINAL PICTURES)
Red Cross Nurses on Parade, Mays Market
Possibly on the same day as the photographs of A.F.S. this photograph has been taken in the same location as top left. (Ulster Museum photograph from the Book Northern Ireland in the Second World War by Brian Barton)
Emergency Water Supply Signage.
This sign can be seen painted on the wall of a building at the junction of Montgomery Street and May Street in the City Centre.
If you look closely at the "Post No Bills" wording you will see a large yellow coloured arrow pointing to the right and in the centre of this below "st No B" can be seen the faint "E.W.S." referring to "Emergency Water Supply"
Stranmillis College on Stranmillis Road was used as a Military Hospital.
Army Dental Centre, Belfast
This photograph was taken at the Army Dental Centre in Belfast on 9th January 1942. (I.W.M. Photograph)
Duncairn Gardens Methodist Church
I went to this site with the intention of doing a pair of "Then and Now" type comparison pictures however the architecture did not seem correct and on looking at one of the window sills I found this explaination.
Musgrave Channel Pontoons
These are 3 old Pontoons which are lying in Musgrave Channel between Victoria Park and the George Best Belfast City Airport.
When Flying Boats were launched, a short distance from where the pontoons now lie, from Shorts Aircraft Factory into Musgrave Channel they would not have been fully equipped as a safety feature.
It was only when the Flying Boats were afloat that these pontoons were used to transport all the extra armament and equipment to the aircraft prior to their deployment to active service.
Airport Road / Shorts Aircraft Factory
The 2 photographs above show the same location but from a different angle and at a very different age!
An ideal comparrison picture would be taken from Airport Road immediately beside the slipway as seen in the top picture however I have gone to Musgrave Channel Road on the other side of the water to get an unobstructed view of the slipway.
The small building to the right of the modern picture is the one immediately behind the Sunderland Flying Boats in the original picture.
The view on the left is looking towards the Slipway as it appears today whilst on the right is the old building and Slipway.
The Sunderland in this photograph has been moved from the large building shown above and is being taken to the slipway which is shown in my photograph immediately above.
Here are some photographs of Sunderland W6050 being launched on 10th April 1942.
Sunderland Flying Boats and Stirling Bombers being manufactured side by side and three Sunderlands sitting beside the slipway ready for launching.
The Sunderland in the photograph on the left is being produced for the Royal New Zealand Air Force. (It and the photographs above come from the fantastic Belfast Forum)
This fabulous photograph shows Short Stirling Mk3 BF509 flying over the County Antrim countryside whilst above right are Stirling Bombers under construction.
(Both this and the photograph come from the excellent website https://218squadron.wordpress.com/)
Short Sunderland Flying Boats being manufactured in Belfast. (Photograph on the left from "Fermanagh in the Second World War" by Joe O'Loughlin)
On the right are a number of Sunderland Flying Boats with the cranes of Harland and Wolff Shipyard in the background.
This painting is called "On board an Escort Carrier. Winter dusk in Belfast Harbour. Sunderland Flying Boats" and shows the same general scene as above. (I.W.M. picture) whilst right & below are Damage after the Air Raid on 4th / 5th May 1941.
Part of a Sunderland Flying Boat being transported through central Belfast.
The building on the left has the "Short Brothers" sign above the main entrance and can be seen at Airport Road, Belfast.
The building is opposite Victoria Park where there had been an Anti-Aircraft Gun Battery during the War.
Shown here is the Short and Harlands Group, Ulster Home Guard. (Thanks very much to James Craig for this photograph which includes his Father who worked on both Sunderland and Stirling Aircraft.) ***FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION. PLEASE DO NOT COPY***
Shorts Aircraft Factory after having been Bombed by the Luftwaffe
This structure was constructed inside the Factory to provide "Air Raid Protection" for those who were unable to reach an Air raid Shelter.
Clearing Up after being Bombed by the Luftwaffe.
These pictures show Short Stirling Bombers on the production line - Propellers can be seen to the left of this picture.
Badly damages Stirling Bombers shown both above and below.
Men are seen saving what can be recovered. (From the excellent Old Belfast Facebok Page)
Belfast City Airport
The concrete structure shown here is what was known as a "Seagull Trench" and was an Airfield Defensive Structure. The design looks like a seagull in flight and is shaped like the wings of a Stuka Dive Bomber with the hardened shelter in the middle having 2 shelters.
On 5th May 1941 the airfield was bombed and sustained 16 craters on the aerodrome surface with 3 craters on the perimeter track and 16 craters on the outer perimeter track rendering it temporarily unserviceable.
The memorial shown here was at the covered walkway between the main terminal and car park however it has now been replaced by the stone version below which can be seen when walking towards the Terminal.
(Please note that the face and vettering on this stone are reflections of an electronic advertising board and are not on the Memorial)
This photograph shows Sydenham Airfield, Belfast as it looked on 13th November 1945. (Picture from Royal Naval Research Archive)
CAM Ships (Catapult Armed Merchantmen)
The Memorial which can be seen at Belfast City Airport has a design showing an Aircraft sitting on a CAM Ship however this can be better understood by the photographs below.
This is Flight Lieutenant D.R. Turley-George with Flying Officer Fenwick in front of their Hurricane on board the S.S. Empire Tide.
Grumman Hellcat Crash at Sydenham
This is a Grumman Hellcat which crashed near Gillespie's plant nurseries on the Holywood Road, Belfast.
It was 10th April 1945 and the aircraft had just taken off from Sydenham when it was seen to make a steep turn and dive into an open field.
A child who was playing in the field was killed as the Hellcat crashed and the pilot of the single-seat fighter was severely injured and died an hour later in the military hospital at Campbell College. (More information regarding the Military Hospital can be found on this website)
The Pilot can be identified as Sub Lieutenant Edmund John Hoy, age 27, of the South Africa Naval Forces who had went to Sydenham to collect newly arrived Hellcats.
This particular aircraft had been allocated to No 892 Squadron which was then re-forming at Eglinton Royal Naval Air Station and was being newly equipped with night fighter variants of the Hellcat.
(Many thanks to Ernie Cromie. Picture from Belfast telegraph)
Sydenham Train Station
Users of the Belfast to Bangor rail system will have seen this painting on a wall at Sydenham Train Station.
The painting shows the old Control Tower at Sydenham however wrongly identifies it as the "Old R.A.F. Control Tower" when it was actually a Royal Navy "Naval Type 3860/42"
If you use any of the Tour Busses which operate within the City of Belfast I am sure the tour will include a visit to the Dry Dock where the Titanic was built.
became the headquarters for Belfast Naval Base which was home to minesweepers and trawlers, of which there were 70 by the end of 1940.
Caroline provided signal and cypher facilities to her trawlers and a school for Merchant Navy DEMS (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships) Gunners.
The base soon outgrew the ship, spreading out into buildings all over Belfast, including Belfast Castle.
Naval ratings attached to these buildings wore the name Caroline on their cap ribbons. Later in the war, the base expanded again and the minesweepers were replaced with escort groups of destroyers, corvettes and frigates. It was at this time that the current Captains Quarters at the rear of the ship was built for the Commodore responsible for Belfast Harbour.
H.M.S. Caroline. As you can see she has been rotated 180 degrees and painted back to the original colour as part of the restoration work.
Four of the Ships Guns as seen from the bow.
The Navigating Bridge.
One of the Rooms in the Captains Cabin.
Keys to the Ammunition Magazine.
Ordinary Ranks Washroom.
One of the Engines.
On looking around it was great to find the old signs which are shown above.
"Victualling Store" and "Tiller Flat"
Shown on the right is a British Naval Mine which can be seen beside the Ship.
This is the Admiralty Profile Plan of H.M.S. Caroline as signed in May 1913. (Admiralty photograph)
Royal Visit to H.M.S. Caroline
The King is shown inspecting the Ships Company of H.M.S. Caroline in Belfast in 1942. (I.W.M. Photograph)
"The Oval" Football Ground
On the night of 3rd / 4th May 1941 the Luftwaffe attached a number of targets in the Industrial heart of Belfast. This pillbox was one of the defence positions which were manned by soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment who were based at nearby Victoria Park.
Shown here is Thomas Pearson who had played as a Goalkeeper for Glentoran Football Club before joining the Irish Guards.
He is remembered with a Plaque and the documents shown here which can be seen in the foyer of the Grandstand at The Oval.
Connsbank Road Air Raid Shelter
Solidly built with protected doorways and a clearly strengthened roof it has all the appearances of an air raid shelter. At each end there appears to be seating however my initial identification of it as a shelter is confused by the fact that there are windows facing the Victoria park side.
Belfast Telegraph Newspaper Building
A short walk along Donegal Place and Royal Avenue will bring you to the Belfast Telegraph newspaper offices and a little plaque which illustrates the spirit which was to be found in Northern Ireland during the Second World war.
On 15th April 1941 Auxiliary Fire Service men were called from Malone Avenue to assist at the L.M.S. Railway Station at York Road which was severely damaged by Bombing.
As they drove past the Belfast Telegraph Offices a Bomb exploded killing two of the men - George Spence and Hugh Castles as well as severely injuring three others.
Mr James Jameson Lee and Mr Clyde Rainey continued with their Fire Fighting duties and were both Commended for Bravery.
See Greater Belfast Part 6 Section for more details.
Seaforde Street / Newtownards Road
The scene of a bomb explosion outside St Matthews Roman Catholic Church at the junction of Seaforde Street and Newtownards Road. (From Belfast Telegraph "Bombs on Belfast)
This happened during the Easter Tuesday Raid on 16th April 1941 and the records of the Belfast Civil Defence Authority show that Patrick Mulholland from 7 Seaforde Street was seriously injured and receiving treatment in the Royal Victoria Hospital. I have also learned that Patrick Duffy, 27 years old from 5 Seaforde Street was killed during this raid.
On visiting the scene and talking to local residents I was able to find damage to the small wall on which the railings are positioned which was caused as a direct result of the bomb.
When walking past the University I would ask you to look at the small wall where you can see where the metal railings which had been on top of the wall were cut off and smelted down for use in the war effort.
The pictures above show that the grass areas inside Queens were put to cultivation while the Medical School maintained a regular supply of qualified Doctors to practice locally as well as volunteering for service.
(I would like to thank Marketing & Creative Services, QUB for permission to use these pictures).
Field Marshall Montgomery is shown below meeting Lord Londonderry at the Assembly Hall, Queens University on 14th September 1945. (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)
This is the impressive Drum House at Drumbeg which is referred to in detail by Romie Lambkin as mentioned below.
During the war it was used as a base by the Home Guard as well as 602 Motor Transport Company with a number of nissen huts in the grounds.
The front of the house shown here was used as a Parade Ground and Staff Cars would have been parked in line. To the rear of the house was a Vehicle Inspection Pit and bath houses for the troops.
The property is now "Drum House Nursery"
A.T.S. Billets Eglantine Avenue.
The houses at Numbers 4 and 7 Eglantine Avenue were used at Billets for A.T.S. (Auxiliary Territorial Service) women during the war.
They are mentioned in the book "My Time in the War" by Romie Lambkin who served in the A.T.S. and was based there in 1942.
This photograph shows A.T.S. Aircraft Spotters using specially designed chairs on 24th September 1941.
Wandsworth House A.R.P. First Aid Service
The building which was "Wandsworth House" during the Second World War is now Greenwood House Assessment Centre in Greenwood Avenue and unfortunately this was the best picture I could take of the building as it now stands. (Old WW2 picture from "Snapshots of Belfast")
During 1939 ARP Volunteers assembled gas masks in the Ulster Hall in Bedford Street.
Petty Officer James Benson was serving at H.M.S. Drake when he died.
Sergeant Pilot Harold Gibson Black was serving with Number 2 Flying Instructor School when he was Killed.
John Leadbetter Carson was a Pilot serving with 201 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
He was flying Sunderland I P9622, ZM-W on an Air Sea Rescue mission after another Sunderland aircraft, P9620, had ditched however weather was bad and ZM-W flew in to Dunnett Head, Caithness.
Sub-Lieutenant Pilot George Nethercott Cunningham was serving with 717 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm based at H.M.S. Merganser when he was killed in an aircraft crash.
Sergeant Air Gunner Thomas gates was serving with 158 Squadron, Royal Air Force. He was aborad Halifax Bomber JD208 which took off from Lissett at 22.47 on 25th July 1943 on a Mission to bomb Essen. On returning the aircraft stalled and went in to a spin into the ground near Driffield, Yorkshire with the loss of all on board.
Robert Alexander Kane was Killed on boark S.S. Fair Head which was at Dufferin Dock in Belfast and was seriously damaged by a Parachute Mine during an Air Raid.
The ship was subsequently beached at bangor and broken up.
John Hudson was on board S.S. Turakana (Shown above) which was on a voyage from Sydney to Wellington when it was attacked by the German Raider Orion which sunk Turakana with gunfire and torpedoes. The Ships Captain and 33 men were lost. (Photograph from nzhistory.gov.nz)
John Oswald Johnston was serving with 619 Squadron, R.A.F. based at Dunholme Lodge.
On the shortest night of the year he was aboard Lancaster I LL977 PG-H on a mission to a Synthetic Oil Plant at Wesseling which is South of Cologne.
The aircraft was hit by Flak at 17,000 Feet in the Aachen area and exploded. The explosion threw the Pilot out of the aircraft and he survived to be a Prisoner of War however all others aboard were killed.
William Latimer was serving at H.M.S. Drake when he died on 12th January 1945.
Gunner Angus Lyttle was serving with the Royal Artillery when he died.
Warrant Officer William Robert Martin was serving with Number 26 Operational Training Unit when he died.
Flight Sergeant Thomas Dunwoody "Teddy" Mayne was serving with 408 Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron when he was Killed in Action. He was aboard Lancaster II DS-778 EQ-U on a mission to Kassel and is buried in Hanover.
Robert McDonald was serving with 176 Battery, 66 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery and fellow Artilleryman Herbert Molyneaux was with 4 Anti-Aircraft Tractor Battery.
Robert Morrison was serving with 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles and John Nutt was serving on H.M.S. White Bear which is shown above (IWM Photograph)
Riggers Mate Harry O'Leary was serving on H.M.S. Barnstone which was a Boom Defence Vessel.
Photograph of H.M.S. Barnstone below (From www.navy-net.co.uk)
John Stewart was 23 years old and serving with 48 Commando, Royal Marines.
He was Killed in Action in Southwest Holland and is buried at Bergen-Op-Zoom, Netherlands.
Susan Story and her Daughter Renee were Killed during the Belfast Blitz on 5th May 1941.
Thomas Foster Thompson was serving with the Royal Ulster Rifles attached to the Pioneer Corps and Charles Henry Turner, who had won the Military Cross, was serving with 6th Home Decence Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles when he died. He was 64 Years old!!
The McFall Family were killed during the Belfast Blitz on the 16th April 1941.
They were a family of FIVE - Joseph who was 43 years old and his Wife Violet who was 41 years old along with their children Sarah 23 years, Martha 19 years and Joseph who was 10 years old.
They were killed in their home at 33 Louisa Street off the Oldpark Road.
George Moore was serving with the Merchant Navy and was only 16 Years Old. He is buried in Algiers, North Africa.
Accidents continue to happen, even when the victim is fighting in a war in a far off land.
Wallace B. McCappin was a sailor aboard H.M.S. Esk which was part of the 20th Destroyer Flotilla and had sailed from Immingham on a mine laying mission.
Aerial reconnaissance had detected German ships and the Flotilla went to intercept however H.M.S. Express struck a mine and was seriously damaged. At this stage H.M.S. Esk, under the command of Lt Commander R.J.H. Couch D.S.C. R.N. went to the assistance of the Express and she also struck a mine.
Within only 15 minutes H.M.S. Esk broke in two and sank with the loss of 135 sailors including Wallace.
The wreck lies 40 nautical miles Northwest of Texel Island, Netherlands.
Sarah Eliza Byrne was killed at 31 Louisa Street, her home address, during the Blitz on 16th April 1941.
She was 56 years old and the Widow of Daniel Byrne.
The significance of the graves of Riflemen Jamieson and Calder is that they may have died together in the same action which is why they are buried side by side.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have a total of 44 graves recorded for this cemetery however this does not include the civilian victims of the German Air Raids or the personel who are recorded on family grave stones.
Denis Henderson Rankin was flying from Lossiemouth, Scotland in Wellington HF816 when it crashed in the Cairngorms at An Lurg with the loss of all crew.
Flight Sergeant George Furney D.F.M. was in 84 Squadron R.A.F. based at Habbaniyah, Iraq and was on a reconnaissance sortie in Blenheim IV L9316 when the aircraft was shot down by a Vichy French MS. 406 with the loss of all three crew members.
Here are the Headstones of two Royal Air Force Aircraftsmen.
John Graham Logan was serving with 949 Balloon Squadron whilst Hugh Beattie was serving with 2738 Squadron, R.A.F. Regiment who were involved in operating Light Anti-Aircraft Guns in the Eastbourne Area.
Walter Stewart was Forth Engineer Officer on the ship S.S. Shelbrit 1 when it was sunk by a mine explosion.
John Andrew Martin was a 51 years old Civilian. He lived with his wife Annie at 27 Percy Street, Belfast and died in his own home when it was bombed by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) on the night of 15/16 April 1941.
On the night of 4th / 5th May 1941 Robert Alexander Kane was a member of the Merchant Navy and Second Engineer Officer on the Ship S.S. Fair Head. This was a Transport Ship which was moored in Dufferin Dock loaded with military supplies.
There was a Luftwaffe Air Raid, which became known as "The Fire Raid", during which the S.S. Fair Head was struck by a Parachute Mine which broke the back of the ship and killed Robert Kane.
Seymour Hill Mural
This mural at Hornbeam Road was officially dedicated on 1st July 2009 by Colonel Robin Charley as documented in the brass plaque on the Mural.