The Belfast Telegraph Spitfire Fund
The Telegraph’s Spitfire Fund collected enough money to buy 17 Spitfires!
Launched a day before the German Luftwaffe began their bombardment of manufacturing bases and defence installations in 1940, the Belfast Telegraph’s Spitfire Fund generated an impressive £88,633,16s.5d
Initially announced as the 100,000 Shillings Fund, the goal was to raise £5,000 for the production of one Spitfire.
Headlines such as “A Spitfire A Day Keeps The Nazis Away” and “Speed That Spitfire” resulted in thousands of pounds being collected.
Belfast Shipyard workers donated £4,559 while two County Fermanagh Schoolgirls saved their 336 half pennies to give to the Fund.
Regardless of how little or how much they gave, the name of every single donor was published in the newspaper.
In recognition of this mamouth Fundraising Effort all of the spitfires were given names representative of Northern Ireland.
They were called :- Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, Tyrone, Larne, Ballymena, Bangor, Aldergrove, Mountains O’Mourne, Enniskillen, Mid-Ulster, Belfast, Portadown, City of Derry and Harlandic.
The Tyrone and Harlandic were downed in the same battle off the French coast while the City of Derry and Londonderry were struck off in 1941.
Sadly 12 airmen gave their lives flying Spitfires donated by the people Northern Ireland.
Of the seventeen Fighters only the Enniskillen and the Fermanagh Spitfires survived the war, but both have long since been scrapped.
In 1994 the oldest surviving Spitfire was given honourary Ulster citizenship and was re-named, Enniskillen. It was completely restored and repainted to its original colours at the Belfast-based Short and Harland’s Aircraft factory and is part in the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
This Enniskillen was in front-line service from 1941 to 1944.
It was used in daylight bombing raids against battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in December 1941, and flew 29 operational missions during June 1942 including during the fierce aerial battles in support of the Dieppe Raid.
The aircraft took part in numerous cover patrols over the beaches of Normandy including Operation Overlord on 6th June 1944 over the Normandy Beaches.
After mid-July 1944, it was relegated to support duties until it was bought by Group Captain Alan Wheeler three years later and was placed on the civil register for air racing.
After crashing during the Kings Cup Air Race in 1953, it was returned to Vickers-Armstrong where it was refurbished and flown regularly by Jeffrey Quill until it was donated to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in 1965. (Information and photographs from Belfast Telegraph Newspaper)
Dundalk and Drogheda Fire Brigade assist during Blitz
A few pictures of a Merryweather Fire Tender from Dundalk such as those which came north to assist during the Belfast Blitz.
Lisburn Fire Engine
This is a Dennis Light Four Fire Engine which was built in 1938 and had the registration number DZ6866.
The vehicle was purchased from Isaac Agnew Limited in Belfast by Lisburn Urban District Council in 1938 at the cost of £1183 and 15 shillings.
At the time of purchase it was equipped with a John Kerr 50' Extension Ladder however this ladder collapsed during a practice drill in December 1941 and was replaced by a 30' ladder by the Home Office.
This Fire Engine saw service with the Lisburn Fire Brigade while fighting fires during the Belfast Blitz of 1941.
Incoming convoy ships which were to go to Bristol or Merseyside would assemble in Belfast Lough off Bangor from where they were provided with a close escort of trawlers which had been converted to Mine Sweeping or Anti-Submarine duties.
Over 70 such trawlers were based in Belfast.
Outgoing convoy ships would also receive such an escort as far as Londonderry from where Destroyers and Corvettes from the Foyle took over this duty.
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.
Ships with U.S. Army personnel arriving at Dufferin Dock in Belfast on 26th January 1942.
Complement of British Army Personnel in Northern Ireland.
The idea of this section is to correspond with the various locations illustrated throughout my website. - Where possible I have tried to elaborate on where these places were.
On looking through this website you will see many of the locations mentioned.
As on the first day of WW2.
The Northern Ireland District Signal Company, Belfast - The H.Q. was Victoria Barracks.
2nd Btn., The South Wales Borderers: Ebrington Barracks, Londonderry.
1st Btn., The East Lancashire Regiment: Holywood, County Down.
2nd Btn., The Northamptonshire Regiment: Ballykinler
2nd Btn., The Royal Sussex Regiment: Belfast
HQ Royal Artillery: Belfast
Belfast Fire Command: Belfast
Depot, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - St Lucia Barracks, Omagh
Depot, The Royal Ulster Rifles - Gough Barracks, Armagh City.
Territorial Army soldiers
188th (Antrim) Independent Heavy Battery, R.A. (T.A.)
HQ: Great Victoria Street, Belfast
The Antrim (Fortress) RE: Belfast
Reserve Troops in the District
The North Irish Horse, Belfast
Along With the Following
3rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, Supplementary Reserve: HQ Belfast
3rd (Ulster) Searchlight Regiment, R.A. (S.R.)
HQ, 10th, 11th Btys: Belfast
9th Bty: Clonaver - Off Holywood Road.
12th Bty: Lurgan - Brownlow House.
8th (Belfast) Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.A. (S.R.)
HQ, 21st-23rd AA Btys: Belfast
5th Light AA Bty: Newtownards - Where the T.A. Building stands on Crawfordsburn Road.
9th (Londonderry) Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.A.
HQ, 24th-25th AA Btys: Londonderry
26th AA Bty: Ballymena
6th Light AA Bty: Coleraine
Changes During 1939
2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers on Exercise in Ballymena on 19th September 1941.
(I.W.M. Photo. More at:- http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205197726)
2nd Btn., The South Wales Borderers - Left Londonderry in Dec. 1939 for England.
1st Btn., The East Lancashire Regiment - Left Belfast on 1 Nov. 1939 for England.
2nd Btn., The Northamptonshire Regiment - Handed over to ITC, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 3 Oct. 1939 and moved to England.
2nd Btn., The Royal Sussex Regiment - Left Belfast just before 25 December 1939 for England.
1st Btn., The Rifle Brigade - Replaced 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment at Ballykinler in early Oct. 1939 and remained until Dec. 1939.
Depot, The Royal Irish Fusiliers - Moved to Ballykinler from Catterick, England in the winter of 1939-40.
3rd (Ulster) Searchlight Regiment, RA - Left Ulster in Nov. 1939 and moved to France in Jan. 1940.
8th (Belfast) Heavy AA Regiment, RA - Moved to Britain in early Nov. 1939.
5th Light AA Battery, RA - Moved to Egypt in Nov. 1939
9th (Londonderry) Heavy AA Regiment, RA - Moved to Egypt in Nov. 1939
6th Light AA Battery, RA - Moved to Britain in Nov. 1939
6th (Home Defence) Btn., The Royal Ulster Rifles - Raised in Belfast on 2 Nov. 1939 from 200th Group, NDC. Served in Belfast until Nov. 1942, when it moved to Larne. Renamed 30th Btn. on 24 December 1941. Disbanded May 1943.
102nd Heavy AA Regiment, RA (TA) [314th, 315th, 316th Batteries] - Raised pre-war in Antrim and in the process of forming at the outbreak of war. 175th and 176th Light AA Batteries were added on 10 Sept. 1939. The regiment took over in Belfast in Feb. 1940. 175th and 176th Batteries left on 1 December 1940. It moved to the Levant (Palestine) in mid-1943.
309th AA Battery, 70th AA Regiment, RA (TA) - Moved to Belfast in early Nov. 1939. 158th Infantry Brigade - Moved to Northern Ireland on 23 Oct. 1939. Took over northern sector in December 1939.
4th, 6th, 7th Btn.s, The Royal Welch Fusiliers 2nd Btn., The Monmouthshire Regiment - Attached from 160th Brigade.
160th Infantry Brigade - Moved to Northern Ireland - southern sector on 18 December 1939 4th, 1st/5th Btn.s, The Welch Regiment 2nd Btn., The Monmouthshire Regiment - Rejoined brigade upon its arrival.
Changes During 1940.
Depot, The Royal Ulster Rifles - Moved from Armagh to Ballymena in May 1940
309th Heavy AA Battery, RA - Returned to England in Feb. 1940.
7th (Home Defence) Btn., The Royal Ulster Rifles - Raised 29 Jun. 1940. Served in Ulster until leaving for Britain in Sept. 1942. Renamed 31st Btn. on 24 December 1941.
70th (Young Soldiers) Btn., Royal Ulster Rifles - Raised at Holywood on 12 Sept. 1940. It guarded aerodromes and moved to Britain on 23 Oct. 1941.
5th (Home Defence) Btn., The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - Raised in Belfast on 10 Jun. 1940 and moved to Larne on 13 Jan. 1941. Retitled 30th Battalion on 24 December 1941 and moved to Britain on 12 Oct. 1942.
6th Btn., The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers -Raised in Oct. 1940 at Holywood. It moved to Belfast in December 1940 and Bangor in May 1941. It left for Britain in Jan. 1942.
70th (Young Soldiers) Btn., The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - Raised at Donaghadee, C. Down on 24 December 1940. Moved to Craigavad on 18 Jan. 1941 and to Donaghadee on 9 Oct. 1941. It remained there until 24 Oct., when it moved to Larne and then Britain. 5th (Northern Ireland) Btn., The Royal Irish Fusiliers - Raised on 3 Jul. 1940 at Ballykinler. Moved to Knock, Belfast in Feb. 1941 and to Armagh in late Feb. 1941. Renamed 30th (North Ireland) Btn. in Nov. 1941 and shortly after moved to Kilkeel. It remained there until disbanded in Jun. 1943.
237th Searchlight Training Regiment, RA [552nd, 560th Batteries] - Raised at Holywood on 29 Nov. 1940. Retitled 237th Light AA Training Regiment, RA on 27 Nov. 1941 and disbanded on 8 May 1942.
66th Light AA Regiment, RA [175th, 176th Batteries] - Raised at Belfast on 1 December 1940. 251st Battery was added on 28 Mar. 1941. 276th Battery replaced it on 19 Sept. 1941. 459th Battery was added from 19 Feb. to 10 Jul. 1942. The regiment moved to Britain in 1942-43.
Antrim Heavy Regiment, RA [188th, 200th Batteries] - Formed 1 Mar. 1940. Renamed 515th (Antrim) Coast Regiment, RA [‘A’, ‘B’ Batteries] on 14 Jul. 1940. Added ‘C’ Battery on 4 Feb. 1941 and 380th and 381st Batteries on 20 February 1941. ‘A’ - ‘C’ Batteries renamed 113th-115th Batteries on 1 Apr. 1941. Regiment was disbanded on 1 Jun. 1945. 63rd Anti-Tank Regiment, RA - It arrived at the same time as 61st Infantry Division in Jul. 1940, but served as Command Troops, at Lisburn. It was attached to 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division at this time and joined the division on 12 Apr. 1941.
12th (Garrison) Btn., The Royal Warwickshire Regiment - Moved to Larne in Jun. 1940 and remained until Aug. 1941, when it returned to Britain.
16th (Pioneer) Btn., The Royal Fusiliers - Moved to Dungannon and Cookstown in Jun. 1940. Left Northern Ireland in Nov. 1940.
9th (Garrison) Btn., The Gloucestershire Regiment - Moved to Northern Ireland in Oct. 1940. Served near Belfast and Knock in local defence until disbanded there on 30 Jun. 1943.
9th (Garrison) Btn., The East Surrey Regiment - Moved to Londonderry in Oct. 1940. It moved to Belfast in Feb. 1941 and was disbanded there in Jun. 1943.
13th Btn., The Royal Welch Fusiliers - Moved to Bangor on 14/15 Oct. 1940 and remained there until the Btn. joined 72nd Infantry Brigade on 21 Jan. 1941.
15th Btn., The South Staffordshire Regiment - Moved to Comber, Northern Ireland in Oct. 1940. Remained there until the Btn. joined 72nd Infantry Brigade on 21 Jan. 1941.
53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division - Moved to Northern Ireland on 3 Apr. 1940. Served under Northern Ireland District until 11 Jul. 1940, under American Troops, Northern Ireland until 30 Apr. 1941 and under III Corps until 10 Nov. 1941, when it left.
2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry - Until December 1940.
5th Btn., The Cheshire Regiment - From Jul. 1940.
53rd Reconnaissance Btn. - From 1 Jan. 1941
(Beaverette Armoured Car of 53rd Reconnaissance Regiment at Ballykinlar on 19th June 1941. I.W.M. picture more at:- http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205196885)
81st, 83rd, 133rd Field Regiments, RA 71st Anti-Tank Regiment, RA - From 31 Oct. 1940 until 11 Apr. 1941
63rd Anti-Tank Regiment, RA - From 12 Apr. 1941
244th, 282nd, 555th Field Companies, RE 285th Field Park Company, RE 158th Infantry Brigade - Northern Sector 4th, 6th, 7th Btn.s, The Royal Welch Fusiliers 158th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company - From 3 Jul. 1940 to 16 Feb. 1941
159th Infantry Brigade - Eastern Sector 4th Btn., The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry 3rd Btn., The Monmothshire Regiment 1st Btn., The Herefordshire Regiment 159th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company - From 29 Jun. 1940 to 15 Feb. 1941
160th Infantry Brigade - Southern Sector 4th, 1st/5th Btn.s, The Welch Regiment 2nd Btn., The Monmouthshire Regiment 160th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company - From 1 Jul. 1940 to 15 Feb. 1941
61st Infantry Division - Moved to Northern Ireland District on 20 Jun. 1940. Transferred to British Troops, Northern Ireland on 12 Jul. 1940 and remained in Northern Ireland until 2 Feb. 1943
61st Reconnaissance Btn. - From 14 Sept. 1941. 2nd/8th Btn., The Middlesex Regiment M-G - Renamed 1st Btn. on 20 May 1942
(2nd/8th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment on 15th July 1941 on North Coast. I.W.M. picture.
119th, 120th, 145th Field Regiments, RA 71st Anti-Tank Regiment, RA - From 12 Feb. 1941 to 20 Jun. 1941 266th, 267th, 268th Field Companies, RE 269th Field Park Company, RE
182nd Infantry Brigade 2nd/7th, 9th Btns, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment 9th Btn., The Worcestershire Regiment 182nd Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company - From 2 Sept. 1940 to 6 Oct. 1941
4th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment in Omagh on 5th February 1942. IWM photo. 183rd Infantry Brigade 7th Btn., The Gloucestershire Regiment 10th Btn., The Worcestershire Regiment. 4th Btn.,The Northamptonshire Regiment. 183rd Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company - From 23 Sept. 1940 to 11 May 1941
184th Infantry Brigade 5th Btn., The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry 2nd Buckinghamshire Btn. 6th Btn., The Royal Berkshire Regiment 184th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company - From 2 Sept. 1940 to 6 Sept. 1941
(Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment on Exercise at Castlerock on 14th July 1941. I.W.M. picture. More at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205197642)
71st Infantry Brigade - Served under British Troops, Northern Ireland from 12 December 1940 until 28 Apr. 1942.
7th Btn., The King’s Own Regiment 8th, 9th Btn.s, The York and Lancaster Regiment 148th Infantry Brigade - Served under British Troops, Northern Ireland from 7 Jul. 1940 until 26 Apr. 1942.
1st/5th Btn., The Leicestershire Regiment 8th Btn., The Sherwood Foresters 2nd Btn., The South Wales Borderers - To 6 December 1941
1st Btn., The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry - From 8 December 1941 4th Btn.
The Royal Berkshire Regiment - Attached from 17 December 1940
(150th Field Regiment Royal Artillery 148 Independent Infantry Brigade Group on Exercise in the Sperrin Mountains on 1st April 1942. I.W.M. Picture.
150th Field Regiment, RA - From 23 Nov. 1940 286th Anti-Tank Battery, RA - From 10 Mar 1941
507th Field Company, RE - From 29 Nov. 1940
‘A’ Company, 5th Btn., The Cheshire Regiment M-G - From 13-31 December 1940
148th Infantry Brigade M-G Company (Cheshire Regiment) - From 1 Jan. 1941
148th Infantry Brigade Reconnaissance Company - From 8 Jan. 1941
148th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company - From 4 Aug. 1940 to 7 Jan. 1941
(59th Battalion, Reconnaissance Corps at Ballykinlar on 6th December 1941.
I.W.M. picture - More at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205198235)
Changes During 1941.
4th Btn., The East Lancashire Regiment - To Northern Ireland around 22 Oct. 1941. Joined 72nd Infantry Brigade on 14 Jan. 1942. 70th (Young Soldiers) Btn.
The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry - Moved to Northern Ireland at Donaghadee on 2 Oct. 1941 and took over from 70th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Moved to Strabane on 7 Sept. 1942 and to Ballyedmond on 1 Apr. 1943. Disbanded on 30 Jun. 1943.
70th (Young Soldiers) Btn., The Royal Berkshire Regiment - Moved to Belfast on 22 Oct. 1941 and Ballykinler in December 1941. It moved to Glenarm in Aug. 1942 and from there to Donaghadee. It was disbanded in Jun. 1943.
7th Light AA Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery [42nd, 57th, 67th LAA Batteries] - Arrived in December 1941 and left in May 1942.
90th Searchlight Regiment, RA [546th, 548th, 560th Batteries] - Formed at Orangefield, Belfast under 3rd AA Brigade on 25 Mar. 1941. Disbanded on 4 Aug. 1943.
91st Searchlight Regiment, RA [549th, 550th, 552nd Batteries] - Formed at Orangefield, Belfast under 3rd AA Brigade on 25 Mar. 1941. 553rd Battery was added on 15 Apr. 1941 (It arrived from Britain on 1 May 1941). Converted to 114th Light AA Regiment, RA on 12 Jan. 1942. Sent to Britain in 1943-44 and served in North-West Europe.
77th Medium Regiment, RA - Located at Markethill in late 1941-early 1942. Probably moved there earlier in 1941 and remained there until 1943.
5th Infantry Division - Served in Northern Ireland under BTNI from 3-30 Apr. 1941 and under III Corps from 1 May 1941 to 16 Jan. 1942.
7th Btn., The Cheshire Regiment, 5th Reconnaissance Btn. 9th, 91st, 92nd Field Regiments, RA 52nd Anti-Tank Regiment, RA 245th, 252nd, 38th Field Companies, RE 254th Field Park Company, RE 13th Infantry Brigade 2nd Btn., The Cameronians 2nd Btn., The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 2nd Btn., The Wiltshire Regiment 15th Infantry Brigade 1st Btn., The Green Howards 1st Btn., The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry 1st Btn., The York and Lancaster Regiment 17th Infantry Brigade 2nd Btn., The Royal Scots Fusiliers 2nd Btn., The Northamptonshire Regiment 6th Btn., The Seaforth Highlanders 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division - All these groups served under BTNI from 10 Nov. 1941 until 30 May 1942 and then under III Corps from 1 Jun. 1942 to 19 Mar. 1943.
(North Irish Horse Valentine Tank near Ballymena on 19th September 1941.
I.W.M. picture. More at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205197725)
7th Btn., The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers M-G 59th Reconnaissance Btn. 61st, 116th, 110th Field Regiments, RA 68th Anti-Tank Regiment, RA 509th, 510th, 257th Field Companies, RE 511th Field Park Company, RE 176th Infantry Brigade 7th Btn., The South Staffordshire Regiment 6th Btn., The North Staffordshire Regiment 7th Btn., The North Staffordshire Regiment served in Northern Ireland unill 14 Oct. 1942.
7th Btn., The Royal Norfolk Regiment - From 14 Oct. 1942
177th Infantry Brigade 5th, 1st/6th, 2nd/6th Btn.s, The South Staffordshire Regiment 197th Infantry Brigade 2nd/5th Btn., The Lancashire Fusiliers 5th Btn., The East Lancashire Regiment 1st/7th Btn., The Royal Warwickshire Regiment 72nd Infantry Brigade - Served under NI District from 21 Jan. 1941 to 1 May 1942, under BTNI from 1 May 1942 to 14 May 1943 and under NI District from 15-25 May 1943.
(Soldiers of Royal Welch Fusiliers being instructed in the use of 2 Inch Mortar on 21st August 1942. I.W.M. More at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205198624)
13th Btn., The Royal Welch Fusiliers - Till 24 Sept. 1942 (Left for England on 14/15 Sept. 1942.)
(Royal Welch Fusiliers on Exercise in Northern Ireland on 21st August 1941. I.W.M. picture. More at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205198623)
6th Btn., The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - Till 14 Jan. 1942
15th Btn.,The South Staffordshire Regiment, 4th Btn.The East Lancashire Regiment - From 14 Jan. 1942 to 8 Oct. 1942
11th Btn., The Devonshire Regiment - From 8 Oct. 1942 9th Btn.
The Somerset Light Infantry - From 14 Sept. 1942
No Changes took place to British Military during 1942.
(Pioneer Corps on Exercise 29th July 1943. I.W.M. Picture. More at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205199054)
Changes During 1943.
40th Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery moved to Holywood in May 1943.
Converted to 149th Light AA Regiment on 4 Jun. 1943 and returned to the England in mid-Jul. 1943.
45th Infantry Division (Lower Establishment) - Served under HQ BTNI from 3 Feb. to 30 December 1943.
45th Independent Reconnaissance Squadron, 96th, 171st Field Regiments, RA and 90th Anti-Tank Regiment, RA - Till 12 Nov. 1943
205th Field Company, Royal Engineers Till 15 December 1943
259th Field Company, Royal Engineers Till 22 December 1943
134th Infantry Brigade consisting of 6th Btn., The Devonshire Regiment, 9th Btn., The Dorsetshire Regiment and 2nd Btn.The East Surrey Regiment
135th Infantry Brigade consisting of 5th and 6th Btns, The Somerset Light Infantry with 7th Btn., The Wiltshire Regiment
136th Infantry Brigade made up of 4th Btn., The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry along with 12th Btn., The Hampshire Regiment and 10th Btn., The East Surrey Regiment.
55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division served under BTNI from 21 December 1943 to 24 Jul. 1944
161st Reconnaissance Regiment, 109th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, 170th Field Regiment Royal Artillery, 66th Anti-Tank Regiment, RA until 15 Mar. 1944
164th Infantry Brigade - 1st/4th, 9th Btn.s, The South Lancashire Regiment along with 9th Btn., The Buffs
165th Infantry Brigade -1st Btn., The Liverpool Scottish, 10th Btn., The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, 9th Btn., The King’s Regiment
199th Infantry Brigade Remained in Northern Ireland until 28 Jun. 1945 under BTNI
2nd Btn., The Lancashire Fusiliers - Until 23 Jul. 1944
2nd Btn., The Loyal Regiment - Until 16 Oct. 1944
9th Btn., The Bedfordshire Regiment - Until 13 Jul. 1944
1st Btn., The Liverpool Scottish - Until 14 Jul. 1944
1st/4th Btn., The South Lancashire Regiment - Until 24 Jul. 1944
8th Btn., The Manchester Regiment - Until 28 Nov. 1944
Changes During 1944.
(Soldiers of 9th Battalion, Warwickshire Regiment on Exercise in Northern Ireland. I.W.M. picture. More at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205198641)
9th Btn., The Royal Warwickshire Regiment arrived in Jul. 1944 at Ballykinler to train ex-RAF and RN personnel as infantry.
9th Btn., The South Lancashire Regiment arrived on 12 Jul. 1944 as a static training unit.
15th Btn., The South Staffordshire Regiment arrived in Jul. 1944 as a static training unit.
(South Staffordshire Regiment on Exercise on 24th April 1942. I.W.M. Picture. More at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205198316)
15th Btn., The Welch Regiment arrived on 22 Jul. 1944 to train drafted soldiers from Britain.
Changes During 1945.
Nos. 1 and 2 Companies, The Queen’s Regiment - Moved to Stranraer (In Scotland) and Londonderry in May 1945.
66 Anti Tank Regiment Royal Artillery.
The Regiment was based at Aberdelghy Camp, Lisburn and spent the next 6 months training.
Between 18th and 30th of January live firing at Ballykinler.
Anglo US exchange of personnel with the Tank Destroyer battalion (US Army). Groups of soldiers would swap places with their American counterparts to experience how each nation operated. Live firing exercises continued at Ballykinler ranges on the 14th 17th 18th 24th 25th and 26th.
On the 12th and 13th the Regiment was involved in an exercise called ‘Urgency I’ near Downpatrick then on the 15th and 16th in the same area on exercise ‘Urgency II’,19th and 20th ‘Urgency III’ and 23rd ‘Urgency IV’.
On 4th the Regiment was involved in exercise ‘Defilade’ near Lisburn and on 11th-15th they went to Kilrea for Exercise “Rose I” followed on 26h to 27th with “Rose II” but this time they were near Portglenone. On the 18th – 19th the regiment went on an exercise with the US Army Cavalry.
On 3rd the regiment went to Cullybackey for Exercise “Deadeasy” Between 6th – 8th Exercise “Dollar” was at Ballykinler with live firing on the 8th and 26th at the ranges. On the 9th-13th and 20th-23rd rafting practice was undertaken at Poyntz Pass on the Newry canal. The a regimental Anglo US exchange of personnel program continued in May. Troops change regiments for a period of two weeks.
Exercise “Gallop II” was at Castlewellan and started on 1st. On 18th – 25th they conducted live firing exercises at Bangor training camp. (Unsure of Precise Location) and from 26th – 29th they were involved in battle practice at Benbane Head Anti Tank Range.
This was the day the Regimental War Diary records the following. “This draft was flown from Bishopscourt RAF Station direct to Normandy. 15 Dakota planes were used to transport the draft. The draft assembled at the airfield on 13th July but owing to bad flying conditions the transport planes did not arrive till the following day. Moral of the draft was very high and left best of spirits. Lieutenants E.W.Morgan G.P.Davis K.M.Newington, 2nd Lieutenant F.A.Samsom and 220 Other Ranks left the regiment on draft Replacement Emergency Mobile Manpower Battery.
This is an excellent example of a Micklethwaite Instrument which was used by observers to monitor the movement of enemy aircraft.
The particular example shown here is held by the Ulster Aviation Society and can be seen at their display at the old Long Kesh Airfield site.
Prisoner Of War Camps in Northern Ireland
There were a number of Prisoner of War Camps established in Northern Ireland which are shown here:-
Number 5 - Monrush Camp, Cookstown
Number 10 - Gosford Camp, Markethill
Number 11A - Brownstown Camp, Portadown - Nothing remains of this site.
Number 12 - Elmfield Camp, Gilford
Number 14 - Jackson Road, Holywood. This is the site of Parace Barracks
Number 161 - Orangefield Belfast Military Hospital. - This was the old Orangefield High School however all evidence of the buildings past as both a Military Hospital and Prisoner of War Camp has now been removed.
Number 173 - Rockport, Holywood. Super location please see County Down Section of website.
Number 187 - Dungannon
Number 190 - Lisanoure camp at Cloughmills.
"Plan Kathleen" - The Proposed Nazi Invasion of Northern Ireland
In early 1940 the I.R.A. Chief of Staff, Sean Russell sanctioned the creation of a plan for the invasion of Northern Ireland and this was subsequently written by an I.R.A. member called Liam Gaynor and given the name “Plan Kathleen”
The plan was sent to Nazi Germany by courier as it was hoped that the Nazis would assist the I.R.A. and on arrival on 20th April the plan was shown to the Abwehr who say that is was very amateurish and lacking in detail.
The Abwehr Diary refers to the meeting with the Courier by saying “A personal emissary of the chief Irish Agent has arrived in Germany”
The plan was to be of an amphibious assault in the Londonderry area by 50,000 German troops whilst I.R.A. members were to concentrate their actions in the County Fermanagh area and wait for the arrival of German forces.
The poor research and preparation of “Kathleen” was immediate as no thought had been given to the extensive defences along the coastline of Counties Londonderry and Antrim as well as the City of Londonderry. - Hermann Gortz, an Abwehr Agent who was later to parachute into the Irish Republic described it as “Completely useless”
This was not the first plan for an invasion of Northern Ireland because back in January 1941 Kurt Student had presented the Fuhrer with a plan which included paratroopers being dropped on Divis Mountain and around the Lisburn area while, as in Kathleen, an amphibious assault would take place in the Magilligan area.
When Gortz landed in the Irish Republic in May 1941 he made contact with Stephen Hayes who was the acting Chief of Staff of the I.R.A. however things did not go well. Gortz later reported “When I learnt of all that was needed in the way of weapons I wondered exactly what was the military value of the I.R.A.”……..”wild and fantastic I.R.A. discussions as to which island could be used for U-Boat replenishment and which impossible bogs and mountains could be used as airfields”
Plan Kathleen was seized along with a parachute and other equipment owned by Gortz during the search of a house by Irish Police on 22nd May 1940. The plan was subsequently sent to M.I.5 who then forwarded it to the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland.
Details from “Plan Kathleen” were considered in the construction of what was known as “Plan W” which was the United Kingdom's planned response to any German Invasion.
July 1939 List of Volunteers for Service
Trained In Training Waiting Total Planned Number
Wardens 746 677 899 2322 6000
First Aid Parties 687 150 3603 4440 6000
Rescue Services 55 64 262 381 350
Gas Decontamination 177 25 84 286 350
Repair Gangs 6 6 300
Messengers 48 113 294 455 N/K
Clerks / Telephonists 301 451 1182 1934 N/K
Auxiliary Services 80 174 83 337 1000
In November 1940 there were 37000 Ulster Defence Volunteers who were later to become known as the Ulster Home Guard.
The first U-Boat sighting off the Northern Ireland coast
Was on 24th September 1939 when the Officer Commanding B Flight 502 Squadron R.A.F., Flight Lieutenant Philip Billing observed it close to Rathlin Island.
Flying Avro Anson N5104 he attacked the U-Boat which immediately submerged and no hits were observed.
Air Raid Precautions in Belfast.
A Lecture on Air Raid Precautions For the General Public was given in a number of cinemas around the city during July 1940 explaining what to do in Air Raids and How to do it.
I believe that all of these cinemas, except the Strand, are now gone or have changed role so I am sure these names will be of interest to the more senior visitors to this website.
Ritz Fisherwick Place
Classic Castle Lane
Stadium Shankill Road
Park Oldpark Road
Capitol Antrim Road
Lyceum Antrim Road
Astoria Upper Newtownards Road
Strand Holywood Road
New Princess Newtownards Road
Ambassador Cregagh Road
Majestic Lisburn Road
Curzon Ormeau Road
Troxy Shore Road
Duncairn Duncairn Gardens
Airfield Code Letters
The Airfield Identification Code letters, which would have been painted prominently near the Control Tower, for Northern Ireland airfields were as follows :-
Bishops Court IC
Castle Archdale QA
Long Kesh JK
Nutts Corner XU
St Angelo JA
Proposed Airfield Sites which never evolved.
Antrim - Planning took place for a proposed Bomber Operational Training Unit however it was never constructed.
Ardglass - Was a provisional Bomber Operational Training Unit however Bishops Court evolved nearby.
Ballymoney - May have been planned as an Operational Training Unit
Kells Point, County Tyrone was to be a United States Army Air Force Combat Crew Replacement Centre however it was never built.
Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh was planned for a satellite airfield for St Angelo at Enniskillen.
Millisle was planned to be a United States Army Air Force Combat Crew Replacement Centre but, although started, the project was never finished.