Teddy’s parents emigrated to the United States where Edward Copeland Dixon was born in New York City in March 1920.
After living for a time in Stanford, Connecticut the family returned to Belfast where Teddy grew up and became a Baker.
With the outbreak of the Second World War he was living in Carrington Street and joined the local A.R.P. (Air Raid Precautions Warden). One of is recollections is seeing a Parachute Mine, which he describes as the size of a Post Box, falling at Ormeau Park - Fortunately it failed to detonate and was subsequently made safe by Royal Navy E.O.D.
In 1944 Teddy received his Draft Papers for the United States Army and immediately volunteered for Service with the Americans at their Headquarters at The Grove in Belfast. From there he had a Medical Examination at Waringfield Hospital in Moira and received his Uniform at Langford Lodge in County Antrim.
One of his first difficulties was understanding his fellow Soldiers as he recalls not knowing what “Chow” meant however his evolution into a Soldier progressed including two weeks training at Lichfield followed by six weeks at Tidworth.
Teddy became a member of the 42nd Infantry, Rainbow Division landing at Le Havre before being transported to Marseille on the Southern coast of France and into action.
Advancing through France, Teddy was in Strasbourg in December 1944 before crossing the Hardt Mountains and through Hitler’s Siegfried Line of defences. He crossed the River Rhine and on to the City of Wurzburg before heading southeast to Nuremberg. It was a rapid advance having entered Germany in March and the following month he arrived at Munich and came face to face with the hell that was Dachau Concentration Camp.
There was considerable resistance including mortar fire on 28th April (Photograph above shows later that day with Teddy in the foreground) and Teddy’s Squad had some soldiers killed as they continued to move forward. Some German Soldiers surrendered during the advance towards Dachau Camp which was immediately beside a large S.S. Barracks. - Below left is the S.S. Barracks as it looked during the War and on the right is as it looks now.
Shown above is part of the Dachau Complex which was used by the S.S. for what was referred to as "Business Enterprise"
Soon Teddy found himself at the iconic gates of Dachau Concentration Camp with the cynical sign “Arbeit Macht Frei” meaning “Work Sets You Free” - He was one of the first 12 Soldiers to enter the Camp on 29th April 1945 and can still see the bodies of so many dead along with the indescribable smell. - As can be seen from the photographs below this Entrance how has a Memorial to the men of the Rainbow Division who Liberated Dachau on that memorable day.
A railway line ran along Friedenstrasse and there were dozens of Railway Carriages filled with dead bodies. - Friedenstrasse is still there today however the railway track has now been converted into a pedestian walkway with a number of informative Notice Boards showing how it looked in 1944. Two of these are included with my picture below.
Teddy, along with other Soldiers, gave his rations to the starving prisoners who had yet to succumb and were thanked with hugs and kissed for liberating this terrible place.
They did their best to save as many as possible however for many it was too late and they died in front of the Soldiers. - Some of the liberated Prisoners are shown below.
Here American Officers are shown examining a Gas Chamber and my photograph shows the same Gas chamber today with the outside shown below.
The photograph on the left was taken on 20th January 1941 with my comparison on the right. - The Perimeter of the Camp had a Prohibited Area before the Ditch then a Barbed Wire Obstacle and Electrified Fence behind which was the Sentry Walk before the Perimeter Wall.
In just over a week the war in Europe ended on 8th May 1945 however the job was not done for Teddy whose Division was sent to Austria to search for Nazis hiding in the mountains and it was south of Salzburg at Hallein that Teddy was involved in a very special operation.
He was sent to a Salt Mine where around 2000 priceless paintings by various masters had been hidden. These had been stolen by the Nazis for Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering however when the war was coming to an end they were loaded into wooden crates and hidden in the Mine.
Having been discovered the crates were removed by German Prisoners of War under the watchful eyes of Teddy and other Soldiers.
With so many paintings and the care needed to remove them from the mine it took quite some time using small railcars being pushed by hand.
Once the paintings were brought to the surface they were under heavy guard by Military Police and loaded onto trucks before being taken to Salzburg Castle.
Teddy’s war finally came to an end in 1947.
During his service he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge along with the Bronze Star for “Meritorious Achievement in Ground Combat against the Armed Enemy during World war II” as well as the Good Conduct Medal, European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 2 Battle Stars, the Victory Medal and the Army of Occupation Medal with “Germany” bar.
Second Engineer Officer, Thomas George Greer
Second Engineer Officer, Thomas George Greer was 26 years old and from the Larne Area.
He was serving with the Merchant Navy on board S.S. Brier Rose when the ship was lost in Irish Sea - It is assumed due to Enemy Action.
Captain Williams and 9 others were all lost.
Thomas George Greer is named on the Tower Hill Memorial in Central London.
(Thanks very much to John Baird for passing me details regarding both Second Engineer Officer Thomas George Greer and also Sergeant Flight-Engineer John Hillis who is shown below)
Sergeant Hillis was from Inver, Larne and was serving with 78 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
At 22.23 hours on 30th March 1944 Sergeant Hillis was on board Handley-Page Halifax III, HX241, EY-P along with six other Crew members when their aircraft took off from R.A.F. Breighton in Yorkshire on a mission to Nuremburg in Germany.
Prior to the last turning point on their way to the target HX241 was attacked by a Night Fighter and shot from stern to front.
The aircraft was on fire and then broke into two before falling to the ground.
Only one of the Crew was able to escape the aircraft and parachute to the ground where he was taken Prisoner.
Sergeant Flight Engineer John Hillis is buried in Hanover War Cemetery.
Anthony Desmond Joseph Lovell DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar and American DFC.
Was born on 9th August 1919 and was from Portrush, County Antrim and joined the Royal Air Force Lovell on a short service commission in November 1937.
Commissioned acting Pilot Officer on 9 January 1938 he graduating from Flying Training School and was posted to No. 41 Squadron RAF at RAF Catterick on 20 August 1938 flying Supermarine Spitfire fighters.
He became a Fighter Ace and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 26 November 1940. His citation states: “This officer has flown continuously on active operations against the enemy since war began. He has shown a fine fighting spirit and has led his flight and on occasions his squadron with great courage, coolness and determination. He has destroyed seven enemy aircraft.”
On 10 February 1942 he was awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross as acting Squadron Leader commanding with No. 145 Squadron RAF.
His citation states: “This officer is a fearless and skilful fighter pilot. His keenness to engage the enemy, combined with fine leadership, both in the air and on the ground have set an inspiring example. In November 1941 Lovell shot down a Junkers Ju 88 some 35 miles off the Yorkshire coast. In January 1942 in the same area and in difficult weather conditions he intercepted another Junkers Ju 88 and shot it down into the sea. This officer has personally destroyed at least 11 hostile aircraft and has damaged others.”
His citation states “This officer is an outstanding squadron commander who has played a considerable part in the defence of Malta. One day in October 1942 he led his squadron in an attack against six Junkers Ju 88s escorted by a number of fighters. In the combat Squadron Leader Lovell shot down a Junkers Ju 88 bringing his total victories to nine. On many occasions his skilful leadership has enabled his squadron to intercept enemy air formations bent on attacking Malta. This officer's gallantry and determination have set an example worthy of the highest praise.”
He was appointed to lead 242 Group as acting Wing Commander, promoted full Squadron Leader on 9 April 1943, led the 322 Wing over Corsica and then 244 Wing during the invasion of Italy and the South of France.
He was awarded the American Distinguished Flying Cross on 14 November 1944 and sadly his brother Stuart was killed on active service with the RAF in 1944
On 23 February 1945 he was awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order as a Wing Commander and fighter leader.
His success as an Air Ace is recorded as 16 enemy aircraft destroyed, 6 shared destroyed, 2 probably destroyed, 9 damaged, 4 shared damaged and 1 destroyed on the ground.
This was accomplished during 5 operational tours.
On 17 August 1945 Lovell was killed when he crashed into a field adjoining Old Sarum airfield having lost altitude whilst doing acrobatics in a Spitfire Mark XII (serial number "EN234").
The picture above shows Lovell receiving the American Distinguished Flying Cross from Brigadier General Thomas C D'arcy, Commanding General of XII Tactical Air Command, 15th U.S.A.A.F.
(I.W.M. Photograph. Information from Wiki)
Gunner Charles Henry Montgomery from Bangor
Gunner Charles Henry Montgomery was from Bangor, County Down and serving with 5th Battery / 2nd Battalion, Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery when he is reported as being "Missing" on 20th June 1942.
The Regiment had been raised on 15th October 1940 at Aldershot and was sent to Egypt in late 1940.
The 5th Battery was serving under 9th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment at Alexandria and then relieved the 1st Battery at Tobruk Fortress in September 1941 and the following month joined 12th Anti-Aircraft Brigade as part of the famous 8th Army at the front and remained there through the Battle of El Alamein in July 1942.
Located in the Benghazi area in January 1943 and under 2nd Anti Aircraft Brigade in Tripolitania in May 1943.
Fortunately Gunner Montgomery, who is shown here writing to his Wife, May, had been captured by the Enemy near Tobruk but he was able to escape by swimming across a canal and get back to Friendly Forces.
May was at home looking after their young child Harry who was born after Charles had left for war and had yet to see.
It is pleasing to report that Gunner Montgomery survived the war!
(Thanks very much to his Son Micheal Montgomery for the information and pictures)
Squadron Leader Terry Bulloch
Squadron Leader Terry Bulloch, who has died aged 98, was a pilot in Coastal Command who made the greatest number of sightings and attacks against German U-boats during the Battle of the Atlantic. By the end of the war he had been credited with sinking four, twice the number by any other pilot.
Due to the lack of long-range aircraft in 1941 and early 1942, sinkings of Allied shipping by German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic had reached alarming proportions. The introduction into RAF service of the American-built B-24 Liberator finally closed this “Atlantic Gap” and gave added protection to the essential convoys sailing from North American ports to the United Kingdom.
In December 1942, Bulloch, known throughout Coastal Command as “The Bull”, was in charge of a small detachment of No 120 Squadron in Iceland and, by this time, he had already developed a reputation as one of the most determined and successful U-boat hunters. On December 8, he and his crew took off from Reykjavik in their Liberator to fly a convoy patrol; 16 hours later they landed after one of the most remarkable operational wartime flights by an RAF aircraft — its like would never be repeated.
Two large convoys had left Halifax in Nova Scotia and were approaching an area where naval intelligence estimated that a U-boat “Wolf Pack” of 14 submarines was lurking in wait (post-war analysis established that there were 22). Bulloch intercepted convoy HX 217 and took up a position astern to counter a known U-boat tactic of shadowing a convoy whilst others from the pack converged.
The weather was poor but Bulloch’s amazing eyesight picked up the wake of a surfaced U-boat and he dived to attack. The submarine commenced a crash dive but it was too late and Bulloch straddled it with six depth charges. There was a great upheaval of water and oil, wreckage and bodies soon floated to the surface. A Norwegian Navy corvette escorting the convoy investigated and confirmed the sinking.
Soon after this success, Bulloch spotted two more U-boats and he attacked one with his two remaining depth charges forcing the submarine to dive. This was Bulloch’s twenty-second sighting of a U-boat (he had attacked twelve) far more than most squadrons had achieved, or ever did. However, this unique flight was not over.
Before it was time for him to depart, Bulloch and his crew sighted another five submarines. With no depth charges remaining, he dived and attacked each with his four Hispano 20mm cannons. On every occasion he forced the submarines to dive and abandon their attacks.
A second Liberator arrived to relieve Bulloch and it continued the attacks forcing five more U-boats to dive. The attackers had been thrown into disarray and their positions revealed to the escorting naval forces who engaged them. Just two of the 90 ships were lost from the convoys.
Bulloch was awarded a Bar to a DSO that had been gazetted four weeks earlier. Some of his outstanding crew were also decorated, including a DSO to his navigator and a DFM to the flight engineer.
The national press in the UK and in Canada gave extensive coverage to the events, with headlines of “The Bull gets a U-boat” and “Sub smashers win 5 awards in big convoy fight”. An official Coastal Command report concluded, “the convoys were brought safely to port in the face of the most determined opposition yet encountered”.
Terence Malcolm Bulloch was born February 19 1916 in Lisburn, County Antrim and he attended Campbell College Belfast where he was the piper sergeant major in the Officer Training Corps and an excellent rugby player.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission in 1936 and trained as a pilot before flying Ansons in Coastal Command. By early 1940 he had transferred to No 206 Squadron to fly the twin-engined Hudson, patrolling the French, Dutch and Belgian coastal areas, including a number of hazardous trips during the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk. He attacked and damaged a German floatplane forcing it to land on the sea where he then bombed it. He also bombed the Channel ports being used in Hitler’s preparations to invade England in September 1940.
At the end of the year, he was awarded the DFC, which was soon followed by a mention in despatches.
Rather than have a rest, Bulloch joined the RAF’s Ferry Command in Canada and flew four-engine bombers across the Atlantic to British airfields. On one occasion, flying a B-17 Fortress, he took just over eight hours to reach Prestwick in Scotland, a record flight across the Atlantic at that time.
With the arrival of the B-24 Liberators, some of which Bulloch had delivered, No 120 Squadron was formed at Nutts Corner, Belfast and Bulloch joined as a flight commander.
On October 21 1941, Bulloch made the squadron’s first attack against a U-boat but abandoned it briefly to attack a shadowing Focke Wulf 200 Kondor aircraft that was shadowing the convoy he was protecting. The Kondor left the area rapidly and Bulloch resumed his hunt for the submarine. He spotted a periscope and dived to attack with three depth charges. The attack was inconclusive and he was credited with a “damaged”.
Over the next nine months of patient patrolling, Bulloch made six more U-boat sightings. He damaged U-59 as it returned to Brest and, two days later, he seriously damaged U-653, forcing it to return to Brest where it spent six months being repaired.
In September he was in Iceland and on October 12 he achieved his, and the squadron’s, first confirmed “kill”. His depth charges virtually blew U-597 out of the water and it was last seen tipping vertically before disappearing.
Over the next two weeks he sighted and attacked four more submarines and on November 5 he sighted another two. Attacking one of them from bow to stern, his aim was accurate and his depth charges destroyed U-132. He was awarded a Bar to his DFC, the citation commenting, “his power of leadership is outstanding”.
After his memorable sortie of December 8, he became an instructor but took the opportunity to test new equipment, including a battery of eight rockets fitted to the nose of his aircraft. He was attached to No 224 Squadron and, on July 8 1943, he was on patrol near Cape Finisterre when he spotted the conning tower of a submarine in the wake of a fishing boat. He attacked and fired his eight rockets in pairs from fifty feet. He pulled up and re-attacked with his depth charges. U-514 outbound to South African waters was destroyed with all hands.
At the end of his tour, Bulloch refused to be rested and he joined a long-range transport squadron flying converted Liberators across the Atlantic. Later he flew with a special RAF transport squadron on routes across the Pacific. Towards the end of the war, he was seconded to BOAC and after his release from the RAF in July 1946 he joined the airline as a captain. He had logged over 4,500 flying hours by the time the war ended.
Ulster Home Guard
Thanks very much to Claire Ruderman for these photographs of her Husbands Grandfather who, following service in the First World War, was back in uniform as a member of the Ulster Home Guard.
He also constructed the Air Raid Shelter which is shown here in the garden of his home in Belfast.
(More information can be found at http://goorwitch.tumbler.com/)
Operation “Market Garden” and the Ulstermen killed at Arnhem
After the success of the invasion of Normandy on 6th June 1944 the Allied Forces pressed further and further into the occupied countries and herein was a considerable problem.
All supplies were landed in Normandy and had to be brought along ever lengthening supply lines to where they were needed.
Something HAD to be done.
The Market Garden plan was simple. – The Allied XXX Corps planned to push 60 miles from the Belgian border (Code-name “Operation Market”) and link up with airborne troops (Code-name “Operation Garden”) of the 101st U.S. Airborne Division in the area to the north of Eindhoven and the 82nd U.S. Airborne Division in the Nijmegen area before reaching the British 1st Airborne Division at Arnhem.
The Airborne troops were to have been parachuted behind enemy lines to take and secure the bridges at Grave, Nijmegen and Arnhem – Which as history now tells us was “A Bridge Too Far”
Given here are details of the soldiers from Northern Ireland who fought and died at Arnhem.
James Frederick Boyd
Was from Portstewart and was serving with 1st Wing Glider Pilot Regiment of the Army Air Corps. He was 22 years old when he was killed in action on 23rd September 1944.
Charles Thomas Brackstone
A Glider Pilot with the Army Air Corps 2nd Wing. He was 23 years old and from Dundonald. Killed in action on 17th September 1944.
From Carrickfergus, Cameron was a Private in 21st Independent Parachute Company and was 22 years old when he died from wounds received at Arnhem.
Anthony Leslie Clarke
From Northern Ireland, he served with 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps and was killed on 24th September 1944.
Was from Belfast and was with Headquarters 4th Parachute Brigade when he was killed in action on 20th September 1944. He was 21 years old.
Robert Alexander Dougan
From Glenanne in County Armagh. He was killed in action on 17th September 1944 when he was 20 years old.
A Belfast man, Ellis was with 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment Army Air Corps when he was killed on 18th September 1944.
John Mallon Hamilton
Another Belfast man, Hamilton was 26 years old and serving with 156th Battalion Parachute Regiment Army Air Corps. He was killed on 21st September 1944.
Was from County Antrim and 30 years old. He was a Sergeant with 1st Airborne Battalion, Border Regiment when he was killed on 20th September 1944.
From Portadown, Lynas was a Lance Corporal with 156 Battalion Parachute Regiment Army Air Corps and was killed on 25th September 1944. A married man.
Ralph Alexander Maltby
A Lieutenant from Belfast. Maltby was Royal Artillery attached to 2nd Wing Glider Pilot Regiment Army Air Corps and was mentioned in Dispatches. He was killed on 17th September 1944.
A Lance Corporal with 11th Parachute Battalion he was from Belfast and was killed on 24th September 1944.
With 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment Army Air Corps. He was a Sergeant from County Armagh and was killed between 21st and 25th September 1944.
John Frederick Smellie
From Holywood and served with 1st Wing Glider Pilot Regiment. He was 30 years old when he was killed on 23rd September 1944.
With 156th Battalion Parachute Regiment Army Air Corps he was 29 years old when he was killed on 25th September 1944.
From Moira in County Down Walker was a Private with 1st Airborne Battalion Border Regiment and was 22 years old when he was killed on 18th September 1944.
All of the above are buried at Oosterbeek Airborne Cemetery while the two soldiers mentioned below are names on the Groesbeek Memorial
Samuel Patton Cassidy
From Belfast. He was serving with 7th Airborne Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers when he was killed on 21st September 1944.
A Major was serving with Essex Regiment Parachute Regiment 3rd Battalion and was 32 years old when he was killed on 20th September 1944.
Two Chelsea Pensioners in Belfast.
The two well turned out Gentlemen shown here are the world famous "Chelsea Pensioners" from the Royal Hospital at Chelsea.
They were photographed when attending a Football Match in Belfast.
Wing Commander Ken Mackenzie
Was from Belfast and joined 501 Squadron, Royal Air Force in October 1940 as a Hurricane Fighter Pilot.
He was responsible for destroying at least 7 enemy aircraft and in one case this was rather more spectacular than usual.
Mackenzie was hitting a Messerschmitt Bf109 when he ran out of ammunition however, not to be outdone, as the aircraft turned for France and safety he snapped off the tail of the enemy plane by slamming into it with his wingtip causing the German to fall into the channel!!
He was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross "For his skill and gallantry"
Air Commodore Paddy Forsythe
Was from Belfast and enlisted in the Royal Air Force in September 1941 and in 1944 he joined 625 Squadron, Royal Air Force flying Lancaster Bombers.
He took part in the Dresden Raid on 13/14 February 1945 and was coned by searchlights on numerous occasions.
On one occasion the nose of his aircraft was hit by flak killing his bomb aimer however Forsythe was able to get the Lancaster home.
He had flown 32 bombing operations and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
NORTHERN IRELAND RECRUITMENT
An official estimate quoted in April 1937 put the ratio of Army Recruits in Northern Ireland as 67 per 10,000 of the recruitable population.
This total is highly commendable when the corresponding figure for London is stated to be 31 per 10,000.
ULSTERMEN WHO FOUGHT IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
Around 28 Ulstermen flew with the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain.
Of these 7 were killed in the battle with a further 11 being killed before the end of the War.
Records show that, including Ground Crew, a total of 72 men and women from Northern Ireland died during the Battle of Britain.
On 26th July 2010 Flight Lieutenant Harry Clarke died aged 92 and the last of our Battle of Britain heroes.
Harry had attended school on the Ballygomartin Road in Belfast and joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in July 1939, prior to the outbreak of War, aged 22.
The holder of the Air Efficiency Award he flew with 610 Squadron in Spitfire DW-D.
Listed below are details of some of these brave men:-
Sergeant S Ireland - killed July 12, 1940
Sergeant J.B Thompson - killed July 31, 1940
Squadron Leader A.D.J Lovell - killed August 17, 1945
Pilot Officer D Whitley - killed August 28, 1940
Pilot Officer A.W.V Green - killed September 11, 1940
Sergeant S.A Fenemore - killed October 15, 1940
Pilot Officer M.I.D Green - killed October 20, 1940
Wing Commander J.V.C Badger - killed June 30, 1941
Wing Commander K.W MacKenzie - survived the war
Squadron Leader W.W McConnell - survived the war
Sergeant V.H Skillen - killed March 11, 1941
Sergeant J.K Haire - killed November 6, 1940
Sub Lieutenant W Beggs - killed November 15, 1942
Flight Lieutenant M Cameron - survived the war
Sergeant T.C.E Berkley - killed June 14, 1941
Air Vice Marshal F.D Hughes - survived the war
Squadron Leader N.H Corry - survived the war
Flight Lieutenant H.R Clark - survived the war
Squadron Leader R.R Wright - survived the war
Sergeant J McCann - killed February 20, 1941
Wing Commander FV Beamish - went missing in action on a patrol over the English Channel 28 March 1942.
Sergeant J McAdam - killed February 20, 1941
Pilot Officer CR Montgomery - killed August 14, 1941
Royal Fusiliers Drowned on Lough Neagh
Two soldiers from 16th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) were drowned in Lough Neagh on 18th September 1940.
The two victims were:-
John Cavanagh, Husband of M. Cavanagh of Canning Town.
He is buried in East London Cemetery, Plaistow in RC Section Grave 35367A.
Frederick Arthur Norris, whose body was not found and his name can be seen in Panel 9 Column 2 of the Brookwood Memorial.
William Joyce, otherwise known as "Lord Haw Haw" announced in radio broadcasts from Hamburg that there will be "Easter Eggs For Belfast" in relation to the Easter Tuesday Air Raid.
Major Geoffrey Malcolm Mercer Smallwood from Warrenpoint was awarded the Military Cross for three separate incidents in July and August 1944.
"Theirs Is The Glory" Film about Arnhem
The film "Theirs Is The Glory" was filmed with the participation of approx 200 British Servicemen, many of whom had taken part in the battle.
Filming started in August 1945 and on viewing the finished product it is very obvious that some of the main characters are from Northern Ireland.
One of the main players was Thommy Scullion who was from Ballymena and Sergeant Jack Bateman of the 10th Parachute Battalion from County Down.
Some of the scenes were filmed in Benedendorpsweg in Oosterbeek to the east of the Oude Kerk (The Old Church which may also be known as Lonsdale Church) and also inside the Elizabeth Hospital and lower Weverstraat.
The wooded area around the Hartenstein Hotel were also used for filming and the film can now be purchased inside the Airborne Museum in the same building! - Get yourself a copy as its well worth a view!
The film was directed by Brian Desmond Hurst, Northern Ireland’s greatest Film director of the 20th Century who was born in East Belfast and worked in a Linen Factory before joining the 6th Royal Irish Rifles in 1914.
He later survived the slaughter of Gallipoli and in the 1930's became a film director. - Watch "Theirs is the Glory" to see him at his best!!
Lance Sergeant Shaw Herper from Castlewellan was awarded the Military Medal for his actions at Le Val, France in August 1944.
Royal Ulster Constabulary Officers who performed Heroics during the Blitz.
Constables William Brett, Alexander McCusker and Robert Moore won George Medals for their actions.
Brett and McCusker were trying to extinguish incendiary bombs when a High Explosive bomb landed and detonated nearby.
The blast blew McCusker through a door into a house and both officers were buried under debris from collapsing houses.
McCusker extracted himself and rescued a boy who was trapped in the debris.
The citation says "The two Constables displayed bravery and devotion to duty in face of great danger and disregarded their own injuries until they had done all in their power to rescue the casualties" - The Medals were awarded on 19th September 1941.
Robert Moore dug through debris and sawed through planks to rescue a family of 3 including a child of about 11 years whose clothes were on fire. He put the flames out with his bare hands and in doing so was himself badly burned.
Royal Ulster Constabulary officers training with Webley .38 Revolver in 1941. (Life Magazine photograph)
Doctor Frank Pantridge from Hillsborough in County Down and inventor of the Defibrillator was in the Royal Army Medical Corps and won a Military Medal in Singapore.
Sergeant William George Malcolm from Belfast serving with 11th Royal Tank Regiment was awarded the Military Medal for his actions on 1st November 1944 during the landing at Walcheren.
Leading Aircraftsman Albert Matthew Osborne from Belfast won a posthumous George Cross for his actions on Malta in 1942.
Sir John Gorman
2nd Lt John Gorman won a Military Cross with 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards in Normandy on 18 July 1944, near Cagny.
He was in his Sherman tank when he was faced by a German "King Tiger" tank. Gorman's tank fired a shot which bounced off the Tiger's thick armour. The Sherman's gun then jammed before a second shot could be fired, and so Gorman rammed the Tiger as it was rotating it's 88mm gun to fire at his tank.
In the collision both tanks were disabled and the crews bailed out.
Lieutenant Gorman returned to the scene in a commandeered Sherman Firefly and destroyed the King Tiger. He was awarded the Military Cross for his actions, while the driver from his own crew, Lance-Corporal James Baron, won the Military Medal.
(This picture of Sir John Gorman is from Histomil.com)
On 21st September 1944 the Inniskillings moved to capture Middlebeers in Holland and Sergeant Ralph Chalmers from Belfast won a Distinguished Conduct Medal.
Sergeant Thomas McAughtry from Belfast served with B Squadron North Irish Horse and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions in an attack on San Guistina in Italy.
Lt Henry Alan Brooke won the Military Cross with 10th Hussars on 23rd September 1944 at Marecchia, Italy.
Corporal James John Cunningham from Belfast won a Military Medal for a number of actions between September and 10th November 1944 serving with the North Irish Horse in the Italian campaign.
Professor Flynn, who was father of the famous Hollywood actor Errol Flynn, was In Charge of the Casualty Service for Belfast during the Blitz!
Lieutenant Ralf Alexander Maltby was from Belfast and served with the Glider Pilot Regiment. He had been commissioned into the Royal Artillery and was later awarded the “Order of the Patriotic War” by the Soviet Government for his service in Russia.
Maltby had been Mentioned In Dispatches while attached to the R.A.F. and was killed on 17th September 1944. He is buried in Oosterbeek War Cemetery.
Sergeant James Barbour from Belfast won a Military Medal and in the same action Sergeant Thomas Moffatt Donaghy from Limavady won a Military Medal while supporting 6th Black Watch at Forli in Italy in November 1944.
Lance-Corporal James Murphy was from Belfast and served with 3rd Parachute Battalion.
He was awarded the Military Medal in April 1943 and was mentioned in Dispatches in September 1943.
Murphy was killed in action and is buried at Sedjenane.
Major Gordon Francis Bayliss M.B.E. from Belfast received a Military Cross for his actions at Ahaus on 3rd April 1945.
Lance Corporal Peter Vincent Donaghy from Moy was in the Royal Military Police and won a Military Medal on 17th March 1944 at the Anzio Beachead.
Sergeant Grenville William Ford from Limavady was serving with the R.A.S.C. when he won the Military Medal in Italy on 12/12 May 1944
Driver Samuel McCloskey from Belfast was an ambulance driver and won a Military Medal in Italy on 27th September 1944.
Linfield Football Club Fatalities
Linfield Football Club play at Windsor Park in South Belfast.
They have a proud history which dates back to 1886 and throughout the years many members of the Club have served their country in the Armed Forces with some giving their lives.
The Second World War Fatalities are as follows :-
Bombardier Archibald Jackson Grant of 21st Battery, 8 Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery who died on 21st February 1942 and is buried at Dundonald Cemetry in East Belfast.
Lieutenant John Malcolmson Gibson of 5th Battery 45 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery who died on 20th June 1942 and is buried at Knightsbridge War Cemetry, Acroma, Libya.
Frederick William Fisher, Royal Air Force died in May 1945 in Barnsley.
Fifteen members of Linfield gave their lives durig the First World War with Private Arthur James of the 1st battalion Royal Irish Rifles having been killed on 23rd March 1900 at Ladysmith, Natal in South Africa during the Boer War.
Interestingly when Distillery Football Club played Linfield at Grosvenor Park, Belfast on 10th December 1945 Leading Seaman Jimmy Magennis V.C. kicked off the game!
Sergeant Thomas Monteith, a Royal Irish Fusilier serving with 5th Battalion The Gold Coast Regiment of The Royal West African Frontier Force was from Ballymoney. He was awarded a Military Medal for his actions on 15/16 December near Point 273 Tinma West, Burma.
Lance Corporal Albert Thomas Mount from Keady, County Armagh was serving with the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry when he won the Military Medal as a Medical Orderly at Alamein on 24th October 1942.
Lt. Harry Christie from Belfast served with 2nd Inniskillings and won a Distinguished Service Order (For details see below) during the Sicily Campaign for his actions at Lemon Bridge in Sicily. He had earlier won the Military Cross (For details see above) and was sadly killed in action on 19th January 1944.
Such an award is rare for such a junior Officer. He commanded a Platoon in the fighting around the Simeto Bridgehead and knocked out several German tanks.
Regimental Sergeant Major William James Callwell, from Maguiresbridge in County Fermanagh and serving with 9th York and Lancaster Regiment was awarded a Military Cross for his actions at Yongon in Burma on 11/12 January 1945. When the Officer Commanding disappeared Callwell took command, rallied troops and used a Bren Gun until he was wounded.
Sergeant Arthur James McElroy from Enniskillen was serving with 3rd Irish Guards when he won a Distinguished Conduct Medal during a counter attack on enemy troops in a wood near the De Groote Barrier over the Meuse – Escaut Canal.
Having been wounded he personally shot and bayoneted several Germans and all the time shouted encouragement to Section Commanders and Guardsmen in his Platoon.
Major Edward Adair Clarke, From Lisburn, served with B Squadron 1st Derbyshire Yeomanry and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for raids on German lines in Tunisia.
2nd Lt Harry Irwin, from Enniskillen was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in North Africa in 1943.
On 11th April 1943 Trooper George Edward Martin from Belfast cleared 12 T-Mines by hand from in front of his tank – He was awarded the Military Medal.
Captain James McGrath from Greyabbey in County Down won a Distinguished Flying Cross for Air Operations in Tunisia between 23rd and 26th April 1943.
Captain Robert Henry Reade from Broughshane in County Antrim won a Military Cross for “Courage and Dedication to duty above the average” when serving with the Royal Artillery in Burma between 6th and 23rd February 1944.
At the same time as above Sergeant William Adrian from Belfast won a Military Medal.
William Martin Jackson from Coleraine served with 6 Light Anti Aircraft Battery Royal Artillery and won a Military Cross as Fire Controller for “Oasis Force” at Jakara.
Sergeant Robert William Rollo from Newtownards won a Military Medal with 5 Light Anti Aircraft Battery serving at Tobruk for “Outstanding Qualities of leadership in most arduous conditions”
Private Michael John McGee, 7th Parachute Battalion, from Aughnacloy in County Tyrone won a Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions attacking a Panther tank on 6th June 1944 at River Orne in Normandy when he disabled the tank which threatened his Platoon position by attacking it with a Bren Gun! The Germans were so shocked they stopped the tank which was then put out of action with hand held bombs. Sadly Private McGee was wounded and died from his wounds later the same day.
On 9th June 1944 Captain Jim Montgomery from Belfast and serving with 2 Royal Ulster Rifles won a Military Cross during the capture of Cambes.
In the same action Rifleman John Gilliland from Newtownards won a Military Medal and Regimental Sergeant Major Samuel Fleming from Belfast won a Military Cross.
Private Norman Arthur Dougan from County Armagh was a member of the 1st Parachute Battalion.
He enlisted while under-age at 15 years and 9 months!
Dougan served in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers before transferring to Airborne Forces with whom he served at Arnhem in “Operation Market Garden” and was one of those who were able to escape across the river in November 1944.
Rifleman Charles Feeny from Banbridge won a Military Medal for the attack on Sainte Honorine in July 1944.
Sergeant William John Maxwell from Belfast won a Military Medal on 23rd May 1944 at the Senger Line.
Private William Kerr of the 11th Parachute Battalion was from Belfast and had joined the Royal Ulster Rifles before transferring to Airborne.
He took part in “Operation Market Garden” and was wounded in action however was able to escape across the Rhine following the battle. He was awarded the Netherlands Bronze Cross and ended his Military Career as Sergeant Major.
In later life he became Governor of the famous Crumlin Road Gaol and then the Maze Prison and was awarded the M.B.E.
Captain Michael "Max" Flood Blainey George Cross
Captain Michael "Max" Flood Blaney from Newry was born on 14th November 1910. During the Second World War he was serving with the Royal Engineers as a Bomb Disposal Officer when he was killed by a German bomb at Manor Park, Essex on 13th December 1940.
The large 250kg UXB had fallen near the main road out of Essex towards London five days earlier and the area was evacuated to a radius of 600 feet.
When excavated by the Bomb Disposal team it was found to have not one but two fuses.
A block and tackle was used to raise the bomb from the hole where it had been buried however during the operation it started to swing freely.
Captain Blaney stepped forward to cushion it with his hands when it suddenly exploded. Blaney along with nine other men were killed.
Blaney was awarded a Posthumous George Cross for Bomb Disposal work on 15th April 1941.
Number 76 Bomb Disposal Section, Royal Engineers were deployed to Northern Ireland on 28th February 1941.
Leonard Cheshire V.C.
In September 1940 a detachment of Whitley Bombers of 102 Squadron R.A.F. arrived at Aldergrove for a short tour of duty with one of the young pilots being Leonard Cheshire who was later to become the Commanding Officer of 617 Squadron, the famous "Dambusters” as well as winning the Victoria Cross.
On 22nd May 1941 H.M.S. Gloucester was sunk in the Mediterranean by continuous attack by enemy aircraft. Crew members who were killed included:-
Able Seaman George McCleery from Belfast
Leading Seaman Daniel McKay from Knock, County Down
Boy 1st Class Daniel Mooney from Ballycastle, County Antrim who was only 17 years old.
Robert Whyte from Ballykelly, County Londonderry
All of these men have no known grave and are remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
Pilot Officer Leslie Currie from Stormont in County Down was a pilot in 263 Squadron R.A.F. and was killed when his Westland Whirlwind was shot down into the English Channel in 1942. – Following his death his brother Clifford volunteered for the Royal Navy.
Frank McAleer was from Omagh, County Tyrone and a Sergeant in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He won a Distinguished Conduct Medal in Tunisia in 1942 however sadly he was killed in action in May 1943.
Lt. Anthony Butler was from County Fermanagh and serving with 3 Commando during the invasion of Sicily when he was killed in action at Malati Bridge.
Sailors from Northern Ireland who were killed on H.M.S. Hood included
Leading Writer Robert Berner from Killyleagh, Co Down.
Petty Officer Stoker Robert Kelly from Culmore, Co. Londonderry
Petty Officer John Felix O’Connell from Camlough, Co Armagh
Marine Ernest McQuaid from Armagh
Leading Cook George Shearer from Portrush, Co Antrim
Able Seaman Thomas Stewart from Belfast.
H.M.S. Hood was sunk by the Bismarck during the Battle of Denmark Strait on 24th May 1941 when only 3 of her 1418 Crew survived.
Desmond Hughes was from Belfast but was brought up in Donaghadee. He served in the R.A.F. and became known as “Hawkeye” For his various actions he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Andrew Dunn from County Londonderry served with the R.A.F. and had won the D.F.C. because he “displayed resolution, courage and determination in piloting his badly damaged aircraft” Following another raid on Berlin his bomber was damaged by enemy fire and crashed into the North Sea. He has no known grave but is remembered on the family headstone in Londonderry City Cemetry where it stated he died during The Battle of Britain.
Sir Basil McFarland, The Mayor of Londonderry, had turned 40 years old on 18th February 1938 but one of those who joined 9th Anti-Aircraft Regiment in 1939. During the First World War he had served in the Artists Rifles (Later to become part of the Special Air Service) and during the Second World War he rose to command 25 Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery and served in Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, Libya, Italy (Where he was Mentioned in Dispatches at Salerno) and back in the United Kingdom.
John Vincent Clarence Badger was from Lisburn and served with the Royal Air Force which he joined in 1931. As a Hurricane pilot he had shot down 6 enemy aircraft before dying of injuries received in battle on 30th June 1941. Badger was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Desmond Whyte, from County Down had qualified as a Doctor at Queens University, Belfast and served with R.A.M.C. He served in the Middle East and Burma where, in 1944 whilst serving with “The Chindits” he was recommended for the Victoria Cross but received the D.S.O. instead. He had previously been “Mentioned In Despatches”
Royal Marine Sergeant Samuel Trimble was on H.M.S. Achilles acting as spotter for where the guns shells landed to correct range. During the Battle of the River Plate with the Graf Spee he won the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.
“Stood fast without flinching or complaint throughout the hour of action that followed, bearing his wounds with great fortitude. When the Medical party came he helped them to move the (other) wounded and then made his own way to Sick Bay with little aid”
The sinking of the Royal Oak at anchor in Scapa Flow on the night of 13 / 14 October resulted in the deaths of six Ulstermen including Leading Seaman Andrew Wallace, who was 20 years old and from Florencecourt in County Fermanagh. Sadly his parents were to suffer another loss when his brother George, who was a Leading Telegraphist on H.M.S. Indefatigable was also killed in 1945.
Sub Lieutenant John Tillie from Londonderry, and son of the famous shirt manufacturing family company, was serving on H.M.S. Hotspur when he won the Distinguished Service Cross
“Though himself wounded, he rallied the survivors from his two guns’ crews and opened rapid and accurate fire on the enemy, causing them to keep their distance until H.M.S. Hostile and H.M.S. Havock could return to cover H.M.S. Hotspur’s withdrawal”
John Tillie was later awarded a bar to his D.S.C. for action in the Mediterranean however sadly he was later killed in action in September 1942.