Corporal Richard Lewis Bashford. Number 6 Commando
Richard was from Belfast and enlisted in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 18th June 1940 carrying out Basic Training at St Lucia Barracks, Omagh.
When the Commandos were formed he volunteered to join them but this was refused because he was an Infantry Soldier so he transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps as a Driver and after a time resubmitted his Commando application which, on this occasion, was accepted. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY THESE PHOTOGRAPHS)
Whilst in Commando Training Richard was identified as a fit and energetic soldier and he subsequently became a Physical Training Instructor at the Commando Battle Training Centre at Aughnacarry, Scotland. He was then posted to Number 6 Commando at Hastings on the south coast of England where he was billeted in the private home of Mrs Barton and her son Michael.
Training intensified before the Invasion Fleet set sail for Normandy on the night of 5th June 1944.
Number 6 Commando, Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Derek Mills Roberts M.C., Irish Guards, landed on Sword Beach at H+75 (Meaning 75 minutes after H-Hour) as part of what was known as 1 Special Services Brigade which was Commanded by Brigadier The Lord Lovatt.
Richard Bashford can be seen 4th from the right in the photograph below which was taken on 6th June 1944 in the village of St-Aubry-d'Arquenay whilst the Commando were on their way to relive what is now known as Pesagus Bridge. (The original is shown below) PLEASE DO NOT COPY THESE PHOTOGRAPHS
During the advance to Caen the Commandos relieved Pegasus Bridge which had been taken earlier by Airborne Troops who had landed in Horsa Gliders immediately beside the Bridge during darkness. As Richard passed the bridge he could hear the Belfast accents of Royal Ulster Rifles soldiers from 1st (Airborne) Battalion.
The fighting at Caen was intense and on one occasion Three Volunteers were asked for to take part in a special mission.
Richard was one of those who volunteered and when the three were led away from the others for their Briefing they were provided with a supply of alcoholic liquor which, as they had volunteered, they were permitted to enjoy!
The advance continued and the Commandos crosed the Rhine at Wessel before heading North.
Richard was wounded in the right arm by a Sniper on 7th / 8th April 1945 in the area North of Hanover and he was evacuated to a Military Hospital in Belgium to recover.
Having got himself A1 Fit For Action the War in Europe ended in May 1945 and then, before he could be posted to the Far East, the Japanese surrendered in August 1945.
Richard was Discharged on 5th January 1946.
Shown above are photographs of Richard Bashford along with his Commando Certificate and Medals.
(My sincere Thank-you to Terry Bashford for the Information, Photographs shown here.) PLEASE DO NOT COPY
Sergeant Malcolm Grant Thompson, Irish Guards
On leaving school Malcolm Thompson was a Metalworker at Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast.
Having been a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve he joined the Irish Guards on 12th June 1936 when he was 18 years old.
After Depot the Battalion was stationed at Kasr el Nil Barracks in Cairo, Egypt where he was promoted to Lance Corporal on 26th March 1938 and served with the Intelligence Platoon.
In July 1938 the Battalion moved to Palestine for Internal Security Operations before returning to London where they were stationed at The Tower.
Having been promoted to Lance Sergeant in 1939 Malcolm was deployed with 2nd Battalion to the Hook of Holland to assist the Evacuation of the Dutch Royal Family and from there to assist with the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Bolougne.
On return to London performing Public Duties in battle dress and Training continued. Posted to the guards Depot as an Instructor in February 1940 and promoted to Sergeant the following May.
Malcolm joined 3rd (Lorried Infantry) Battalion Irish Guards in June 1944 landing in Normandy and fighting until he was severely wounded by shrapnel from a German 88mm Shell on 3rd July 1944.
The Surgeon at the time wished to amputate his leg however Malcolm refused however he suffered with this for the rest of his life - For many years he was still extracting pieces of shrapnel!
His injury was such that he was discharged from the Army on 29th June 1945 because of his wounds.
(My sincere Thank-you to Terry Bashford for the Information, Photographs shown here.) PLEASE DO NOT COPY
Captain Robert Emerson Clemitson, Royal Artillery
Captain Clemitson was born in Belfast on 13th February 1912 and on 29th April 1939 he enlisted as a Gunner with 9th Battery 3rd Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery at Clonaver Barracks, Belfast.
Promoted to Lance Sergeant on 10th June 1939 10/06/39 and called for military service two months later.
Having been trained in the use of the Bren Gun he was promoted to Sergeant before becoming part of the British Expeditionary Force in France on 21st December 1939 and being attached to 10th Searchlight Battery from 25/03/40 until 31/03/40.
He was evacuated from Dunkirk on 29th May 1940 and on his return to the United Kingdom was
discharged under Kings Regulations Paragraph 383 xvii having been appointed to a Royal Artillery Commission.
Testimonials stated "Very Good - Intelligent - Educated - Hardworking."
Officer recommendation "Very good, qualified by his conduct to have received an award for military conduct but cannot as he has not completed 3 years service."
"Power of leadership - Good"
"Would make a suitable officer in a Search Light Unit. Signed by the interviewing board" - Major D.M Anderson and two Captains.
On 6th September 1940 he was sent to 133rd Officer Cadet Training Academy Shrivenham where he attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and was appointed to an Emergency Commission 29th November 1940 with the 8th Anti Artillery Reserve Regiment Royal Artillery stationed in Cleethorpes where he guarded the Humber river.
Three months later Robert was Posted to 316 Battery, 30 Search Light Regiment, Royal Artillery at Gainsborough/Hatfield to assist with a mobile detachment ( The Northern Rovers) against German bombers dropping mines in the Humber Estuary.
At the end of March 1941 he moved to Bristol and Avonmouth Docks to protect against heavy bombing and fire fighting duties.
Having been told to prepare for disembarkation for the middle east in May 1941 he returned home and married his Fiance on 24th May 1941.
He disembarked from Glasgow for the Far East on 27th August 1941 with the journey taking him from Glasgow - Iceland - Canada - down the Americas - across to Cape Town - Bombay - Sri Lanka - Singapore.
During the trip he was made 1st Lieutenant on16thn October 1941 and was posted to 5th Search Light Regiment Royal Artillery
Having disembarked for Malaya on 6th November 1941 he was subsequently reported Missing in Malaya on 15th February 1942 before being reported as being a Prisoner of War on 30th April 1943 and was later released in October 1945.
He was granted the Honorary Rank of Captain on 14th May 1957.
As can be seen from below Boon Pong was a Siamese Trader who helped the Prisoners of War and his actions have never been forgotten.
The final letter below refers to "Tea" which is believed to have been some form of alcoholic drink.
Robert Clemitson received the 1939-1945 War Medal, 1939-1945 Star, Burma Star and Pacific Star.
(Thanks very much to Marty Conroy for providing Information and Photographs for this story to be told.)
Tommy Maxwell, Royal Marine S.B.S.
Tommy was born in Belfast on 16th May 1922 and on leaving school at 14 years of age he started work at Kiltonga Mill, Newtownards before joining the Royal Marines as a Boy Soldier in 1938 when he was 16.
Tommy was initially stationed in Portsmouth and was Sea Service Battery 62 before joining H.M.S. Cairo which was a C Class Cruiser. Within a year he was serving in Palestine in response to what was referred to as the “Arab Revolt”.
In early April 1940 H.M.S. Cairo was involved in escorting the Military Convoy “NP 1” taking Troops to the landings at Narvik with Tommy being a member of one of the Gun Crews. (The picture below show a Gun Position aboard H.M.S. Cairo with smoke rising from Narvik in the background. Public Domain)
Later in 1940 Tommy was at Dunkirk and then was involved in assisting Free Polish personnel to escape their German Occupied homeland before seeing action at Crete in 1941.
H.M.S. Cairo was part of the Irish Sea Force with Western Approaches Command until February 1942 when she left Greenock on 9th February taking a “Trade Delegation” to Murmansk for discussions with the Russians.
Having arrived at Kola Inlet on 15th they stayed until leaving on 18th to return safely to Scapa Flow and on to Greenock.
Following some repair to the ship in Belfast Tommy was aboard when it sailed to Gibraltar and from there was involved in Escort operations to Malta.
H.M.S. Cairo left Gibraltar on 18th April along with ten other Ships who were all escorting the American Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Wasp with its valuable cargo of Spitfire aircraft for Malta!
In June 1942 Tommy again found himself in the Mediterranean having left Belfast on 3rd to provide Anti-Aircraft defence for Convoy WS19Z and was under attack starting 14th from Italian Aircraft and Submarine.
This action continued for the next few days with another ship (H.M.S. Liverpool) being damaged and having to return to Gibraltar.
On 15th H.M.S. Cairo was in action against Italian ships and was hit by 2 Six Inch Shells which caused serious damage as well as being subjected to air attack before finally reaching Malta on 16th.
This had been a considerable action with four of the merchant ships in the Convoy having been sunk during the voyage and then the Polish Destroyer Escort Ship O.R.P. Kujawiak was mined and sunk at the entrance to Valetta Harbour.
H.M.S. Badsworth and H.M.S. Matchless were so seriously damaged that they had to stay at Malta while the Cairo returned to Gibraltar on 19th for repairs to take place.
H.M.S. Cairo (Navy Photos by Mark Teadham)
After a successful return trip from Gibraltar to Malta and back 11th August saw Tommy and H.M.S. Cairo again in action when providing close escort for a Malta Relief Convoy.
On 12th August the ship was going through the Sicilian Narrows when it was hit aft by two Torpedoes which had been fired by the Italian Submarine Axum.
Being totally disabled H.M.S. Cairo was abandoned with survivors, including Tommy, being rescued by H.M.S. Wilton.
Tommy had been wounded during this action with shrapnel wounds to his right thigh and left calf.
He received treatment on board H.M.S. Kenya and amazingly the Medical Case Sheet says “Up and walking without pain. This man is fit for transit” On 14th August his Medical Notes show that he was discharged from the Military Hospital at Gibraltar.
Within just one week of having been wounded on board H.M.S. Cairo Tommy was again involved in a major operation, this time being the Raid on Dieppe.
Having been involved in the Special Service Brigade Tommy joined 44 Commando in 1943 and received training in Wales before going to Achnacarry.
In 1944 Tommy was serving with 3rd Cammando Brigade in India.
He operated for some time in the Pacific Theatre and Burma where, in 1945, he was shot in the head. He received treatment at various places including the Bombay Naval Hospital and Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England.
In 1946 Tommy was at the Royal Naval Hospital at Barrow Gurney near Bristol where he received Electric Shock and Insulin treatment for what is now referred to as Post Traumatic Stress and the effects of having been shot in the head a year previously.
He had been targeted by a Sniper who had secured himself in the top of a tree and Tommy’s injury was such that he had a metal plate fitted in his head where the bullet had hit him above his right eye.
Tommy finally returned home having seen action in a wide variety of places and having been awarded a number of Medals which are shown above. These are:-
The General Service Medal with “Palestine” Clasp
The 1939 - 1945 Star
The Atlantic Star
The Africa Star
The Burma Star with “Pacific” Clasp
The Italy Star
The Arctic Star
The Defence Medal
The 1939 - 1945 War Medal
The Dunkirk Medal,
The Malta George Cross Fiftieth Anniversary Medal and no less than five Russian Medals including the Ushakov Medal for British Veterans of the Arctic Convoys for which President Vladimir Putin signed the Decree on 10th March 2014. (Shown below)
This is the little "Active Service Edition" Bible which Tommy carried with him throughout the war and he is seen on the right with his Wife Georgie Maxwell. The photograph was taken in the 1950's when he was with the Territorial Army.
He received a Full Disability War Pension however his head wound and subsequent treatment caused him problems for the rest of his life but even after all this he joined the Territorial Army and served as a Sergeant Instructor in the early 1950's
Tommy died on 21st December 2011 and is buried in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards.
Tommy Maxwell - "By Strength and Guile"
(My Sincere thanks to Tony, Kathleen and Ray Maxwell without whom this item would not be possible) ***PLEASE DO NOT COPY THIS ARTICLE***
The French Twins from Randalstown in the Royal Navy.
Albert and Herbert French were the Twin Sons of Mr and Mrs William John French from 2 Factory Walk, Randalstown.
Both joined the Royal Navy with Albert serving aboard H.M.S. Diamond and Herbert serving aboard H.M.S. Rajputana.
HMS Diamond was a D-class destroyer and was part of the Mediterranean Fleet with her main role being the escort of convoys to and from Malta.
On 26 April 1941 Diamond was in the Argolic Gulf with a number of other warships and was involved in the evacuation of British and ANZAC troops from Nauplia.
Around 2,500 troops had been able to get aboard various ships and in the early hours of the following morning the order was given to leave.
Approaching the entrance to Argolic Gulf the convoy was attacked by nine Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers at around 07.00 resulting in one of the ships, Slamat being hit and burning.
As those on board began to Abandon Ship H.M.S.Diamond went alongside to rescue survivors while the rest of the convoy continued to try to reach Souda Bay in Crete.
At 08:15 H.M.S.Diamond reported that she was still rescuing survivors and still under air attack so HMS Wryneck went to her assistance.
By this time the Slamat was burning her entire length and after firing a torpedo that sank her H.M.S.Diamond reported at 09:25 that she had rescued most of the survivors and was proceeding to Souda Bay.
At about 13:15, another air attack by German bombers sank both Diamond and Wryneck within minutes.
Included among those who were killed was Albert French who was 22 years old and had been in the Royal Navy for one year.
Herbert French was serving aboard H.M.S.Rajputana which was an Armed Merchant Cruiser that had been built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast in 1925.
She was spotted by the U-108 at 09.45 on 11 April 1941 and was followed while she was patrolling on a zigzag course at high speed. Two torpedoes were fired at 18.08 with both missing their target. Two more were fired at 20.46 and 20.48 the following night with a fifth at 07.40 on 13th April. Refusing to give up a sixth torpedo was fired at 07.43 and on this occasion it struck the stern of ship and caused a fire.
Having sighted a persicope the Rajputana returned fire however yet another torpedo was fired and struck the aft section of the ship causing it to list to port and sink by the stern.
Although 42 Officers and Men were lost 283 survivors were pucked up by H.M.S. Legion and brought safely to Reykjavik including Herbert French!
(Information from Ballymena Weekly Telegraph.)
These photographs show Z Troop 6 Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery in Northern Ireland during 1939
Two Gunners in an Arab Boat on the Suez canal, Egypt in 1941.
To the left is Brian Clark during the "Crossing The Line" Ceremony on the ship Dominion Monarch in 1940.
Captain Gaultin is shown in Egypt during 1941.
This is the Certificate which was Presented to Lieutenant Clark for his Crossing the Equator.
Worthy of note is this little boat which approached a Troopship with the sign saying "Agent For Wm. Clark & Sons N.Ireland" This photograph is from Dakar.
Captain Jack Baxter shown at Port Fouad Sports Grounds, Egypt in 1941.
To the right is a Royal Artillery Gunner sitting in an Observation Chair at Suez Canal in Egypt in 1941.
Digging a Gun out of Mud in Egypt in 1941.
Major Christie and Major Hope, Officer Commanding 6 Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery shown in Egypt in 1941.
Troopship shown off Cape Town, South Africa in 1941.
Colonel McIntyre and Jack Baxter who was photographed with a Pyramid behind him in Egypt in February 1941.
Officers in Egypt during 1941.
Joe Farran from Upperlands shown on the left with Sam Pinkerton to the right. Both pictures taken in Egypt in 1941.
Making friends with some Camels (Above) whilst below is Number 13 General Hospital in Egypt photographed in November 1941.
Lieutenant Wray in Egypt in 1941 and Major Hope (With his back to the camera) along with some Off-Duty Nurses in Port Fouad, Egypt in 1941.
Shown above is Base depot Royal Artillery, Al Maza, Egypt in 1941. (My Sincere thanks to Rhys Jones for providing me with these Photographs)
The Six Hiller Lads from Belfast in the Royal Navy.
The 6 Hiller Brothers from 83 Hyndford Street Belfast, who joined the Royal Navy in WW2.
Artie - Benjamin Arthur Hiller, RN (D/SSX 27599) who was killed in Action on 2nd May 1942 on HMS Edinburgh which was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Stuart Bonham Carter, commanding the escort of returning Convoy “QP 11” consisting of 17 ships which left Murmansk on 28 April 1942.
She was sighted by a German aircraft and on 30 April the German submarine U-456 commanded by Kapitänleutnant Max-Martin Teichert fired a torpedo into her starboard side causing Edinburgh to list however the swift action of the crew in closing watertight bulkheads prevented the ship from sinking immediately.
A second torpedo struck Edinburgh in the stern which incapacitated the ships steering and crippling her. She was taken in tow and an attempt was made to return to Murmansk accompanied by destroyers Foresight and Forester and four Mine Sweepers Gossamer, Harrier, Niger and Hussar. Along the way she was hounded constantly by German torpedo bombers.
On 2 May, as she progressed at a snail's pace under tow and her own power, she was attacked by three large German destroyers and cast off the tow causing her to sail in circles.
Although her guns were in disarray, she fired on the attacking German ships. Her second salvo straddled the German ship Hermann Schoemann, damaging her severely enough that her crew scuttled her and while Edinburgh’s escorts drove off two more German ships she was struck amidships by another torpedo so the crew abandoned ship.
About 840 men were rescued by other ships however Two officers and 56 other ranks were killed in the attacks.
Artie, who was born on 30th January 1919, is named on the Royal Naval Memorial at Plymouth Hoe.
The photograph here shows Artie at H.M.S. Drake.
George - Believe he settled in Plymouth area after WW2. No other details
Joe – Served on H.M.S. Hermione.
In July 1941 H.M.S. Hermione was involved in the escorting of a Malta bound convoy code named operation “Substance”, the convoy consisted of thirteen merchant ships and all managed to get through to Malta, however one vessel with a load of petrol onboard, miraculously survived a torpedo hit.
The Australian destroyer HMAS Nestor stood by her but they were left behind by the Convoy. Alone the destroyer fought off German dive bomber attacks until Hermione arrived on the scene to assist.
On August 2nd Hermione rammed and sank the Italian submarine the Tembien. submarine.
On 16th June 1942, whilst returning to Alexandria, HMS Hermione was torpedoed by the German submarine U-205, North of Sollum and sank in position 33º20'N, 26º00'E.
87 crewmembers went down with the ship.
During his service on H.M.S. Hermione Joe was Wounded in Action however he survived the war and returned to Belfast.
John – He survived the War and moved to Australia where he died in Queensland on 9th November 1997.
Len Hiller is in the centre of this photograph of him with other crew members of H.M.S. Valiant.
Len - Was born on 3rd October 1914 and served on HMS Voltaire, which was an Armed Merchant Cruiser and had been built in Belfast.
On 4 April 1941 HMS Voltaire was on patrol in the central Atlantic, about 900 nautical miles west of the Cape Verde Islands when she was spotted by the german raider Thor and the ships headed for each other.
The two ships opened fire on each other and H.M.S. Voltaire was soon ablaze. After over an hour of battle and with only 2 guns remaining in action a white flag was hoisted by the Voltaire which sank shortly afterwards with the loss of 75 dead.
197 survivors, including Len Hiller, were rescued by the Germans and he spent the rest of the war in a Prisoner Of War Camp.
During the battle the german ship, Thor expended 724 15cm shells!
Len Hiller is seen on the Left in the first picture and top Right in the second.
Directly above is the back of the Post Card showing Len as a Prisoner Of War.
The address of "ARBT KDO E 391" refers to Arbeits Kommandos meaning Working Camps.
Camp E391 was at Mahr Trubau, Germany however the town is now known as Moravská Třebová and is in the Czech Republic.
Camp E391 was also known as "Stalag VIIIB/344" and work was carried out at a Timber Mill.
The family address was 99 Donegal Avenue, Belfast and the house still stands today - It is shown in the photograph on the left.
(Thanks very much to Len's Family for use of these photographs)
His parents were informed he was “missing in action” after H.M.S. Voltaire was sunk on 9/04/41 and then they received the news that Arty was killed 2/5/1942. They did not find out that Len was alive until the war was over. He subsequently became a Masseur with a number of Irish League Football Clubs.
Len died on 25th October 1999.
Sammy was born on 17th April 1921 and trained at HMS Caledonia from 21st August 1937 until 3rd June 1938 when he was posted to HMS Diomede followed by HMS Hermes, HMS Royal Oak, HMS Jupiter and finally the Aircraft Carrier HMS Victorious from early 1941 until October 1946 and he was finally invalided out of the navy on 27th July 1948 and after living in Newtownards moved to Victoria, Australia where he died on 4th January 2009.
(All the ship photographs from Imperial War Museum)
(My thanks to Jackie, Norton and Lawrence Hiller for all their help)
William Walter "Dickie" Dougan
From Ballycross near Banbridge in County Down he was as Apprentice Aircraft Fitter at R.A.F. Halton in 1934 and Passed Out as a Corporal Fitter in 1937 and went to R.A.F. Harwell as a Sergeant Pilot in 1941.
Trained as a Bomber Pilot he flew Wellingtons and other "Heavies" in North Africa. During a Ferry Flight he had just landed on Malta when it was bombed and he was able to escape his Wellington before it was destroyed.
He converted to B-24 Liberators which he flew between 1942 and 1945.
In 1942 he was part of the 159 / 160 Special Duties Squadron and dropped both Agents and Weapons into Yugoslavia.
By the end of the war Dickie had accumulated 2000 Hours on Liberators and had been Mentioned in Dispatches not once but Twice.
His R.A.F. Service continued and in 1948 he was involved in the Berlin Airlift.
In 1950 Dickie was the R.A.F's first "Master Pilot" at Central Flying School.
"Dickie" Dougan Died in 2007.
(Many Thanks to Jimmy Furphy)
Leading Aircraftman W.J. (Billy) Gordon from Lurgan
Billy is wearing a Tank Top in the pictures above and below he is seen with some local children and operating a Lewis Gun. All these photographs were taken in the Libyan Desert in 1942. (Thanks very much to Clive Higginson)
Lt. Virgil A. Brown
Lt. Virgil A. Brown of Mason City, Iowa, still wearing his gas mask from training stops to feed chickens on the post before returning to his quarters, May 22, 1942. The chicken house appears to be a crate in which equipment was sent to American troops serving in Northern Ireland. (A.P. Photograph)
Colour Party of Veterans Associations and Groups
This is the Colour Party of a number of Veterans Associations and Groups on parade at an Armed Forces Day celebration.
BOMB RECONNAISSANCE SCHOOL
This is a Certificate from the Bomb Reconnaissance School to show that a Civil Defence member is authorised to undertake Bomb Reconnaissance and Reporting duties.
Flight Lt Albert Smith D.F.C.
Albert Smith was a navigator awarded an immediate DFC for flying his damaged aircraft back to England after his pilot had been killed by anti-aircraft fire.
On September 17 1944, British airborne forces landed in Holland to capture the bridge at Arnhem. In the first wave, Smith and his crew took off in their Dakota towing a Horsa glider carrying men of the Border Regiment. Flying in a loose formation, 47 Dakota/Horsa combinations had left Broadwell near Burford and 41 successively released their gliders over Arnhem.
The following day Smith returned with another Horsa, in which the CO of the Border Regiment was among the troops. The CO’s glider had suffered a failure over England the previous day, and he was anxious to join his men, who were already at Arnhem.
As the combination crossed into enemy-held territory it was hit by anti-aircraft fire which killed the pilot and wounded two of the crew — including Smith, who was occupying the second pilot’s seat and acting as the map reader. He immediately took over the controls of the Dakota and kept the aircraft on its course towards the target.
The glider had also been damaged, and the pilot, recognising the Dakota’s problems, prepared to cast off. Using the radio intercommunication embedded in the tow rope, Smith told them to wait as he turned towards friendly territory. As they crossed Allied lines, the glider pilot released and landed safely as Smith set course for home. He arrived over the Suffolk coast and made a successful emergency landing at the USAAF airfield at Martlesham Heath.
After recovering from his wounds, Smith, who was a warrant officer at the time, was invited by the BBC to make a radio broadcast about his experience. The citation for his DFC concluded: “He set a fine example of courage and resource in the face of great difficulties.”
The son of a Battle of Mons veteran, Albert Edward Smith was born on May 30 1917 at Richill, Co Armagh and in September 1939 he volunteered for aircrew service in the RAF and trained as an observer. During the early years of the war he flew bomber operations over Germany before becoming a bombing instructor in Coastal Command. Anxious to see more action, he joined the newly-formed 575 Squadron at Broadwell in early 1944.
On the night of June 5 1944, Smith dropped men of the 5th Parachute Brigade over Normandy and the following night towed a glider to the same area. By mid-June rough airstrips had been created in Normandy, and the Dakotas flew in supplies and evacuated the wounded.
(Photographs and information from Telegraph Obituary and "Brotherhood of the Cauldron" by David Truesdale)
ROYAL ULSTER RIFLES MILITARY MEDAL CITATION
The Medal and Citation shown above is on display in the Museum beside Pegasus Bridge in Normandy.
FOUR INNISKILLINGS KILLED IN ACCIDENT
This is the headstone of Richard Doyle who is buried in Dundonald Cemetry. He was from Belfast and was one of four members of the 6th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who lost their lives as the result of a Boating Accident in England on 10th March 1942. Corporal Doyle was 29 years old.
His comrades who were killed with him were John McGuire who was 27 years old and is buried in Coleraine Cemetery.
Philip Brummell who was 22 years old and from Boythorpe in Chesterfield and is now buried in the local cemetery.
Charles Stevenson who was 21 years old and from Sutton-In-Ashfield where he is now buried in the local cemetery.
Ivan Ewart D.S.C.
Ivan Ewart was born at Derryvolgie House, Lisburn in 1919 and during WW2 he commanded a Motor Torpedo Boat as a Lieutenant RNVR.
On the night of 17/18 January 1942, Ewart's MTB was one of a patrol of three which attacked a German coastal convoy off Boulogne. It turned out that the convoy was strongly protected by escort vessels, some towing "gun barges". The patrol came under heavy fire and Ewart's boat was hit and severely damaged. Both engines were put out of action and the steering gear destroyed, leaving the boat helpless in the water. Ewart himself was wounded in the right arm and lost his left eye.
The other two MTBs broke off the engagement and withdrew. Ewart decided that the only course of action left was to scuttle his boat, which was now on fire.
When daylight came the Germans picked up the survivors, and the wounded were taken to a convent near Boulogne which had been turned into a hospital. When he had sufficiently recovered from his wounds, Ewart was sent to the naval prisoner-of-war camp known as Marlag & Milag Nord, at Westertimke.
Shortly after his arrival, Ewart was invited to take part in the construction of a tunnel, which was completed in the autumn of 1942. After a number of officers had successfully used it to escape, a perimeter sentry heard suspicious noises and raised the alarm. Ewart was caught in the tunnel as he was preparing to make his exit.
He soon made another attempt. A trailer truck parked in the compound overnight was due to leave the camp the following day. Ewart and a brother officer attempted to conceal themselves in a box, slung beneath the chassis, which housed the spare wheels. Unfortunately they were caught in the act.
The enterprise had an unusual feature in that both men had recently lost an eye, and were wearing black patches. If they had managed to flee the camp, they planned on being taken for victims of an Allied bombing raid.
The German authorities then sent Ewart to Colditz, where he spent the remainder of the war. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1945.
Flight-Lieutenant (Pilot) Granville Wilson D.S.O., D.F.C., D.F.M., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve was from Belfast and flying a Lancaster Bomber as part of the Pathfinder Force with 7 Squadron Royal Air Force.
On 6th September 1944 he was on a large raid to Emden when Wilson's aircraft received a direct hit from a flak shell and he was killed instantly, together with his navigator and bomb aimer, Sergeants D Jones and ER Brunsdon. The 5 other members of the crew escaped by parachute.
Flt-Lt Wilson is buried at Sage Cemetry in Germany however he is remembered on the War Memorial at Queens University, Belfast.
A picture of the War Memorial is shown here as well as the plaque which gives his name.
Twenty-Four Men from Northern Ireland were killed with the loss of H.M.S. Glorious in June 1940 with three more on one of her escort ships, H.M.S. Acasta.
Lt Commander Arthur Hezlet of the Royal Navy, and from Aghadowey in County Londonderry, was in command of the submarine Trenchant when he torpedoes U-859 which was carrying a secret cargo for the Japanese. He was awarded the D.S.O. for this operation and later won a second D.S.O. as well as the U.S. Legion of Merit for actions near the Sumatran coast.
Frank Lyness, from Belfast, was serving with2nd London Irish Rifles when he won a Military Cross during the battles of May and June 1944 from Cassino to Trasimene in Italy.
On 8th October 1944 Company Sergeant Major Robbie Robinson of 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, from County Fermanagh, won a Distinguished Conduct Medal at Fontananelice in Italy with another Fermanagh man, Corporal Gerald Strainger was awarded a Military Medal with the Faugh’s.
Men of 591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers were the first to arrive in Normandy on D-Day when they landed east of the Orne Bridge to clear a landing zone for the gliders.
Other men from this Unit also landed with 9th Parachute Battalion near Merville Battery.
The picture shows part of Merville Battery in Normandy.
Chelsea Pensioner in a Willys Jeep at an Armed Forces Day Parade
Wing Commander T. Stanley Towell D.F.C., D.F.M.
Born in Richill and joined the Royal Air Force in 1934 with which he served in Bomber Command, Middle East Command and Southeast Asia Command.
On 17th January 1941 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal after completing 20 Operational Missions with 10 Squadron as Second Pilot and then from 15th August 1940 as Captain of a Whitley Bomber when he attacked an Aircraft Factory at Turin in Italy.
During the next three months he flew another 11 Operational Missions to targets at Koln, Le Havre Docks, The German Air Ministry in Berlin, Hamburg Shipyards and an Aircraft Factory at Stuttgart.
He received the Distinguished Flying Cross on 18th June 1943 when serving with 159 Squadron in Southeast Asia Command flying Liberator aircraft from Digri in India.
Joe Rooney, who played Centre half for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1939, was serving as a soldier when he was killed in Belfast on 5th April 1941.
Petty Officer James Jamfrey was born in Cookstown and serving with the Royal Navy on board H.M.S. Curacoa when he was lost on 2nd October 1942.
H.M.S. Curacoa was performing Convoy Escort Duty when a German U-Boat was sighted.
During zig-zag counter maneuvers Curacoa was struck by the huge passenger liner Queen Mary which was acting as a Troop Ship and had 11,000 troops on board at the time.
H.M.S. Curacoa was cut in half and sank with the loss of 338 men.
James Jafrey had served 23 years in the Royal Navy and had been Mentioned in Dispatches in January 1942. He was 49 years old when he was killed.
Ulster Home Guard training with Spigot Mortar.
Home Guard M.T. Company training with the Royal Army Service Corps in Northern Ireland.
Second Steward Robert Crone
Was from Bangor and served in the Merchant Navy and was lost at sea when the SS Melmore Head was torpedoed on 28th December 1942 off the coast of Canada.
This had actually been the second time he had been torpedoed. He had survived a previous attack in 1941 on the SS Bengore Head on which he was serving.
R.A.F. Ground Crew from Northern Ireland and Eire.
RAF ground personnel service the engine of a P-47 Thunderbolt at Kemajoran airfield in Batavia. in Batavia in readiness for operations against the Indonesians in Sourabaya.
Left to right- Sergeant A Dennison of 12, Parkmount Garden, Shore Road, Belfast;
Leading Aircraftman T Heron of Monkstown, Co. Antrim;
Leading Aircraftman W. McCleave of 34 Bootle Street, Belfast;
Leading Aircraftman Caffrey of 32 Mount Street, Dublin;
Fligth Sergeant A McGrath of Millbrook Road, Lisburn.
This photograph was issued in 1945.
(For more information see http://www.americanairmuseum.com)
Staff Sergeant Robert T Mitchell from Belfast
"Hurry up Bud, I'm late for my date!"
Staff Sergeant Robert T. Mitchell, from Belfast, serving with the U.S.A.A.F. in Northern Ireland. (Fold 3 Picture)
General Hartle, U.S. Army.
Left to right - Mrs. Sinclair, Mr. Warnock, Duchess of Abercorn, General Hartle, Duke of Abercorn, Mrs Archeson, Maj. Gen. Majendie, Mr. Douglas. James Hamilton, the 3rd Duke of Abercorn, held the office of Governor of Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1945.
Major General Vivian Majendie was General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland District from 7th June 1941 – 14th May 1943. The first important exercise of the United States Army Ground Forces of the European Theater of Operations in the period 8 June, 1942, to 8 November, 1942, ATLANTIC, to test cooperation between United States and British troops. It was held in Northern Ireland, 1 to 8 July, 1942, in the area between Belfast Lough and Lough Neagh. On one side a British officer, Major General V. H. B. Majendie led the 34th United States Infantry Division against the 6lst British Infantry Division, the 72nd Infantry Brigade and the 1st United States Armored Division under Major General Russell P. Hartle.
Sir James Hamilton, the Third Duke of Abercorn, was Governor of Northern Ireland, the Royal Family's representative in the country. In this capacity he met General Hartle in 1942 when the first Americans served overseas. The Duke of Abercorn had previously served in the North Irish Horse, a yeomanry unit of the British Territorial Army.
When Major General Hartle arrived in Belfast in January 1942 he was met by a delegation including the Governor General (the Duke of Abercorn), the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland (John W. Andrews), the Commander of British Troops in Ulster (General G. E. W. Franklyn), and the Secretary of State for Air (Sir Archibald Sinclair).
Major General R. P. Hartle greeting General Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff on his inspection trip to Northern Ireland. In the background is Lieutenant General H. E. Franklyn, General Officer Commanding British Troops in Northern Ireland.
Segregation of Whites and Non-Whites in U.S. Forces