The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

Information People 3

Dunkirk Veterans Association Ulster Branch Pilgrimage 1979

The Gentleman on the right is my Grandad - He served from the First Day until the last Day!

Reverend James McMurray-Taylor, Padre to 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles on D-Day

James McMurray-Taylor was born on 17th May 1916 in Ballymena.

He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and joined the Church of Ireland in 1939.

When war was declared he enlisted and became Padre of 1st Battalion the Royal Ulster Rifles. – He was 23 years old.

On the morning of 6th June 1944, D-Day, McMurray-Taylor conducted a Service which was attended by every man of the Battalion before thoughts moved to the matter in hand.

McMurray-Taylor was to go into battle in a glider.

8th June 1944

A temporary burial ground had been established on the lawn behind a house which had become the Battalion Headquarters.

Shallow graves were dug by men from the Pioneer Corps and, although vulnerable to mortar attack, McMurray-Taylor carried out a brief service for the dead from both sides.

13th June 1944

In the centre of Breville village was once a village green however it was now covered in German dead.

A small bulldozer was used to dig a long trench and after some hours of work the German bodies, which had been wrapped in blankets, were laid to rest with a brief burial service and Cross positioned to mark the location.

It is important to note that in each case McMurray-Taylor went through the pockets of every one to recover personal belongings as well as the soldiers Identity Disc and all of these were individually bagged and labelled for them to be returned to relatives.

Years later whilst on Holiday with his family in Normandy McMurray-Taylor learned of the death of Arlette Gondree, (of Café Gondree at Pegasus Bridge) and he attended the Funeral and read the Lord’s Prayer in French.

(Thanks very much to Mr Roger Edmondson for this information)

General Sir Richard Worsley

Richard Edward Worsley was born at Ballywalter, County Down on 29th May 1923. 

He enlisted in 1940 and, in 1942, was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade and posted to 2nd Rifle Brigade in the Western Desert.

After North Africa, he fought as adjutant during the battles up Italy. 

In the fierce battle for the hilltop town of Tossignano, near Bologna, his battalion took such heavy casualties that it had to be amalgamated with 10th Rifle Brigade and at that time he was mentioned in dispatches.

The end of the war found him in Austria and then, for a period of six weeks, his company managed a jail in Hamburg. It was full of war criminals and, on one occasion, having learned that a breakout was being planned, he ordered the Bren Gun platoon to fire four magazines down the length of a corridor. There was no more trouble.

Worsley continued to serve in the British Army long after WW2 and  retired as a General.

General Sir Richard Worsley, born May 29 1923, died February 23 2013


United States Army Soldiers in Enniskillen

Shown here are a selection of photographs of U.S. Army Soldiers who were in Enniskillen during WW2.

On the left is Art Vreeland who was from Michigan. He was at Technician Fourth Grade with Technician Fifth Grade Fred Harriger is on the right.

It is pleasing to say survived the War and became a minister on leaving the army. 

Harry Gibson who was from Enniskillen served in the United States Army and is top right in this group picture.

A young Fergus McCabe is shown sitting on the knee of an American Soldier.

(Thanks very much to Clara McCabe and all those at Old Enniskillen)

Act of Remembrance on Portrush Beach.

The Act of Remembrance shown here took place on Portrush Beach on 6th September 2015.

The Standard Bearers were joined by members of the Irish Guards and as part of the Ceremony a Huey Helicopter dropped Poppies.

"We Will Remember Them"

Able Seaman Henry Murphy

Shown here is Able Seaman Henry Murphy C / JX 363276 photographed in Belfast City Hall on the 70th Anniversary of V.E. Day 8th May 2014.

Henry is showing a letter which was sent to his Mother to tell her that he had been Killed In Action on 26th December 1944!

The Late Mr Bob Wright.

Bob was from Belfast and enlisted in the Welch Regiment in 1938. 

In 1941 he volunteered for service in the newly formed Commandos and served with the Special Boat Service in Norway before going to 5 Commando in Burma, where he was in action behind enemy lines.

Teddy Dixon

Teddy’s parents were from Northern Ireland and had went to New York where he was born, and so was an American Citizen.

He and his parents returned to Northern Ireland when he was five and he became an A.R.P. Warden in the city when war broke out patrolling the streets during the Blitz and spending a time at Lisnabreeny.

He received his draft card for the American Army in 1943 and following basic training was posted to France.

He joined the 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division as a Rifleman at Strasbourg in December 1944 and served through France and into Germany. crossed into Germany through the Hartz Mountains, Seigfried Line, Wurzburg and Nurenburg, before liberating Dachau.

His Division was then sent to Austria and at Hallein he helped to recover 2,000 paintings that had been stored in a salt mine by Reichsmarshall Goering.

The Warrenpoint Air Crash

On 15th July 1944 two aircraft from 290 Squadron Royal Air Force, based at Newtownards, were entertaining a crowd of spectators at Warrenpoint during a Civil Defence Demonstration when disaster struck.

The aircraft involved were a Miles Martinet TT1 (Number MS626), which was used by the Royal Air Force specifically for the role of towing targets and an Airspeed Oxford (Number LX 598) which was a twin engined trainer aircraft.

There were misty conditions while the display was taking place and then, while one aircraft was climbing over the town the second aircraft approached from the direction of Carlingford Lough.

It appears that the pilots saw each other at the last minute and both attempted to take evasive action with one climbing and the other diving however this was not to be as the tail sections struck each other and as an explosion occurred in the sky pieces of both aircraft rained down.

Some sections of wreckage from the Martinet landed in the Church Street and Queen Street area of the town however most crashed at Duke Street and Church Street, where the cockpit was found with the dead crew inside.

The Airspeed Oxford fell into Carlingford Lough near to the swimming baths and the bodies of the 3 Pilots who were killed were recovered and taken initially to the Charlotte Street Morgue then on to the Mortuary at Daisyhill Hospital in Newry.

Those that died were as follows:-


Warrant Officer (Pilot), 290 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

DENNIS MYERS. Service Number 1217452.

Flight Sergeant (Pilot), 290 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

21 years old. From Broughbridge and buried at Broubridge Cemetery.

PETER STURDY. Service Number 1382750

Sergeant (Pilot), 290 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Buried at Willesden New Cemetery.


ALBERT GORDON GIBB. Service Number 1118383
Warrant Officer (Pilot), 290 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

28 years old. From Huyton and buried at Prescot Cemetery.

GEORGE WILLIAM MOSEY. Service Number 1041594
Sergeant (Air Gnr.), 290 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

26 years old. From Hamsterley Colliery and buried at Consett (Westwood) Cemetery.

Flight Sergeant Thomas William Thompson

Member of R.A.F.V.R. who was with Number 3 Tactical Air Force Communications Squadron when he was lost in Anson 1 LT893 between Lanka and Imphal.

He has never been recovered and is named on the War Memorial in Lurgan.




Able Seaman Francis Cassells

Was on Motor Torpedo Boat HMMTB 710 and whilst on route to an Offensive Patrol of Arsa Channel in the Adriatic the Boat struck a mine on 10th April 1945 killing 2 Officers and 15 Men including Able Seaman Cassells who is names on the Lurgan War Memorial.

American Red Cross Workers in Northern Ireland

This photograph shows an American Red Cross Mobile Canteen in Northern Ireland on 27th May 1942.

The Uniformed Red Cross Worker is Miss Louisa Farrand from New York City and whilst most of the Servicemen are Americans it is a British Soldier holding the door.

Unfortunately I do not have a precise location as to where this picture was taken.

(Picture from

Brigadier General Edmund W. Hill

Here is Brigadier General Edmund W. Hill, Commanding Officer of the United States 8th Air Force, is presenting a Medal to Technical Sergeant Dennis Kelemen from Cumberland, Kentucky.

The Ceremony is taking place in Northern Ireland on 23rd June 1943 although the precise location is unknown.

(Photograph from

Messages Home

As you can see the first one shown here was sent to the "Portadown News" Office in Thomas Street, Portadown "From the Lads of Portadown" who were serving in India Command and thinking on all the folks back home.

On the right is a more personal message from Aircraftsman Billy Martin who was stationed in India and sending his Easter Message to a loved one in Ardoyne, Belfast.

The final message is sent from Barry to Sister Irene Restalltans at the Military Hospital at Campbell College, Belfast.

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in Italy

Shown below are soldiers of 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on St Patricks Day, 17th March 1944. 

They are at the Beachhead at Anzio, Italy and are reading the Belfast Telegraph "Ireland's Saturday Night" newspaper! (Picture from Histomil)

(The above picture is from "Fold 3")