The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Bombing of Bangor

Ranfurly Avenue

This picture shows some of the damage which was caused to 19 Ranfurly Avenue, Bangor. Fortunately no-one was killed in this instance however there was considerable damage.

As can be seen by the comparrison picture there is virtually no evidence to show what had taken place here in April 1941.

The three men in the first picture are walking towards the bomb crater which can be seen at the right of the photograph.

Below is a photograph of the bomb damage which can still be seen on the side wall of number 17 and I would like to thank Mr Moore for the black and white picture of the house following the bombing.

In this picture you can see the Bomb Crater in the foreground and you can see someone tidying-uo at the upstairs window. - As the saying goes "Keep Calm and Carry On"!

A number of properties were damaged in this particular area of Bangor and another house which was damaged is on the opposite side of the road. (Shown below)

The pictures below show this house following the bombing raid and how it looks today.

(Thanks very much to North Down Heritage Centre)

Knockmore Park

These pictures show the rear of houses in Knockmore Park which sustained Bomb damage.

5 Hazeldene Gardens

The 2 photographs here show the scene at 5 Hazeldene Gardens, Bangor which was struck by a german bomb on 15th/16th April 1941 killing Margaret Watt who was 60 years old. (Picture from Ian McQuiston in "The Blitz" Book)

Bangor Golf Club

The stick of bombs which were dropped also struck the nearby Golf Club damaging the Clubhouse as well as the 18th hole and 1st and 2nd fairways. 

Shrapnel pierced the famous picture shown above which is entitled "The 36th Ulster Divisions attack on The Somme" and which had been presented to the Club in 1918. 

Visitors to the club can see that the shrapnel hole remains and someone has added the wording across the bottom of the picture saying "Blitzed Easter Tuesday Night 1941. Shell splinter" with an arrow pointing to the hole.

(Thanks very much to Bangor Golf Club for permitting me to take these pictures)

Narrow Escape in Ashley Drive

The plan above was drawn by Mr Ronnie Larmour who, as a child, witnessed the aftermath of Incendiary Bombs having been dropped by the German Luftwaffe in Ashley Gardens, Ballyholme.

Ronnie and 2 friends were in the area on the morning following the Air raid and he collected 12 - 14 tail fins of the now burnt out Incendiary Bombs in the area which he has highlighted in his plan.

The view on the left is from the junction with Ashley Park looking along Ashley Drive.

Above right are the houses,in a block which is dated 1930, which were very fortunate not to have been destroyed by fire.

(Thanks very much to Ronnie for his assistance with this information.)

40 Ashley Gardens

This was the home of the Grattan Family of whom the following were killed on 15th/16th April 1941.

Angeline Grattan, 18 years, Matilda Grattan, 54 years and Shelagh Grattan 20 years.

All these victims are buried together in Bangor New Cemetry.

20 Farnham Road

Shown here is the damage sustained by the house at 20 Farnham Road which, at that time, was the family home of Mr Harry Gough.

The bomb had landed in the area of the back garden of the house which suffered considerable damage as can be seen however, fortunately, there were no serious injuries.

Robert Wright

Mr Robert Wright, 41 years, 32 Baylands died from his injuries at Bangor Hospital on 17th April 1941.

The Friday 13th September 1940 Air Raid.

There appears to be little recorded regarding a German Air Raid on Bangor on Friday 13th September 1940.


At 0400 on that morning a four engined German Bomber dropped 22 Incendiary Bombs on Bangor from what has been estimated as being 4000 feet.

The aircraft had approached Bangor from the direction of Belfast and after the raid was reported to have changed direction over Clandeboye and headed towards Newtownards.


Approximately 15 of the incendiaries fell in the Main Street area where one went through the roof of Brice’s Auction Rooms and started a fire in the upper floor before burning its way through to the lower floor where damage was done to the floor and a table.


Another bomb lodged in the joist over a doorway of a loft at Jacob O’Neill’s Funeral Furnishing premises. It burned through the joist and fell behind some wall panelling causing damage but did not reach the floor.


The Electricity Board’s premises had a bomb fall through the roof which burnt its way to a concrete floor where it did no further damage.


Four bombs fell on the premises of R. Neill & Sons in Main Street where slight damage was caused to the roof’s of a Joiners Shop, Saddlers Shop and a coal shed.

Fortunately one bomb which fell in the Gas Works failed to detonate.


The roofs of outhouses at both McCormick’s and Patterson’s Butchers Shops were damaged and the corrugated roof of John A Jamison’s Painters in High Street was penetrated and a timber wall, glass and a quantity of wallpaper was destroyed.


The dropping of these bombs was reported immediately by the Bangor Stationmaster and the Town Clerk who had seen the flashes.


Both the regular Fire Brigade and A.F.S. attended and the fire at Brice’s Auction Rooms was the only one which threatened to become extensive however it was soon brought under control.


The following day a group of around 3 young boys collected about 12 tail fins from Incendiary Bombs which had been dropped in Ashley Drive however fortunately where were no serious fires here.


No casualties occurred during this attack …….These were to happen at a later date.

Bangor is Shelled by the Royal Navy!

The population of Bangor came under fire from a rather unlikely source during the afternoon of Tuesday 2nd January 1940 ……The Royal Navy!


Anchored in Belfast Lough was the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship “Serbol” which was a 2000 ton Belgol Class tanker.

At the time of this incident R.F.A. Serbol was docked in Belfast Lough and involved in gunnery training which went somewhat awry resulting in Bangor being struck by a number of Four Inch solid shot training rounds.


The following properties were those unlucky enough to receiving hits.

102 Seacliffe Road - Occupied by Mr and Mrs James McQuoid and their Daughter. - No obvious damage remains to be seen.

108 Seacliffe Road – Owned by Mr Harry Donaghy. Reported at the time as having received considerable damage. The shell penetrated the external wall at the front of the house between the two floors and passed through the joists of the top floor and ceiling of the ground floor before making a considerable hole in an internal wall!

No obvious damage remains visible.

8 Hazeldene Park – Occupied by Mrs Holland

28 Shandon Park East – Which was occupied by Mr and Mrs W. Fitzimmons and Family

The door of the Shandon Park East address is shown in the old "Northern Whig" newspaper cutting with damage to the wall of the house and my photograph shows the same scene today.

Damage in the Dining Room is shown on the left and a crack which was created can still be seen down the wall today.

(Thanks to the Residents of this House for their assistance and permission to take photographs of this interesting piece of our Second World War history.

A store of Mr S.C. Taylor’s Garage at Ballyholme Road was also struck.


It is reported that there was fog and that visibility was poor when the salvo of shells landed at approximately 3.30PM and it is very fortunate that no-one was killed or injured.

At the time R.F.A. Serbol was a regular visitor to Bangor Bay where it was used as an Oiler to replenish the Fleet. Part of the procedure involved a signaller on the ship using a light to contact personnel on shore each morning for instructions.


Between 27th August 1940 and 17th April 1941 she spent most of her time anchored in Belfast Lough.

2nd Cook Victor Vidamour of R.F.A. Serbol died on 26th October 1944 and is buried in Belfast City Cemetry.

S.C. Taylor's Garage as it looked shortly after the war. (From Bangor Through The Years Facebook Page)