The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

Belfast City Hall

Construction of Air Raid Shelters in Grounds of Belfast City Hall

Building Air Raid Shelters During Crisis at City Hall Belfast - 1st September 1938. Photographed by Bonar Holmes.

(Thanks very much to Bonar Holmes)

Blitz Damage

No visit to the City Hall is complete without taking the walking tour around the building which was seriously damaged by German Bombers during "The Blitz". 

(WW2 Photographs from Belfast Telegraph)


First Anniversary of U.S. Troops arriving in Northern Ireland

This parade was held to celebrate the first anniversary of the arrival of US troops in Northern Ireland, January 25, 1942. The parade, held January 25th 1943, marched past the Belfast City Hall and included troops from the United Kingdom and the United States.

Above are the US Red Cross nurses march past the reviewing stand. Near by is a cylindrical sculpture dedicated to the American troops. (from )

Shown below is  Sir James Grigg, Secretary of State for War, is addressing the crowd. To his right are the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Sir Crawford M'Cullagh; the Governor of Northern Ireland, Lord Abercorn; and the Prime Minister, Sir Thomas Dixon. General Hartle can be seen behind the speaker.

American Soldiers marching past Belfast city Hall. (From Forged in Ulster. Ghost picture from Adam Surrey)

Civil Defence

Here is the Civil Defence Flag and a Plaque honouring the names of the 34 Members of the Belfast Civil Defence Services who were Killed during Air Raids on Belfast in April and May 1941.

North Irish Horse Window

Belfast Corporation Officers and Employees Killed in the Second World War

Shown below is Brigadier General Edmund W Hill, commanding General US Forces in Northern Ireland, (left) presenting a cheque of one hundred and ninety three pounds, seven shillings and eight pence to Air Vice Marshall Stevenson, Royal Air Force.

The donation was from US Forces stationed in Northern Ireland to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. The Proceeds were from an American baseball game played in Northern Ireland 14 August 1943.

The presentation took place in Belfast City Hall.

(Picture from

Around the Outside of the Building

This photograph above shows Air Raid Shelters in Donegal Square East at the side of City Hall. Below are more views of the area around City Hall with Air Raid Shelters visible bottom left.  (From Old Belfast Photographs)

Looking along Donegal Square South on 3rd November 1942. Note the men in military uniform and black & white kerb markings. (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)

Air Raid Shelter in grounds of City Hall in Background. (From National Museums Northern Ireland)

The photograph above shows the construction of Air Raid Shelters in the Garden of City Hall. The finished buildings are visible in the photograph below.

City Hall seen from Wellington Place / Donegal Square North. Photograph taken on 5th October 1941. Air Raid Shelters have been constructed around City Hall.

(Belfast Telegraph Photographs)

Photographs above from National Museums Northern Ireland.

American Officers and Local Women outside Belfast City Hall.

On the right is Colonel Eugene August Eversberg who was Commanding Officer of Northern Ireland Ports in October 1943. (Thanks to Greg Brown)

Memorials within the Building

This is a picture of A night Attack on Enemy Shipping by a Halifax aircraft of 502 Squadron in Skaggerak during 1944 - 1945 and was presented to Belfast City Council by 502 (Ulster) City of Belfast Squadron Auxiliary Air Force Old Comrades Association on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Mobilisation for World War 2.

Meneilly, Belfast City Hall Painting and Enniskillen War Memorial.

Thomas Meneilly was born in Belfast in 1890 and joined the Royal Irish Rifles as a Rifleman, Sevice Number 9364, in December 1909.
The 1911 Census shows that Thomas was then serving with 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles and joined the British Expeditionary Force on 6th November 1914 and served as Corporal with the Pioneer Corps.
He Married Lillian in 1917 in Belfast.
When Thomas had joined the Army his name was incorrectly recorded as McNeilly. - He never took any steps to correct this.
Thomas had two Brothers who also Joined the Army and both were killed during the First World War.
William McNeilly, spelt Menelly in Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records, was a Gunner with Royal Field Artillery 52nd Battery, 15th Brigade.
He is buried in Grave 1 A 8 in Danzig Alley Cemetery on the Somme.
James McNeilly was a Sergeant with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and died of wounds received on a ship on 1st January 1916.
He is now named on the Helles memorial, Gallipoli.

Thomas was wounded at Armentieres to the North of Lille and was transferred to a Hospital in Dublin to recover.
He survived the First World War and when the people of Enniskillen were to erect a War Memorial the sculptor viewed the painting which is on show in Belfast City Hall and used the Soldier shown in the painting - who is Thomas Meneilly!

During the Second World War Thomas served as a Recruiting Sergeant for the Army as well as with the Pioneer Corps.
Having survived the Second World War Thomas was living in Tates Avenue, Belfast when he died on 13th April 1965.
He was laid to rest in Belfast City Cemetery.
Shown here are the Enniskillen War Memorial, The painting in Belfast City Hall showing Thomas Meneilly, A photograph of Thomas during the First World War and a Newspaper Cutting about him and his Family.
(Thanks very much to Darren Crawford)

Warship Week, 28th February 1942

General Hartle takes the Salute at the Warship Week Parade (Imperial War Museum photographs)

Royal Ulster Rifles are followed by A.T.S.

Munitions Workers below right

Czechoslovakian Deputy Prime Minister Visits Belfast City Hall 14th December 1942

General Sergez Ingr, Minister of National Defence and Commander in Chief of Czechoslovak Forces is seen above shaking hands with Commander of a Battalion of the Gloucestershire regiment at City Hall. - (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

Above Right. From left to right Mr. Jan Masaryk, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia, Alderman D. Lyle Hall, Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman T. Henderson M.P., High Sheriff of Belfast, Brigadier General LeRoy P. Collins and Major General V.H.B. Magendie G.O.C. Northern Ireland. 

This event took place on 14th December 1942.

The Cenotaph at Belfast City Hall as it looks Today

Red Army Day 20th February 1943

This Ceremony took place to mark the 25th Anniversary of the creation of the Red Army. Soldiers of the East Surrey Regiment are seen in a March Past followed by the A.T.S. with the duke of Abercorn taking the salute. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

Naval Lieutenant Elagin is seen representing the U.S.S.R. and on the right Major General V.H.B. Majendie greets the Russian Officer.

Commander Oscar Henderson D.S.O. is seen on the right with Lieutenant Elagin.

Royal Ulster Constabulary on Parade for Red Army Day 20th February 1943.

Fundraising for The Governors Fund and Mrs Churchills Aiud to Russia Fund. (Northern Whig picture)

Royal Ulster Rifles on Parade

These photographs show the Royal Ulster Rifles marching past Belfast City Hall on 2nd May 1943.

The East Surrey Regiment are shown on parade in Belfast on 2nd May 1943. Taking the Salute is Major General V.H.B. Majendie. (IWM Picture)

The Royal Berkshire Regiment are shown on parade in Belfast on 2nd May 1943. Taking the Salute is Major General V.H.B. Majendie. (IWM Picture)

The Corps of Military Police are shown on parade in Belfast on 2nd May 1943. Taking the Salute is Major General V.H.B. Majendie. (IWM Picture)

The two Pictures above show the 1st Cadet Battalion marching past Lieutenant General Harold E. Franklyn on 16th May 1943 which was Empire Youth Sunday (IWM Pictures)

United States Armed Forces Memorial

This Memorial was unveiled on 26th January 1943, one year after the American Expeditionary Force had arrived in Northern Ireland. (IWM Pictures)

Belfast 40th Anniversary of the erection of the American Memorial in 1982

Thanks very much to Robert A Mosher for these 40th Anniversary photographs

This photograph shows Belgian Soldiers marching past Belfast City Hall. (Thanks very much to Ronny Soetens)

The photograph above shows General Eisenhower inspecting Royal Air Force Personnel at Donegal Square North at the front of City Hall with the photograph below showing many thousands of people listening to Prime Minister Winston Churchill's Radio Broadcast regarding Victory in Europe on 8th May 1945 which became known as V.E. Day. (Belfast Telegraph Photographs. Ghost photograph by Adam Surrey)

(Origin of photograph above unknown)

People are shows celebrating V.E. Day on Donegal Square North at the front of Belfast City Hall. (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)

Field Marshal Montgomery Visits Belfast City Hall 19th September 1945.

Field Marshall Montgomery is greeted outside Belfast City Hall by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Sir Crawford McCullagh in 1945. (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)

Field Marshal Montgomery is shown visiting Belfast City Hall on 19th September 1945. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

Field Marshall Alexander and Field Marshall Brooke Receive the Freedom of the City of Belfast

This selection of photographs shows the Presentation of the Freedom of the City of Belfast to Field Marshall Alexander and Field Marshall Brooke. This took place in October 1945. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

Auxiliary Territorial Service Band

These photographs show the A.T.S. Band performing at Belfast City Hall on 21st May 1943. (From Imperial War Museum)

Battle of Britain Sunday - 26th September 1943

A Parade of all the Services too place in Belfast on Battle of Britain Sunday.

Those who attended included Brigadier General Edmund C. Hill, Commanding General of American Forces in Northern Ireland, Air Vice Marshal Stevenson, Lieutenant General Sir Alan G. Cunningham and Rear Admiral R.H.L. Bevan, Flag Officer in Charge Northern Ireland. 

They are all seen above left. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

The Royal Navy on V.E. Day

The Royal Navy on Parade (Thanks to Harry Thompson)

Crowds enjoying V.E. Day outside Belfast City Hall 

Air Raid Shelters in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.

Royal Ulster Constabulary Officers on Parade

These photographs show Royal Ulster Constabulary Officers on Parade in front of Belfast City Hall. Believed to be V.J. Day, 1945. (Thanks to John McDonald)