Ulster Home Guard
2nd Antrim Battallion, Ulster Home Guard. (Thanks very much to Loraine Watt)
This is the same photograph as above however this includes the names of the men. (Thanks very much to Julian Henderson for pictures above and below)
Here are men of 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers on Exercise in Ballymena on 19th September 1941. A bridge can be seen in the background. (I.W.M. Photograph)
This is an illustration of the military adapting what is available for their own purpose.
On looking at this wall I immediately realised that it looks very like a Pillbox and on looking at the other side my suspicions were confirmed as you van see the white paint from what was inside the structure along with signs on where the other walls stood.
This is the junction of Galgorm Street and North Road.
This Pillbox had stood at Cullybacky Road however it has unfortunately been demolished. (From Old Photos of Ballymena Facebook site)
Corporal William Lorimer, Royal Ulster Rifles.
Ray Beggs, 1st Royal Ulster Rifles and Number 12 Commando.
Sister Paddy O'Loan from Ballymena
Sister Paddy O'Loan from Ballymena with Sister Ina O'Connell from Eire serving with Q.A.I.M.N.S. in Normandy.
Photograph was taken at 88 General Hospital, Normandy on 22nd June 1944. (IWM Picture)
R.A.F. Air Training Corps, Ballymena
Royal Air Force, Air Training Corps in Ballymena. Seen marching along the Ballymoney Road (Thanks very much to Ed Luke)
John Nicholl from Ballymena
John Nicholl was from Ballymena aged about 19/20 years old when he joined up in Belfast on 4th September 1939.
He was initially with Royal Army Service Corps as a Despatch Rider and according to documents held by his family he and his mates were on the last boats to leave Dunkirk.
They were all told to take off their uniforms, strap their helmet and rifles to their back along with their boots and then swam out to one of the boats which picked them up!
Like so many others Jack never ever talked talked about his exploits but was very proud to have served under Field Marshal Montgomery as a Tank Driver and Desert Rat at El Alamein in the Royal Tank Regiment.
Jacks Medals include the France and Germany Star, Italy Star, Africa Star and Dunkirk Medal, (Thanks very much to Loraine Watt)
CSM Ray Beggs, Royal Ulster Rifles, from Ballymena.
Company Sergeant Major Ray Beggs was from Ballymena.
He joined the 1st (Airborne) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles and was in action at Ranville on D-Day.
Having survived the war Ray moved to Dunoon, Scotland where he opened a local bakery.
He got married in 1949.
(Thanks very much to EEiley Barker for pictures and info)
Railway Street, Ballymena
This building was the Bellis Brothers Factory which was involved in the production of Linen.
During the war this particular building was used as a billet by the Royal Engineers.
Harryville Camp, Ballymena
Some of the first soldiers to arrive in Ballymena were the Monmouthshire Regiment who used the Bellis Factory (Shown Above) as well as the Harryville Old School. (Thanks very much to Ed Luke for his help)
These pictures show the site of Harryville School of which the wall still remains.
Ballymena Territorial Army in Harryville, Ballymena
The 23 men in the photo above were all from Harryville and served with 26 Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery in the Middle East.
(Thanks to Ed Luke for picture and info)
Tanks in Ballymena
This is a Valentine tank being operated by men of the North Irish Horse near Ballymena on 19th September 1941.
The Tank Commander is shows speaking with Officers during an Exercise. (Imperial War Museum Photograph)
Lots of Tanks of the North Irish Horse operating in the Ballymena area. (IWM PIctures)
Rolls Royce Armoured Car with Major Lord O'Neill (I.W.M. Photograph)
Services Club, Ballymena
The Services Club in Ballymena has this 1941 25Pdr Field Gun at the front door.
"Tanks For Attack" Ballymena
I believe this was a Fund Raising effort called "Tanks For Attack" and the first picture dates from 21st October 1942 with my comparison showing the same location today. (Thanks very much to Ed Luke for the picture and information)
St. Patricks Barracks, Ballymena
Shown above is the Reception Line of the first American Officers Dance given by Staff Officers of 34th Infantry Division on Army Day, 6th April 1942. It is taking place in the Gymnasium at St Patricks Barracks and my photograph shows the same location. ("After The Battle" Magazine picture)
The picture below was taken in March 1942 and shows American soldiers performing drill with British 25 Pdr Field guns. The path they are standing on became a running track in later years and my photograph shows the same position ( "After The Battle" Magazine)
Shown below are a few of the Second World War buildings within St Patricks Barracks (Thanks very much to Adam Surrey for the picture shown above)
Above was the old Water Tower and the Keystone on the left is from the Accommodation Block shown below from the Parade Square.
The rather narrow stairs inside a Barrack Block and the overgrown entrance on the left.
These photographs of St Patricks Barracks date from 11th June 1941. Top left is Sandhurst Block. Top right is the Wireless Station. Below left is the Gymnasium and below right the Commanding Officers House. (IWM Photographs)
The above two photographs show Sandhurst Block. Below left is the Sergeants Mess with another view of Sandhurst Block below right. Taken on 11th June 1941. (IWM Pictures)
Above left is another view of Sandhurst Block. Above Right is the Guard Room and Administration Offices. Below left the grand gates at the entrance to the barracks and on the bottom left the Officers Mess. (IWM Pictures)
St Patricks Barracks, Ballymena shown above. Date of photograph is unknown (From Ebay)
A group photograph of some Royal Ulster rifles on their return to St Patricks Barracks at the end of the Second World War.
This selection of photographs are of a visit by the Secretary of State for War to St Patricks Barracks, Ballymena on 25th January 1943. (Imperial War Museum photographs)
He is shown being greeted by Officers at the Physical Training Centre then inspects Buildings and Quarters. Above right he is shaking hands with Drill Instructor Sergeant Vogel from Holloway, London.
Above Left the Secretary of State is with Lt. Colonel Ryland on the left and Major General Majendie. The Recruits on the right are just two days old.
The pictures above show Inspection after 4 Weeks
Photographs above taken on 25th March 1943.
Assembly Test is shown on the left with Morse Aptitude Test on the right and below left with Agility Test below right.
Royal Ulster Rifles at St Patricks Barracks.
These three photographs show men of the Royal Ulster Rifles drilling of the Barrack Square at St Patricks Barracks, Ballymena.
None of these men have more than three months training. These pictures are described as "the Visit of Sortie Y to Northern Command on 8th November 1940"
Photographed by Taylor. IWM Pictures.
The Princess Royal Inspects 59th Division Signals.
The land for St Patricks Barracks was requisitioned by the Army in 1937 and it is interesting to note that there were initially a total of 5 separate camps with "Church Camp" being in the area of St Patricks Church (Shown Above) and it was in this area that both German and Italian Prisoners Of War were detained. "Lowfield Camp" was Headquarters 107 Brigade and was situated at what later became the Sports Field (As shown above). "Highfield Camp" held army housing with "Castle Camp" being at what was Ballymena Castle. This was used as the Officers Mess and also occupied by female soldiers. The site is where the Seven Towers Leisure Centre now stands!
Finally "Demesne Camp" later evolved into what became St Patricks Barracks.
Castle Camp, Ballymena
This aerial photograph shows the site of 'Castle Camp' Ballymena as it looked in 1953.
Some buildings remain along with a number of concrete Nissen Hut Bases. (PRONI)
James Elmour Carson Fallis from Ballymena
James Elmour Carson Fallis was born in Enniskillen.
On leaving school Elmour became a mechanic at Erne Engineering before becoming Foreman at Kennedy's Garage, Ballymena in 1937 at the age of 23.
In 1939 he enlisted in 26 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery, 9th Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery and began training at Lowfield Camp, Ballymena.
In November of that year the Regiment moved to Surrey and then by ship from Southampton to Cherbourg from where they continued by train to Marseilles.
The journey continued by ship from Marseilles to Alexandria via Malta aboard HMT Ettrick.
Finally, in January 1943, the Regiment arrived in Tripoli and Elmour volunteered for M.A.C. Troop which had four captured German 88mm Guns.
They saw action in the Battle of Medenine, Tegaga Gap, the breaking of the Mareth Line, The Battle of Wadi Akarit and The Battle of Takrouna.
With the end of the war in North Africa M.A.C. Troop was disbanded with Elmour being highly commended.
In September Elmour took part in Operation Avalanche and the landings at Salerno, Italy.
He saw action at Salerno, Naples, Anzio, Livorno and The Gothic Line along the River Arno.
Mount Vesuvius erupted and the Regiment was involved in evacuating Civilians.
Elmour had some Home Leave in September 1944 after which he was stationed in the Humber Anti-Aircraft Zone in defence against V.1 Flying Bomb attacks.
After the war he returned to Ballymena and started his own Petrol Filling Station and Garage.
(Thanks very much to the fallis Family for information and pictures)
Carrier Pigeons at Ballymena
A message written on rice paper is put into a container and attached to a carrier pigeon by members of 61st Division Signals at Ballymena on 3 July 1941.
(Imperial War Museum Photograph)
61st Division Signals at Ballymena
These photographs show a Mechanical Cable Layer being used to operate a Field Telephone. (IWM Pictures)
A D.8. Cable Detachment with tracked vehicle ready for Cable Laying. (IWM Picture)
Brookvale House, Ballymena
This photograph shows the Memorial Garden as seen from Brookvale House in the 1950's. (From Old photos of Ballymena Facebook)
Brookvale House in Ballymena was a Headquarters Building for the 34th Infantry Division.
The top picture shows an Entrance Gate with Sentry Box. Unfortunately a comparison picture is not possible as this is now the site of Ballymena Police Station which is the red building shown above however it is interesting to note that the Town's War Memorial and Garden is directly opposite.("After The Battle" Magazine photograph)
Beechfield House, Ballymena
As can be seen by the comparrison picture little has changed here although the perimeter wall has been re-designed to pass behind the tree. The pillar in the original picture shows damage as may have been caused by a military vehicle when passing through. (Picture on left from "After The Battle" Magazine)
American Personel used this building as a Headquarters from 1942 when a large number of U.S. troops arrived in Ballymena.
Records show these included 14th Ordnance Company (Medium Maintenance) 5 Corps and HQ 34th Infantry Division who arrived in 1943. Between 19th November 1943 and 12th March 1944 Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 307th Quartermaster Sterilization Battalion were in Ballymena with Quartermaster Depot Q-111BA being created on 23rd November 1943.
577th Army Postal Unit were here from 7th December 1943 to 10th March 1944 as well as 68th Station Hospital (250 Bed) from 22nd December 1943 until 25th May 1944.
Between 3rd April 1944 and 2nd June 1944 285th Military Police Company (Post, Camp or Station) were in Ballymena as well as 54th Finance Disbursing Section from 12th April 1944 until 8th May of the same year.
N.A.A.F.I. and American Red Cross in Ballymena.
There were a few locations in Ballymena where the Naval, Army and Air Force Institute (N.A.A.F.I.) provided facilities for Service Personnel.
77 Wellington Street and Dunclug on the Cushendall Road were two such places.
The American Red Cross also had a Club in Ballymena Masonic Hall which is shown here.
(Information from ww2 Telephone Directory)
"Scrap For Victory" at Alexander Street, Ballymena
The Notice says "Roll Out The Barrel For The Allies. Down With Hitler" This street has been totally demolished so it is not possible to provide a comparrison picture.
This is scrap iron which was gathered to help the War Effort and when it was sold a total of 22 Shillings and Sixpence was given to the Ballymena Hospital Supply Depot.
(From Old Photos of Ballymena)
The Rowan Brothers from Ballymena
Thomas Edward Rowan from Ballymena.
Sergeant Thomas Edward Rowan, Service Number 1111475, was serving with 115 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
At 23.28 on the night of 3rd June 1942 he was in the Crew of Vickers Wellington X3724 KO-T which took off from R.A.F. Marham in Norfolk.
They were on a mission to attack the Port of Bremen however KO-T was attacked by a Luftwaffe Night Fighter and was shot down, crashing south-east of Vlieland.
Of the Crew of five men only two have graves.
Flight Sergeant Jack Hutchison who was 25 years old and the Pilot along with Sergeant Terence Allen McGrath, aged 20 years, who was Wireless Operator are both buried at Texel while the three remaining men have no known grave.
Sergeant John Turner Plant, (20) Navigator, from Oncham, Isle of Man.
Sergeant Thomas Edward Rowan, (20) Wireless Operator, from Ballymena.
Sergeant Eric Roland Harding (18) Rear Gunner, from Gravesend, Kent.
Thomas was the Son of Thomas and Ellen Rowan, of Ballymena and the three men named here are on the Runnymede Memorial.
William Erwin Rowan from Ballymena.
Aircraftman 1st Class William Erwin Rowan, Service Number 993604, was serving with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in Singapore when the Japanese invaded in February 1942.
When the Japanese took control of the Malay Peninsula the Allies attempted to get to Sumatra and it was there that William Rowan is believed to have been taken Prisoner Of War.
Most P.O.W's were held in Uniekampong in Belawan harbour and William is recorded as having died on 5th August 1943.
He was 23 years old and Son of Thomas and Ellen Rowan, of Ballymena.
William was laid to rest in Chungkai War Cemetery outside the town of Kanchanaburi in Thailand.
Both William and his Brother Thomas Edward appear on the Ballymena War Memorial
(Thanks very much to Craig Gilmore for information and photographs)
U.S. Army Truck carrying local Workmen Crashes causing a number of deaths.
(From Ballymena Weekly Telegraph Thanks to Will Lindsay)
Army Camp at Ballynure.
There was a Military Camp at Castle Road in Ballynure.
This photograph shows concrete bases of Nissen Huts which were at the Camp. (Thanks to Derek Frazer)
Shorts Aircraft Production Facility Lambeg.
Shorts Aircraft Factory moved various sections of its production to other places outside the central Belfast area and there was an Electrical Workshop operated by Shorts at 17 - 23 Lambeg Road in Lambeg which is shown here.
Whitehead Railway Station
Whitehead Railway Station, which was the property of the Northern Counties Committee Railway, became Headquarters of Royal Engineers 8th Railway Construction Company who had an Armoured Rail Trolley which was marked to appear to be a Cement Wagon.
This trolley, which had a number of fighting slots, was propelled by a Leyland engine which powered both axles and the driver could see forward by using a periscope.
From October 1940 an Ambulance Train was kept at Whitehead Platform however I believe the only use was in 1941 following the Bismarck Action when wounded sailors were landed at Londonderry and this train was used to ferry them to Hospitals in Belfast.
The Hospital Train consisted of approximately 10 ward carrages which held a total of 40 patients. It also had a Treatment Coach which incorporated an Operating Theatre, Pharmacy and Utility Room which, if circumstances dictated, could be used as an Isolation Ward or indeed Padded Cell and the Kitchen Car could produce 400 meals.
Personel who worked on the train were from Number 15 Ambulance Train whose compliment was approximately 45 men with 3 Training Sisters.
From 22nd November 1943 until 17th May 1944 they were joined by United States Personel from 44th Hospital Train.
The personel were housed in local billets.
The train shown in these photographs is the Number 14 Ambulance Train at Whitehead and the photographs were taken in September 1941. (Many thanks to S.W. Joyner for the information)
The photographs above show the interior and exterior of the Armoured Rail Trolly which was operated by 8th Railway Construction and Operating Company, Royal Engineers at Whitehead. (IWM Pictures)
The workings of a Hospital Train
This selection of photographs shows the workings of an Ambulance Train. - Shown above is the loading of a casualty
The loading is shown from both a Platform and Ground Level. The next picture shows the wounded on three tiers of beds on each side of a carrage.
Surgery takes place and then there is some recuperation before finally being permitted to leave. (Photographs from Imperial War Museum)
Hospital Train at Broomhedge
This photograph shows an Ambulance Train sitting at Broomhedge near Lisburn.
On the right is a Composition of how a Hospital Train was configured.
This final photograph shows the site of the Broomhedge Siding as it looks today when photographed from the Road Bridge.
Danger on the Railway System during the Second World War
The Book shown here was issued by the Great Northern Railway to instruct Workers as to how they should act during an Air Raid. - Details include reference to High Explosive Bombs, Obstruction of the Railway by Crashed Aircraft or Barrage Balloons as well as Anti-Gas Measures. (Thanks very much to Selwyn Johnston)
The Document shown above gives information regarding Train Movements in connection with Personnel being on Leave. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY)
Shown above are three Great Northern Railway Train Documents which, at the time of production, were Secret.
These provide details of Train Movements throughout the network. (Thanks very much to Selwyn Johnston PLEASE DO NOT COPY)
Maghaberry Airfield Huts at Broomhedge
When Maghaberry Airfield ceased operations these Huts were acquired by Farmers in the Broomhedge Area.
The River Bann Defence Line near Portglenone
This Pillbox was part of the River Bann Defence Line.
There are two Loopholes at which Light Machine-guns would have been positioned.
It is pleasing to note that this Pillbox remains in great condition. (Thanks very much to Adam Kearney for bringing this Pillbox to my attention)
Portglenone Forest Park
This small memorial can be seen in the Car Park of Portglenone Forest Park where is says "Dedicated to the men of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division United States Army. Stationed here 9th December 1943 - 13th February 1944. WW2 Combat Campaigns Sicily, Italy, Normandy, Holland, Belgium, Germany"
United States Army records show that Portglenone was also home to both a Headquarters Company and Anti-Tank Company from 121st Infantry, 8th Infantry Division between 15th December 1943 and July 1944.
On walking through the forest you will find some concrete bases for nissen huts and concrete pathways.
Shown below is the distinctive Unit Insignia of the 325th Glider Ingantry Regiment.
British Soldiers in Portglenone Area.
North Coast Training Area
This is an extensive Training Area which was used during the Second World War by Soldiers from Belgium and the United States and well as the British.
If someone tells you that there is a Runway near the Giants Causeway, as I have heard on a few occasions, then this is what they are talking about and it is NOT a Runway.
Shown above is the concreted driveway to a small parking area with the Range in the hollow and Soldiers Shelter to the left.
The Soldiers Shelter is shown below.
The Soldiers who Left Their Mark The British
It is fantastic to find such detail. Above is J. Martin from Carlisle who was serving with the Kings Regiment which I believe refers to the Kings Liverpool Regiment.
Sadly I cannot read the date. (Thanks very much to Steve at WW2Talk) ***DO NOT COPY***
Private B. Coogan, Number 4081242 who carved his name on 30th April 1944. Believed to be Bernard Joseph Coogan. Born 10th May 1915 and served with 2nd Battalion The Monmouthshire Regiment who were based at Ballymena. (Thanks very much to Kyle and Steve at WW2Talk) ***DO NOT COPY***
This brick shows that the Soldier who carved it was serving with the Hampshire Regiment whose nickname is "The Tigers" ***DO NOT COPY***
In this one I can only read "A. Steed" unfortunately. ***DO NOT COPY***
The first thing you can see on this brick is a reversed Swastika.
The name is "D. Smiley" however the second line is difficult to read. It may be H.M.S. on the left side however on the right are numbers 64 or possibly 764. **DO NOT COPY**
The Soldiers who Left Their Mark The Belgians
Written in 1943 I believe this refers to a Belgian Military Unit. ***DO NOT COPY***
"Bon Homme" ***DO NOT COPY***
Willy Hume. Hume is a Belgian surname. ***DO NOT COPY***
Soldiers who Left Their Mark The Americans
Clydis J. Patton, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army
On the brick shown above is written "C.Patton 1944".
In July 2017 I was amazed to be contacted by a lady telling me that she was the daughter of one the men who had carved his name.
C.Patton was Clydis J. Patton who had worked with Illinois Power Company before enlisting in the Army on 20th December 1941 only a few weeks after the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.
The Army recognised his experience with power lines and he was assigned to installing and maintaining lines of communication on battlefields.
With Service Number 16051469 Clydis volunteered to become a Paratrooper and subsequently served with 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, United States Army.
He was married in 1942 and only saw his newborn Son briefly before he was deployed to Northern Ireland.
On D-Day, 6th June 1944 Clydis Patton parachuted into Normandy.
He was in Douglas C-47 43-15158 which had taken off from the United States Army Air Force Station AAF-488 at Fulbeck in Lincolnshire with 61st Troop Carrier Group to arrive at Drop Zone "N" with a dropping time of 02:38.
His Unit were dropped some distance from the planned Drop Zone in fields which had been deliberately flooded by the Germans and sadly a number of soldiers got entangled in their parachutes and drown. Clydis could have been one of these unfortunates if it was not for one of his fellow soldiers collapsing his parachute and helping him release it.
One of his recollections was that when he was walking with another soldier in the Normandy Bocage a German Sniper shot and killed the other man thus allowing Clydis to live.
During Operation Varsity, the crossing of the River Rhine, Clydis was aboard Douglas C-47 42-93544.
With his knowledge of communications he was carrying a considerable weight which meant that when he jumped from the aircraft he landed heavily, was stunned and injured his back.
With enemy fire whizzing around him he cut himself free from his parachute and crawled to join his men.
This injury caused Clydis pain for the rest of his life however he never complained and his coping mechanism was to remember that his being injured may actually have kept him from the vision of German soldiers who were shooting at the Americans.
During his service Clydis was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, Purple Heart, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and a Battlefield Commission to Second Lieutenant.
The 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment was awarded the U.S. Presidential Citation (Army) which Clydis kept along with his other medals.
The French Government awarded the 507th P.I.R. The Croix de Guerre with two Palms, the singular Croix de Guerre and the Second World War Fourragerere which is a lanyard.
On his return home after the war Clydis again worked for the Illinois Power Company, was promoted to a Management position in the 1950's and on retirement had worked with them for 43 years!
Clydis J. Patton died of cancer only a few weeks before what would have been his 87th Birthday in 2005. Shown below are some of his Medals.
Paintings by Clydis Patton. These were done in his latter years depicting his Second World War Experiences. The photograph shows Clydis in 2003.
(My sincere thanks to Lucia Sanford without which this would not have been possible.)
**********PLEASE DO NOT COPY EITHER THESE PHOTOGRAPHS OR ARTICLE. THESE ARE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS. THANK-YOU**********
D. Krawczyk. Unfortunately I currently have no other details. ***DO NOT COPY***
Difficult to read but appears to say "R. Molloy" ***DO NOT COPY***
This one is dated 12th November 1943 and appears to refer to New York ***DO NOT COPY***
This photograph shows the view down the range whilst below you can see the sturdy concrete roof and what appears to have been an Unloading Bay built to the side of the entrance.
As with the previous Shelter their nationality appears to have been important to these men and New York can clearly be seen below.
Not to be outdone there are two references to Belgium as can be seen below.
Another brick says Leopold III referring to King Leopold of belgium who reigned throughout the Second World War. ***DO NOT COPY ANY OF THESE PHOTOGRAPHS***
Range Three - Winch House for Moving Target Range.
The Building at Range Three is completely different to the Soldiers Shelters at One and Two.
My first picture shows the roof. ***DO NOT COPY ANY OF MY PHOTOGRAPHS***
This photograph shows a side view of the structure which has various levels of roof as well as concrete filled red brick walls.
The view inside this building shows a hole in the roof as well as four sturdy rails on the back wall.
The bar on which there are two wheels on the left side is attached to the metal rail on the right.
This is the view from the entrance to the Building looking back towards the sea.
Finally, This is a view of the front of the building which, as can be seen, is below ground level when looked at along the Range.
This was a Winch House for a Moving Target Range, the operation of which is described in the document above. (Thanks very much to Martin Briscoe)
This Training Area covers a large area and concrete paths can be seen in places.
In some instances there is a short branch from the main Path which goes onto firm ground. Two examples are shown above with the large rectangular shaped area shown below is at the end of this Lane and may have been a Vehicle Turning or Parking Area.
There were clearly a number of Nissen Huts around this Training Area.
In my photograph above you can see the concrete bases of two such huts in the foreground whilst there is evidence of others on the opposite side of the concrete path in the centre of the picture.
Another concrete base of where a Nissen Hut stood in close proximity to the two shown above.
My photographs above show at least four other Huts were positioned on the opposite side of the road. An Impressive Site!
Torpedo Production and Test Facility, Antrim
The photographs above show close-up views of the Platform. Top left is approaching the platform. Top right shows one of the holes through which the Torpedoes were dropped for testing and the picture directly above shows some of the birds which now live on the platform (Thanks to Gerard Moreland)
In 1942 the Admiralty built a Torpedo Factory at Masereene Barracks in Antrim.
Torpedoes were initially developed by Messers. Stone Platts at their facility on Randalstown Road. Royal Naval Armament Depot later took over this role and it was here that electrically driven Mk 8 torpedoes were produced and tested. The structure in these pictures was used for testing the torpedoes which were then recovered and towed back to what was later Masereene Barracks.
The picture above shows the platform as it looked during WW2.
It is now retained as it is home for a colony of Terns and can be seen from the Antrim Forum Car Park.
Below is an Article from a 1939 issue of "The War Illustrated" explaining why it was so necessary to have accurate Torpedoes.
(Above two pictures from Down Memory Lane Facebook Page)
Shown above are some Nissen Huts which remain within the Masereene Camp site.
Below is the Jetty from where Torpedoes were taken to the Testing Platform.
(My sincere thanks to Dr Peter Fitzgerald for permitting me access to this Site)
Royal Naval Armament Depot, Antrim
(Thanks very much to Mark Brolly for the photograph above)
Drumadarragh House, Doagh.
This was used as the Headquarters Building for the 2nd Infantry Brigade of the Belgian Army.
The United States Army had its 53rd Medical Battalion, less A and B Companies, based here.
The photographs here show a Soldier called Jonnie Russo who was from Alberta in Canada. He was the Son of a Farmer and is shown here with the Marshall family who lived at Ballyalbanagh,Ballyclare.
Jonnie was one of the Soldiers who were based at Drumadarragh House and it is believed that he survived the war.
(Thanks very much to Ray Marshall for these photographs) ***PLEASE DO NOT COPY***
Home Guard, Ballymena
The Local Defence Volunteers / Ulster Home Guard had their Headquarters at the old Ballymena Academy which is now the site of Fairhill Shopping Centre.
Belgian Soldiers at Ballycraigy Camp
These pictures show Ballycraigy Camp and some of the Belgian Army soldiers who were based there.
2nd (Fusilier) Battalion of the 6th Infantry Brigade Deinze were based at Ballycraigy along with 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade, Yser who left the camp at the beginning of August 1945 prior to the arrival of above.
With various Brigades of the Belgian Army having been based in Northern Ireland it is worthy of note that their cloth patch incorporated a Shamrock as shown on the left.
The band shown above are The "Belgian Bally Boys".
(Thanks very much to Jean-Louis Marichal and Ronny Soetens for their help)
This is a Ticket to a Dance held by the Non-Commissioned Officers of 2nd Battalion, 6th Brigade Belgian Army. (Thanks to Ronny Soetens)
Personal photographs of Belgian soldiers standing at Larne Harbour and their Camp in Larne (Many thanks to Hugo Cox)
Small Group photograph of Belgian Soldiers in Northern Ireland. - The precise location where these two pictures were taken is currently unknown. (Many thanks to Hugo Cox)
Belgian Soldiers with Universal Carrier in Northern Ireland - Precise location unknown (Thanks to Hugo Cox) ***DO NOT COPY***
Camp Ballyhamage, Doagh.
The Belgian Army had a Field Ambulance Unit based at what they called "Camp Ballyhamage" above is what the site looks like today.
These photographs show 190 Field Ambulance who are based at Doagh on an Exercise on 4th August 1943. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)
Army Salvage Depot, Doagh
Shown here is the Army Salvage Depot at Doagh. Maps are seen being bailed up for return to the Paper Mills whilst textile waste is collected on the right.
(All these photographs come from the Imperial war Museum)
Bags of bottles are seen on the left with tyres to the right
Tyres and flattened Fuel Cans
Hessian Sacking on the left with metal being compressed on the right
Sorting scrap metal and bottles
Sorting waste paper and stacking Oil Drums above and Petrol Cans below.
Belgian Soldiers at Drains Bay near Larne
Belgian Soldiers at Drains Bay North of Larne on 20th May 1945. (Thanks very much to hugo Cox. PLEASE DO NOT COPY. Comparrison picture from Google)
Gibraltarian Evacuee Camps - Broughshane
During the war many thousands of women, children and elderly men, who were residents of Gibraltar, were evacuated to the safety of various locations throughout the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland played its part and a total of 12 Camps were constructed to be used by approximately 5000 refugees.
The first 3 pictures here show Dunaird Camp and I think it is rather poignant to show a stove, fire and childrens game.
The remains of another location called Drummack Camp can be found a short distance away and are shown in the 3 of the pictures above.
The white building in the first picture appears to have been a meat cold store and the tall building incorporated a water tank in the top section. Both of these are regular features in the various camps.
There is another building beside the nearby river which may have been used to generate power.
The pictures above are from Aughacully Camp that is located at Aughacully Road. There were many more buildings on this site which have now gone with only some concrete remaining.
All these camps in the Ballymena area are marked with a small plaque such as this one which marks the location of Breckagh Bridge Camp.
I remember visiting Gibraltar some years ago and speaking with a Taxi Driver who told me he had been evacuated to Carryduff in County Antrim!
(Thanks very much to Vincent Lia for the picture above)
Seamount Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Battery
This Heavy Anti Aircraft battery is on the main Kilroot to Larne Road.
The field immediately beside the roadway had been a camp with a number of nissen huts however none remain today.
These pictures show the Control Building with a gun pit in front and the sea in the background.
This Aerial Picture shows the layout of this particular Gun Battery.
The four Gun Positions are clearly visible with the Control Building (Which is shown in more detail below) being to the Centre Left of the picture. (Google)
The wording which is painted on the wall beside the Hatch shown top right appears to say "DISP" and perhaps 1.
The Coat Hook number 5 which is inside the Fire Control. There are steps down into this building which has wooden doors and is an elongated "L" shape.
The picture below shows where the nearby camp once stood beside the road with the Anti-Aircraft Battery on the high ground a short distance away. Nothing remains of this camp today.
Lennymore R.A.F. Rescue Jetty
With there being airfields at Aldergrove, Nutts Corner and Langford Lodge in close proximity to the largest lake in the United Kingdom - Lough Neagh it was necessary to provide protection for any aircrew who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the water.
Royal Air Force Rescue craft were based here at Lennymore Bay as well as northeast at Aldergrove.
This jetty is also in close proximity to a Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery.
From 1930 the British Power Boat Company supplied seaplane tenders to the Air Ministry, commencing with RAF200, a 37-footer. The trials of this and other boats was carried out by T E Shaw on behalf of the Royal Air Force, and he and Hubert Scott-Paine worked together over the next few years. These tenders were powered by twin 100bhp Meadows petrol engines giving a maximum speed of 29knots (some of the later ones were fitted with Perkins S6M diesels).
The photo above was taken on Lough Neagh The RAF had a base at Antrim and at Lennymore at the mouth of the Crumlin River.
The boat below is shown beside the Craigavon Bridge in Londonderry.
(Pictures and information from Michael Savage)
Lennymore H.A.A. Battery
Shown here are pictures of the Heavy Anti-Aircraft battery which can be seen near Langford Lodge at Lennymore.
Fire Control for this battery which is a different design pattern of other such places I have visited where the fire control would have been detached from the guns positions.
An impressive Gun Battery.
Islandmagee Radar Platform
This radar platform can be found at Ballyprior Beg on Islandmagee.
It has been constructed with a row of steps up the inside of the structure on the left wall which reaches the top.
There are also a number of metal pins in the ground around the structure which may have been used for camouflage.
The adjoining field holds the Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery mentioned below.
Islandmagee Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery
The H.A.A. Battery on Islandmagee at Ballyprior Beg has suffered from weathering over the years and all 4 of the shelters have collapsed as well as the strengthened Nissen Hut.
The picture above shows one of the gun battery positions in the rear right with 2 collapsed shelters in the centre foreground and background.
To the right is the base on which an artillery piece would have been mounted with the third photograph showing all 8 attachments still intact.
The 4 gun positions form the shape of a square with the accompanying nissen hut a short distance away. This location was known as "LR3"
An aerial photograph of the site is shown below (Google)
St John's Church, Islandmagee
Sergeant Cecil Hill Macauley was serving with 158 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
At 20.20 on 31st August 1943 he was in Halifax II HR738 NP-Z, "Zombie's Zephyr" on a raid to Berlin however the aircraft was shot down by a Night Fighter near Paderborn.
Two of the crew, Sergeant Prince and Sergeant Lloyd were able to use their parachutes and became Prisoners of War whilst the four others including Sergeant Macauley were killed.
Master Andrew William McCallion was aboard S.S. Oranmore when he was killed on 21st January 1940 when the ship struck a mine approximately ten miles off the Normandy Coast.
Though the explosion damaged the steering gear, it was
found that the ship was still operationable and she was kept working towards the beaches where she was anchored. Later the
vessel was taken into port and the cargo discharged.
Son of James Alexander and Mary McCallion, of Island Magee; husband of Elizabeth McCallion, of Whitehead.
Master Mariner Robert Dick was serving in the Merchant Navy aboard S.S. Glen Head.
On 6th June 1941 the Glen Head was part of Convoy OG-63when it was bombed and sunk Southwest of Cape Vincent.
Robert Dick was 48 years old.
Able Seaman Hill Wilson was in the Merchant Navy and was serving aboard S.S. Orlock Head when the ship was bombed and sunk by German aircraft.
Mate James Mawhinney was serving with the Merchant Navy aboard S.S. Corbett. He was 36 years old when he was killed on 3rd May 1941 after the ship had struck a mine and sunk at the entrance to the River Mersey
James was the Son of William and Abby
Mawhinney, of Islandmagee and the Husband of Esther
Jemima Mawhinney from Belfast.
His Brother, Lance Corporal Andrew Mawhinney had been killed when serving with 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards during the First World War on 31st July 1917 when he was 18 years old.
Chief Engineer John Nicol M.B.E. was serving with the Merchant Navy aboard S.S. Glendalough which had been moving supplies up and down the East coast. It had been attacked on 9th August 1941 when it was bombed and seriously damaged including the loss of a number of Crew.
The ship was sunk by a mine on 19th March 1943 and among those killed was John Nicol and Robert T Millar who was a Cook from Dunmurry.
Men from Northern Ireland were also killed in the August 1941 attack - Samuel Bunting, Chief Engineer was from Ballymena and W. White, 2nd Engineer, was from Carrickfergus (For more information see www.wrecksite.eu)
Sergeant (Pilot) John McAdam, Service Number 748076, was serving with 41 Squadron Royal Air Force when he was killed in action on 20th February 1941.
John McAdam was born in Gillingham, Kent on 21st March 1919 and joined the RAFVR on 28th April 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot.
He was called to full-time service at the outbreak of war, went to 4 ITW Bexhill on 30th October and moved on to 6 FTS Little Rissington on 9th December. With the course completed, McAdam was posted to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 19th June 1940.
After converting to Spitfires he joined 41 Squadron at Catterick.
McAdam claimed a Do17 destroyed on 7th September. On this day he crashed at Leonard Drive, Drakes Farm, Rayleigh after a combat over Hornchurch in Spitfire P9430. The aircraft partially burned out and was written off. McAdam was unhurt.
On the 23rd he was shot down during a squadron patrol off Dover in Spitfire N3118. McAdam baled out, was rescued from the sea and admitted to Dover Hospital.
He crashed at Globe Road, Hornchurch on 12th October after his engine cut on take-off. On the 25th McAdam claimed a Me109 destroyed.
He was shot down by Major Molders on 20th February 1941 over Dover, in Spitfire P7302. He baled out but was picked up dead from the sea.
(Information and Photograph from Battle of Britain Memorial)
Leading Airman Desmond Henshaw, Service Number FX85331, was serving with the Royal Navy at H.M.S. Daedalus when he was killed on 15th December 1941.
This had happened when he was attending Service Flying Training School, No.1, Netheravon and he was involved in an aircraft crash.
He was the Son of Joseph McKeown Henshaw and Lillian Henshaw, of Whitehead.
Master William Boyd was Killed on 2nd March 1941 when his ship, SS Castlehill, was bombed and sunk in the Bristol Channel off Minehead, Somerset by Heinkel He 111 aircraft of Kampfgeschwader 27, Luftwaffe.
This Type 22 Pillbox is overlooking the River Maine to the north of Lough Neagh.
The brickwork on the outside of the building is showing signs of decay and weathering although it remains a good example.
Two National Fire Service Fire Engines Collide injuring Belgian Soldier who had Leg Amputated.
Glengormley Radar Platform and Anti-Aircraft Gun Battery
This is a radar platform and hardened nissen hut which is all that remains of a Light Anti-Aircraft battery at Glengormley.
The building is in a field on the opposite side of the road from the radar platform.
Unfortunately since these photographs were taken I have been told that the Radar Platform has now been demolished.
The hardened shelter shown here is probably the best example i have found so hopefully this will survive "Redevelopment"
Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) John Coulter Blair, Service Number 125998, was 31 years old when he died on 10th March 1945.
He had been on a night solo flight in Mosquito III, LR526 of No 16 OTU, which dived into the ground on the approach to Upper Heyford.
John was the Son of John T. Blair and Agnes R. Blair, of Belfast; husband of Maria Rae Blair, of Belfast.
Sergeant William Henry McCammond, Service Number 1059218, was 26 years old and serving with 38 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
He Died on 15th December 1942 and is remembered on the Alamein Memorial in Egypt.
William was the Son of James and Margaret Jane McCammond and Husband of Charlotte McCammond, of Belfast.
Flying Officer John Parker, Service Number 173134, was flying Lancaster PB208 on a Bombing mission to Kiel however the aircraft crashed into the North Sea with the loss of all aboard. Only one body, that of Air Bomber A.D. Aumell was found washed ashore on Thorsminde Beach and was buried by German Soldiers.
John was serving with 619 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was killed on 24th July 1944.
Ulster Home Guard, Mallusk
Ulster Home Guard at Hydepark, Mallusk.
Sergeant Samuel Jackson is sitting third from left in the front row.
(Thanks to Rosemary Holland)
R.A.F. Aldergrove Rescue Jetty
This is an old Royal Air Force Jetty.
With R.A.F. Aldergrove being so close to Lough Neagh it was necessary to have such a facility to provide a rescue capability in the event that an aircraft was unable to cross the largest fresh water lake in the United Kingdom! - It is now privately owned and not accessable.
McGarry Boatyard Ardmore
Henry McGarry's Boatyard was involved in the recovery of Aircraft which crashed into Lough Neagh.
This is a Halixax which was photographed in 1948. Flotation Bags can be seen to the left of the picture (Thanks to Ernie Cromie)
Henry McGarry can be seen centreleft of the photograph above. Below left is Diver, Joe magee and on the right the Boat which was used in Recovery Operations. (Ernie Cromie)
A Wellington is seen in Lough Neagh above whilst a Sunderland is being recovered from Sandy Bay in the photograph below. (Ernie Cromie)
Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Memorial, Lisburn
This memorial Statue can be seen outside the Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters in Lisburn.
Shown below is part of the Memorial Plate which shows Men who were killed during the Second World War.
Shown here are some of the Auxiliary Fire Service men who fought the Belfast Blitz. Left to Right are Jack Walsh, Clyde Rainey and James Lee (From Images of Old Northern Ireland)
Lisburn Fire Brigade personnel shown with their new Dennis Fire Engine in 1939 (Lisburn Museum)
Auxiliary Fire Service at Thompson House, Magheralave Road, Lisburn with a Beresford Stork Trailer Pump fittes with an Austin Engine (Lisburn Museum)
Air Raid Shelter at Castle Gardens, Lisburn
The Castle Gardens at Castle Street in Lisburn includes an Air raid Shelter from the Second World War which is shown here. This is very similar in design to another Air raid Shelter which can be seen in Ward Park in Bangor.
These Stretcher Bearers are from 4th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers and are shown in Castle Gardens, Lisburn in 1939 (Lisburn Museum)
Jackie Caves from Lisburn.
John James Caves aka Jackie Caves, is seen in the picture on the left with his Sisters Rita, Elsie and Eileen.
All of whom worked in Munitions Factories.
Their Father, Jack Caves, had served with the Irish Guards, in France from 1915 to 1918.
Sergeant Jackie Caves, number 7020145 was serving with the Glider Pilot Regiment and during Operation Mallard on D-Day he was Flying Horsa Glider Number 150 with 7022767 Staff Sergeant R. Girwin to Landing Zone 'N'.
Jackie was wounded and taken POW at Arnhem and was subsequently killed, possibly during an Allied air raid, on 31/3/45. He is buried at the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery and his Headstone is shown here.
His Log Book is shown below (Thanks very much to Johnny McMaster for information and photographs)
Wallace Park, Lisburn
The Princess Royal, who is Colonel in Chief of the Royal Corps of Signals is shown Inspecting Personnel in Wallace park, Lisburn. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)
Having been greeted by Major General V.H.B. Majendie, the G.O.C. for Northern Ireland District the Inspection takes place with her being introduced to Officers by Lieutenant-Colonel Cogan-Harris, the Chief Signal Officer for Northern Ireland.
This Inspection took place on 14th October 1942.
Being Introduced to Colonel W.S. Ashley
Above right she Inspects the Honour Guard with Dispatch Riders below right.
Shown here is a frontal view of the impressive Norman Castle in the town of Carrickfergus.
As with many other places throughout Northern Ireland the castle was put to good use during the Second World War.
There was a military garrison as well as an Ordnance Store from which ordnance was transported via a narrow guage railway from the castle down to the nearby Harbour for transportation to other parts of the United Kingdom. - The tunnel exit immediately beside the Harbour is shown here.
I have also seen reference to a Military Prison in Carrickfergus during the War which I can only suspect was housed within the Castle. A brick pillbox was built over the Water Gate.
Soldiers from F Company, 65th Medical Regiment (later named 435th Medical Collecting Company), U.S. Army visiting Carrickfergus Castle. (Thanks very much to Steve Schmidt for this picture of his Grandfathers Unit) ***FROM PRIVATE COLLECTION. PLEASE DO NOT COPY***
The Plan shown above relates to the addition of Air Raid Shelters to Carrickfergus Castle, some of which can be seen below left (PRONI)
Here you can see the Air raid Shelters inside the Castle and the arrival at Carrickfergus Harbour of the guns which were to be mounted at the Kilroot Battery.
The next one shows the same position as it looks today.
More information regarding the Kilroot Battery can be seen further down this page.
Military life at what had become known as "Kilroot Fort" came to an end when on 3rd january 1957 the 270th Indipendent Maintainance Battery Royal Artillery, the then residents of the Fort, were disbanded and the Fort was handed over to the 21st Married Families Hostel. The guns were soon removed for scrap.
My thanks goes to Graham Walton for providing these excellent photographs.
If there was no room in the Air Raid Shelter at the Castle you could always run to the .........Gasworks???
I expect that this Air raid Shelter was built with the workers of the Gasworks in mind however it was also made available to locals to use. The only question I have is if there is an Air Raid why would you thing of running to a gasworks?
For those who would like to visit the shelter is inside the "Flame Gasworks Museum of Ireland" which is accessible at Irish Quarter West and the best bit is that the museum is FREE.
U.S. Rangers, Carrickfergus
All Rangers were volunteers who began training at the "Sunnylands" Camp in Carrickfergus before going off to make history on the beaches of Normandy.
Nothing remains of the camp however the large stone shown here marks the spot.
The stone can be found at a housing development known as Sunnylands Avenue on the northwestern side of the town and the pictures here show the stone being unveiled by two United States Army Ranger Veterans.
Shown here are some photographs of Major William O. Darby who was the founder and Commander of the Rangers who referred to themselves as "Darby's Rangers" He is shown above in April 1944 when he was Commander if the 45 Division and as Commander of the 1st Ranger Infantry Battalion. (From http://www.army.mil)
U.S. Ambassador John G. Winant watches Private Paul Jones from Alamosa, Colorado cooking Potatoes on 8th March 1942 (Ebay Picture from ACME)
Dating from the 1990's here we have some of Darby's Rangers Veterans on a television programme (Ulster Television) during a visit to various sites around Northern Ireland.
Following the departure of the American Troops Sunnylands became home to 1st Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Brigade "Rumbeke" of the Belgian Army who arrived there on 9th March 1945.
These pictures shows the United States Ambassador John G. Winant with Major General Hartle and General G. Cheney, Commander U.S.A.B.I. visiting 63rd Signal Battalion at Carrickfergus which included 122 Company, 3 Operating Platoon. (The picture above is from the tothosewhoserved.com website)
American soldiers on parade at Sunnylands Camp, probably wondering why the place is called Sunnylands when it always rains! (After The Battle Picture)
The photograph above shows U.S. Ranger Friend Kerns carrying the Stars and Stripes Flag. Friend saw action in Europe and was wounded twice, receiving two Purple Heart Medals. (Thanks very much to Peter Johnston for this photograph of his Uncle. ****PLEASE DO NOT COPY****)
Above right are the Officers of the First Ranger Battalion which was activated at Carrickfergus on 19th June 1942. Some U.S. Rangers are seen above and the photograph below shows Rangers who had trained at Carrickfergus on exercise with Commandoes and preparing to go into action on D-Day 6th June 1944.
(For more information visit The U.S. Rangers Centre. Photographs above and below from U.S. Army Signal Corps via Mid and East Antrim Borough Council)
*****PLEASE DO NOT COPY EITHER ABOVE OR BELOW*****
Lester Bernard Cook, who was much-decorated during a military career spanning three wars and 26 years, passed away on August 9, 2020 following a stroke. He was 97.
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, on September 25, 1922, Lester enlisted in the Iowa National Guard while still in high school. His unit, the 168th Infantry Regt. 34th Division ‘The Red Bulls’ was activated February 10, 1941.
Stationed in Northern Ireland, following the United States’ entry into World War Two in December 1941, he came to Sunnylands Camp, Carrickfergus, to try out for a new, elite special operations force being raised as the spearhead of all Allied offences against the enemy in the war in Europe.
He was one of up to 2,000 men who were put through a vigorous selection process – only 500 made the cut. The new unit was officially activated on June 19, 1942.
In a recent telephone interview, Lester said: “I had no idea what I was getting into when I saw a notice on the bulletin board about the Rangers. I was stationed in Belfast, Ireland, with the 168th Infantry.”
He went on to serve the full tour with Darby’s Rangers. The original 1st Ranger Battalion was comprised six line companies. Eventually these would come to number 2,000 men. The Rangers were instrumental in the Allied assaults on North Africa, Sicily and Italy. 198 Rangers were brought home in May 1944, most of these men were from the ‘Original Darby’s Rangers’. This elite commando style force remains the only US military unit to be formed on foreign soil.
Lester earned two Silver Stars, Purple Hearts and Presidential Unit Citations among many other accolades.
British and American Soldiers discuss the best way to make Soup at Sunnylands Camp. An American Butcher is seen top right.
The British Soldiers are from 1 / 5 Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment with the Americans being 63rd Signals. (IWM Pictures)
Both the British and Americans are shown making Coffee. (IWM Pictures)
75th Anniversary of the Forming of the U.S. Rangers in Carrickfergus
U.S. Army WW2 Veteran Teddy Dixon with U.S. Consul General laying wreath.
Master Sergeant David Archibeque, 75 Ranger Regiment laying wreath.
Councillors at the U.S. Rangers Memorial Stone.
U.S. Army Rangers with U.S. Consul General, Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
Exhibition relating to the U.S. Army Rangers in Carrickfergus
My photographs here relate to an Exhibition which took place at Carrickfergus Museum in Summer 2022
Scoutbush House, Carrickfergus
The rather grand looking building shown here is "Scoutbush House" which stood off Trooperslane Road in Carrickfergus.
During WW2 the 3rd Battalion of the Ulster Home Guard, who were commanded by Lt. Colonel J.A. McFerran, were based here and were involved in training within the grounds as illustrated in this picture where they are watching a Mine Laying Demonstration.
The Ulster Home Guard soldiers are shown in the photograph below outside the House during the War.
The colour photograph directly above shows the entrance into the yard as seen in the top picture facing the Barn.
(Thanks very much to Ian Alexander for both the information regarding this site and the photographs.
James Hunter from Carrickfergus.
James Byrt Hunter was from Carrickfergus and joined the Royal Navy in 1943 after changing his age from 17 years old to 18 years.
Having attended Plymouth he was selected to become an R.D.F. (Radar) Operator and received his specialised Training on the Isle of Man.
On completion of training Jim arrived in Belfast to join H.M.S. Black Prince however, as this ship had not been completed, he volunteered to join a Royal Navy Supply Ship and found himself sailing to all parts of the world.
He passed through both the Panama and Suez Canals and went to New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.
On the way to Malta the ship was able to rescue 56 Survivors from another ship which had been torpedoed.
Sailing between Malta and Gibraltar as well as crossing the Atlantic Jim found his ship under attack on a number of occasions however after some months he was granted Leave and was home in Carrickfergus for two or three weeks.
On his return Jim stayed at H.M.S. Victory until joining a Troopship called H.M.S. Cheshire (Shown above)
They were then involved in transporting Troops to Normandy following Operation Overlord and this was done for ten months during which time they brought about 3000 Soldiers to Normandy and returned to England carrying wounded.
Following V.E. Day Jim was sent to Bombay to join another ship however he found himself doing Sentry Duty at a large Mansion which was being used as a Headquarters building.
Having been in India for nine months he was transferred to the Fleet Air Ram for two months before finally being demobbed!
Jim Hunter passed away in 2017.
(Thanks very much to Laura Dunne for Information and pictures)
Battalion Signallers at work in Carrickfergus
During an Exercise this is a Company Headquarters. 1/5 Leicestershire Regiment using Number 18 Mark II Wireless Sets. 148th independent Brigade Group, Carrickfergus. Photographed on 30th July 1941. (Imperial War Museum Photograph)
War Savings Week in Carrickfergus
I believe the original picture here was taken in 1943 during War Savings Week.
I have been attempting to identify the people in the picture and think the following is correct.
Front row left to right :- Unknown, Councillor Tommy Patterson (Wearing ribbon on his lapel), Unknown R.A.F. Officer, Councillor Ernest Burton, Prime Minister John Andrews, Walter McKeown (Who was Chairman of Carrickfergus Urban District Council) and the remaining are also unknown.
If you can help with the identification of people in this picture please contact me.
This picture shows from left to right Private Bernard Brilliant, Corporal May Officer, Private Catherine McCloskey, Private John Battafarano, Private Raymond Evans, Private Doris Evane, Private Henriette Officer, and Private Henry Kacvinsky at a St Patricks Day dance in Carrickfergus in 1942. (United States Army Signals picture from U.S. Army)
The "Valuation" notice on the wall is from Carrickfergus Urban District Council.
Memorial Plate at Carrickfergus Town Hall.
U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph of V.E.Day Dance in Carrickfergus Town Hall.
(Picture from Mid and East Antrim Council)
Victoria Cemetery, Carrickfergus
Private James Cameron, 21st Independent Parachute Company died on 26th September as the result of wounds received during the Battle of Arnhem and is buried in the Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Arnhem, The Netherlands. (I have a photograph of his headstone shown on the left)
He had served with distinction in Italy and within two days of the black and white picture being taken would be dead.
On the seventh day of Operation Market Garden Private Cameron received a serious leg wound and was taken to the Casualty Clearing Station where he succumbed to his wounds.
Private James Cameron is standing second from the right. More information about the Irishmen in the 1st Airborne Division can be found in the book "Brotherhood of The Cauldron" by David Truesdale. See the "Links" Section of this website.
Private Henry Charles William Bottomley, Service Number 4860636 was serving with 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders when he was killed in Action on 29th August 1944.
He is buried in St Desir War Cemetery to the west of Lisieux.
Leading Aircraftman Crawford Anthony, Service Number 623211, was serving with the royal Air Force and 29 years old when he died on 8th August 1940.
Crawford was the Son of William and Jane Anthony, of Carrickfergus and Husband of Martha Bell Anthony, of Carrickfergus.
Fusilier James Carragher, Service Number 6980511, was serving with 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was 31 years old when he died on 1st March 1944.
James was the Son of Patrick and Alice Carragher, of Carrickfergus.
Flying Officer (Pilot) George McFerran Clarke , Service Number 128546 was Killed in Action on 28th July 1943 when he was serving with 102 Squadron, Royal Air Force on a mission to Hamburg.
Staff Serjeant Stanley Albert Davis, Service Number 7578150, was 44 years old when he died on 20th April 1945.
He was serving with Royal Army Ordnance Corps
Stanley was the Son of Nicholas and Elizabeth Davis and Husband of Theodora Davis, of Carrickfergus.Greaser Robert Holmes was Naval Auxiliary Personnel (Merchant Navy) serving aboard H.M.S. Jervis Bay when he was killed in Action on 25th November 1939.
The Jervis Bay was the only Escort Ship for Convoy HX84 which had originated in Bermuda then from Halifax to cross the atlantic to Brtain with a total of 37 Merchant Ships.
As they were Southwest of Reykjavik the convoy was attacked by the German Battleship Admiral Scheer.
As the German ship approached the Captain of Jervis Bay, Edward Fegan ordered the Convoy to scatter as he ordered his own ship to race directly towards Admiral Scheer in a tactic hoped to draw the Germans fire away from the Convoy.
Jervis Bay attacked as it headed towards Admiral Scheer and continued attacking until their ship was finally sunk.
Robert Holmes was the Son of John and Elizabeth Holmes, of Greenisland.
Able Seaman William John Hanna, Service Number C/JX144129 was serving aboard H.M.S. Phoenix which was a P Class Submarine.
It is believed that Phoenix was struck by an Italian Torpedo in the Mediterranean.
Sergeant James Bell Hill, Service Number 1880065, was serving with 295 Army Field Company, Royal Engineers when he was Killed in Action on 14th September 1942.
James was 27 years old and is commemmorated on the Alamein Memorial
Lance Corporal William Jeffrey Jones, Service Number 5346731, was serving with 4th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment.
He was 31 years old when he died on 7th June 1945.
William was the Son of William and Phoebe Ann Jones and Husband of Mary Elizabeth Jones, of Carrickfergus.
Sergeant (Pilot) Joseph Marshall Loughridge, Service Number 1101874, was serving with 87 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
On 2nd September 1941 Joseph was flying Hawker Hurricane IIC Z3576 and was orbiting a Decoy Airfield site at Kingsdown. This would have been so as to be prepared for any enemy aircraft who arrived to attack the site however he was forced to make a sharp turn to avoid another Hurricane and went into a spin from which he could not recover. The aircraft fell 500 feet and Joseph was killed.
He was the Son of Thomas and Ellen Loughridge, of Carrickfergus.
Flight Lieutenant (Observer) Hugh Larmour Magee, Service Number 81690, was 30 years old and serving with Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve when he died on 16th March 1942.
Hugh was the Son of Edward and Jane Magee, of Finaghy.
Sergeant (Wireless Operator / Air Gunner) David Martin, Service Number 1489044, was serving with 14 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve when he was Killed in Action on 26th June 1944.
He is buried in Cagliari St Michele Communal Cemetery, Italy.
Sergeant Pilot Samuel James Millar, Service Number 745254, was serving with 148 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve when he was shot down and killed over Egypt on 6th June 1941.
Sergeant Flight Engineer Frederick Hubert Patten was serving with 75 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
He was on an Operation with Bomber Command when he was Killed in Action over France on 25th July 1944 and is buried in Chareua Voue Cemetery.
Castle Dobbs, Carrickfergus
Castle Dobbs was used by the Belgian Army 3rd Infantry Brigade R.A.S.C. Provisions Unit.
The Castle is also mentioned in the W.B.S. Troop Accommodations Northern Ireland District list as having a capacity of 436 Troops.
Little evidence remains of the use by Military other than the concrete shown above.
Kilroot Gun Battery
Kilroot Gun Battery is on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. The Kilroot Fort had 2 large concrete searchlight positions which are 2 levels rather than the single storey positions at Grey Point Fort on the opposite shore.
The pictures above and to the left show the two positions which remain in reasonable condition.
The complex included a selection of stores for the Royal Artillery as well as Oil and Paint Stores and a Workshop.
The fort was almost diamond in shape and contained a Guardroom, Cookhouse, Caretakers Quarters, Workshop, Latrines and Ablution Room as well as being defended by 2 pill boxes which had a compliment of 18 men.
Lord Gort Inspecting a Defence Battery (Imperial War Museum Photographs)
Along with East Twin Island in the Belfast Harbour Estate, which is now completely gone and replaced by Belfast Dry Dock, Orlock Point, of which very little remains, (See County Down section) and the well preserved Grey Point Fort at Crawfordsburn in County Down these Forts were used to protect Belfast for many years including the Second World War.
Shown above are the steps down to the old Magazine along with a Shelter and Royal Artillery Store which would have been to the right. The R.A. Store, Guardhouse and Caretakers Quarters all remain in good condition.
The construction of the Kilroot Battery was deemed necessary by "The Revision of Armaments - Belfast" by the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers Works Committee dated 4th July 1888. Kilroot was to have one 6 inch (152mm) gun with three Machine-Guns for local defence and was finally constructed with completion taking place in 1910. After much discussion it was decided that the Battery would have two concrete gun positions for the barbette mountings of the guns with a magazine, shell store and shelter built underneath.
The battery was surrounded by a wall, similar to that which remains at Grey Point and the two Pillboxes, one on either side at the northern and southern ends of the diamond shape were designed to provide defensive fire along a ditch. Three portable Maxim Machine-guns where also available for defence.
Immediately prior to the start of the Second World War the Battery was manned by 188th (Antrim) Heavy Battery Royal Artillery.
It is worthy of note that on 4th August 1940 the Battery guns engaged an enemy aircraft!!
This is the final resting place of David Moore.
Although there is no reference to service in the Armed Forces on the Headstone this was Flying Officer David Moore, Service Number 55507 who served with the Royal Air Force.
Flying Officer Moore died on 31st December 1944.
Unfortunately I have been unable to find any other information regarding Flying Officer Moore.
Military Locations Around Carrickfergus
There were a number of Military Units based and operating in the Carrickfergus Area during WW2.
In 1939 there was a Royal Army Ordnance Corps presence in Antrim Street.
In 1940 the Royal Army Service Corps were at the Oil Depot at West Pier with the female soldiers of the Auxiliary Territorial Service at a Carpet Shop in High Street.
1941 saw a Royal Air Force Barrage Balloon Unit at East Pier as well as a Regimental Transport Officer (Transit) being based at Carrickfergus Railway Station.
Soldiers were Billeted at various locations around Carrickfergus including a number of streets in the Town Centre as well as a Band Hall in Thomas Street, the Salvation Army Hall and a Congregational Church Hall.
If you have any information regarding these or other places then please email me.
The Belgian Army at Dalriada
Soldiers of 3rd Infantry Brigade of the Belgian Army were based at Dalriada House.
Bleech Green Halt and Cookstown Junction
Bleech Green Halt was a stop for the Railway during the Second World War. It was an important position due to the Belgian Army Divisional Headquarters being nearby.
Near the Halt is the cookstown Junction Viaduct which still remains to be seen today even though Bleech Green Halt has now gone.
This is an outstanding monument in all senses of the word.
Located on top of Knockagh Hill above the village of Greenisland in County Antrim the foundation stone was laid on 7th October 1922 with the monument finally being completed in 1936
“TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN PROUD AND AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE OF THE MEN OF COUNTY ANTRIM WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR. THIS MEMORIAL IS ERECTED BY THEIR GRATEFUL COUNTY. NOBLY YOU FOUGHT, YOUR KNIGHTLY VIRTUE PROVED YOUR MEMORY HALLOWED IN THE LAND YOU LOVED.”
Sadly within a few years of completion many more were to die in the Second World War and it was subsequiently rededicated to include those who also died.
The monument commands excellent panoramic views over Belfast Lough from Belfast to Carrickfergus and beyond.
Accessible through Greenisland village to Monument Road this is well worth a visit however beware that the road is unsuitable for large vehicles.
Fusilier W. Rodgers from Kells.
Fusilier W. Rodgers was from the Kells area of County Antrim.
He was serving with 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers having joined the Army in March 1940.
Fusilier Rodgers was in action in Sicily then Italy where he was wounded at Carigliano River however he was able to return to his Battalion in time for the Anzio Landing!
(Photo and information from IWM)
Slieveanee Mountain Military Training Area
Slieveanee Mountain was used as a Military Training Area during the Second World War and walkers in the area should not be surprised to find evidence of this activity.
Shown here is an explosive which was found on 2nd June 2014 by folks from the Glenravel Historical Society.
I believe that this may have been fired from a Spigot Mortar.
(For more information on the Glenravel Historical Society please visit http://www.glenravelhistoricalsociety.org/ Photograph from the Society)
Members of the Glenravel Historical Society unveiled a Memorial Plaque on the 75th anniversary of a Second World War air crash which claimed the lives of five airmen on Slieveanee Mountain.
The aircraft was a Royal Air Folce Hudson, serial No T9328 which was with 224 Squadron based at Aldergrove. This aircraft crashed on Slieveanee Mountain on October 16, 1940 killing all five crew members (Please see below as three of them are buried at Killead.)
A sincere Thank-you to all those at Glenravel Historical Society for this excellent project!
St Catherines Parish Church of Ireland Church, Killead
One of the famous visitors of the past to this Church was Glenn Miller!
There are currently 46 Airmen who have been laid to rest in the Parish Graveyard including Squadron Leader Dennis Wykeham-Martin D.F.C. who was killed on 15th May 1943 and whose gravestone says "Who gave his like in the Battle of the Atlantic"
Flying Officer Tony Tisdall was with Flight Lieutenant Francis Scott and Pilot Officer Ronald Davies in Hudson bomber T9328 of 224 Squadron based at Aldergrove. This aircraft crashed on Slieveanee Mountain on October 16, 1940 killing all on board.
Crashes took a considerable toll on Crews.
Garcia and Capel who are buried here were on Convoy Escort Duty on 10th August 1942 in Flying Fortress II A from Ballykelly when it crashed near Nutts Corner and the Depth Charges exploded.
Werner was flying a Blenheim Mk 4 from 254 Squadron R.A.F. when it crashed near Garvagh on 9th June 1941.
Linhart was a Pilot with 206 Sqn and was flying a Hudson to escort the "Australia Star" however the aircraft crashed near Aldergrove.
On September 20 another 224 Squadron Hudson T9326 took off from Aldergrove on an anti-submarine patrol however it crashed with the loss of all three on board who are named here.
Sergeant (Pilot) Arthur Gibbs from Ipswich and Sergeant Stanley Swann from Manchester were both buried at St Catherine’s, while Sergeant (Pilot) Kenneth Postgate was buried at Killead Presbyterian Church.
Dennis Fiennes Wykeham-Martin was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on the 31st of January 1939.
He was promoted to Flying Officer on the 31st of July 1940 and served with 53 Squadron based at Detling in Kent during the Battle of Britain before being posted to 1404 Meteorological Flight based at RAF St Eval in Cornwall where he and his crew operated Blenheim aircraft over the Bay of Biscay.
At 12.30pm on the 30th of June 1941 he was on patrol over the Bay of Biscay when he spotted a U Boat on the surface. The U Boat, U371 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Driver, mistook his aircraft for a German Ju88 so was slow to react.
At 12.25pm he dropped two 250lb anti submarine bombs and one 250lb general purpose bomb onto the U-Boat in a dive bombing attack from its stern and these were seen to burst 30 yards off the starboard bow.
The submarine began to crash dive but there was enough time to carry out another attack, this time from the port side with a single 250lb general purpose bomb which detonated over the bows however the submarine escaped without damage.
He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on the 31st of July 1941 and on the 12th of August 1941 took off from St Eval for a patrol.
He spotted a U Boat on the surface and, using cloud cover, attempted a surprise attack at 8.55am.
The U Boat, U372 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Heinz-Joachim Neumann, turned towards its attacker and proceeded to crash dive.
A 250lb anti submarine bomb landed 35 yards from the submarine and this was followed by another shortly after the vessel submerged.
The submarine appeared to have had trouble submerging as her stern was visible for a while until is disappeared in an oil patch leaving a large bubble behind it.
Although Wykeham-Martin and his crew claimed this as a victory U372 was able to return to Brest undamaged.
Interestingly he crew were commended by the Air Officer Commanding 19 Group for this action.
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross which was announced by the Air Ministry on the 2nd of January 1942. The citation read:-
"This officer's vigilance and alertness have enabled him to sight and attack enemy submarines on four occasions. All these attacks produced promising results; after one attack which Flt. Lt. Wykeham-Martin carried out large air bubbles and oil were observed. This officer has served with great distinction, and he has shown great skill when flying in adverse weather conditions".
He was mentioned in despatches on the 11th of June 1942.
He was later posted to command 86 Squadron.
At 12.26am on the morning of the 14 May 1943 Dennis Wykeham-Martin and his crew took off from Aldergrove in Liberator Mk III FK234-W for an operation but tragically one minute later the aircraft crashed, coming down at Hill Close, Aldergrove.
Four of the crew, Flight Sergeant Burney, Warrant Officer Carter, Flight Sergeant McGhee and Sergeant Leslie, were killed outright in the crash.
Sergeant Little was recovered from the wreckage with a fractured skull and other injuries from which he later died.
Dennis Wykeham-Martin was found alive but unconscious with a fractured skull and multiple injuries; he survived a further thirty-six hours before he succumbed to his injuries.
The two remaining members of the crew, Pilot Officer S. Neil and Flight Sergeant A. Cowan, had extensive injuries but recovered. The aircraft was sent for repair but was later written off.
(Information from http://www.hambo.org/lancing/view_man.php?id=62)
My photographs above show the recovered section of R.A.F. Hudson Aircraft T9328
Shown here is the grave of Pilot Officer Hugh Gavin Fraser who died on 1st February 1942.
(The old photograph comes from the Australian War Memorial and is available to EVERYONE at )https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/SUK11593/ )
Sergeant Van Der Aa Kuhle and his Crew are also buried at St Catherines Church, Killead however I have decided to include him in this separate entry due to his Nationality.
On 20th September 1941, along with his Crew of Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Sergeant Robert Steel and Aircraftman Second Class Thomas William Vickers, they were in a 236 Squadron Blenheim, Number T2128 and taking part in Torpedo Training which incorporated flying with a second Blenheim in a practice formation over Lough Neagh.
Unfortunately Blenheim T2128 hit the water and sank immediately with the loss of all on board.
Two bodies were recovered on 25th September with the third being found two days later.
On researching this crash I have found Sergeant Van Der Aa Kuhle being identified as a Danish National (http://www.luftwaffe.no/Table2.htm) however his Headstone identifies him as being from South Africa whilst the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have him as being from Naivasha in Kenya.
Whatever his Nationality it is sad that both he and his Crew lost their lives in such circumstances.
Royal Air Force 72 Squadron Flag on display in St. Catherine's Church, Killead. The Battle Honours include Dunkirk, Anzio, Battle of Britain, North Africa and Salerno
Killead Presbyterian Church, Killead Village
Four Airmen from three Nations are buried in Killead Presbyterian Church Graveyard with a Soldier who was Killed in Action in Italy also being remembered.
Sergeant Kenneth Horton was serving with 220 Squadron and was a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner aboard Lockheed Hudson AM615.
On 1st February 1942 the aircraft had taken off from R.A.F. Nutts Corner for a Training Exercise where the Pilot was involved in carrying out Low Level attacks on soldiers.
The weather was poor with both low cloud and rain when the aircraft crashed at 11.20 killing all six Crew Members.
Two of the Crew are buried in Northern Ireland with Sergeant Falkner Cotton Young of the Royal Australian Air Force being laid to rest in St Catherines Parich Church of Ireland at Killead.
Sergeant Kenneth Posgate was serving with 224 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
On 30th September 1940 at 04.30hrs he was a Pilot on board Lockheed Hudson, T9326 which was coded QX-V which had taken off from R.A.F. Aldergrove for an Anti-Submarine Patrol.
The aircraft failed to gain height before losing power and crashing to the ground only a few miles from the Airfield killing all Crewmen on board. - Gibbs and Swann are referred to in the St Catherines Parish Church item above.
The photograph below shows the Lockheed Hudson aircraft photographed before delivery to the Royal Air Force. (From the Al Zeig Collection at 1000aircraftphotos.com)
Sergeant Richard Henry Sproge was with Number 2 Advanced Flying Unit and flying in Avro Anson Mk 1 MG385 during a Night Navigation Exercise in the early hours of 27th March 1944.
At 01.20 the aircraft crashed at Boehill Farm near Dundrod in County Antrim with Sergeant Sproge being the only fatality from the 5 Occupants of the Aircraft.
Flt Sgt Britt who had been a Crew member and was uninjured in the crash, later stated ; “At 00:21 we received a diversionary message from Ramsay instructing us to land at Bishop Court. The Pilot and Navigator were informed, and QDM’s were obtained from Bishop Court H/F D/F Station. A short time after that one of the engines cut, I think it was the starboard. The Pilot increased power from the other one, but a few seconds later that one failed. The Pilot ordered abandon aircraft at a height of about 2,500 feet. The 2nd WOP was first to leave followed by the Navigator and then myself. On the way down I saw the aircraft with its landing lights on and guessed the Pilot was looking for a place to force land.”
A subsequent Inquiry into the accident found that “ Both outboard cocks were in the “ON” position, both outboard fuel tanks were empty. Both Inboard tanks contained at least 15 gallons of fuel. Both cocks were OFF. It was considered that the engines failed because of shortage of fuel.”
Flight Sergeant Trevor Arthur Kemp was a Pilot on board Vickers Wellington Z1313 from 104 Operational Training Unit when the aircraft crashed onto Divis Mountain at approx 01.30 on 24th November 1943.
Sergeant Navigator Ebenezer F. Lurkins was seriously injured in the crash and subsequently died on 25th November 1943.
The Memorial Plate shown here is at memorial gates which were built at the entrance to the Howick Bowling and Croquet Club in Uxbridge Road, Cockle Bay, Auckland, New Zealand. These were donated by Arthur and Kate Kemp in honour of their son, Trevor.
(From https://nzhistory.govt.nz/keyword/rnzaf )
Lance Corporal James Williamson Benson was serving with the North Irish Horse, Royal Armoured Corps when he was Killed in Action on 23rd May 1944.
He is buried at Cassino War Cemetery, Italy.