The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

County Down Part 1

Eglantine Church, Lisburn.

All Saints Church, Eglantine, Lisburn has the impressive stained glass window shown above which was presented by members and friends of 31 Group Royal Observer Corps on 8th September 1990. A small plaque below says "To the Glory of God and in memory of Airmen of the Royal Air Force and Commonwealth Air Forces 1939 - 1946 buried in the adjoining graveyard" which is shown here. My photograph above shows headstones for men from New Zealand, Canada, Australia and U.K. side by side.

During the war the Church was surrounded by buildings which were part of the Long Kesh Airfield complex.

Five of the airmen buried here were killed on 19th March 1945 when their Liberator KG896 of 1674 Heavy Conversion Unit based at Aldergrove crashed.

It was being Captained by Flying Officer Holmes and crewed by Pryde, Edge, Aston and Hook – (All of whom are buried here) along with five others and the Instructor Flying Officer Honey.

Another Airman buried here is Flying Officer Gordon Elgin Vance who was with Acting Squadron Leader Westlake of 290 Squadron, the pilot of Oxford BG601 and was leading a formation of 3 Oxford aircraft, widely spaced, in simulated torpedo attacks on ships of an escort group in connection with a naval exercise. The Oxfords were escorted by 5 Martinet aircraft forming a fighter cover about 500 feet above the Oxfords. At approximately 10.15 hours A/Sqn Ldr Westlake called up the other aircraft and instructed them to return to Ballyhalbert. The Oxfords closed formation with A/Sqn Ldr Westlake's aircraft leading. The other 2 aircraft were about 2 wingspans range away from and slightly above and behind the lead aircraft. The lead aircraft was flying at less than 50 feet above the sea and at a point close to Copeland Islands the aircraft was seen to fly even closer to the sea. At 10.30 hours the propeller of A/Sqn Ldr Westlake's aircraft was seen to touch the sea and the aircraft hit the water at about 160mph and broke up on impact. RAF High Speed rescue launches were dispatched from Donaghdee and they picked up A/Sqn Ldr Westlake who sadly succumbed to his injuries.

Shown on the left are the graves of Flight Sergeant Alan Gilbert Potter, who was Killed in an Accident on 23rd July 1943 and Flight Sergeant William Murray Mullins who was killed in an Accident on 29th November 1943. (Old photograph from the Australian War Memorial website which is available to everyone)

This is the final resting place of Flying Officer John Russell Keane who was 26 years old when he died on 29th November 1943.

(The photograph above comes from the Australian War Memorial which is available to EVERYONE and can be found at

Shown above are Flight Sergeant Norman McCallum, Flying Officer Francis Connell, Flying Officer John Keane and Flight Sergeant William Mullins.

All of these men were killed and are now buried at Eglantine Church.

Lockheed Hudson aircraft AM 694 from Number 5 R.A.F. Operational Training Unit  took off at 1520 on 29th November 1943 to practice a non
operational bombing detail on the Lough Neagh range.

Having completed the exercise at 16.09 the aircraft headed for Loughermore Estate where some unauthorised flying took place rather than returning directly to base.
When carrying out one of these turns both engines appeared to be throttled back and the aircraft began to lose height rapidly until just before impact. It stalled during a steep turn to port with insufficient height for the Pilot to regain control, appeared to right itself, then struckthe ground with the port wing first. Both engines were under power at the time of impact, when the aircraft broke up and burst into flames. All the crew were killed. (Information from WW2talk and Pictures from Australian War Memorial)

Leading Aircraftman Oliver Cumins, Service Number: 1112854, was Son of Mr and Mrs J.M. Cumins, of Carnbane House, Lisburn.
Having joined the Royal Air Force the previous January he was in Training when killed in an aircraft crash near the RAF base at Pwlleli, North Wales on 31st May 1941.
My photograph shows the Roll of Honour and Roll of Service in All Saints Church, Eglantine, Lisburn.

Hillhall Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery

These 2 pictures show all that remains of a Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery which was positioned at Hillhall on the outskirts of the City of Lisburn.

The design of this building is the same as other locations which are shown in this website. - There is a corrugated metal inner which is covered by a protective layer of concrete.

The photograph here shows a doorway into the building with "1941" painted above. Immediately facing the doorway is a brick supported soil bank which may have been to provide some protection from blast in the event of bombing.

The building in my photograph can be seen in the aerial picture of the site.

It is on the lower side of a hedgerow running left to right. (PRONI)

Finnis Searchlight Battery

These are the 2 buildings which remain of the Searchlight Battery which stood near the village of Finnis and can be found on the Rathfriland Road.

Kernan Lough Searchlight Battery

These photographs show the Searchlight Battery which is built beside Kernan Lough.

There are currently about 4 separate buildings and the first photograph looks down towards the lough.

You can see in the second picture that there are protective walls covering the door entrances and the following picture shows where shovels were to be stored in the correct military fashion

Transporting Men and Equipment Across Corbet Lough in a Training Exercise

A metal frame is set onto a waterproof Lorry Cover. This Exercise was taken by 72nd Independent Infantry Brigade on 16th February 1943. (IWM Photos)

Cord is then threaded through the eyelet holes.

The Raft now begins to take shape.

Improvised Raft is shown to be able to carry Troops across Corbet Lake which is between Banbridge and Katesbridge. (IWM Picture)

A Brigadier assists Soldiers in paying out rope whilst Troops on the other side are pulling the Raft in. (IWM Pictures)

A Raft carrying an Anti-Tank Gun is prepared to cross the lake.

A Jeep is then transported using the same method (IWM Pictures)

Finally it is the turn of a 30 CWT Lorry and all goes well. Photographs taken at Corbet Lough between Banbridge and Katesbridge on 16th February 1943. (IWM Photographs)


Infantry of 158th Infantry Brigade cooperating with Bren Gun Carriers during an Exercise at Dromara on 20th February 1941. (Imperial War Museum Photograph)

This was part of an Exercise which was Inspected by Lord Gort and was the same day as this motorcyclist experienced difficulties.

Matchless Dispatch Riders Motorcycle.

Ballycranbeg Roman Catholic Churchyard, Kirkistown

Here are the graves of 3 graves of Polish airmen who lost their lives in Air Crashes whilst training in Northern Ireland.

They are as follows:-

St. Sierz S. Grondowski died on 11th September 1943 when he crashed his Spitfire Mk5, number W3427 on a hillside near Lisburn in bad weather whilst on a training exercise.

Starszy Sierzant Stanislaw Grondowshi, Service Number P/782063, Aged 34 years. 315 Squadron, Polish Air Force.

Plt. W. Kolek crashed his Spitfire Mk5, number BL469 on landing following a training flight on 11th September 1943.

Plutonowy Wladyslaw Kolek, Service Number P/783150, Aged 26 years. 315 Squadron, Polish Air Force

Ppor J.R. Tuczemski crashed his Spitfire Mk5, number AB245 near Ballymena after hitting an obstacle when on a training flight on 22nd August 1943.

Podporucznik Jerzy Ryszard Tuczemski, Service Number P/2124, Aged 24 years, 315 Squadron, Polish Air Force

All three of these airmen were based at Ballyhalbert and buried nearby are the men mentioned below.

Pilot Officer Walter Bartholomew McManus and a Belfast Telegraph Spitfire

Pilot Officer Walter Bartholomew McManus was from 504 Squadron and was flying Spitfire J/5469 which had been purchased as part of the Belfast Telegraph Spitfire Fund and was named "Down"

He had been flying from St Angelo Airfield in County Fermanagh to Ballyhalbert and crashed at Derrymacash near Lurgan.

He is buried in Ballycranbeg Roman Catholic Churchyard.

Walter McManus is shown here in 1940, looking at a Royal Canadian Air Force recruiting poster and on the right as Pilot Officer McManus with his Bride, Kathleen Hunt in May 1941. (Thanks very much to Jeff Hobson for the colourised picture above)

Below is the Telegram which his Bride received telling her of his death.

Pilot Officer Walter Bartholomew McManus received a Formal Military Funeral. His crashed aircraft is shown above (Originator unknown) His Headstone and the ceremony are shown below. (Many thanks to Stephen Riley and Selwyn Johnston for their assistance)

Lieutenant William McGarry and Sergeant William Willis at Ballycranbeg

Lt Frank William McGarry was with the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve and was based at Ballyhalbert with 768 Royal Naval Squadron working with Number 4 Naval Air Fighter School.

He was flying a Corsair JT357 when his engine failed and he crashed 5 miles SSW of the airfield.

Sergeant (Observer/Radar Operator) William Richard Willis, Service Number 1212906, was serving with 153 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve when he died on 26th May 1942.

Lance Sergeant John Donnan MM from Portavogie

John Donnan MM served in the Royal Scots Greys from 1937 until 1945

He was awarded the Military Medal in March 1945 at Biemen in support of the Sharpshooters. The action is described below.

In April 1945 John Donnan he was seriously wounded in both legs whilst rescuing 3 comrades from a burning tank and for him the war was over.
In civilian life he was a fisherman and later was the Fishing Inspector at Portavogie harbour.
He was also the Coxswain of the  Portavogie / Cloughey Lifeboat for 14 years
(Thanks very much to Roy Donnan for this information and photographs)

Killard Point

The American Troopship “Georgetown Victory” was built in 1945 and registered at Baltimore.

On 27th March 1946 it left Freemantle bound for Glasgow with 1200 Royal Navy men and Royal Marines who were looking forward to returning home and demobilisation following the end of the War.

On reaching Lands End the ship turned north for Glasgow but shortly before midnight on 30th April it passed close to St Johns Point before being driven onto the rocks at Killard Point.

Fortunately no fatalities took place and all men eventually reached Glasgow by other means a day later however many had lost various souvenirs of the war.

The ship later broke her back and was subsequently scrapped – some remains can still be seen in the shallows off Killard Point.

Greyabbey Aircraft Crash Site

Below is before and after I did a little cleaning.

Shown above are 2 pictures of a brass memorial plate which can be found on a wooden post at Tullykevin Road, Greyabbey marking the site of the crash of a Hellcat Aircraft.

The wording on the plate is difficult to read but says "In Memory of Sub Lt (A) L.F. Akister 300 Sqn R.N.V.R. Aged 20. Killed when his Hellcat GU146 Crashed Here on 4th July 1944. He is Not Forgotten"

Sub-Lieutenant Frederick Robert Akister was a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve based at H.M.S. Emperor and is now buried in St Peter Churchyard, Rawdon, Yorkshire.

Information from Ray Burrows - He was serving in 800 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm based at R.A.F. Ballyhalbert and was killed when the Grumman Hellcat JV146.

Strangford Lough Firing / Bombing Range - Gransha Point

Some evidence remains of the WW2 Bombing / Firing Range at Gransha Point.

The concrete structures shown here are at the shoreline and my first photograph shows Gransha Point in the rear left position.

While on my visit I was fortunate to find some firm evidence of its previous use in the form of this .50 Bullet.

Strangford Lough Bombing Range - South Island.

A practice Bombing Range was operated at South Island in Strangford Lough, north of the village of Greyabbey.

It had been requisitioned for an Air to Ground Gunnery Range with the target being a rough timber representation of a Submarine Conning Tower which was placed on the western end of the Island.

One of the practices was known as “Skip Bombing” a line of old military vehicles which were positioned on the island.

On one occasion a Seafire aircraft was struck by debris from a bomb dropped by the aircraft flying in front of it causing the Seafire to crash into the Lough at Kircubbin.

This selection of photographs shows the result of bridging equipment having been attacked from the air.

These photographs were taken at Gransha Point on 27th November 1942 (IWM Photographs)

'Ballyrolly House' - Millisle's "Kinderfarm"

Photograph above shows Edith Bown-Jacobowitz in 1940. ( © IWM Documents.6478)

Among those Jewish children brought to safety by the `Kindertransport’ was 14-year old Edith Jacobowitz. Edith arrived in Northern Ireland with her younger brother Gert in June 1939, having left her home in Berlin shortly after both parents were arrested by the Nazis. Although her father’s shop had escaped serious damage during the `Night of Broken Glass’, he subsequently had to sell it at a considerable loss as Jewish businesses were forcibly `Germanised’. With that, the family’s main source of income disappeared. Edith’s education was disrupted when she was forced to leave her `German’ school and instead attend one for Jewish children only. The family was finally torn apart with the arrest of her parents in May 1939. Their names had been found in a notebook belonging to a Jew who had been caught trying to leave Germany clandestinely, this was enough to have them put into prison. With the help of relatives, Edith and Gert managed to secure places on the `Kindertransport’ scheme, having been guaranteed reception by the Belfast Refugee Aid Committee.
Edith spent the first few weeks of her new life in Northern Ireland in a refugee hostel in Belfast, on Cliftonpark Avenue. As a city girl, this was an urban environment she was essentially familiar with. However, her situation changed completely when she was then sent on to be part of a unique project in the heart of the County Down countryside – the Refugee Settlement Farm at Millisle.

Millisle Farm had been the brainchild of the President of the Belfast Hebrew Congregation, Barney Hurwitz, and local businessman Lawrence Gorman, the farm’s owner. Gorman leased the derelict farmhouse (known as Ballyrolly House), outbuildings and land to the Belfast Refugee Aid Committee for the purpose of accommodating and training young Jewish refugees who wanted to prepare themselves for a future life in Palestine as `chalutzim’, pioneers of modern agricultural methods as exemplified in the Jewish `kibbutz’ settlements. The farm also became a rural haven for other refugees like Edith and Gert, relieving pressure on the urban hostels and providing the children with basic skills that would be useful in later life.

Millisle was far from being a country retreat. When the first refugees got there in May 1939, their immediate task was to transform it from a derelict site into a fully operational farm with accommodation for up to 80 refugees. This formidable task was overseen by the farm manager, Eugen Patriasz, a Hungarian agronomist. Much had been achieved by the time Edith arrived a month or so later, but conditions were still challenging, as she later recalled:

“Our dining-room was an old stable, where the rain trickled in gently. The sleeping accommodation consisted of two large tents, into which camp-beds were put side by side. The following night we moved into a cowshed which had been whitewashed. The days were rather pleasant, that July before the war. If we had not been waiting for news of our loved ones, it could have been fun.”

It could certainly be very hard work. Edith had her hands full helping to look after the younger children on the farm, noting in her diary that they “are really not very easy”. She was also put to work in the fields, after which the “back and thighs feel as if they were broken”. All of the children carried out some kind of farm work according to their age and abilities, for which they received pocket money. When they were not working, they attended local schools to continue their formal education. In this and other ways, the refugee children very much became part of the local community.

In a short space of time, the Refugee Settlement Farm grew to be a full-scale self-sustaining enterprise. A wide variety of vegetables and cereals were grown on the seventy-acre site, which also housed cows, chickens and Clydesdale workhorses (whose labour was supplemented by a Ferguson tractor). The refugees set up a farm machinery repair shop, a dairy, carpenters’ and cobblers’ workshops, a laundry and kitchens. Everyone contributed their own skills and learned new ones in this hive of activity.

Overshadowing these mostly positive experiences was the concern for the fate of parents and family back in Germany. Edith’s parents were eventually released from prison and able to correspond with their children, but communications were precarious and separation took its toll: “I am so very homesick and would like to cry like a little child. Dear God, give me strength and courage. If I only had someone”, she confided to her diary. In June 1941, on the day German troops invaded the Soviet Union, Edith wrote that “the possibility of seeing my parents again is hopeless. These days there are no miracles. The only consolation is that they know us safe, and we know that they have that consolation”. Like most of the Millisle refugees, Edith lost her parents to the Holocaust. Her father Wilhelm Jacobowitz died in Dachau, her mother Else was murdered in Auschwitz. As another Millisle refugee later commented, “gradually, one by one, all the children of the farm became orphans”.

Edith spent several periods of time on the farm, interspersed with other jobs in Belfast including work in a garment factory and being a nanny (“I pushed the baby through the back streets of Belfast and read Dickens and Thackeray while she slept”). Her role caring for younger children in Belfast and on the farm helped form Edith’s wish to enter the medical profession. In September 1942, just before her 18th birthday, she became a trainee nurse at Ards District Hospital in nearby Newtownards. She qualified as a nurse in 1945, leaving Northern Ireland a year later to continue her studies as a midwife in England. This led to over twenty years working as a health visitor in Kent, where Edith settled with her husband and family. She later wrote: “It has been a very good life so far. My only regret is that my parents were not alive to enjoy it with us”.

The Millisle farm continued to operate until May 1948, when the last refugees left. During the course of its existence as a refugee farm it had been a home to well over 300 children and their adult guardians. Whilst relatively few actually went on to continue their agricultural work in Palestine, all who spent time at Millisle took with them experiences and memories of a very special place which stayed with them for the rest of their lives.

Stephen Walton, Senior Curator, Imperial War Museum.

Edith is seen in the centre of this picture working in the Kitchen at the Kinderfarm (IWM Picture)

View of the Kitchen shown above with Farmwork taking place below (IWM Picture)

Ploughing above and using a Plain in a Workshop at the Kinderfarm below. (IWM Pictures)

Walter Kammerling and children at the Kinderfarm (Thanks to Down County Museum)

As the Nazi's took control of mainland Europe and commenced the Holocaust a rather special evacuation plan was put into place to rescue thousands of Jewish children.

Known as "Kindertransport" Jewish children were transported to Harwich and from there many arrived in Belfast to be looked after by the Jewish Aid Committee.

Following a meeting in Mooneys Public House at Cornmarket in central Belfast (This Public House is shown as it looked on 26th May 1938 thanks to "Old Belfast Photographs" Facebook site) it was arranged to take out a lease on the then vacant Ballyrolly House in Millisle.

Shown here is the Farm House including an original "Blackout Blind" (Below) which remains in position in one of the Farm Outbuildings.

The Outbuildings and rear Farmyard are shown below.

Between 1939 and 1948 around 300 Jewish Children lived at what became known as the Kinderfarm.

The children worked hard on the farm and were soon self sufficient with vegetables. They also built a small synagogue on site and attended Millisle Primary School.

On the left is an Application from Jews in Belfast to bring 5 Jewish Children and 2 Supervisors from Vienna to Northern Ireland (PRONI)

The little story on the right was written in wet cement in a Farm Outbuilding by one of the Jewish children.

The author has signed it. The name is very difficult to distinguish however the initial is "W" and it has been dated at the bottom with the year 1941.

It is very difficult to make out however I believe it says:-

"Here in this very place the boarders played cards. They were supposed to be working. The Boss came down and kicked up a row - result E. Meyerstein flew out"  

Along the bottom line appears to be a Date - 15 / II 1941 meaning 15th February 1941 and the name W. Rorrchet (Alough I am not sure of the name)

Here is the list of kindertransport who were attending Jaffe school 1938/9.

The School Register of Jaffe School, Cliftonville Road, Belfast - 1938-9

Max Eindfeld, Vienna, aged 6,                    Robert Sugar, Vienna, aged 9,                      Walter Koechen, Germany, aged 12,          Walter Lemberger, Germany, aged 13

Albert Buttkas, Germany, aged 14,             Hans Lemberger ,Germany, aged 15            Leopold Dux, Germany, aged 13,               Robert Muller, Germany,    

Paul Bass ,Vienna, aged 14,                       Walter Kammerling, Vienna, aged 15           Erich Meirstein, Gottingen,, aged 15           Harry Borgenich, Vienna, aged 10

Robert Furst, Berlin, aged 15,                     Max Weinberg, Vienna, aged 12,                  Alex Blumenburg, Munich, aged 12            Joseph Frey, Germany, aged 15

Erne Saefer, Germany, aged 10,                Annie Graf, aged 12                                       Alice (Litzie) Lemberger, aged 13               Heddy Kalz aged 15

Alice Muller aged 14                                   Eina Hoene, aged 15                                     Clara Nussbaum aged 14                            Kitty Dux, Germany, aged 14

Betty Fassberg, Cologne, aged 14             Annie Nussbaum, Vienna, aged 10               Annie Horne, Vienna, aged 13                     Sonja Mechlovitz, Vienna, aged 10

Gertrude Neufeld, Vienna, aged 10            Gusti Blumenberg, Munich, aged 13

(Thanks very much to Steven Jaffe For this wonderful List.)

This is the "Safe Haven" Holocaust Memorial Garden which can be seen at the entrance to Millisle Primary School.

My sincere appreciation goes to both Mr Magill, who is the current owner of Ballyrolly House, and Mrs Linda Patterson, Principal of Millisle Primary School for their patience and assistance.

Statues marking the Kinder Transport can be seen at Railway Stations in various Cities including London.

The one shown above is in Hamburg while Prague is seen on the right.

The two photographs below show the same statue from different angles.

It can be seen in Berlin outside Friedrichstrasse Railway Station and is entitled "Trains to Life. Trains to Death"

Some of the Jewish Children visiting the Belfast Telegraph Offices (Thanks to Debbie Levi)

D-Day Ship, Portaferry

From Lough Shore Road at Portaferry you can see the wreck of a ship in Ballyhenry Bay in Strangford Lough.

The ship can be seen clearly at low tide and has an interesting story. – This was a  Ship which was known as S.S. Empire Tana.

Built in 1923 as "Carso” in Trieste, Italy was captured by the Allies in 1943 and renamed.

This ship was used as part of the Goosberry Breakwater on the British “Sword” Beach in Normandy on D-day 6th June 1944.

After the war the ship was purchased by the John Lee Breakers Yard at when being delivered to the breakers yard it struck a rock, sank and broke into 2 pieces.

The picture above shows S.S. Empire Tana as she used to look. (For more information visit

William Brownlow of Portaferry

William Brownlow was born in Portaferry, County Down.
He was the Son of Colonel Guy Brownlow and Elinor Scott.
Having been educated at Eton College William joining the British Army following the outbreak of the Second World War. He was commissioned into his father's former regiment, the Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own).
During his wartime service William was wounded and Mentioned in Despatches three times.
He retired as Major in 1954.
He was awarded the rank of Honorary Colonel in 1973 in the Northern Irish Militia, part of the Royal Irish Rangers.
William Brownlow is buried in Portaferry.

Taggart Family Victims of Belfast Blitz Buried in Portaferry

This is the Taggart Headstone which is in the same Cemetery as Colonel Brownlow.

Included on this Headstone is a reference to " William Henry Taggart. Dearly loved and loving Son. Died 15th April 1941.

William Henry Taggart was killed in the Belfast Blitz.

He was 42 years old and lived at 29 St. Leonard Street, Belfast with his Wife Elizabeth, aged 43 and Daughter Ellen who was just 6 years old.

All three are recorded as having been killed at 135 Mervue Street, Belfast however neither Elizabeth or Ellen are recorded on this Headstone.

An explaination may be that William was the only one who was positively identified with his wife and Daughter being laid to rest in the Mass Grave in Belfast City Cemetery.

If anyone has any information please contact me.

Royal Marine Donnan from Portaferry

Royal Marine Henry A. Donnan, Service Number PLY X 894, was from South Lane, Portaferry.

He was serving aboard H.M.S. Glorious on the 8th June 1940 when the British aircraft carrier and her two destroyer escorts, HMS Ardent and Acasta were sunk, returning home from Norway, by the German battlecruisers, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. 

1,519 British and Maltese Sailors, Marines and Airmen died in the Royal Navy’s worst loss of the Second World War. H.M.S. Glorious is shown below.

The Telegram shown above was sent to his Family however fortunately Marine Donnan had survived the attack and sinking and is named on the List below.

He was embarked on H.M.S. Veteran which is shown below. (IWM)

Murlough House, Dundrum.

This is Murlough House which can be found in close proximity to what was 19 Satellite Landing Ground.

The House can be reached through the National Trust property at Dundrum however it can only be viewed from outside as this is private property.

It became home to 1st Battalion, 13th Armour of the United States 1st Armoured Division in 1942 and up until 29th April 1944 was also a base for 818th Tank Destroyer Battalion of 15 Corps United States Army.

Lieutenant General Sir Harold Franklyn Inspecting an Ulster Home Guard Camp at Murlough House on 8th June 1943. (IWM Photo)

The two photographs above show Lieutenant General Franklyn talking to the "Men of Down" about the importance of Ulster Home Guard Training. (IWM Pictures)

These pictures show Lieutenant General Franklyn inspecting the Cookhouse where W.V.S. Parsonnel under Mrs. Jack Forsythe are Cooking for the Ulster Home Guard at Murlough House (IWM Photograph)

Holding Company, Kent Corps Troops, Royal Engineers at Murlough House.

This selection of photographs show Holding Company, Kent Corps Troops, Royal Engineers training at Murlough House. (IWM Pictures)

Some of the Soldiers are seen with Anfi-Tank Rifles (IWM Pictures)

Main Street, Dundrum

This House at 51 Main Street, Dundrum was used by E Company, 16th Battalion, 1st Armoured Division of the U.S.Army although unfortunately I do not have any more precise information.

Harbour Defence Motor Launch, Dundrum Bay

This sad old Boat which sits rotting away in Dundrum Bay has an interesting WW2 history.

It was built by Blackmore in Bideford, Devon and was completed in 1943.

Powered by Gardner 300hp diesils it had a maximum speed of 11.8 knots.

The boat was lightly armed and used for Harbour Defence with this particular boat being ML1300 which served to protect Weymouth Harbour which was a very important Port during Operation Overlord – The invasion of Occupied Europe on 6th June 1944.

Anti Landing Obstacles Murlough Beach

These pictures show some of the Anti-Landing Poles which were erected to prevent any airborne landing  attempted by enemy forces.

This particular area was of considerable importance with the Military using Murlough House as well as the nearby Airstrip and around Dundrum Castle there were a number of American Forces.

There are a few interesting items in close proximity. The sign I have photographed above is one of a number which are along this section of public beach. This is because Ballykinlar Ranges are in the sand dunes on the other side of the water.

All of this as well as Ballykinlar Camp where the sand dunes behind the ranges can be seen in the picture top right. It is also worth noting that these poles stretch for quite a distance and the area would have had the additional protection of a pillbox which has now collapsed. 


Shown on the left are 2 Spent Cases which were recovered when a man was metal detecting.

The markings on the base of the cartridges show them to be:-

SL 42 - Saint Louis Ordnance Plant manufactured in 1942.

RA 42 - Remmington Arms manufactured in 1942.

Both of American production and dated after December 1941 when the United Stated entered the war.

(From History of Newcastle County Down Facebook Page)

Seaforde House

Seaforde House was used from 25th October 1943 by 5th Reconnaissance Troop Mechanised 5th Infantry Division of the United States Army who used the M-48 Scoutcar.

The location of this photograph is now within the Seaforde House Estate which includes a tourist attraction Tropical Butterfly House - How times have changed!

The yard where the U.S. Troops M.T. Section can be seen working in now a busy farming area and out of bounds to visitors.  (Picture from "After The Battle" Magazine)

Here are soldiers of 10th Troop Carrying Company, Royal Army Service Corps with men debussing from their trucks wearing Gas Masks at Seaforde on 10th April 1941.

The same R.A.S.C. Troops are seen above left making Camouflage Nets at Seaforde House.

William Shanks of Ballynahinch.

Shown second left in this photograph is William Shanks from Ballynahinch.
He is believed to have served with the Black Watch and was shot in the leg whilst serving in Burma.

The Service Record Card shows that after the General Service Corps William served with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers before transferring to the Black Watch. He remained in service until January 1948. (Thanks very much to Christopher Shanks)

Fatal Training Accident, Ballynahinch

Lieutenant Walter Bennett Brown was serving with the North Staffordshire Regiment when he was killed on 6th May 1942.

An Inquest was held on 9th May 1942 in Castlereagh.

Lieutenant Brown was 23 years old and as a result of laceration of the Brain which happened when he was demonstrating Explosives.

Walter Brown was from 82 Harrowby Road, Grantham, Lincolnshire. (Thanks very much to the Brown Family)

Gibraltarian Evacuees in Saintfield

Sighted on right of the Ballygowan Road on leaving Saintfield can be seen the red bricked building shown here. - This is the site of an old Grbraltarian Evacuee Camp similar to those seen in the County Antrim section of this website.

The red bricked building was used to generate electricity and an amount of wiring and electrical boxes can be found inside.

The picture on the right shows a concrete path running across the field as well as the concrete base of a nissen hut which was used for accommodation purposes.

(Photograph above from Belfast Jewish Heritage)

These are original Buildings from the Gibraltarian Evacuee Camp which still remain. (Thanks very much to the Kerr family for assistance)

This red bricked building was a Cold Store for meat. The Rails for hanging the meat still run along either side of the building with a work Bench.

The remains of a Work Bench is seen above with the original insulated Door shown below.

Narrowwater Castle, Warrenpoint

This is the very impressive Narrowwater Castle on the Newry Road at Warrenpoint. During the Second World War the United States Army 2nd Infantry Division had men quartered on both the upper floors and in the surrounding grounds.

Evidence of the occupation of the grounds can be seen from around fifteen concrete bases for Nissen huts which remain adjacent to the Mound Road side of the estate.

The pictures above show American soldiers at what they knew as Camp Narrow water.

Below are the men of 3rd Platoon, Company D 2nd Infantry, 5th Division of the United States Army at Narrow Water. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY PHOTOGRAPHS)

Aerial photograph above shows Narrowwater Castle centre left (PRONI)

An illustration of the size of the Military Camp at Narrowwater can be seen in the aerial photograph above.

From bottom left to top right you can see a number of rectangular shapes. These are the concrete bases of Nissen Huts which were occupied by Soldiers and there are Foutreen within this small area of the Narrowwater site (Google photograph)

The upper  photograph shows Private First Class Stanley Pszczola from Chicago on the left with Private First Class Erwin Shaw from Vandyke Michigan operating a German MG-34 machine gun.

Staff Sergeant John S. Selby from Milroy Indiana has a German Mauser K-98 rifle.

The photographs were taken on 12 April 1944 at Narrow Water Castle.

Mobile Dental Van at Warrenpoint

The British Army Dental Corps use mobile Dental Surgeries like this one from Number 21 Mobile Dental Ulit seen at Warrenpoint (IWM Pictures)

Military Magazine


With the speedy build-up of military personel throughout Northern Ireland many places were used for storage of ordnance including a large Ordnance Depots at Shanes Castle in County Antrim and at Ballykinlar Camp in County Down.

Another Ammunition Supply Depot Magazine in Down was built between Ballynahinch and Crossgar adjacent to Lough Mann. This was opened in 1942 and was known by the United States Military as "Quartermaster Subordinate Depot 111C"

This complex is now operated by Thales Air Defence systems and it is here that modern missiles are stored and tested. There is little to see. (Google picture)

Seahill Prisoner of War Camp

Aerial view of the site of this P.O.W. Camp (PRONI)

There were a number of Prisoner Of War camps throughout Northern Ireland including this one on the coast at Seahill.

Other P.O.W. Camps were located at places such as Dungannon, Cookstown, Omagh, Portadown and Gilford.

The layout of the Seahill P.O.W. Camp appears to have been 2 groups of a total of 12 huts in 2 stepped rows of six. These huts were surrounded by barbed wire which was secured to old wooden railway sleepers.

Some of the trees show where they have been marked by the barbed wire which was used to secure the Camp.

Here you can see where a large tree has grown over the original barbed wire and the another picture shows one of the railway sleepers with original wire still attached.

German Prisoner of War at Seahill

Rudi Brulz was a German Soldier during the Second World War.

Having served on the Eastern Front the volunteered to become a Paratrooper - A Fallschirmjager and on completion of his training he found himself in action on the Western Front.

Having been captured at the Belgian border with France he was transported to Northern Ireland where he was in Prisoner of War Camps in Londonderry and Dungannon before arriving in the Jacksons Road Camp in Holywood in the Summer of 1945 however his travels had not finished and the following year he found himself at Seahill.

Rudi stayed at Seahill until the Spring of 1947 when he was sent to a Work Camp in Scotland and finally returned home to Germany in 1948.

(Fallschirmjager badge below from Wikipedia)

(Thanks very much to Robin Masefield for this photograph and Information - See much more in his excellent book "Twixt Brae and Burn" 


Items Found at Seahill Prisoner of War Camp

It is always brilliant to discover something which can be related to a Person and they don't get much better than this!

This is an intact German Dog Tag Identity Disc.

There were never names on German Discs but simply a number as well as details on his Unit and in this case we have Number 1548 who was serving with Number 1 Battery, Flak Ersatz Abteilung Number 6 which was formed in Hamburg on 26th August 1939 with three Batteries.

Here are some examples of work which was done by german Prisoners of War. They are copies of Military Badges.
On the left is the General Assault Badge with the Infantry Assault Badge in the middle and the U-Boat War Badge on the right.

Here is a Knife which would have belonged to a Prisoner. It was made in Sheffield and has a number stamped on the handle.

As well as Items relating to Prisoners the Soldiers who Guarded them have also left items behind. Here is a Royal Berkshire Regiment badge and the button in the centre is Kriegsmarine so would have been a German Prisoner of War. To the right is a War Department stamped Key fob! 

(Thanks very much to Norman and Michael for this fabulous insight into our Second World War past)

Bangor Golf Club Pillbox

Here are some photographs of the Pillbox which can be found on the course at Bangor Golf Club. 

It appears to be what was known as a Type 22 fitted with rifle ports.

During the war all the greenery around the pillbox was removed to ensure a clear unobstructed line of fire and the building is now used for storage.

During the Nazi bombing of Bangor a landmine landed nearby on the 1st fairway and waited 4 days before exploding harmlessly at 4am.

In an attempt to prevent any air landing attempts steel posts were driven into the second fairway and the Golf Club's commitment to the war effort included a Tillage Order in 1940 for 18 acres of the course to be used to grow food crops.

(Many thanks to Davy Hay and  William Bullar for Photographs)

Clandeboye Estate, Bangor

From 25th December 1943 until 29th April 1944 Clandeboye Estate found itself acting as home to the 277th Army Band of the United States Army.

Second World War Secret at Orlock

The area of Orlock on the North Down coastline has a number of items which are of interest to any Second World War enthusiast. Further down this section are a few of them however here we have a secret!!

Around the mid 2000's an amateur diver was exploring the inlet beside the small tunnel on the Orlock Coastal path.

He reported finding wooden sections which were held together by iron and appeared to form a "Man made floor".

I have enquired from the Ulster University Maritime Archaeology Department regarding this and included pictures of the item shown here.

It is said that the boards on the seabed may be connected to a Second World War Submarine Re-Fuelling Station.

The item shown here appears to be the same type of boards as those lying on the seabed.

Orlock Submarine Indicator Loop

Here we have evidence of one of the projects involved in the defence of Belfast Lough.

It was realised long before the Second World War that great importance should be given to the defence of Belfast Lough and this is illustrated in other sections of this site referring to Greys Point Fort and Kilroot on the County Antrim shoreline.

Another link which was made with Black Head on the County Antrim side was a Submarine Indicator Loop which was laid on the seabed from Sandeel Bay at Orlock.

This electrical cable was used to detect any submarine which passed over it. Action could then be taken by the Royal Navy Extended Defence Officer at Orlock to detonate an electrically operated minefield.

The rocks in the picture above show where the cable entered the sea.

The Officer in charge of this Equipment was Captain King. (From "Second Thoughts" by Charles F. Milligan O.B.E.)


The 5th Infantry Division of the United States Army were to be found throughout much of South Down. 

The 5th signal Company was in Tollymore Park at Bryansford  with Reconnaissance Troop being at Seaforde. 

The 7th Engineer Battalion and 705th Ordnance Company were in Castlewellan. (Picture from "After The Battle" Magazine)

The pictures above show the 5th Quartermaster Company at work in Clough during March 1944 and a similar view of the Castlewellan Road as it is today.

The photograph on the left shows two American Soldiers in the Camp in Clough. (Thanks to Clare Ferris)

Mount Panther, Clough

In 1942 Mount Panther was home to 2nd Battalion 1st Armour of the 1st Armoured Division United States army. Also based there was 13th Infantry of 8th Infantry Division and 21st Field Artillery Battalion of 5th Division whose hutted accommodation can be seen in the black and white picture below (From "After The Battle" Magazine)

Little remains to be seen other than quite a large concreted area on the Dundrum Road immediately outside the village of Clough from which a concrete path continues around where the Nissen Huts, which are shown in the picture below, were situated.

American Soldiers at Camp Panther.

(From Ballykinler History Hut)

Soldiers left their mark at Mount Panther

Above says "B'ham Ala" meaning Birmingham, Alabama.

On the right appears to be Chic. meaning Chicago and "Maroe"

E.D.P. was from Indianapolis with E.P.N. from Wisconsin. My photograph on the right shows a tree into which knives have been stuck. 

Above appears to say "From Hudson N.Y." meaning Hudson, New York.

The picture on the right is difficult to read.

It has a Sergeants Chevrons which are facing downward and below them is "Heros" probably meaning Heroes.

Unfortunately I cannot read anything else.

On the left is a Star with perhaps 117 inside it and "Illinois.The United States" below. On the right is "J Ceaser was here" with "8C 55" below"

On the left I can see "Leroy" but cannot read below. To the right R.L.W. was from Georgia.

Fantastic that these can sitll be seen!

Belgian Army at Mount Panther

Note that the Card shown above is dated 1945

'Orban Jacque, Mount Panther Camp, Armee Belgie' written on the back of this photograph

Belgian Army Cooks at Mount Panther Camp

Belgian Soldiers standing in front of Huts at Mount Panther Camp (All of the 4 photographs above come from the Ballykinler History Hut at Down Museum. Thanks very Much)


During 1942 a Company of 3rd Battalion, 6th Armoured Infantry, 1st Armoured Division of the United States Army were based in Ardglass.

Ship Runs aground, Ardglass

The Ship, S.S. Bereby of the Elder Dempster Line had been loaded with Army Stores and Equipment.

The ship ran aground at Ardglass and much of her cargo, including the trucks shown here, had to be transferred onto Landing Craft for the ship to be refloated.

Photographs taken on 9th October 1941. (IWM Pictures)

Ballywalter House

The wonderful Ballywalter House Demesne is directly across the road from what was Ballywalter Airfield and, as I have mentioned in the County Down Airfields Section, aircraft were hidden among trees in the grounds of Dunleaths Estate.

Michael Henry Mulholland, the 5th Baron Dunleath of Ballywalter, attained the rank of Major during the war and served with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He had joined the Regiment in India in 1937 and fought in the Japanese campaign in Burma.

While he was serving with the Ox and Bucks the stable block and outbuildings within the Estate were used by Military personnel with members of the Royal Ulster Rifles and Royal Berkshire Regiment leaving their mark in the form of this graffiti.

Interestingly his Battalion returned to the U.K. in 1942 for training purposes and for a while were based at Ballyscullion House near Bellaghy where his parents lived.

The house had been requisitioned but because Michael Henry was yet to become a Major he was not permitted by the Army to live in his parents house but rather a nissen hut in the grounds!!

Any person intending to interfere with The Royal Berkshires artwork would be wise to heed the written warning and "Don't **** about with it or else" - It is pleasing to see that the 4 artists have signed their work saying "Completed this work of art on 8.12.42 In co-operation Sir"

Ballywalter Harbour

This seat can be found at Ballywalter Harbour.

It is part of the "Art at the Heart of the Peninsula" Project.

Mount Stewart

When you arrive in the Car Park at Mount Stewart please be aware that in the tall trees which you are beside contain a number of interesting items.

Here are some carvings. J.G.A. was from Oxton, Birkenhead and was at Mount Stewart with the R.A.F. in 1940. A nearby comment says "Victory is Ours. R.A.F."

Above is what remains of a very overgrown Nissen Hut which appears to have containged 2 Tractor Sheds.

Another tree which appears to have been claimed by Royal Engineers soldiers who have left their initials.

Following the deployment of 231 Squadron R.A.F. to Newtownards Airfield in 1940 soldiers from 106 Field Squadron (Air Support) Royal Engineers (Volunteers) arrived to work on the airfield to make it suitable for the R.A.F. to operate from.

Headquarters Company of the Royal Engineers was based at Mount Stewart with their Officer Commanding - Major Fulton being billeted in the House while junior ranks were housed in the buildings around the Coach House and stables as shown here.

There are also a number of concrete bases on which nissen huts would have been constructed whilst the two photographs below show what I believe was a Shower Block. (Thanks very much to Toby Edwards for his assistance)

On going inside the surprises continue.

In the attic rooms connected to the main Mansion House was a Convalescence Ward covering both the First and Second World Wars.

In 2003 a total of 10 rooms were identified with paper notices being on several doors. One partial example displayed a typed list of soldiers names however this has now gone.

Room 36, which was a toilet, has the sign "Officers" on the door with other rooms containing neatly stacked bed frames and Room 35 containing a store of bandages, bedpans, Air-Raid Warden helmets and gas masks.

The signs shown below are from the Convalescence Ward.

There is also a statuette of a Nazi Stormtrooper which is on display in Mount Stewart House. This was a gift which was presented by Joachin Von Ribbentrop to Lord Londonderry, who had been Secretary of State for Air, during one of his 6 visits to Germany between 1936 and 1938.

Lord Londonderry, Charles Stewart Henry Van-Tempest-Stewart is shown here on the left with Joachim Von Ribbentrop to the right and Adolf Hitler standing in the centre.

This photograph was taken in Berlin in February 1936 (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)

These photographs show the Antlers of a Stag which was shot by Lord Londonderry whilst on a trip to visit Goring at his estate, Karrinhall in 1934.

(Pictures above from Bundesarchive)

(Northern Whig articles above thanks to Steve Kerr)

Donaghadee Golf Club

During a visit to Mount Stewart Lord Londonderry brought Joachim Von Ribbentrop for a round of Golf to Donaghadee Golf Club. (Information from Donaghadee Golf Club)

Photographs of Joachim Von Ribbentrop playing golf at Donaghadee Golf Club (Pictures from Gary Angus)