The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

County Down Part 8

Gunner Hugh Coffey from Newtownards

Gunner Hugh Coffey served with the Royal Artillery.

He was serving with 5th Light Battery, Royal Artillery when on 27th August 1939 he was called up.

Hugh was from 16 Upper Movilla Street, Newtownards and was serving at Tobruk when he was taken Prisoner Of War by the Italian Army.

He was subsequently held P.O.W. by the Germans for almost three years.

(Thanks very much to Hugh Coffey)

William "Bill" Seale from Bangor

William Edgar 'Bill' Seale was born in Linkinhorne, Cornwall in 1921.

Bill, Service Number Devonport KX97702, joined the Royal Navy in 1939 and the photograph below shows him at the Trevol Rifle Range at H.M.S. Raleigh in November 1939.

Bill served in the Royal Navy from 1940 until 1961 and was on the following ships:-

1940 Illustrious

1941 Forte and Childers

1942 Catterick and Dragon based in Durban

1944 Sennen

1946 Saimerez and Chaplet in Malta then Childers in Alexandria

1947 He was in Gibraltar and Malta

1952 Louch Vevatie in Amsterdam

1953 Dalrymple based in Malta 

1960 Cheviot in which he crossed the Equator - See Below.

(Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

During 1940 Bill served on H.M.S. Illustrious which is shown below in Bermuda (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

H.M.S. Illustrious is shown above during Exercised in the Atlantic in July 1940.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Fairey Fulmar taking off from H.M.S. Illustrious  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

A Fairey Fulmar which had went over the side of H.M.S. Illustrious being recovered.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Shown above are Italian Bombs falling around Destroyer Escort of Illustrious  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Italian aircraft shot down by Illustrious  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

The two photographs above show an Italian CANT 506B aircraft which was shot down by H.M.S. Illustrious and below is a survivor   (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Colleoni on fire. (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Colleoni torpedoed by H.M.A.S. Sydney  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

The two photographs above show H.M.A.S. Sydney in action in the Mediterranean. The picture below shows Sydney on her safe return to Alexandria Harbour.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Ras El Tin and the Western Harbour in Alexandria, Egypt.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Above shows Bill Seale and other Crew members on arrival in Alexandria, Egypt  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

The battle of Cape Passero

The Italian Navy ship Artigliere was sunk on 13th October 1940 by HMS York after being damaged the previous day.

There were 122 survivors, the 132 casualties included the commanding officer (CO), Captain Carlo Margottini. The wreck was discovered in 2017.

The ship is seen being engaged by HMS York below.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

These pictures above and below show Artigliere during the battle  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

These pictures above and below show Artigliere during the battle  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

The final two photographs above show the sinking of the ship (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

H.M.S. Warspite with H.M.S. Barham in the background in Alexandria.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

H.M.S. Warspite, Malaya and Eagle in Alexandria.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

This selection of photographs show british Ships being bombed by Italians in the Mediterranean Sea  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

These pictures show bombs falling between H.M.S. Illustrious and H.M.S. Warspite.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

(Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Bombs fall around H.M.S. Illustrious on her way to the Middle East.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Bombs fall around H.M.S. Glouster as photographed from Illustrious  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Bombs dropped by Enemy aircraft photographed from Illustrious  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

British Anti-Aircraft fire  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

A Near Miss by an Enemy Bomb. H.M.S. Illustrious on the left and H.M.S. Warspite on the right.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

H.M.S. Illustrious photographed from a Swordfish aircraft.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Report of Wound received on H.M.S. Drake on 18th May 1941.   (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Certificate of Wound received during attack by Enemy Aircraft on 28th May 1941.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Wound Certificate from when he was injured on 7th September 1941 on HMS Forte  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Christmas Day 1941 Naval Dinner (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

The back of the Menu has been signed by those attending the Dinner as well as three Italian Prisoners Of War!!

H.M.S. Liverpool has her Bow blown off by a torpedo.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

This group of photographs are aboard H.M.S. Catterick in 1942 (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Aboard H.M.S. Catterick in South Aftica  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Able Seaman Nuisance boarded H.M.S. Catterick in Simons Town, South Africa  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Rescue of Downed  South African Air Force Airmen off South Africa.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Having been rescued by H.M.S. Catterick the Airmen are then collected by Air Force Boat.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Rough seas in the Mediterranean for H.M.S. Dainty  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Certificate for crossing the Equator.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Fairey Fulmar Aircraft from HMS Illustrious leaving Aboukir, Egypt.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Bomb Crater in Aboukir, Egypt.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Bombs being prepared for Taranto Attack.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

H.M.S. Malaya with French Battleship in background.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

H.M.S. Orion with stick of bombs exploding astern  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Making a depth Charge Attack  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

H.M.S. Childers arrives in Malta 25th January 1946  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Ships Company, Malta July 1946  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

H.M.S. Saimerez hits mine in Corfu Channel on 22nd October 1946  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Shown above is major damage from Siamerez Mine Attack  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

H.M.S. Gannet (Eglinton Airfield) in 1952.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

William Edgar Seale photographed in 1954  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Admiralty Certificate for leaving the Royal Navy on 20th July 1961 and his Royal Navy Cap below  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

This is his photograph for his Identity Card when performing Security Duties at Kennegar Army Depot Holywood in 1966  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Army Motorcycle Trial at Newtownards

This series of Photographs shows Army Motorcycle Trials taking place at Ards Leadmines on 6th April 1941. The winners were Air Formation Signals.

(Photographs from the Imperial War Museum)

Flight Lieutenant Richard Field born Newtownards.

Flt Lt. Richard Field was born Newtownards before moving to Greenisland.

Richard Field joined RAF Coastal Command in 1939, as an Aircraftman until leaving in 1946 as Flight Lieutenant.

He was a Wireless Operator and Air Gunner, initially flying Ansons in 206 Squadron until 1941.

Whilst with 206 Squadron he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal after the aircraft in which he was flying convoy escort duty encountered very bad weather conditions.
The wireless set became unservicable and the crew were unable to get bearings for the return.
Working in dim light, he dismantled the set, and traced the problem to a broken wire.
He instructed the Air Gunner to hold the two ends of the wires, which returned the wireless set to working order, and bearings to the airfield could be obtained.
Upon landing they were 2 hours overdue and there was less than half and hours fuel remaining!

In May 1940, he converted onto the Lockheed Hudson, performing convoy escorts, bombing raids, and reconnaissance flights.

In early 1941, he moved to BOAC Atlantic Ferry Organisation, operating in Lockheed Hudsons and B17 Flying Fortresses.

In mid 1941, he was stationed again with 206 Squadron at Aldergrove.

He joined 279 Sqdn from late 1941 – 1943, again flying the Lockheed Hudson performing convoy patrols and Search and Rescue for downed airmen.

Further attachments with 5 Operational Training Unit (OTU) in late 1943, joining 1510 Flight as an instructor on the Beam Approach Beacon System (BABS) in early 1944.

In late 1945 he was attached to Atlantic Transport Group, before finally operating in Liberators with 220 Sqdn until leaving the RAF.
Richard is on the right in the Group Photograph. (Thanks very much to Rich Black for information and photographs)