The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

County Antrim Airfields

Royal Air Force Aldergrove (Belfast International Airport)

If you have arrived in Northern Ireland via Belfast International Airport then congratulations as you have already visited what was Royal Air Force station Aldergrove! - The pictures above right show an unprotected Type c Hangar.

****Sadly on visiting in June 2015 this Hangar has now been demolished****

This is how the Civil Airport as it looked in 1982.

Top left you can see the large blue coloured Hangar which is shown above while in the centre of the photograph are a number of WW2 Military Nissen Huts.

(Thanks to Al McCann for this picture)

This stained glass window showing the R.A.F. Aldergrove station crest can be seen at Killead Church of which there are more details below.

R.A.F. Aldergrove was used by the U.S. 9th Air Force who knew it as AAF 439 and that during 1940 Aldergrove was the Terminus for the North Atlantic Ferry Route to and from the U.S. until Luftwaffe raids forced a move to Prestwick in Scotland.

The Photograph above shows Aldergrove as it looked in 1968. - It gives a good view of the layout of the Airfield. Below is how the Main Gate of R.A.F. Aldergrove looked in 1920. This would have been centre right of the above photograph. (From Belfast Live)

(Old photograph of Aldergrove Aerodrome thanks to Selwyn Johnston.) *****PLEASE DO NOT COPY*****

Aldergrove as it looked in 1926 (Thanks very much to David Whiteside)

This is the old Aldergrove Railway Station which stood in close proximity to the western side of the Airfield. (From All things Lisburn Old and New)

In 1939 Aldergrove was used by the Royal Air Force 3 Bombing and Gunnery School and Number 23 Maintainance Unit.

Here we have some pictures showing an Air Raid Shelter which is partly underground and accessed down steps inside the concrete protection walls. There is access to the shelter from both sides and it is close to a Building which has the typical old "Guard Room" Look. (Thanks very much to Kenny Kirkpatrick and Mark Gaul for their assistance)

Cecil Doyle with 23 Maintenance Unit at Aldergrove.

Cecil Doyle was born in Crumlin in 1918 and when he was14 years old he started work in the Officers Mess at R.A.F. Aldergrove. 

In 1940 he moved to 23 M.U. and work on the maintenance of aircraft. He also joined the Home Guard.
After the war he returned to the Officers Mess and continued to work there until his retirement in 1983. 

Cecil can be seen 3rd from the right in the front row of the picture above.

The Officers Mess at Aldergrove is shown in the photograph below. (Thanks very much to Edna Doyle for the information and photographs)

Rare Colour Film Footage of R.A.F. at Aldergrove!

I have a "Video" Section on this website showing various films relating to the Second World War in Northern Ireland however the film shown here is excellent footage of life at R.A.F. Aldergrove at the beginning of the war. - Please click on the link below!

Tragic Crash at R.A.F. Aldergrove

At 11.35am on 19th July 1941 Bristol Blenheim Mk IV T2120 of 254 Squadron, R.A.F. Aldergrove was being piloted by Flying Officer Walter Hargreaves King 88706 , who is shown below (Thanks to his Nephew Tony King), when a serious crash occurred.

Flying Officer King had dived the aircraft to low level over the airfield but unfortunately he struck an obstruction. The R.A.F. Aircraft Accident Card has had the description of this obstruction as “Telegraph Pole” crossed out and “Wireless Mast” inserted.
The aircraft crashed into the roof of the NAAFI Building and when the fuel tanks of the aircraft burst the burning fuel set the building alight killing some of the girls who worked there and injuring a number of others.
Some of the wreckage was thrown into a 23 Maintenance Unit Hangar where the Ground Defence Force was drilling – They were practicing a Funeral March for a forthcoming Funeral, and thirteen casualties were sustained.

Another Airman who had been walking along a road in Camp was killed by the aircraft.

The building circled in this aerial photograph and shown directly above is where the NAAFI building had stood at the time of the crash.

The Aldergrove Operations Record Book refers to “The plane became uncontrollable and it crashed through the roof of the NAAFI building, where the (fuel) tanks burst and set the building on fire. Parts of the wreckage flew in the direction of a 23 Maintenance Unit Hanger, in front of which a party of the Ground Defence Force had been drilling. Some of these men were hit by the wreckage, causing 13 casualties.
Some of the girl employees in the NAAFI were trapped in the collapse of the building and killed outright while others were injured.”
Fire Tenders from Aldergrove and Nutts Corner attended and the fire was later extinguished but not before much loss of life and serious injury.

Eye Witness account of this Aldergrove Crash

(******Thanks very much to David Whiteside for his Eyewitness Account of what happened. PLEASE DO NOT COPY****)

The item above from (The War Illustrated) shows what the N.A.A.F.I. did for Service personnel during the Second World War.

The three crew members of the aircraft, Flying Officer King along with Sergeant Philip Evans Neale, 947874, and Sergeant Richard Edward Lea,552844 who was only 18 years old were killed along with SIX Girls who worked in the NAAFI and one airman, Aircraftman First Class Clifford Henry Hore, 1301399 who was 20 years old.. 

Some of the NAAFI girls who were killed were Miss Margaret Castles who was 24 years old and from Blaris Road, Lisburn. She was buried in Belfast City Cemetery from 25 Kitchener Street, Belfast. (Thanks very much to Len at Findagrave.com for the photograph of the Lea Headstone)

Annie Watson from Pernau Street, Belfast was also buried in the City Cemetery (Shown above right) while Annie Violet Crozier from Farnham Street, Belfast is buried in Knockbreda Cemetery (Shown above Left) in Section K Number 301.

The other three NAAFI Girls were Elizabeth Osborne from Ballymacateer, Lurgan, who was laid to rest at Lurgan First Presbyterian Church and whose headstone is shown immediately below.

Brigid McGarry from The Largy, Crumlin who is buried in the McGarry Family Plot at Glenavy Roman Catholic Church and is shown here. 

Mary Mulholland from Aldergrove who was laid to rest at Aldergrove Roman Catholic Church and is shown above.

The casualty file which is retained by R.A.F. Air Historical Branch does not contain any details on the unfortunate NAAFI girls.  The Air Council asked the NAAFI to convey its condolences to the NAAFI next-of-kin on its behalf, so no details of their names are recorded with the single exception of Miss Osbourne, who’s sister thanked the Air Council via the NAAFI.

Along with the fatalities a further TEN Airmen, one of whom being David Comer who spent over a year in Hospital recovering from his injuries. FOUR NAAFI Girls and a Civilian Worker were all injured. - With all that burning aviation fuel flying around I am sure it was a horrible scene.

Mass Card for Brigid McGarry is shown above with a newspaper article from Antrim Guardian referring to the crash both to the right and below. - The aircraft is incorrectly described as a Hudson Bomber. (Thanks to Moira at the Parochial House.)

How the Newspapers reported this Crash at the time

The Northern Whig from 23rd July 1941 is shown above. (Thanks very much to Nigel Henderson, History Hub Ulster)

On left is Belfast News Letter from 23rd July 1941 and on the right The Northern Whig from 24th July 1941.  (Thanks very much to Nigel Henderson, History Hub Ulster)

Above left is from The Londonderry Sentinel on 24th July 1941 and on the right is Larne Times from 26th July 1941.  (Thanks very much to Nigel Henderson, History Hub Ulster)

Second on right in top photograph is Peter Billing (I believe he was subsequently killed in an aircraft crash) who was Mentioned in Dispatches for Devotion to Duty and Gallantry in Action.

In the lower photograph on the right is Corporal Evans who was Mentioned in Despatches.
(Thanks very much to Guy Evans)

Pilot Officer Lawrence Nelson, RAF Volunteer Reserve.

His first posting in August 1941 was to Coastal Command, 206 Squadron, based at Aldergrove.
The Squadron was Anti-Submarine Patrols and Convoy Escorting in the North Atlantic using Lockheed Hudson aircraft.
This photograph on the left is of 206 Squadron in front of a Hudson was taken at Aldergrove in August 1941.
Airfields which were used by Pilot Officer Nelson included Limavady, Langford Lodge, Eglinton, and Ballykelly.
In August 1942 he moved with 206 Squadron to their new base at Benbecula, on Scotland's Western Isles (Seen in photograph on right), where they converted to using Boeing B17 Flying Fortress aircraft.
(Thanks very much to Simon Nelson)

The photographs above show  Hudson AM706 of RAF 206 Squadron after a runway over run at Aldergrove on 5th February 1942. (Thanks to Simon Nelson)

Operations Room at Aldergrove

These two photographs show the Operations Room at R.A.F. Aldergrove.

In the top picture a Civilian Meteorologist is Briefing the Crew of a Consolidated Liberator with regard to the Weather then can expect in their forthcoming Sortie. (I.W.M.)

"Link Trainer" at Aldergrove

Here is a Pilot Officer in control of a "Link Trainer" at Aldergrove with the second picture shows the Student under Instruction. (I.W.M. Photographs)

I took these photographs of a Link Trainer at an Air Museum in Prague, Czech Republic.

The two pages above show a "Link Trainer" in operation. From a 1939 Issue of "The War Illustrated" (The War Illustrated)

Royal Visit to Aldergrove

(PRONI Photograph)

Montgomery at Aldergrove

(PRONI Photograph)

Bristol Bombay at Aldergrove

This Bristol Bombay Mk 1, L5838 is shown here during a Test Flight from Aldergrove before joining 216 Squadron, R.A.F. in the Middle East. (IWM)

Royal Air Force Handley Page Heyford, Aldergrove, 13th November 1939

These photographs show the Crew walking out to their Aircraft before climbing aboard and the final picture shows the aircraft at 6000 feet. (All I.W.M. Photographs)

Handley-Page Harrow at Aldergrove

This Handley-Page Harrow Transport Aircraft K6996N from 271 Squadron, R.A.F. based at Doncaster is shown here at Aldergrove. (I.W.M. Photo)

Hawker Henley at Aldergrove

Hawker Henley Light Bomber photographed at R.A.F. Aldergrove on 13th November 1939.(I.W.M. Photograph)

Fairey Swordfish at Aldergrove

The first two photographs show a Fairey Swordfish photographed at R.A.F. Aldergrove on 17th November 1939 whilst the second two are dated 14th April 1940 and show Swordfish flying from Aldergrove. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

Restored Bristol Blenheim in Flight.

Here are a few pictures of a Bristol Blenheim similar to those flown from R.A.F. Aldergrove by the Royal Air Force.

254 Squadron Royal Air Force Aldergrove

The first photograph was taken in May 1941 and shows six Blenheim aircraft from R.A.F. Aldergrove.

My considerable thanks goes to the folks from the Northern Ireland Aviation Forum for identifying the location over which these aircraft are flying. On the left side you can see the aptly named Seven Mile Straight and centre of the picture would be Templepatrick with Mallusk to the right.

Bristol Blenheim aircraft at Aldergrove and airborne.(Imperial War Museum Photographs)

245 (Northern Rodesian) Squadron R.A.F. Aldergrove.

The 3 photographs above show a crew from 245 (Northern Rodesian) Squadron, Royal Air Force based at Aldergrove and were taken on 19th November 1940.  (I.W.M. photographs)

86 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Aldergrove

Mechanics undertake their daily inspection of the engines of Consolidated Liberator GR Mark III, FL907, of No. 86 Squadron RAF, at Aldergrove, County Antrim and

Liberator GR Mark IIIA, LV345 'E', parked in a dispersal at Aldergrove.

(Imperial War Museum Photographs)

120 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Aldergrove

No 120 Squadron Liberator III's undergoing daily inspections at Aldergrove, April 1943. Here, an armourer cleans out the gun barrels of the rear turret.

The smiling crew of a No 120 Squadron Liberator, 'X for X-Ray', photographed at Aldergrove in the small hours of the morning, prior to taking off on a convoy patrol far out into the Atlantic, April 1943. (I.W.M. Photographs)

120 Squadron (Thanks to ww2talk)

Royal Air Force Liberator Mk1. AM922 approaching Aldergrove.

This aircraft had various roles within the R.A.F.  flying with 120 Squadron Special Duties Flight, Number 1425 Communication Flight and finally 511 Squadron.

233 Squadron, Royal Air Force Aldergrove

These are six Lockheed Hudson Mk II and MkIII aircraft from 233 Squadron based at R.A.F. Aldergrove.

The photograph was taken on 30th May 1941. (Imperial War Museum Photograph)

Hudson Mk.1 N7326 ZS-F from 233 Squadron based at Aldergrove. (IWM Photo)

This Hudson Mk II is from 233 Squadron and is returning to R.A.F. Aldergrove from a Convoy Patrol. (IWM Photograph)

Restored Hawker Hurricaine in Flight

The Hawker Hurricane shown here is a Mk IIc as flown from Aldergrove by 518 Sqn. R.A.F.

245 Squadron Royal Air Force Aldergrove

Here are Hurricaine Mk 1 Aircraft from R.A.F. Aldergrove in 1940.

Hurricane Mk 1 on the move at Aldergrove.(This picture from IWM with other Pictures from www.worldwarphotos.info)

This is Squadron Leader J.W.C. Simpson D.F.C. Commanding Officer of 245 Squadron sitting in the Cockpit of his Hawker Hurricane Mk.1 W9145 DX-L at Aldergrove on the day before he shot down his twelfth Enemy Aircraft  (I.W.M. Picture) - Coloured version by DB

Czechoslovakian Pilot Vaclav Foglar 


Shown here is Vaclav Foglar who joined the French l'Armee de l'Air in 1939 but with the French collapse imminent he went to England in June 1940 and enlisted in the RAF as a Sergeant. 


He joined 245 Squadron at Aldergrove on 9th October 1940 then went to 249 Squadron at North Weald on 10th November and then to 17 Squadron at Martlesham Heath on the 18th. In early 1942 he was serving with 313 Squadron at Hornchurch and on 10th April claimed a Me109 destroyed. Foglar was commissioned in May 1942 and in the following August went as a test pilot to various maintenance units before returning to 313 on 1st February 1943.


On 14th March 1944 he was posted to 105 (Transport) OTU where he formed a crew with F/O J Grygar and F/Lt. L Kral, they went on to 147 Squadron, where he flew Dakotas until the end of the war. Foglar was awarded the Czech Military Cross.

502 (Ulster) Squadron, Royal Air Force, Aldergrove.

Hawker Hind aircraft from 502 (Ulster) Squadron at R.A.F. Aldergrove.

Lough Neagh and Lough Beg can be seen in the background. (Imperial War Museum Photograph)

Taken on 18th November 1940 these pictures show men from 502 (Ulster) Squadron, R.A.F. arming a Whitley Mk V, harmonising the Gun Sites and then loading 250lb Bombs into the Aircraft. (I.W.M. Pictures)

Above left the crew of a Whitley MkVII from 502 Squadron on Anti-Submarine Patrol over the Atlantic Ocean in August 1942 with a Line-up of Avro Anson Mark 1s (N5234 nearest), of No. 502 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force at Aldergrove

An Anson of No 502 Squadron undergoing a major inspection at Aldergrove in April 1940 and another being refuelled. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

Restored Supermarine Spitfire

These pictures show a Supermarine Spitfire similar to those flown from Aldergrove by 518 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Havoc Mk 1 Intruder at Aldergrove

This Havoc Mk1 Intruder is shown flying from Aldergrove with experimental camouflage pattern. (IWM Picture)

Lockheed Hudson at Aldergrove

This is Lockheed Hudson MkIII T9431 VX-B from 206 Squadron Royal Air Force at Aldergrove on patrol over the Atlantic. (IWM Picture)

Vickers Wellington at Aldergrove

This Vickers Wellington MkII W5379 on the left is shown on a flight from Aldergrove prior to it's delivery to 12 Squadron R.A.F. based at Binbrook, Lincolnshire. This aircraft was lost whilst on a mission to Cologne on 11th October 1941. 

The three Vickers Wellington aircraft are from 311 (Czech) Squadron, Royal Air Force who were based at Aldergrove before following a number of other aircraft in leaving during July 1942. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

The first Transatlantic delivery flight arrived at Aldergrove on 11th November 1941 when 7 Hudson Bombers arrived from Newfoundland following a flight lasting approx 9 ½ hours.

Air defence of Belfast was provided by Hawker Hurricanes as well as Atlantic Convoy escorts being operated with R.A.F. Coastal Command Squadrons arriving in 1940 and operated Liberators as shown here. (I.W.M. Photograph)

On looking at the Control Tower in the Liberator picture you will see from my comparrison picture above that it is still in use today on the Military side of the Airfield. (Thanks to Martyn Boyd for the Aerial Photographs)

This photograph shows R.A.F. Aldergrove as it looked on 30th May 1951. Another photograph of Aldergrove is shown below (Thanks to Ernie Cromie)

(Photograph above thanks to Martyn Boyd)

Bomb Store


This is the location of the R.A.F. Aldergrove Bomb Store with the first picture showing the access lane from British Road. I have included the map where this is the straight lane below the letter "B".

Further down the map you can see the 6 small square buildings of the Bomb Store surrounded by a track. Sadly this is within the grounds of the Belfast International Airport so there is no access however my final photograph has been taken through the fence looking towards the Bomb Store which would be clearly visible from aircraft departing or arriving at the International Airport.


Luftwaffe Kondor shot down by Aldergrove Aircraft

The first photograph shows a Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf  FW200 Kondor Atlantic which has been shot down by Lockheed Hudson AM536 Mk V from Number 233 Squadron Royal Air Force based at R.A.F. Aldergrove while it was trying to attack a Convoy.

You can see the crew making their way to a Dinghy whilst here there is a Vickers Wellington from 221 Squadron R.A.F., based at Limavady guiding an Escort Vessel to the Dinghy.

R.A.F. Officers Travel Chest. (Gumtree)

Royal Air Force, Nutts Corner

Built for use by Coastal Command of the Royal Air Force this airfield was operational in 1941 and some years later was used for the Trans Atlantic Supply Route with U.S.A.A.F. Flying Fortress aircraft arriving from 1943.

There are a few buildings and some of the diamond hard-standings as well as sections of runway remain.

Shown directly above is a shelter which is in great condition. The internal picture shows the strength that the shelter must possess with the outside being well camouflaged.- There is a market here every Sunday which attracts hundreds of people looking for a bargain!

Nutts Corner Bomb and Components Stores 

The building shown in the top two pictures is a Bomb Store. There are 2 large metal H Iron girders which hang from the roof. This is one of two buildings in close proximity to each other which are shown in the third picture. I have been told that this design refers to Air Ministry Drawing AM18185/40.

The last picture shows the 2 buildings from above with the second one appearing to be a Components Store.

This very sturdy bridge was constructed so that Trucks laiden with Bombs could cross this small stream with ease. - Although it looks as if the Fence Posts have been damaged on more than one occasion.

This is a Components Store of which two were required for each Bomber Station bolding 144 Gross Tons of High Explosive Bombs.

Inside the structure is an L shaped room (Shown below) which was used for storing Exploders, Pistols and Fuses. The other entrance is to a smaller cubicle shaped room which would have contained the bomb Detonators.

Nutts Corner Buildings

The building shown above appears to be some sort of electricity generator structure and is standing in the middle of a field between Nutts Corner and the Manse Road.

This building can be seen in a field close to the final roundabout before approaching Belfast International Airport at Aldergrove.

I hope you can see the yellow and black vertical stripes which are to both the front and rear of the building which is positioned close to the end of one of the old runway of Nutts Corner Airfield.

I believe it was some sort of indicator for aircraft and the sturdy metal grill shown in the last picture may have been for some signalling equipment however this is yet to be confirmed so we have ourselves a mystery!!

Nutts Corner Airfield Pumphouse

These pictures show a Pumphouse which can be seen on the old Nutts Corner Airfield close to the Racing Circuit.

Flight-Lieutenant Terry Bulloch at Nutts Corner

Terry Bulloch is shown front centre. For full details of his actions in Coastal Command and his Obituary see the " Information - People" section.

Seated (left to right): Pilot Officer M F Dear (2nd pilot), Flight Lieutenant Bulloch (pilot and Captain), and Pilot Officer M B Neville (navigator); standing (left to right): Sergeant F N Hollies, Sergeant J W Turner, Sergeant G Millar and Sergeant R McColl. (IWM Photo)

Nutts Corner Shelters

The pictures here show two rather large Air Raid shelters which were part of the Nutts Corner Complex. - They are both what was known as "Stanton" shelters and  are constructed of concrete sections which were easily assembled to the required length and covered with earth and camouflage.

The last of the pictures here shows a Stanton Shelter with roof exit. - It should be remembered that this would have been entirely covered with earth.

It is amazing that even after so many years and all of the old buildings which have been removed that it is still possible to find such remnants.

Nutts Corner Aircraft

Liberator Mark I, AM910, on the ground following conversion as an anti-submarine aircraft. ASV (Air to Surface Vessel) ocean-scanning radar, and four 20mm fixed cannon mounted in a tray under the sealed forward half of the bomb-bay. In September 1941, AM910 joined No. 120 Squadron at Nutts Corner, County Antrim, as ‘OH-M’, serving until 13 April 1942, when it was damaged and reduced to spares.(I.W.M. Photograph)

King George VI inspecting Crews of 120 Squadron, Coastal Command at Nutts Corner (From Forgotten Airfields)

Rickard, J (10 June 2017), Liberator III during Royal Visit to Nutts Corner , http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_royal_visit_nutts_corner_liberator.html

Rickard, J (27 May 2017), Royal Visit, RAF Nutts Corner, 1942 , http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_royal_visit_nutts_corner.html

Rickard, J (27 May 2017), Group Photo, RAF Nutts Corner , http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_group_photo_nutts_corner.html

Rickard, J (27 May 2017), Flying Fortress during Royal Visit to RAF Nutts Corner , http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_ballykelly_royal_visit_flying_fortress.html

Rickard, J (10 June 2017), Senior officers during Royal Visit to Nutts Corner, 1942 , http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_royal_visit_nutts_corner_senior.html

Rickard, J (10 June 2017), Lancaster Mk I during Royal Visit to Nutts Corner, 1942 , http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_royal_visit_nutts_corner_lancaster.html

Rickard, J (10 June 2017), End of Royal Visit to Nutts Corner, 1942 , http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_royal_visit_nutts_corner_end.html

Engine check on a 120 Squadron Liberator in April 1942 is shown above with Supermarine Spitfire Mark VII MD159 and a Halifax bomber overflying Nutts Corner airfield during 1945.

I believe the Halifax has the "Y3" Squadron Code making this airfraft from 518 Squadron, R.A.F. based at Aldergrove. (For more information visit the excellent Airfield Information Exchange website)

Nutts Corner Lost Liberator

The journey across the Atlantic Ocean from the United States to the European Theatre of Operations was both long and of considerable risk.

One of the countless aircraft which made the trip was a B24 Liberator which was on it’s way to Nutts Corner however this particular journey was to end at approx 22.50 on Monday 19th June 1944 not at Nutts Corner but with a crash near Ballyshannon in the Republic of Ireland which remained Neutral during the War.

The Crew of 10 consisted of Lieutenant Marvin J. Reddick, Lieutenant Arthur H. Dittmar, Lieutenant Arnold A.Grueber, Sergeant Edward J.Friedl, Sergeant George H. Smith,  Sergeant Lester M. Clarke, Corporal James O.E.Harvey, 2nd Lieutenant Wayne R. Davis, Corporal Riley M. Cannon and Sergeant Carlos F. Maestas.

They had flown via Goose Bay in Newfoundland and as a result of the crash two of these men, Corporal Riley M. Cannon and Sergeant Carlos F. Maestas were killed with another six being injured.

It is believed that the aircraft had been running low on fuel and on reaching land the pilot, Arthur H. Dittmer, was looking for a place to land when the crash occurred.

All of the Crew were returned to Northern Ireland along with the bodies of Cannon and Maestas.

(Thanks to “Ballyshannon Musings”)

Nutts Corner Airfield Plan

These aerial photographs show the development of Nutts corner Airfield. The photograph below was taken on 26th July 1941 with the Plan showing how it looked in 1944.

Much of this airfield can still be seen.

This photograph shows Nutts Corner Airfield as it looked in 1951. (Many thanks to Martyn Boyd. PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

Shown above is a U.S. European Wing Air Transport Command Approach Map, Field diagram and other Information regarding Nutts Corner Airfield. (Thanks very much to Peter Graham)

Maghaberry Airfield

The airfield at Maghaberry was built as a satellite to the larger Long Kesh. It was known to the United States 8th Air Force Composite Command as AAF 239 and was used by 27th Air Transport Group.

The picture above shows a bomb aimer training building in the background with the red bricked building possibly having been used to generate electricity and the foreground shows what appears to be the remains of an air raid shelter.

In June 1944 there were 1200 U.S. Airmen based at Maghaberry.

There were a number of Training Units based there as well as Shorts Aircraft Factory using the facility to test their Stirling Bombers.

Shown here is the upper level of the Bomb Aimer Training Building. This table has a hole in the centre through which the airman would practise his bomb aiming skills while looking at a plan on the lower floor. - A most interesting building.

One of the few remaining Buildings from the Airfield. I believe this was a gymnasium.

Shown above are 3 pictures of the impressive Machine Gun Range Butts which can be seen at Maghaberry. The picture directly above has been taken in this way to show a circular concrete base which can be seen in the foreground. An imposing feature which is clearly visible.

The two aerial photographs of Dispersed Living Quarters near Maghaberry Airfield show all that remain are a number of Nissen hut concrete based along with paths between.

With the clearance of trees more bases have become visible.

Above is a plan of how the airfield looked in 1944 and thanks to S.K. Photos for the aerial photograph of the site shown below.

The remains of the Runways are clearly visible well as the hard standings top left and Machine Gun Range as shown above is top centre right near a pair of old Hangars

This photograph shows Maghaberry Airfield as it looked in May 1951. (Many thanks to Martyn Boyd. PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

The two photographs above show Maghaberry Airfield after the war. It is crammed with aircraft which are to have their metal recycled. (From Britain From Above)

The two photographs above show U.S. Army Ambulances taking part in a Casualty Evacuation Rehearsal at Maghaberry in 1944. (Ulster Aviation Society Photographs)

Blaris

This was a Landing Ground used at Lisburn close to R.A.F. Long Kesh. An Air Training Corps Gliding School operated there from around September 1943 however nothing now remains.

Sandy Bay

Sandy Bay had been used by the U.S. Naval Transport Service for movement back and forward to America.

As can be seen by the pictures the facilities were spartan with air traffic control being provided by the nearby R.A.F. Station at Nutts Corner. - The aircraft which used Sandy Bay included the U.S. Navy's Consolidated PB2Y Coronado which was a large 4 engined Flying Boat.

Sandy Bay was built in the shelter of Rams Island and there were a total of 12 Flying Boat moorings with rubber buoy's and Pick-Up Harness as well as a number of Marine Craft moorings for attendant vessels and refuellers.

Four Flying Boat Moorings were also located on the East of Rams Island.

This aerial photograph shows Flying Boats berthed at Sandy Bay. The jetty that can be seen in the photograph is shown below. (Thanks to Ernie Cromie)