The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

County Antrim Part 2

Remembered in Rasharkin

Lieutenant R.J. Smyth was serving with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

He was with 842 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm on Escort Aircraft Carrier H.M.S. Campania (Shown here) when he was killed in action on 6th February 1945.

Surgeon Lieutenant Hugh Marks was serving with the Royal Navy. 

He was a Passenger on the Steamship Britannia (Shown here) travelling from Freetown to Bombay when the ship was attacked and sunk by the German Auxiliary Cruiser Thor with the loss of 122 Crew and 127 Passengers.

Home Guard Horizontal Rail Roadblocks

This is a Home Guard Roadblock which can be found at Carnlough Road, The Sheddings near Broughshane. 

Sections of Railway Line would have been fed through the holes to make the Roadblock.

The example shown here is at Lisnamurrican Road near Broughshane.

As you can see it is a considerable structure and has recently been removed from its original position and left on the opposite side of the road perhaps for destruction at a later date.

Ballymena Cemetery

As with many other Cemeteries around Northern Ireland there are a number of Military Personnel buried in Ballymena Cemetery who paid the ultimate price for their service during WW2.

One of those buried here is Private Donald Boyd of 6th Battalion The Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was only 20 years old when he died on 28th June 1940.

The bottom of his headstone has the comment “He Did His Duty. He Could Do No More”

Some of the other headstones include Gunner Henry Bell from 9th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battalion of the Royal Artillery who was killed on 4/4/44 while Gunner Robert Cochrane was with 1 Maritime Regiment of the Royal Artillery when he died on 2nd March 1945.

Rifleman William Lorimer was serving with the 1st Battalion London Irish Rifles, Royal Ulster Rifles when he died on 10th October 1941.

Sergeant Thomas Alfred Delaney who was a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner with 12 Squadron R.A.F. when he was killed on 10th January 1942.

Those who gave their lives included both women and men and Senior Commander Marjorie Wilson Anderson was with the Women’s Transport Service (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry) of the Auxilliary Territorial Service when she died on 15th November 1943.

Service Personnel are also remembered on various Headstones.

Lance Corporal John J Carins was serving with the Royal Irish Fusiliers when he was killed in Action in Italy.

Lance Corporal Fred Shaw was serving with 1st Battalion, Kings own Scottish Borderers and was Killed in Action in Normandy. He is buried in Banneville-La-Campagne which is East of Caen.

Thomas Harold Erwin was a Driver with the Royal Army Service Corps when he died on Active Service on 8th November 1941.

Shown above is the Funeral of Constable Robert Reid of the Royal Ulster Constabulary who was Killed along with four other Police Officers at Glenravel Street R.U.C. Station when is was struck and destroyed by a Luftwaffe Bomb during the Blitz on the 5th May 1941. More information regarding the Bombing can be seen in the Greater Belfast Part 3 Section.

Shown on the left is the headstone of Alexander Reid who was 19 years old and serving with Royal Army Service Corps when he lost his life in 1918. Robert Reid was buried beside him and his recently added Royal Ulster Constabulary headstone is shown here.

This is Constable Robert Reid and the newspaper article on the right refers to the Air Raid which cost him his life. (Thanks very much to Alan Stewart for pictures and info)

Shown in the photograph on the left is William John Reid, who was a Brother of Robert Reid and is mentioned in the newspaper cutting as having been on Active service with an Anti-Aircraft Battery of the Royal Artillery. He is also shown on the right in the next photograph along with Andrew McLaighlin. (Many Thanks to Alan Stewart)

Blackhead Radio Station

These are the couple of buildings which remain of what was once the Chain Home Low Radio Station at Blackhead.

It can be found in a field above Blackhead Lighthouse however visitors should beware that the road is very narrow and impossible for 2 vehicles to pass.

"Chain Home Low" was a radar system operated during the Second World War and used as an early warning indicator of any approaching enemy aircraft. 

As well as the two buildings which remain there appear to have been at least three further buildings of which only concrete flooring remains.

On the hill directly above is another structure which appears to be consist of 8 concrete wall sections that are in close proximity and semi-circular in shape. They can be seen in the picture above where, due to the topography of the land only 7 are visible. - I suspect this may have been used for radar equipment and hope to have more information at a later date.

Focke- Wulf Condor Crash near Black Head

Focke- Wulf Condor Action 23/24th July 1940 1ST Staffelof Kampfgeschwader 40 (1/KG40)

This particular Condor had been based at Bordeaux-Merignac from where it flew to Brest-Langveoc airfield where it was refuelled and loaded with four 500kg Sea Mines before departing on a mission to Belfast Lough.

The aircraft, F8+BH, was commanded by Hauptmann Volkmar Zenker and took off at 00:30.

The crew of five had been on a similar mission only a few nights previous and again on this occasion the crew had a smooth flight all the way to Belfast Lough where Zenker began his descent shortly after 02:00.

Black Head was the area where the mines were to be released however only three dropped from the aircraft with the fourth remaining stuck in the Bomb Bay of the Condor so Hauptmann Zenker carried out a climbing turn and went around to try again with this attempt being from low level.

It was during this manoeuvre, at 02:20 that the Gun Crews at Grey Point Fort became aware of the aircraft which was soon to get into difficulty.

Releasing the last mine at low level had meant that its parachute was not able to open fully and when the throttle leavers were pushed forward for the aircraft to climb away from it's present low level both the engines on the left side failed to respond correctly putting the aircraft into a position which was impossible to recover.

As the aircraft leaned to port it was too low for any evasive action and crashed into the sea.

Although Zenker along with Crew members Unteroffizier Heinz Hocker and Gefreiter Lothar Homann were able to get clear their fellow Crew Members, Feldwebel Willi Andreas and Unteroffizier Rudolf Wagner went down with the aircraft and I believe their bodies were never recovered.

H.M.T Paynter (Shown above) picked up the survivors in the area of Black Head lighthouse and sailed to nearby Larne where they were taken to the Naval Headquarters in what had been the Olderfleet Hotel.(Shown below)

During interrogation the Crew insisted that they had been the crew of a Heinkel HE-111 involved in reconnaissance in the hope of concealing their mining operation for as long as possible.

Hauptmann Volkmar Zenker later stated:-

"I had descended to 1800 metres over the Irish sea. The engines were idling as I was hoping not to be detected.

During the first part of the mission I was flying at 100 metres but then I opened the throttles very slowly hoping to go lower and get rid of the last mine which had become stuck in its holder.

I succeeded but now we were at 15 metres altitude. When I opened the throttles further the two port engines stopped and the plane banked suddenly. In order to avoid the wingtip hitting the water I stopped the starboard engines and ditched. The plane had not run out of fuel, but there had been an air blockage in the fuel lines caused by the long glide with idled engines."

Unteroffizier Heinz Hocker stated:-

"Because of the impact the aircraft was full of water very soon.

In the cockpit I saw my comrades Wagner and Andreas in the water looking for an exit.

I swam to the other exit in the back of the fuselage, called my comrade Hohmann and told him to get ready with the dinghy.

I pushed open the main door and Zenker swam up to us. We left the aircraft. In pitch-dark night I called together my swimming comrades. I only had a distress signal in a tin and the dinghy which had not yet been inflated.

For a very long time we called the missing comrades but in my opinion they went down with the condor.

Swimming in the heavy swell I had to inflate the dinghy which took me 8 hours as the compressed air bottle had not been connected to it after its last servicing.

Zenker and Hohmann climbed into the dinghy first.

In the morning we noticed a steamship on the horizon which was heading for us.

I realized that Zenker had exhausted himself and so I took command. In case of capture we should state that we were a reconnaissance flight.

Then I searched through Zenker's pockets and threw overboard anything which could prove to be suspicious.

The ship which came towards us was manned by English soldiers. 

The crew stood on deck with their rifles loaded, the officer had a pistol. I shot 2 red flare signals and threw overboard the pistol and ammunition box before putting my hands up.

After being taken onboard and searched the sailors supplied us with rum. I was thankful about that as I could not take any more.

On our way into Belfast harbour I saw a ship at the bottom of the harbour. When I asked how it had sunk, I was told it had caught fire."

(Photographs from Diesel-Punk-Historical-Pictures, Imperial War Museum, Richard H. Nossite and information from ww2talk.com)

Henly Gate and Prospect House, Carrickfergus

A good looking memorial which incorporates the only prorion of Henly Gate which remains.

The gate was constructed in the 1920's as a 21st Birthday Present to Gwen Henly who was the last owner of the Prospect House Estate which stood at this location.

The Memorial Stone relates to the 3rd Belgian Infantry Brigade which were known as "Rumbeke" and were one of the 5 Belgian Infantry Brigades which were trained in Northern Ireland following the liberation of Belgium in 1944.

The Rumbeke Brigade arrived in Northern Ireland in March 1945 and the 2nd Battalion were based at Prospect House for approximately six months before going to take part in the occupation of Germany.

Prospect House is sadly now boarded up and cannot be accessed.From the two photographs here is can be seen that this was once a very grand structure however not any more.

American Military Personel were also based here and in 1942 it was home to Companies A and B of the 53d Medical Battalion as well as 241st Medical Battalion of the 1st Engineer Amphibian Brigade, Detachment Company A, 60th Quartermaster Battalion (Laundry) and Company A 71st Quartermaster Battalion (Gas Supply).

2nd Infantry Brigade Yzer at Ballymena Y.M.C.A.

Shown here is a picture of a Plaque which was presented to Ballymena Y.M.C.A. by Soldiers of the Belgian Army prior to their return to Belgium in May 1945.

The wording says "As a mark of thankfulness for the so kind reception given to the Belgian Forces of the 2nd INFANTRY BRIGADE. YZER. Given by the members of R.A.S.C./ Coy May 1945"

The soldiers used to frequent the Wellington Street building from which this Plaque was rescued when the building was being demolished.

(Thanks to Ed Luke for the picture and information and Hugo Cox for the photograph of the Patch)

Carrickfergus Local Defence Volunteers Building

Here we have a building which was used by the Local Defence Volunteers (Otherwise known as the Home Guard) in Carrickfergus.

It can be found on off Woodburn Road and consists of 3 separate buildings which are the same sturdy construction as some Airraid Shelters however, as can be seen by the first picture, windows were permitted although the design is such that the windows face a steep field.

Wooden half-doors had allowed access to the various sections and one of the wooden doors remains and is visible in the second picture.

It is pleasing to be able to say that the buildings remain in good condition.

U.S. Army Maintainance and Ordnance Supply Depot

This location was known as G-10-4 until 22nd October 1943 when it was renamed O-622.

First records show it as a Maintainance Facility from July 1942 - Which is impressive when you consider that the United States only entered the war after Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

In 1942 the personel based here included 313th Motor Transport Supply Company and Detachment 314th Ordnance depot Company. It was known as General Depot G-10-4 from 17th December 1942 and from  

October 1943 until 20th February 1944 was home to 346th Ordnance Depot Company. headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 254th Ordnance Battalion operated here from 28th February until 8th May 1944 at a time when all personel were moving to southern England for the fothcoming Invasion of Europe.

Although this looks like two buildings they are actually joined together to form one and in the picture above you can get some idea of the scale by considering that this is only half of the floorspace and a car can be seen inside.

Some of the original electrics remain and the last picture shows two small buildings on the site.

It is worth recording that the planning which went into this location included direct access to the railway network with the site being constructed directly beside a railway line to facilitate movement.

Tank Production at Carrickfergus

With the Industry in Belfast being subjected to bombing by the Germans it was necessary for the large factories to move various sections of production to other areas of Northern Ireland and this included Harland & Wolff who, as well as being involved in the production of shipping were responsible for building Churchill and Centaur Tanks!

Construction of tanks took place in a factory at Woodburn Road, Carrickfergus.

The original Harland & Wolff contract from the War Department was dated 21st December 1940 and given the number T754.

The pictures shown here are of two Centaur tanks being given a road test in County Antrim. - Thanks very much to Billy McCutcheon for the pictures which show his dad who was working on the construction of these tanks. (From Private Collection ****PLEASE DO NOT COPY****)

Mullaghglass Decoy Airfield Q Site

I find this a particularly interesting site. This is a Decoy Airfield Q Site which is on the hill above West Belfast at Flowbog Road in the townland of Mullaghglass.

A "Q Site" was a deception plan where both static and mobile false lights were used to simulate an operational airfield in the hope of confusing an enemy airraid.

I believe the men who operated in these sites were Royal Air Force personel from the local airfield which the decoy was supposed to imitate.

The construction of the building shown here is the same as another Q Site at Kearney on the Ards Peninsula. There is one entrance with a quite large room to the left in which is an escape hatch in the roof whilst the room on the right is to house an electricity generator used to operate the lighting which will hopefully confuse enemy airmen!

This has been a rather large site as there is the ruin of another building as well as a number of concrete building bases nearby and also a concrete bridge was constructed to cross a small river.

Hannahstown Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery

Here we have what remains of a Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery which can be found between Hannahstown Road and Ballycolin Road on the hill above Belfast. 

The only building which remains is a nissen hut type structure which was given   hardened concrete protection. This type of building is typical and can be seen at a number of other sites illustrated on this website.

The concrete gun pits have now gone and only a concrete base, which I believe would have been for a nissen hut, remains.

U.S. Army at Slievenagravery

Following from the H.A.A. Battery shown above it is worthy of note that on travelling down the Ballycolin Road towards Belfast you are in the townland of Slievenagravery and on the left side up a lane between some houses is is where the United States Army 187th Signal Repair Company, 15 Corps worked.

They were based here between 6th February and 25th April 1944.

The site is now used for small industry.

Searchlight Battery

These two pictures show an original building which remains at the site of a Searchlight Battery at Tullynewbank Road, Crumlin.

Portballintrae Submarine Indicator Loop

This is a very interesting piece of history which can be seen on the beach at Portballintrae.

From the main Car Park walk towards the bay which is used by surfers and on looking towards the sea this Submarine Indicator Loop will be on your left.

The system worked by having a large loop of wire lying on the sea bed. An induced current is produced in the wire when a submarine passes over it.

Resulting from the indication of the presence of a submarine, which would be identified as enemy, the usual action would be for either a ship to be sent to drop depth charges or, in some cases, loops were laid beside minefields which had their mines connected to a Mine Control Hut on shore from where the mines could be detonated manually.

The pictures here show the Indicator Loop as well as a concreted section of cliff cace up which cables were run to the Control Hut of which only the concrete base remains to be seen beside the coastal path - as shown here.

As the Second World War evolved Germany soon had control of virtually all of Western Europe other than the United Kingdom from where was a reliance on Convoys crossing the Atlantic with men and all manner of provisions and equipment.

Immediately prior to WW2 the Admiralty planned to have Submarine Indicator Loops at various sites.

I have made reference to the Loop here as well as one at Orlock Point and have been told of another such loop which may have originated in the Whitehead Area although I have no firm information.

Shown above is a Plan of the site as it would have looked in the period 1953 / 1955. (Thanks very much to Martin Briscoe. Click arl.g3w1.com/Corsair/Index for more)

Portballintrae Gun Position

This is a Defensive Gun position covering the Railway Line along the back of the Sand Dunes near Runkerry House at Portballintrae.

Under Sea Telephone Cables at Portballintrae

This discreet little building was a Cable Hut / Repeater Station for an undersea telephone connection with Britain during the War. It was protected by Military Personnel who were based at a nearby property. For more details see County Down Part 2 Section.

Portballintrae Firing Ranges

Travelling from Portballintrae along Bayhead Road towards the main road to Portrush you can see what were 2 Firing Ranges on the right side of the road and 2 large concrete blocks on which warning flags would have been flown when shooting was taking place.

On looking at the block in the picture above on the right you can see 5 bullet strike marks which would suggest that further training was required!!

Portrush Pillboxes

Shown here are two pillboxes which can be found in Portrush.

The two pictures above are on the single wall of what was a pillbox overlooking the Harbour in Kerr Street.

This pillbox remains in very good condition and to reach this you can walk along Causeway Street and down Strand Road to the Car Park. This pillbox is in the back garden of a private house and has been blocked up.

My bottom photograph shows that some work has taken place on this Pillbox. Hopefully this is a new facing and the building has been preserved.

Marine Craft Unit, Portrush

This was a 68 Ft Rescue / Target Towing Launch which was based at Portrush. It was constructed of wood and powered by two Rolls Royce Engines. This particular boat is now on display at the R.A.F. Museum in Hendon. (Thanks very much to Al McCann for the photographs)

The Plaque shown here can be seen on the Harbour Master Office at Portrush.

It refers to R.A.F. Portrush and includes reference to the Rescue vessels which operated from here during the Second World War. 

(Thanks very much to George Busby for the 2 Photographs shown above) ***PLEASE DO NOT COPY***

The above Article comes from "The War Illustrated" Magazine. 

Ballywillan Cemetery, Portrush

Flight Sergeant William Archibald Campbell was serving with 106 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

On 17th May 1941 he was aboard Hampden aircraft P2099 which took off from R.A.F. Uffington on an Training Exercise.

The aircraft subsequently stalled and crashed whilst trying to perform an Emergency Landing.


Pilot Officer S.J. Harvey and Aircraftman Second Class T. Kane were both Killed along with Flight Sergeant Campbell with Sergeant R.R. Adams being the only survivor.

(Information from Bomber County Aviation Resource)

Sergeant James Hogg Bell was serving with the Royal Air Force.

He was attached to 21 Operational Training Unit on 9th December 1944 when he was in Vickers Wellington III BJ782 which took off at 18.20 hours from R.A.F. Morton-in-Marsh for a Night Navigation Exercise.

At some time before 21.45 hours a fire started in the starboard engine whilst the aircraft was at 5000 feet.

The Crew were unable to provide a precise location and broadcast a number of distress calls. They were provided with a course to Barford St John.

The Wellington was seen in the circuit of the airfield and losing height but then the engine note increased as if the intention was to overshoot the runway.

The aircraft dived suddenly and crashed on a railway Embankment. (From WW2Talk)

Flight Lieutenant John McCrory, Service Number 65481 was serving with the Royal Air Force.

I believe he was killed in an aircraft crash whilst with 7 Operational Training Unit.

On the day of his death there were aircraft crashes involving Martinet HN871 at Ballykelly where it crashed during a forced landing and Wellington XI HZ178 which crashed on landing at Limavady. (Information from RAFCommands.com)

Sergeant / Navigator John G.Reid was serving with 12 Squadron Royal Air Force when he was lost on Operations on 13th July 1942.

Anthony Desmond Joseph Lovell DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar and American DFC.

Was born on 9th August 1919 and was from Portrush, County Antrim and joined the Royal Air Force Lovell on a short service commission in November 1937.

Commissioned acting Pilot Officer on 9 January 1938 he graduating from Flying Training School and was posted to No. 41 Squadron RAF at RAF Catterick on 20 August 1938 flying Supermarine Spitfire fighters.

He became a Fighter Ace and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 26 November 1940. His citation states: “This officer has flown continuously on active operations against the enemy since war began. He has shown a fine fighting spirit and has led his flight and on occasions his squadron with great courage, coolness and determination. He has destroyed seven enemy aircraft.”

On 10 February 1942 he was awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross as acting Squadron Leader commanding with No. 145 Squadron RAF.

His citation states: “This officer is a fearless and skilful fighter pilot. His keenness to engage the enemy, combined with fine leadership, both in the air and on the ground have set an inspiring example. In November 1941 Lovell shot down a Junkers Ju 88 some 35 miles off the Yorkshire coast. In January 1942 in the same area and in difficult weather conditions he intercepted another Junkers Ju 88 and shot it down into the sea. This officer has personally destroyed at least 11 hostile aircraft and has damaged others.”

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order on 30 October 1942 as Squadron Leader commanding a fighter squadron during the Battle of Malta.

His citation states “This officer is an outstanding squadron commander who has played a considerable part in the defence of Malta. One day in October 1942 he led his squadron in an attack against six Junkers Ju 88s escorted by a number of fighters. In the combat Squadron Leader Lovell shot down a Junkers Ju 88 bringing his total victories to nine. On many occasions his skilful leadership has enabled his squadron to intercept enemy air formations bent on attacking Malta. This officer's gallantry and determination have set an example worthy of the highest praise.”

(My photograph above shows a Malta Spitfire at the Malta Air Museum. PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

He was appointed to lead 242 Group as acting Wing Commander, promoted full Squadron Leader on 9 April 1943, led the 322 Wing over Corsica and then 244 Wing during the invasion of Italy and the South of France.

He was awarded the American Distinguished Flying Cross on 14 November 1944 and sadly his brother Stuart was killed on active service with the RAF in 1944

On 23 February 1945 he was awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order as a Wing Commander and fighter leader.

His success as an Air Ace is recorded as 16 enemy aircraft destroyed, 6 shared destroyed, 2 probably destroyed, 9 damaged, 4 shared damaged and 1 destroyed on the ground.

This was accomplished during 5 operational tours.

On 17 August 1945 Lovell was killed when he crashed into a field adjoining Old Sarum airfield having lost altitude whilst doing acrobatics in a Spitfire Mark XII (serial number "EN234").

The picture above shows Lovell receiving the American Distinguished Flying Cross from Brigadier General Thomas C D'arcy, Commanding General of XII Tactical Air Command, 15th U.S.A.A.F.  Lovell is second left in the photograph above (R.A.F. Northern Ireland picture, I.W.M. Photograph. Information from Wiki)

Flight Lieutenant Stuart Lovell

Also named on the Headstone shown above is Flight Lieutenant Stuart James Lovell, 107258
He was 27 years old when he was Killed in Action.  

At approximately 10:30 on Saturday 29th January 1944 Flight Lieutenant Lovell was flying his Hawker Typhoon Mk1B MM970 attacking Guipavas Airfield near Brest in France when he was shot down by German Flak. He is buried in Brest.

The black and white photograph shown here was taken of the two Headstones by General Griffin in June 1956 and is held in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission archive.

It is possible that these Soldiers  were serving as Guards aboard SS Arandora Star was a British passenger ship requisitioned as a troop ship.

At the end of June 1940 she was transporting Italian and German civilians with a small number of Prisoners Of War to Canada. On 2 July 1940 she was sunk by a Torpedo fired from U-47 by U-Boat ace Günther Prien killing 865. (Many thanks to Ross Olphert for the Newspapers and Information)

Portrush Memorials

There are a few of these Memorials sighted around the Portrush area with all of them being dedicated to the men of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army.

I believe these memorials have been erected by enthusiasts who have an interest in our Second World War history.

The one shown here is at Royal Portrush Golf Club and others can be found at the town's War Memorial and Cromore House as well as on the War Memorial in Portstewart in County Londonderry.


British Naval Mine at Portrush

American Red Cross Club, Portrush

The Eglinton Hotel in Portrush became an American Red Cross Club in 1943 with facilities for 150 men.

This was one of two premises being operated by the American Red Cross with the West Bay View Hotel being for the exclusive use of Officers.

Military Mess Hall, Portrush

This building in Portrush was use as a Military Mess Hall (Canteen) during WW2. 

Radar Station at Portrush

The Royal Navy operated a Wireless R.D.F. Station which was positioned on Ramore Head in Portrush (Thanks very much to Al McCann for this photograph on the left showing the station from above.)

The Station can also be seen on the left of the Air Sea Rescue Launch in the picture on the right (Thanks very much to George Busby)

American Soldiers in Portrush.

Here we can see a number of American Soldiers relaxing outside Craig More in Portrush. 

This photograph was taken by Charlie Anderson of the 1st Battalion, 135th Infantry, (34th Infantry Divison)  

The photographs appear to have been taken in Mark Street.

It is not possible to find the precise location however my picture shows the small walls from which the metal railings were removed to help the War Effort and the building design appears very similar.

(Thanks very much to Selwyn Johnston for his assistance with this. The Coolsythe House picture is from "After The Battle"Magazine)

Portrush Bombing Range

Not the most exciting item to be illustrated on this website however I suspect that this is one which may be seen by many thousands of tourists without even noticing it.

To the left of the larger fencepost are the 2 wooden supports which, during the Second World War were known as "Flagstaff Number 3" at Bombing Target Number 2 of the Portrush Air gunnery and Bombing Range.

The reason why so many people may see it is because it is clearly visible from the Dunluce Road Car Park beside Dunluce Castle.

U.S. Sailors on Sightseeing Trip to Dunluce Castle

The excellent comparison photographs below are by Mike Gilmore

U.S. Sailors photographed whilst visiting Dunluce Castle in 1942. 

The photographs was taken by David E Scherman and are available to EVERYONE at http://images.google.com/hosted/life/

(Thanks very much to Mike Gilmore for the comparison pictures. Excellent Ghost Picture by Adam Surrey)

U.S. Sailors Meeting the Local Girls

This "Then and Now" Comparrison picture shows U.S. Navy Personel meeting a couple of local girls in this posed photograph at Dunluce Road.

The excellent compilation picture has been done for my by Adam Surrey.

(Thanks very much to Billy Mitchell for identifying this location to me)

Kilwaughter Castle

The 4th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment arrived in Northern Ireland on 20th December 1940 where they joined 148th Independent Brigade and were involved in 14 months of training.

On 18th June the 6th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment landed at Larne and marched to Kilwaughter Castle where tents were set up in the surrounding fields. When, 4 months later on 9th October the Regiment moved to Coleraine one officer wrote "The period at Kilwaughter and Larne meant much to us ......in many ways these were the happiest days of all"

Another British Army unit which was based here was 148 Indipendent Reconnaissance Squadron which later became 49th West Riding was at Kilwaughter in 1942 / 1943.

As well as British soldiers the 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion of the United States Army were billeted at Kilwaughter Castle between 21st January and 29th April 1944 and it was operated by the Americans as Quartermaster Depot 111L.


Kilwaughter Village Hall

The Plaque shown here can be seen on the wall of Kilwaughter Village Hall.

Islandmagee Battery Gunnery Range.

Shown here is what remains of a Royal Navy Battery Gunnery Range. The top picture is looking along the Firing Line and in the distance is the concrete base as shown.

On looking around I could see the remains of 4 mountings for guns which are in two types as illustrated here. There are also what was a small toilet block and ammunition store nearby.

This Battery was used by Merchant Navy, soldiers and Marines from Armed Merchant Ships who carried out practice firing with 4.7 (120mm) QF and 12-pdr QF guns.

Naval Gunnery Practice Off Larne

The above photograph shows the C4 Escort Group led by the Canadian Destroyer H.M.C.S. Restigouche forming up for an Exercise off Larne.

This is a Gunnery Exercise with the ships firing their guns at a Target which is being towed by a Motor Launch.

The Target is wooden and designed to look like the Conning Tower of a Submarine. In this picture it is H.M.C.S. Collingwood firing at the towed target. (All of the four photographs shown above are from the Imperial War Museum and available to Everyone.)

At the end of this Exercise ships are shown lying at anchor off Larne. (I.W.M. Photograph)

H.M. Submarine Thrasher at Larne

H.M.S. Thrasher was a Royal Navy Submarine which was docked for a time in Larne.

It was then that one of the Crew, John Dyer, met a local girl at a dance and after the War had ended they got married.

Thrasher was very active during the War seeing service in both the Mediterranean and Far East.

On one occasion North of Crete bombs were dropped on the submarine and two were found to be unexploded.
Lieutenant Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts and Petty Officer Thomas William Gould removed the first one without too much difficulty, but the second was lying in a very confined space and they had to approach it lying full length. Gould lay on his back with the bomb in his arms while Roberts dragged him along by the shoulders. It was 50 minutes before they got the bomb clear and dropped it over the side.

Both men were awarded the Victoria Cross with the citation saying:- "On February 16th, in daylight, HM Submarine Thrasher attacked and sank a heavily escorted supply ship. She was at once attacked by depth-charges and was bombed by aircraft. The presence of two unexploded bombs in the gun-casing was discovered when after dark the submarine surfaced and began to roll. Lieutenant Roberts and Petty Officer Gould volunteered to remove the bombs, which were of a type unknown to them. The danger in dealing with the second bomb was very great. To reach it they had to go through the casing, which was so low that they had to lie at full length to move in it. Through this narrow space, in complete darkness, they pushed and dragged the bomb for a distance of some 20 feet until it could be lowered over the side. Every time the bomb was moved there was a loud twanging noise as of a broken spring which added nothing to their peace of mind. This deed was more gallant as HM Submarine Thrasher's presence was known to the enemy; she was close to the enemy coast and in waters where his patrols were known to be active day and night. There was a very great chance, and they knew it, that the submarine might have to crash-dive while they were under the casing. Had this happened they must have been drowned."

This Lambeg Drum shows H.M.S. Thrasher and incorporates two Victoria Cross medals. (Thanks very much to David Swann)

Damage to the casing of HM Submarine THRASHER after two bombs struck her off Crete on the night of 15/16 February 1942. Neither exploded and both were removed by two members of the crew.
A – where bomb penetrated the gun platform. A1 – the position where the bomb was discovered inside the casing. B – Position where 2nd unexploded bomb was discovered lying on the casing, bomb represented by the tin can. C – Petty Officer Gould, VC, standing in the casing-hatch through which bomb from A1 was dragged. Note: THRASHER was at periscope depth, 34 feet, and going deep when the bombs struck her. (I.W.M. and Ww2Today)

Carncastle Chain Home Radar Station

This is an interesting Chain Home station on the hill between Carncastle and Glenarm. The larger of the two buildings on the site shows that an attempt has been made to disguise it as a house by inclusion of an angled roof incorporating chimney!

Sergeant John Swann R.A.F. Buried in Glenarm

Sergeant John White Swann was serving as a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner with 107 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
John had played football for both Ballymena United and Larne Football Clubs.
He was the Son of Andrew and Jeannie Swann and the Husband of Rosetta Brown Swann and died of wounds received whilst on operations over Occupied Europe.
(Thanks very much to David Swann for the photographs)

Cloughmills Soldier Remembered

Sergeant William Joseph Douglas, 2720741, was serving with 3rd Battalion of the Irish Guards when he was Killed in Action during what was referred to as the Breakout from the Normandy. He is buried in St Charles De Percy War Cemetery southwest of the city of Caen.

Lissanoure Castle, Loughguile

The estate was requisitioned by the British Army in 1941 after which a major Fuel Depot was established at the site.

In 1943, although it had been requisitioned by the Army, the Estate was purchased from the Macartney family by the Mackie Family. 

Having experience in producing machinery for the Textile Industry the Mackie factory changed to the production of Bofors Gun Shells as well as fusilage for Short Stirling Bomber Aircraft during the years of the war.

When the United States entered the war U.S. Soldiers were billeted at the Castle and used the grounds for training purposes until they left in 1944 from which time it was used by the british Army as a Prisoner Of War Camp to hold the German Submariners who had arrived at Lisahally.

Paddy the Pigeon in Carnlough

This great looking Memorial can be seen on the Harbour Wall in Carnlough. - Well worth a look.

The above article is from "The War Illustrated" Magazine of 15th November 1940.

Londonderry Arms Hotel, Carnlough

Following the death of Herbert Vane Tempest, who was the Grandson of the Marquis and Lady Londonderry, the Hotel was passed to Sir Winston Churchill who owned it from 1921 until 1934.

During the Second World War part of the Hotel was used to assist in the recuperation of wounded Soldiers.

Cushendun Pillbox

Having been battered by the sea for many years this is what remains of a Pillbox at Cushendun Beach. 

(Thanks very much to Chris and John for this picture)

Red Hall, Whitehead

The South Notts Hussars were based here for a time in 1941 and it was also home to some of the 3rd Infantry Brigade of the Belgian Army who were situated in various locations in the Whitehead, Ballycarry, Carrickfergus and Larne areas with their Headquarters at Whiteabbey.

There are a few concrete bases for Nissen Huts as well as the artwork which is shown below.

These photographs show some Artwork which has been left by Soldiers who were billeted in Red Hall Mill.

On the left are the flags of France, United Kingdom, Belgium and the United States. This is on the left side of a gable wall with a similar design painted on the right side as shown in the middle photograph. To the right is a single white star in a blue pennant design. - (All of the photographs here are from the excellent Mancaveblog by Nick which can be seen at http://mancaveblog.co.uk/?p=510)

The first photograph in this row shows a Shamrock.
Although the Shamrock is connected to the Island of Ireland i suggest that in this particular case the Shamrock may refer to 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or indeed 6th Infantry Brigade of the Belgian Army as all of these Brigades had the Shamrock included on their Insignia and all were based in Northern Ireland during the second World War.
The centre picture shows the single white star and on the right is the second of the flags paintings which differs from the one shown above.
Please Note That This Mill is Privately Owned and should NOT be accessed.  (All of the photographs here are from the excellent Mancaveblog by Nick which can be seen at http://mancaveblog.co.uk/?p=510)

Lisburn

The old Forthill House and grounds, which is now Forthill Primary School was used as an Army Camp with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers being one of the first Regiments based there.

Where Knockmore Industrial Estate now stands had been Royal Engineers Workshops and Friends School at Magheralave Road was used as a Military Hospital.

Shorts Altona Factory, Lisburn

These women worked at the Altona Factory, which was part of the Short Brothers Production effort at Old Hillsborough Road,Lisburn. They are being shown a Stirling Bomber at Shorts Factory in Belfast.(From Belfast Telegraph)

This is a collection of photographs relating to the Shorts Aircraft Construction at Altona, Lisburn.

It was necessary to spread production to a number of sites rather than concentrating in Belfast.

Here we have pictures taken at Maghaberry, Lisburn and Long Kesh.

This fantastic photograph shows Stirling Fuselages at the Altona site.

One of the Altona Buildings.

Production in progress at Altona both above and below.

Rear view of Stirling Fuselage at Altona above and production taking place below.

The photograph above shows where ptoduction took place at Altona. 

On the extreme left you will see a small building which can be seen in the pictures below.

The photograph above shows the one of the Second World War buildings which remain.

The Electricity Generator can be seen both above and below.

There was also an Air Raid Shelter on site which is still there (Although filled in)

 (Thanks very much to both Mr Johnston and Peter Graham) ***PLEASE DO NOT COPY***

This fantastic painting is by Dame Laura Knight and dates from 1943. It shows the inside of a Short Stirling Mk3 Bomber with Crew Members preparing for take-off. (IWM)

Blaris Old Burial Ground, Lisburn

Laid to rest in a Family Plot is William John Lemon who was a Constable in the Royal Ulster Constabulary and was killed on 5th May 1941 during the Belfast Blitz.

He was in Glenravel Street R.U.C. Station in Befast when it was destroyed by a Luftwaffe bomb killing Constable Lemon along with Constable Reid, who is shown above, and three other Officers.

Ballinderry Road, Lisburn

On the left is the fusilage of a Stirling Bomber being transported along Ballinderry Road, Lisburn with my photograph of the same scene today. 

The aircraft was being taken from Lonk Kesh to Maghaberry in December 1942. (Picture from Lisburn Memories facebook page)

Sergeant Pilot Joseph Beckett Thompson Buried Magharagall Parish Church

Joseph Beckett Thompson was from Magheragall and joined the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Apprentice in September 1932 passing out in August 1935 as a Fitter.

Having taken Pilot Training he was serving with 25 Squadron at Northolt in London.


On 31st July 1940 Thompson was Captain of Blenheim L1408, which collided with Blenheim L6722 of 29 Squadron over the Bristol Channel during a test of the AI radar system.


The crash was catastrophic for both aircraft with Thompson (Who is buried in Magheragall Church of Ireland), Aircraftman Second Class EJ Toy and Mr. DM Gordon, a civilian assistant, both of 32 Maintenance Unit being killed along with all  the occupants of L6722. ****DO NOT COPY****

Also buried at Magheragall Church is Warrant Officer Instructor Wesley John Land of the Army Education Corps who died on 24th September 1942.

Professor Frank Pantridge

Born on 3rd October 1916 in Hillsborough and graduated in Medicine from Queen's University in 1939.

When war was declared he volunteered for service and was posted to the Far East where he became Medical Officer of an Infantry Battalion. 

During action in Singapore he was awarded the Military Cross for which the citation read "this officer worked unceasingly under the most adverse conditions of continuous bombing and shelling and was an inspiring example to all with whom he came in contact. He was absolutely cool under the heaviest fire ".

Captured at the fall of Singapore, Pantridge spent much of his captivity in the slave labour camps on the Siam-Burma Railway, including some months in the notorious "death camp", Tanbaya, on the Siam-Burma border.

He believed that Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb in August 1945 undoubtedly saved the lives of the POWs.

The Statue which is shown here can be seen along with a small collection of Professor Pantridge Memorabilia at Lisburn City Hall. - He was laid to rest in Hillsborough.

Magheralave House, Lisburn

In 1938 the War Office purchased Magheralave House and its extensive Estate for the site of the new Headquarters Northern Ireland to replace Victoria Barracks in Belfast.

Staff Sergeant-Major Twist of the A.T.S. embraces and kisses her husband, Lance-Bombardier Twist at Army Headquarters Lisburn, 22 October 1941.

The site was later to become Thiepval Barracks and remains so today. (Imperial War Museum Photograph)



Cairndhu House, Larne

Cairndhu House was used as a base by 3 Infantry Brigade "Rumbeke" of the Belgian Army.

It had also been operated as Training location for members of the Royal Ulster Rifles in the use of Bren Gun Carriers.

Glenavy Church Graveyard

The wording on the gravestone of Flight Lieutenant Philip Leslie (Peter) Billing makes reference to the famous speech by Winston Churchill when he spoke of "The Few".

Billing was the pilot of Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk.V P5041 of No.502 Squadron, RAF which had taken off from R.A.F. Aldergrove on Convoy Escort Duties. Sadly the crew became lost in bad weather and flew too far east resulting in the aircraft crashing into high ground above Balmavicar on the Mull of Kintyre on the 23rd January 1941 resulting in the deaths of all 5 crewmen on board.

Clogrennan House, Larne

Clogrennan House at Andrew Avenue in Larne was a War Hospital Supply Depot where Ulster Gift Fund Women Volunteers assisted the War Effort by producing supplies.

(Thanks to Isabel Apsley for this Information).

For a list of other War Hospital Supply Depot locations throughout Northern Ireland please go to "Information Other Part 3" of this website.

Carnfunnock Country Park

Immediately beside Cairndhu House is what is now known as Carnfunnock Country Park which has a very interesting wartime history.

At the start of the Second World War in September 1939 the owners of the property, Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon organised a canteen at Larne Harbour.

The walled garden at Carnfunnock was used to grow vegetables and Lady Dixon gave one of her Rolls Royce cars, which had been converted into an Ambulance, to Larne A.R.P.

R.E.M.E. Soldiers were based at Carnfunnock and housed in nissen huts.

German Prisoners Of War were brought in to work in the old quarry between the lime kilns and they constructed a firing range which was used by the British soldiers for training purposes. The Guide Book for the park also states that "The remnants of barbed wire circling around groups of trees can still be found in the park as these areas were intended for fencing off prisoners"