River Bann Defence Line
These soldiers of the Royal Berkshire Regiment are shown with their 4.5 inch Howitzer as part of the River Bann Defence Line.
The photograph was taken in May 1941. (From Private Collection PLEASE DO NOT COPY)
The 2 pillboxes shown above can be found overlooking the River Bann on the Portadown to Gilford Road where they were constructed as part of a major defence line in the event of a German invasion via the neutral Republic of Ireland.
The top one is at Moyallen with the lower one being at Drumlyn House. Both are in very good condition.
Rifleman Charles Joseph McClatchey 1st (Airborne) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles.
Rifleman McClatchey was from Portadown.
In May 1939 he had walked with his friend Junior Greer all the way to Belfast to join the army. When the Recruiting Sergeant realised they were under age both returned home however Joe was not giving up and borrowed his older brothers Birth Certificate before going to Omagh where he joined at St Lucia Barracks!
Joe is shown in Portadown on the left. The group photograph shows the royal Ulster Rifles on 5th June 1944 ready for action. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY) (McClatchey family)
At 21.02 on D-Day, 6th June 1944 Joe was aboard a Horsa Glider with other members of 18 Platoon, B Company, 1st (Airborne) Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles.
They landed on Landing Zone N at Ranville adjacent to what was to become known as Pegasus Bridge.
The Horsa had slid across a field which was covered in Anti-Glider Poles that tore a large hole in the wing.
This photograph shows Landing Zone N where the Horsa Gliders landed. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY)
Both Joe and his friend Junior reached cover as Ranville Farm became Battalion Headquarters.
They fought in Normandy, where Junior was wounded, until the end of August.
Shown above is the Airborne Memorial in Ranville Cemetery and Joe is shown on the left being presented with his Medals at Belfast City Hall
(PLEASE DO NOT COPY) (Thank-you to Matt McClatchey)
Joe continued to see action in a number of Campaigns including Operation Varsity, being the crossing of the River Rhine and in the Ardennes at the Battle of the Bulge.
He survived the War and passed away in 2004. "Quis Separabit"
Prisoner of War Camp, Portadown
There was a Prisoner Of War camp located in the Brownstown area of Portadown which has since been demolished.
This pillbox can be found on the Tandragee Road in Portadown and may be what was known as a Type 28 Pillbox.
It is pleasing to see that it is being maintained and that the local Council appear to have taken an interest incorporating a notice explaining its purpose.
Seagoe Church of Ireland Churchyard, Portadown.
This is the headstone of Sergeant / Air Gunner Henry Howard Maginn who was serving with 15 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
On the night of 10th / 11th September 1942 he was a Crew Member on Short Stirling BF347, LS-J on a bombing mission to Dusseldorf.
The aircraft had taken off from Bourn in Cambridgeshire at 21.05 as part of a force of 479 aircraft.
The raid was a success with 39 Industrial companies in Dusseldorf and 13 in nearby Neuss being damaged to such an extent that production was stopped for some time.
R.A.F. losses were considerable with 33 Aircraft lost with the deaths of 60 Crewmen.
The Stirling in which Sergeant Maginn was flying was attacked and damaged by Night Fighters and when an Emergency Landing was attempted at R.A.F. West Malling in Kent the aircraft crashed killing all on board.
The photograph of Stirling LS-J was taken from another aircraft.
(For more information visit the excellent Aircrew Remembered website at http://www.aircrewremembered.com/bannister-harry.html )
Portadown Railway Pillbox
This Pillbox is in super condition.
The inside including the table on which a gun would have been positioned at a loophole which faces the railway line.
Shamrock Park, Portadown
Ulster Home Guard at Shamrock Park, Portadown in 1941. (From Portadownphotos.co.uk Photo by Daphne Palmer-Mitchell)
Ulster Home Guard at Shamrock Park, Portadown in 1944. (From Portadownphotos.co.uk Photo by Daphne Palmer-Mitchell)
Peoples Park, Portadown
This Building can be found in Peoples Park, Portadown.
I do not currently know its purpose. It may have been an Air Raid Shelter however it looks very similar to an Electricity Generator Building for Searchlights as is the case in Larne. If you have some information regarding this Building then please email me at email@example.com
The photographs above show the two sides of the building.
You can see the Larne Buildings which are very similar towards the bottom of www.ww2ni.webs.com/countyantrimpart4.htm
Another view of the building is shown above with my final photograph giving a view of the position of the building which is partly concealed from above by a large tree and is immediately beside Playing Fields where I suspect Searchlights would have been positioned.
This would also relate to the various structures and features which formed part of the River Bann Defence line.
George Deering, The County Armagh Dambuster
George Deering can be seen second left in the photograph here. First left is Wing Commander Guy Gibson V.C.
Pilot Officer George A Deering was Front gunner in Lancaster serial number: ED932-G Call sign: AJ-G on the first wave of Operation Chastise and the bombing of the Ruhr Dams. He was with Gibson aboard the first aircraft to attack Möhne Dam however their mine exploded short of the target.
Deering joined the RCAF in July 1940 and became a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner and arriving in England in April 1941.
After a year with 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds he was then sent to an Operational Training Unit, and was commissioned in February 1943 before being posted to 617 Squadron on 29th March.
He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions during the Dams Raid.
George Deering was shot down and killed on the Dortmund Ems canal operation on 16 September 1943. He is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. (Thanks very much to Keith Livingstone, Grandson of George Deering and Dambustersblog.com)
Various County Armagh Ulster Home Guard Units
Ulster Home Guard Portadown Section on a Training Exercise. (From Portadownphotos.co.uk Photo by Daphne Palmer-Mitchell)
1st. Armagh Battalion, Ulster Home Guard. Section Leader Competition 1944, Laurelvale (From Portadownphotos.co.uk Photo by Daphne Palmer-Mitchell)
A / B Company Rifle Team 2nd. Armagh Battalion Ulster Home Guard, Winners of Battalion Championship.
Back Row L to R: Vol. E. Corkin, Vol. Victor Smith, Sgt. T. Dobbin, Pl. Jimmy Palmer, Cpl. T. Corkin, Sgt. W. Millsop.
Front Row: C.Q.M.S. H. Hewitt, 2nd. Lieut. R.J. Hewitt, Capt. W. Martin, 2nd. Lieut. W. Archer, C.S.M. J.A. Scott.
(From Portadownphotos.co.uk Photo by Daphne Palmer-Mitchell)
V.E. Day, Portadown
The photograph shows High Street, Portadown on V.E. (Victory in Europe) Day 1945. Note the large Water Tanks and Air Raid Shelters in the background.
My photograph shows the same scene as it looks now. (From the excellent portadownphotos.co.uk website)
Drumcree Church, Portadown
Irene Wright was a Sister with Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service when she was Killed by Enemy Action when at Sea on 14th February 1942.
She had been aboard the Hospital Ship S.S.Kuala when it was bombed and sunk by Japanese Aircraft in the Bangka Strait and was later seen swimming towards Pom Pong Island with others however she never arrived and was reported missing.
Private John Morrison was serving with the Pioneer Corps when he died on 13th February 1944.
Aircraftsman Wilfred Wright was serving with 103 Squadron, Royal Air Force when he died on 4th January 1940.
This Memorial relates to Lieutenant Colonel Hampton Atkinson Dougan of the Royal Army Medical Corps who was the holder of the Military Cross and is buried in India
American G.I. Buried at Drumcree
Private First Class John Weatherall served with Headquarters Battery of 510 Field Artillery Battalion of the United States Army.
He was 56 years old when he died and is buried with other family members at Drumcree Church.
American Red Cross in Portadown
The American Red Cross operated throughout Northern Ireland and in Portadown they were in The Plaza at Bridge Street.
The Argory is now a rather impressive National Trust property in northern County Armagh however for a time in 1943 / 1944 this was home to 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion of the United States Army who sailed from Brooklyn, New York on board the Queen Mary and arrived in the Clyde before making the short trip across to Larne and then my train to Moy.
The U.S. 5th Army had previously used the Camp before departing for the invasion of Italy and a detachment of men from 10th Infantry 5th Infantry Division under Lieutenant Huie prepared both The Argory and Derrygally House for the arrival of 654th Battalion on 20th October 1943.
The signs shown here remains in the old Coach House of The Argory which is now a bookshop. This building had been used as a storeroom by the Military and the top picture says "Notice. On completion of training please return your stores to their respective positions Neat and Tidy. It is just as easy to do a thing right as to do it wrong so give Mr Right a Big hand"
There are then positions for number 3, 7, 8 and 9 Platoons as well as Company Headquarters.
It is very pleasing to confirm that this artwork has been preserved.
This was a camp for 654 Tank Destroyer Battalion of the United States Army.
Officers stayed in the House while the men lived in nissen huts in the grounds. The Command Post was established in the Servants Quarters in the courtyard of the House. Some concrete bases of these huts remain to be seen.
A water pumping station, complete with water tank marked "Dungannon Railway Station" (Shown Below) can be seen near the river over which once stood a bridge to allow passage from Derrygally House to The Argory on the other side.
The garages at the House were built by the U.S. Army and inside is a selection of pigeon holes and notice board for various orders.
Vehicles were kept under the visual cover of trees on a nearby hill to prevent them being seen by any enemy aircraft.
A vehicle inspection pit was created close to the road where nissen huts had also been.
Shown above is "Black Panther" cut into a tree neat the pump house by one of the G.I's however a little exploration found some more carving!
Some is difficult to make out after all these years but the most distinguishable is shown here. - CAM GARNER.
General Eisenhower in Armagh
The picture shown here has been addressed to The Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum by General Eisenhower who refers to the Royal Irish Fusiliers as Outstanding!
You can see this picture in the Museum on The Mall. For more details click on the "Museums" section of this website.
General Patton in Armagh
The officer sitting in the back of the Jeep above is Major General Walter Robertson of the 2nd Infantry Division. (Black and white pictures from After The Battle, Home Away From Home and http://www.eucmh.com)
A few days later on 3rd April 1944 Patton inspected Derrygally House and complimented Colonel Martz on the appearance of the camp and battle readiness of the men.
General Patton inspecting Soldiers in The Mall, Armagh. (Thanks very much to Selwyn Johnston)
On 1st April 1944 at 10am soldiers of the U.S. 2nd Infanrty Division along with various other Units were formed up in The Mall in Armagh to be inspected by General Patton.
General Patton speaking to American soldiers on The Mall in Armagh. (Many thanks to Sheriff Johnston)
U.S. Army 2nd Infantry Division in Northern Ireland
The cloth patch of the 2nd Infantry Division can be seen clearly in the photograph above of Soldiers being inspected by General Patton at The Mall in Armagh.
These photographs show a hand-painted metal sign illustrated with the Insignia on the front and a list of locations where the Troops were based on the rear.
"Garwood" probably refers to Girdwood in Belfast and as can be seen Northern Ireland is well represented! This was painted by Liberto Vilarino.
(International Military Antiques picture)
Drumcairn Mill, Armagh
The impressive Drumcairn Mill can be seen on Loughgall Road, Armagh.
It was used by the following Units of the United States Army.
Between October 1943 and 11th April 1944 by 2nd Quartermaster Company, 2nd Infantry Division who were accompanied by the 2nd Signal Company, 2nd Infantry Division between October 1943 and 11th January 1944.
Belgian Soldiers at St Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Armagh
Belgian Soldiers on parade at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in the City of Armagh on 21st July 1945 and inside the Cathedral.
My photograph shows the Cathedral as it looks today.
(Many thanks to http://www.maisondusouvenir.be. For more information please visit this excellent website.)
Service Personnel Buried at St Patricks Roman Catholic Cathedral, Armagh
Fusilier Michael Davies was serving with 2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he died on 30th April 1941.
Immediately beside his Headstone is that of William James Cook who was a Sergeant Air Gunner with 218 "Gold Coast" Squadron, Royal Air Force.
On the night of 23rd April 1942 Sergeant Cook took off from R.A.F. Downham Market, Norfolk in Short Stirling Mk 1 W7473, HA-F. He was accompanied by the following Crew Members:-
Sergeant / Pilot Shirley Vincent Davidge
Sergeant / Co-Pilot Willem Joseph Gerard Paul Rieter
Sergeant / Flight Engineer Abson Squires
Sergeant / Observer John Hartley
Sergeant Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Jamie Kitchener Wendle Paul
Sergeant Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Archibald John Thornburn
Having taken off at 22.57 the aircraft suffered Engine failure, aborted the Mission and jettisoned its Bomb Load into The Wash before trying to return to base.
The Crash Site was Ingrams Field, 100 yds from Clenchwarton Primary School, Clenchwarton, Norfolk - There were no survivors.
Service Personnel Buried at St Mark's Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh
Flying Officer / Flying Instructor John Hamilton Barnes was serving with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Private G.E. Essex was 29 years old and serving with 5th Battalion, Reconnaissance Corps, Royal Armoured Corps.
Serjeant David Love was 52 years old and the holder of the Military Medal. He was serving with the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
Gough Barracks, Armagh
Gough Barracks in Armagh was the Depot of the Royal Irish Fusiliers and is now used by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
The War department markings shown here can be seen on the perimeter wall of the barracks in Victoria Street and I believe these may relate to the location of protective sangars constructed into the walls.
This is a photograph of the Royal Ulster Rifles Depot at Gough Barracks, Armagh in 1937. (Thanks very much to Steven McCrea)
Iron For The War Effort, Armagh
As you walk around the cities and towns of Northern Ireland you may have noticed that there are a number of the older buildings which have had their perimeter fences removed.
The typical sign is a small wall left with the fence having been removed from the top.
The Government had asked for metal items to be gathered together to assist in production of items for the war effort and the civilian population helped by providing a huge amount of items such as pots, pans, beds and even perimeter fencing.
This particular example can be seen in the centre of Armagh.
Kircassock House Gate Lodge
During the Second World War Kircassock House became Headquarters of 8th United States Air Force Composite Command from November 1942 including 496th Fighter Training Group.
It is believed that both Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower stayed at the House when visiting Personnel in Northern Ireland.
Fortunately many of the American Personnel who were on Guard Duty at the Gate Lodge found time to carve their names and home Cities/States into the brickwork.
Above left is "Guy Saville. Baltimore Maryland and Romney West Virginia 18th May 1944" with "March 1944 Laurel Franklin. Kingsley, Iowa" on the right. - I believe Laurel Franklin survived the war and was married with four children. He died in February 2011 at Trinity in Florida.
Here we have "Neal Roelofsen. Harris, Iowa U.S.A. March 30th 1944" on the left and "Harold Kavalier. Dysart, Iowa U.S.A. 4-1-44" on the right. I believe that Neal Roelofsen lived through the war and received an Honorable Discharge however he was 91 years old when he died on 28th March 2008.
"Private Henry Povolny, Chicago, Illinois 1944" is shown on the right.
Geoffrey Petereson is easy to read however some of the other brickwork is considerably less legible as I guess almost 70 years of Northern Ireland weather has taken its toll.
"Cheelsman Baltimore, Maryland 5/18/44" (Left) has the first couple of letters on the wooden frame and these have become erased over the years.
Along with the names there are also "Red Diamond" - which would refer to the United States Army 5th Infantry Division (Mechanised)
and simply the names of various places including Agusta Georgia, Mason City Iowa and New Jersey.
Above seems to say "Pvt K. Potter. Born 1922 Barton Maryland" but is hard to identify.
Another brick where I cannot identify the individual identifies him as a Private First Class with his name ending in Jr. for "Junior" and this man comes from a place called "Moonshiners Ridge, West Virginia"
My favourite is shown below!
Sadly the wording here is again fading with the passage of time however the writing here says "15 Years Now a Buck Ass Private" and appears to have been written by Mr. K. Porter from Barton, Maryland.
As the American Forces left to travel to Southern England before embarking on the invasion of Europe they were replaced at Kircassock House by Belgian soldiers - One of whom left his mark on the same wall "Paquet Belge 6/15/45".
Kircassock House, Magheralin
Virtually unrecognisable now this is the site of what had once been the very grand Kircassock House. Only the clocktower in the courtyard gives a clue as to where the house had stood. (Old picture from "After The Battle" Magazine)
Here is a Plan of the Kircassock House site as it looked during the Second World War (Thanks to Ernie Cromie)
This picture shows Brigadier General Edmund W. Hill,Commanding General of the U.S. Forces in Northern Ireland, presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Technical Sergeant Michael Kruge at Kircassock House on 4th August 1943.
Visitors were Bob Hope the Comedian and Dorothy Lamour who was an American Film Actress along with William Bendix an American Film Actor who were visiting Northern Ireland to entertain American Military Personnel.
From 7th December 1942 until 12th March 1944 Kircassock House was used by 401st Provisional Station Gas Defense Attachment U.S. Army and they were joined on 15th May 1943 by 401st Signal Company Aviation but without the Radio Intelligence Platoon. From 1st March 1944 until 25th May 1944 it was Headquarters to 15 Corps U.S. Army and from14th March 1944 Kircassock House was also used by 2d Platoon 506th Quartermaster Car Company of the U.S. Army.
Shown on the left is a large Water Tower which still remains as it was in the Camp during the 1940's.
Staff Sergeant William Armstrong from Cumnor, Virginia, U.S. Army Mail Clerk sorting the mail into pouches at the Distribution Centre, U.S. Army Post Office 639 at Kircassock House on 10th August 1943.
American Soldiers and Sailors with their invited guests enjoy a dance during a party at Kircassock House on 25th April 1943.
(All of the Black and White photographs here are from Fold 3 and are available to EVERYONE)
Private First Class Charles Furman Blanton, Magheralin
The final resting place of Private First Class Charles Furman Blanton, a United States Army Second World War veteran can be found in the Churchyard in the centre of Magheralin.
The shoulder patch worn by P.F.C. Blanton is 2nd Corps, United States Army.
(Thanks very much to Roger Edmondson and Clive Higginson for their assistance with this).
Gosford Castle, Markethill
This is the impressive Gosford Castle at Markethill.
These grand surroundings were, for a time, home to the United States 15th Field Artillery Battalion Headquarters and officers quarters.
Royal Artillery and Pioneer Corps soldiers were also based in the grounds on various occasions.
The grounds of the Castle were used as a Prisoner Of War Camp (P.O.W. Camp 10) and shown here is what remains of a windmill (Shown below) which was constructed by German Prisoners of War. - The informative sign can be seen beside the windmill.
The small metal section to which the sails had been attached remains to be seen however the sails are long gone.
On walking from the car park towards the castle there are a few concrete bases of nissen huts under the trees as well as a brief section of concrete path.
The Water Tower shown below was used to provide water to the Prisoners of War. (Thanks very much to Philip Calvin whose Grandad helped in the construction of the Tower)
There was a small Airstrip at Mullaghbrack immediately beside Gosford Castle.
This was constructed by American Troops and was operational in 1942/43. - If you have any more information regarding this then please email me at the address below.
All I could find was this small section of concrete.