Killyleagh Castle was used by a number of Military Units from both the British and United States armies during the Second World War.
555 Field Company Royal Engineers had been based here at the start of the war. The 59th Division (Staffordshire) were on field exercises in Northern Ireland and based in Killyleagh at the start of the war and were later deployed to Kent before taking part in the invasion of German Occupied Europe.
I have records of 68th Armored Field Artillery Battalion 1st Armored Division of the United States Army being at Killyleagh from 20th May 1942 until 9th December 1942.
(Visit https://sites.google.com/site/americansinulster/u-s-army-group-photograph-for more information.)
Sir John Gorman Grave, Killyleagh
When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, Gorman was attending the Imperial Service College in Windsor. He then attended Portora Royal School, before joining the British Army. Gorman was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Irish Guards on 5 December 1942.
He was posted to the regiment's 2nd Battalion, which formed part of the 5th Guards Armoured Brigade of Major General Allan Adair's Guards Armoured Division, which, in late June 1944, landed in Normandy as part of Operation Overlord, a few weeks after D-Day landings.
On 18 July 1944, while taking part in Operation Goodwood, he was commanding a group of M4 Sherman tanks east of Cagny that suddenly encountered a mixed group of four German tanks at a range of only 300 yards (270 m). The group included one of the formidable Tiger II heavy tanks. As he knew his Sherman's gun would have little effect on the Tiger's thick armour, Gorman ordered his driver to ram the German tank. Gorman's gunner had time to fire one round before impact, but the shell was an explosive one, not armour piercing, and had little effect.
Both tanks were disabled by the collision and both crews immediately abandoned their vehicles. The last to leave the Sherman was the assistant driver, whose exit was slowed by his hatch being blocked. Once clear of the tank, he followed a group of men who were running for a nearby ditch, only to discover after joining them that they were the German tank crew. They glared at him, so he simply saluted and ran off to join his own crew.
While his crew took shelter, Gorman ran to fetch a Sherman Firefly, a Sherman fitted with the powerful, British 17-pounder anti-tank gun. One of the Firefly's four crew had been decapitated and two others were in shock, but Gorman was able to remove the body and take command of the tank.
With the Firefly, he was able to complete the destruction of both the Tiger II and his disabled Sherman. He was awarded the Military Cross for his actions, while his driver, Lance-Corporal James Baron, was awarded the Military Medal. Gorman was promoted to the rank of captain. However, this account is contested by the German tank's gunner, Gefreiter Thaysen, who said that his commander ordered to back up, hitting the Sherman with its rear. Thaysen's testimony also contradicts Gorman finishing off the Tiger II with a Sherman Firefly and capturing the German crew.
Later in the war, Gorman took part in Operation Market Garden, the unsuccessful attempt to break through German lines in the Netherlands and advance into Northern Germany. The Irish Guards were a leading part of the ground part of the operation and Gorman's tanks reached the bridge at Nijmegen before the operation was called off.
Bombing Range Quadrant Tower, Killyleagh
This Bombing Range Quadrant Tower stands at Moore's Point and a second one was constructed at Killyleagh.
The Bombing Range was created with the Target being between Green Island (Which was requisitioned) and the shoreline. Practice took place with 11 1/2 LB Practice Bombs and I have seen reference to pockmarks on Green Island having been caused by these Bombs. (IBID. 60/2/124)
H.M.S. Al Rawdah
Shown above is what was known as H.M.S. Al Rawdah.
This ship was built in 1911 and was requisitioned by the Ministry of Shipping in 1940 in which year it became a Prison Ship for interned prisoners and was moored of Killyleagh.
The Al Rawdah remained a prison ship until 1946 and was later scrapped in 1953.
The picture was taken at the end of the war after it had left Strangford Lough and the ship is seen with U-Boats U-2502 and U-2326 alongside.
Motor Yacht Alastor Sunk at Ringhaddy Sound
Originally names Motor Yacht Vita this boat was built in 1926 by Camper & Nicholsons for the millionaire Sir Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith who had designed the Sopwith Camel”, and Hawker Hurricane.
In July 1939 MY Alastor was obtained by the Ministry of War Transport to be used throughout the Second World War.
Having been obtained by the local Sailing Club the Alastor was moved to Ringhaddy Sound where, on 11th March 1946, a fire broke out on board.
The crew safely abandoned ship and the Fire Brigade were tasked but with the yacht being anchored some way off shore it was soon completely gutted by fire.
The hull stayed afloat for some days but by 16th March 1946 it had sunk. (Picture above from Divernet. Thanks to Justin McCartney and Dr David Hume)
Gibraltarian Evacuee Camp - Clough
This small building appears to be all that remains of what was the Gibraltarian Refugee Camp at Clough.
It appears to have been the Electricity Generator Building which supplied power to the camp and is at the back of a private property on the Clough to Downpatrick Road.
The large photograph shows how the Exacuees were becoming more and more frustrated and wanted to be able to return to Gibraltar. This picture was taken at Clough Camp (Gibraltar Heritage Trust photograph)
Hughie McNabb from Downpatrick
On the morning of 8th February 1941 Lockheed Hudson I, P5128, UA-H, of 269 Squadron Royal Air Force took off
From its base at Wick for what was referred to as a "Bert" - This meaning a Bergen to Stavanger Patrol along the coast of Norway.
Departure time was 10:07 and among the crew was Sergeant Hugh Denis McNabb from Downpatrick.
Contact with the aircraft was subsequently lost however intercepted German Radio Broadcasts reported that the aircraft had been shot down by Leutnant Dieter Weyergang of 1 (Z) / Jagdgeschwader 77
The Hudson had crashed into the sea approximately 35 Kilometers Southwest of Stavanger at 13.48 hours with no survivors.
The other Crew members were:-
Pilot Officer Eric Alan Tingey, 26 years old, from Leytonstone, Essex.
Sergeant Robert Wilson Baker, 22 years old, from Barry, Glamorgan.
Sergeant Edward Cottingham, 20 years old, from Sharnford, Leicestershire.
All of the Crew are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.
Leutnant Dieter Weyergang and his Wireless Operator / Gunner Unteroffizier Kurt Tiggers were subsequently both killed when their aircraft was shot down by Russian FLAK west of Litsa Bay near Murmansk five months later. (Thanks very much to Gerry McDougall. RAFweb)
The 123rd Ordnance Battery of the 1st Armoured Division of the United States Army moved into the old Downpatrick Gaol in May 1942. With a compliment of 210 men they stayed there until October 1942. They were under the command of Lt. Colonel John Waters who was the Son-In-Law of General Patton and set up his Headquarters at Downpatrick Racecourse.
The same scene as above left is shown below
The Headstone below left is for two unidentified Sailors of the Second World War Merchant Navy who were buried on 3rd April 1944. The American Soldier below right can be seen in Down Museum at the old Prison.
They had been at Newcastle for about two weeks before going to Downpatrick to replace the 6th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers who later became the 53rd Reconnaissance Corps.
At the nearby Cathedral Graveyard is the burial place of 2 Merchant Navy Sailors who were buried on 3rd April 1942.
The top picture here shows the old Gaol Entrance behind which is now a school while the smaller is the entrance to what is now Down Museum. Above is from inside the Museum and you can see the double gable of where two of the huts used for accommodation by the U.S. soldiers stood.
Only a short walk along the street will bring you to Downpatrick Cathedral and here you, like the American Soldier in the picture shown above, can look at what is believed to be the Grave of Saint Patrick!
Downpatrick Gaol building - Not the most suitable of accommodation however I guess it would have been warm and dry with both heat and light!
(Article shown above is from the Boston Globe, Mass. Thanks to Robert A Mosher)
116 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery (59th Division) at Downpatrick
Major General J.S. Steele inspecting men from Staffordshire outside Downpatrick Gaol the entrance of which can clearly be seen above left. Downpatrick Cathedral can be seen in the photograph bottom right. (IWM Pictures)
Ulster Home Guard in Downpatrick
Various Ulster Home Guard Platoons from 2nd County Down Battalion photographed outside Downpatrick Courthouse. (From Ballykinlar history hut)
'A' Company, 2nd County Down Battalion, Ulster Home Guard
243 Battery, 116 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery at Downpatrick
Girl Munition Workers visiting an Artillery School at Downpatrick. They were permitted to take up positions as the Guns Crew and fire the gun.
Photographed on 11th January 1941. (IWM Pictures)
The Racecourse at Downpatrick was used from 1942 by 1st Battalion of the 1st Armoured Division United States Army along with a Maintenance Company, Service Company, Reconnaissance Company and Company B Tank Destroyer Battalion 1st Armoured Division.
There are some concrete bases from Nissen Huts remaining and the photograph above shows what remains of a Toilet Block.
7th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment at Downpatrick. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)
Having spent the night in the open the men are ready for breakfast.
"The Mount" Downpatrick
The area of The Mount at Downpatrick was used by the Ulster Home Guard for Target practice with both Sten Guns and Lee Enfield rifles.
Special Operations Executive at Downpatrick
This is the headstone of Joyce Maclaran, formerly Sinclair who served with the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War.
She is buried at Inch Abbey, Downpatrick.
The document shown above explains the Objects and Methods of Irregular Warfare which is what Joyce would have been involved in.
(Thanks very much to Nigel Newell for the photograph. Document shown above is from the National Archive. ***PLEASE DO NOT COPY***)
Quoyle River, Downpatrick
Royal Engineers involved in a Bridging Operation at the Quoyle River near Downpatrick on 27th August 1942. (IWM Pictures)
This selection of photographs shows bridge construction over the River Quoile near Downpatrick. (IWM Pictures)
As can be seen there was some experimentation with a Barrage balloon as well as use of a Smoke Screen.
These are Imperial War Museum photographs which were taken on 1st December 1942
Captured First World War German Gun in Downpatrick
As with various other Towns and Cities in Northern Ireland the War Office presented Downpatrick with a captured German Gun which is shown in the photograph above and was to be mounted in front of the Courthouse.
As with many other examples the gun was subsequently cut up and smelted down for its metal to be put to good use during the Second World War.
My photograph below shows that this was a 21cm Mortar. (Thanks to Nigel Henderson, Great War Ulster Newspapers Archive for the above)
Crossgar Railway Siding
This is the site of the United States Army General Depot G-10-10 in Crossgar.
It is on the Ballynahinch Road just outside the village and immediately beside the old Railway line.
To assist with movements of supplies a dedicated siding was constructed.
Shown above is the Railway Crossing with a view along the railway line with the Siding on the right.
Much of the concrete from the Depot remains to be seen although it is difficult to show scale in this photograph.
There are two large buildings in the background and crossing the centre of the picture is where railway lines had been laid to assist in the movement of supplies.
Tobar Mhure, Crossgar
As well as British Army personel the U.S. Army designated the location as "Signal Depot S-810" and it was the base of Detachment A, D Platoon, 830 Signal Service Company of the United States Army.
Corporal James Loughlin from Ballyward, County Down.
James Loughlin was from the Dechomet near Ballyward.
In 1933 he cycled from there to Armagh where he joined the 2nd Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles.
His first deployment was to Palestine where he was a Driver, initially of Lorries, before driving Officers!
With the outbreak of the Second World War James found himself with the British Expeditionary Force in Belgium where he was Driver to the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Fergus "Ghandi" Knox.
As the British were pushed back to the coast James and his Commander found themselves with countless others on the beach at De Panne, Belgium from where they were pucked up and brought back to England.
Interestingly another Officer who was involved in this action was Lieutenant Garstin who was later to be involved in an infamous action with the Special Air Service.
James Loughlin reached the rank of Corporal and saw action on D-day at Sword Beach.
He was involved in numerous actions throughout his service which ended in 1948.
James' Medals are shown above.
The items shown below are a Ration Box which was issued to all those taking part in D-Day and 2 Cigarette Cases - One of which is engraved "A memento of many drives together in Galilee 1938 -39" and the other "Cpl Loughlin from Col. Knox Xmas 1940" (Thanks very much to Neil Singer for information and pictures)
During the war both the Castle and its grounds were used to accommodate U.S. Troops who arrived in May 1942 with the first Unit being Headquarters 1st Armored Division along with HQ Combat Command B and HQ Artillery Command as well as 141st Signal Company - All of the 1st Armored Division including the Military
Police. They were followed on 27th May 1943 by 705th Light Maintenance Company of the 5th Infantry Division and the following month Company C 307th Quartermaster Sterilization Battalion.
In January 1944 a Platoon from 19th Special Services Company were at Castlewellan and then from February until 10th May 1944 the 2d Platoon Company A 307th Quartermaster Sterilization Battalion, 2d Platoon 4234th Quartermaster Sterilization Company and 4236th Quartermaster Sterilization Company.
As is the norm within a Military environment Officers had superior accommodation to the regular soldiers and the signage on walls within the castle to ensure this was maintained remains to be seen today.
It is always great to see that steps are being taken to ensure that our Second World War heritage is being retained and the examples shown here can be found at Castlewellan Castle.
It is always great to be able to provide a "Then and Now" type photographic comparison and the top picture here shows Joe Wakefield-Dillier of United States Army 1st Armoured Division Combat Military Police speaking with a Dispatch Rider at the entrance to Castlewellan Castle. (Ghost photograph by Adam Surrey)
Toy Truck from American Soldier based in Castlewellan
Herefordshire Regiment in Castlewellan
Joseph Alfred Curtis is seen in the centre of this photograph (Thanks to Bob Curtis)
Shown above are members of the 1st Battalion, The Herefordshire Regiment who were based at Castlewellan in 1940.
The soldier bottom left of the group photograph is Joseph Alfred Curtis who is shown below on 1st March 1944 having attained the rank of Corporal.
He went to Normandy on 13th June 1944, was Killed in Action on Hill 112 on 1st July 1944 and is buried in Banneville La Campagne War Cemetary outside Caen.
(Sincere thanks to Bob Curtis for information and photographs)
Castlewellan Presbyterian Church Hall
American soldiers from 5th Infantry Division attending a Church Service in Castlewellan Presbyterian Church on 6th February 1944. (Picture from "After The Battle" Magazine)
2nd Lieutenant Chester M. Turner from Kansas Killed in Mournes.
Sergeant William Herron Stevenson from Benraw, County Down.
William Stevenson was 19 years old when he joined the Royal Air Force in 1943.
Having been trained as an Air Gunner in South Wales he was serving with Number 30 Operational Training Unit.
On 9th May 1944 at approximately 21.30 he was Mid-Upper Gunner aboard a Vickers Wellington aircraft which took off from R.A.F. Hixon.
This was a Nickel Mission in which leaflets were dropped to the local populating explaining what they were to do in the forthcoming Allied Invasion.
The port engine failed prior to reaching the target area and the aircraft began to loose height.
The order was given to Bale-Out at approximately 23.30 and William parachuted to safety landing in a clearing in a wood near Tourville-Sur-Pont-Audemer which is Southeast of Le Havre.
Two of the Crew were captured by Germans however the four others were now to become evaders.
Having hidden his parachute and mae west he was able to get access to a house where the owners gave him civilian clothes and looked after him for almost eight weeks!
Whilst all this was happening to William his Family were receiving various contacts from the Air Force.
The first letter was dated 12th May 1944 referring to "The sad loss of your Son" however another letter dated 16th May 1944 said simply that he had failed to return.
On 23rd June another letter arrived advising that his personal effects could now be collected.
William was taken by the house owner to join the Maquis and he lived in a camp with them on the outskirts of Genneville however towards the end of July the Germans were searching in the area and he was taken to a house at Fortmoville where he stayed until the Germans evacuated the area as the allies were approaching and William made contact with a British Reconnaissance Party before being sent back through the lines.
He was given food and supplies by Canadian Troops before being brought to an improvised Runway at one of the Beach Heads from which he was flown back to outside London where he was debriefed regarding his experiences. (Thanks very much to John Stevenson for this information and photographs of William Stevenson)
United States Forces attending Warrenpoint Methodist Church
Immediately beside what was Warrenpoint American Red Cross Club is the Methodist Church which was attended by a considerable number of American personnel.
The wonderful list shown here is displayed with pride within the church.
These are the names of those who attended the church between 25th October 1943 and 6th July 1944 and who came from 2nd Infantry Regiment, Air Corps, Medical Corps as well as Miss Holly Frederick from the Red Cross.
What is most pleasing about this, and perhaps making it unique, is that it is NOT a memorial to those who have lost their lives but rather those who had attended the church and may very well have survived the war!
The wording on the brass tablet says:-
"This Tablet was Presented to the Congregation of Warrenpoint Methodist Church in Grateful Remembrance of the Christian Fellowship enjoyed by Members of the Second Infantry Regiment United States Army During their stay at Warrenpoint & Vicinity from 25th October 1943 to the 6th July 1944"
Warrenpoint American Red Cross Club
This building was where the 5th Infantry Division, United States Army had it's Red Cross Club. It is located in Church Street, Warrenpoint.
The picture on the left shows the building as it looked some years ago while my photograph is as it currently appears. As you can see it has been converted into apartments so I expect that the mural which was painted by Private Romaine E. Wallace (He is seen in this picture putting the final touches to his work) has now gone.
(Both the B&W Pictures here are from "After The Battle" Magazine)
United States Army in Warrenpoint
Here are 2 photographs of soldiers from 5th Infantry Division, United States Army on parade in the centre of Warrenpoint.
In the first picture you can see the Band Marching whilst in the second the American Flag is blowing in the wind right of centre. (Sorry for blurring in this picture)
(These photographs are from a Private Collection.)
Soldiers in Warrenpoint
The photograph above left shows some Soldiers at McGivern's Amusements in Warrenpoint.
From the uniform style I believe these may have been Belgian Soldiers.
The picture on the right shows Private First Class Paul Fonteaut, U.S. Army with Lilly Gallagher (Quinn) with the man on the right of the picture believed to be Hugh Hanna who was from New York (Thanks to Old Warrenpoint Forum)
Teddy Peltz from Chicago.
The photograph to the left shows Teddy Peltz who was from Chicago and was one of the American Troops who frequented Warrenpoint.
Having done some research I believe this soldier to be:-
Thaddeus F. Peltz who was from Chicago, Illinois.
His Army Number was 36017727 and he was serving with 1st Battalion Headquarters of the 2nd Infantry U.S. Army. (Who are recorded as having been based in the Newry Area.)
Teddy had reached the rank of Technician 4th Grade when he was Killed in Action on 24th March 1945.
He is buried in the Lorraine American Cemetery which is on the French / German Border.
( Image used with kind permission of the Old Warrenpoint Forum)
The Warrenpoint Air Crash
On 15th July 1944 two aircraft from 290 Squadron Royal Air Force, based at Newtownards, were entertaining a crowd of spectators at Warrenpoint during a Civil Defence Demonstration when disaster struck.
The aircraft involved were a Miles Martinet TT1 (Number MS626), which was used by the Royal Air Force specifically for the role of towing targets and an Airspeed Oxford (Number LX 598) which was a twin engined trainer aircraft.
There were misty conditions while the display was taking place and then, while one aircraft was climbing over the town the second aircraft approached from the direction of Carlingford Lough.
It appears that the pilots saw each other at the last minute and both attempted to take evasive action with one climbing and the other diving however this was not to be as the tail sections struck each other and as an explosion occurred in the sky pieces of both aircraft rained down.
Some sections of wreckage from the Martinet landed in the Church Street and Queen Street area of the town however most crashed at Duke Street and Church Street, where the cockpit was found with the dead crew inside.
The Airspeed Oxford fell into Carlingford Lough near to the swimming baths and the bodies of the 3 Pilots who were killed were recovered and taken initially to the Charlotte Street Morgue then on to the Mortuary at Daisyhill Hospital in Newry.
Those that died were as follows:-
OXFORD CREW. - The first aircraft shown below (Wikipedia)
LUCIEN ARTHUR WILLIAM JOSEPH ECCLES. Service Number 1931095.
Warrant Officer (Pilot), 290 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
DENNIS MYERS. Service Number 1217452.
Flight Sergeant (Pilot), 290 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
21 years old. From Broughbridge and buried at Broubridge Cemetery.
PETER STURDY. Service Number 1382750
Sergeant (Pilot), 290 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Buried at Willesden New Cemetery.
MARTINET CREW.- The second aircraft shown below. (Wikipedia)
ALBERT GORDON GIBB. Service Number 1118383
Warrant Officer (Pilot), 290 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
28 years old. From Huyton and buried at Prescot Cemetery.
GEORGE WILLIAM MOSEY. Service Number 1041594
Sergeant (Air Gnr.), 290 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
26 years old. From Hamsterley Colliery and buried at Consett (Westwood) Cemetery. - The Letter of Sympathy from Buckingham Palace is shown below.
( Images above used with kind permission of the Old Warrenpoint Forum)
Aixiliary Fire Service, Warrenpoint
Shown here is Warrenpoint A.F.S. (Thanks very much to Old Warrenpoint Forum for permission to share this photograph)
Production of "Landing Craft Tank" Vessels in Warrenpoint
The Smith & Pearson Company produced "Landing Craft Tank" or "L.C.T." vessels at Warrenpoint.
These were very similar to the more common Landing Craft which were to be seen in large numbers specifically in the Pacific Theatre as well as Normandy and the Mediterranean but with the added capability to carry Tanks to shore.
L.C.T. 1206, which had been ordered in 1943, is shown being launched below.
On one particular occasion Miss Florence Clements, who was a Typist for the Company, was asked to officially Launch one of the L.C.T's with considerable coverage by the local press as can be seen below.
Florence is shown above with Rear-Admiral Richard Hugh Loraine Bevan C.B., M.V.O., K.B.E., D.S.O. who is then see Inspecting Naval personnel below.
L.C.T. 872 is shown in this photograph and it is interesting to note that this particular vessel was commissioned on 21st August 1945.
( Images above used with kind permission of the Old Warrenpoint Forum)
Soldiers of 7th Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers charge ashore during an Invasion Exercise at Greencastle on 8th May 1942. (I.W.M. Photograph)
Portaferry Lookout Post
This impressive structure can be seen sitting on top of the hill at Millin Bay Road.
I have shown three views of the building which is made up of two adjoining sections with one being the red bricks frontage facing towards the sea while the concrete section is immediately behind.
There is a blast wall protecting the entrance into the brick section which is shown here while the brick section has 3 loopholes.
You can see from the picture on the right that a ladder had once reached up onto the roof around which is a handrail for the safety of observers who would have been standing on the roof.
There is a mains electricity box inside the concrete section and with a couple of very sturdy chains and the concrete plinth at the front of the red brick section makes me think that a large mast may have been positioned here.
Portaferry Sea Mine
This is an old British Mk14 Sea Mine which can be seen on the waterfront in Portaferry.
Ballywalter Chain Home Low Radar Station
These pictures are of the site of where a Chain Home Low Radar Station was located at Roddens Road, Ballywalter.
The only remaining building connected to the station is the Engine House which is shown in all the photographs.
Directly above you can see the Engine House along with a more recent relic in the foreground - This is the ventilation shaft and entrance to a Cold War Bunker which would have been manned by members of the Royal Observer Corps.
Top right is a rear view of the Engine House and then internal view with heavy metal rings secured in the roof to assist with the moving of equipment.
Ballywalter Radar Mast Cable Tethers
These pieces of concrete are currently lying on the beach in Barn Bay to the North of Ballywalter.
They were used to support very tall towers from which were strung a "Curtain Array" for Radar at a nearby site.
The Quarter Air Raid Shelters
Here are some pictures of Air Raid Shelters which can be seen at The Quarter and remain in great condition.
This part of the Ards Peninsula was used extensively to accommodate Royal Air Force personnel and these shelters were exclusively for the use of Armed Forces.
You can see that the shelters - of which there are 2 in close proximity, include the all important internal supporting columns which,in the event of a bomb landing nearby, should prevent the heavy concrete roof from collapsing onto the people inside.
New Cemetery, Bangor
Fireman and Trimmer Shief Ahmed, Aged 40. Husband of Margaretta Ahmed, of Glasgow.
Carpenter Thomas Smith Beckett, Aged 32, Son of Archibald and Margaret Beckett, of Glasgow.
Both these men were killed on 20th July 1940 when their shop, S.S.Troutpool detonated a Mine in Bangor Harbour.
Sergeant (Pilot) Eric Ritchie Bowman, Service Number 1500548, was 25 years old when he died on 24th December 1941.
He was serving with Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was seriously injured whilst flying in Stirling I, N6066 of No 26 Conversion Flight which crashed after hitting a tree near Bedford during a local flying practice and subsequently died of his injuries.
Also named on this Headstone is Flying Officer Geoffrey Alexander Bowman, Service Number 149526, who was 25 years old and serving with 53 Squadron Royal Air Force when he was lost over the Bay of Biscay on 21st may 1944.
Both were Sons of Hugh and Annie Bowman, of Bangor, Co. Down.
Aircraftman 2nd Class (U/T Pilot) Cyril Charles Cameron, Service Number 3225065, was 19 years old when he died on 22nd October 1944.
He was a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was a Pilot Under Instruction when tragedy occurred. He was serving with 166 Squadron R.A.F. who were operating Lancaster Bombers and his death is recorded as having occurred during a "Bomb Loading Accident"
It is believed that bombs were being loaded onto the aircraft when one exploded prematurely. - See below.
Aircraftman Cameron carried out a selfless heroic act in saving his friends and he survived the blast just long enough for his mother Alice along with his oldest brother Hugh to travel to see him.
Cyril was the Son of Hugh and Alice Eleanor Cameron, of Bangor.
Sapper William Coffin, Service Number 1951203, was serving with Royal Engineers and was 38 years old when he died on 8th September 1945.
William was the Son of Philip and Agnes Manson Coffin and Husband of Winifred May Coffin, of Hull.Private Robert Conway, Service Number 1302489, was 41 years old and serving with the Pioneer Corps when he died on 25th December 1941.
Norman Crothers was serving aboard H.M.S. Naiad when it was attacked and sunk on 11th March 1942 by German U-Boat U-565 south of Crete with the loss of 77 of her crew. (Photograph od H.M.S. Naiad above from IWM )
Corporal James Darragh, Service Number 6977528, was 32 years old when he died on 27th June 1945.
James was serving with Royal Army Medical Corps and was the Son of Richard and Elizabeth Darragh, of Rasharkin, Co. Antrim.Private Thomas Charles Deville, Service Number 7020517, was 35 years old and serving with Pioneer Corps. He died on 6th May 1943.
Thomas was the Foster-son of James George and Emily Deville.
(Thanks very much to Harry Cree for the Newspaper cutting shown above)
Lance Corporal Thomas Dickson, Service Number 7019627, was serving with 2nd Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles when he died on 25th September 1943.
He was 25 years old, the Son of James and Eileen Dickson of Bangor and Husband of Elsie Dickson, of Bangor.Lieut-Commander (S) George Ellis, H.M.S. Caroline, Royal Navy died on 7th May 1945.
Third Engineer Officer Joseph Gerald Foster was serving aboard S.S. Dunaff Head.
which was part of Convoy OB293 .
The ship was heading for St John, Nova Scotia on 8th March 1941 when it was torpedoed and sunk south of Iceland.
Joseph was 30 years old and serving with the merchant Navy.
He was the Son of J. Scott Foster and Helen L. Foster, of Helen's Bay, Co. Down.
Sergeant (Pilot) William Francis Ernest Gault, Service Number 950326 was Royal Air force Volunteer Teserve serving with 245 Squadron.
He was the pilot of Hawker Hurricane V7678 and was flying Convoy Protection when his aircraft crashed through cloud onto a hill near Carrickfergus.
William was the Son of John Ernest and Isabella Gault, of Bangor.
He was 20 years old.
Second Lieutenant John Nelson Hamilton, Service Number 183105, was serving with the Pioneer Corps when he died on 5th May 1941.
John was the Husband of M. L. Hamilton, of Belfast.
Flight Sergeant (Pilot) Herbert Hannay, Service Number 754380 was serving wth the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
He was flying an Armstrong whitworth Whitley Bomber of 51 squadron on a bission from R.A.F. Dishforth to Duisburg in Germany when the aircraft was shot down.
All five of the crew were killed.
Herbert was 21 years old and had previously been Mentioned in Despatches.
He was the Son of William Herbert and Rosa Hannay, of Bangor and Husband of Ena Hannay
Able Seaman Crawford Henderson, Service Number D/JX 143656, was 22 years old and was killed on 19th December 1941 when serving aboard H.M. Submarine Perseus.
Crawford was the Son of John and Mary Henderson and Husband of Elsie Henderson, of St. Austell, Cornwall.
Attached to the 1st Submarine Flotilla, based in Alexandria and under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Edward Christian Frederick Nicolay DSO RN she sank the 3,867-ton Italian tanker Maya 5 on 5 September 1941, and the following month, on 2 October, the 2,086-ton merchant ship Castellon.
The submarine sailed from Malta for Alexandria on 26 November 1941 with instructions to patrol waters to the east of Greece during her passage but at 10 pm on 6 December struck an Italian mine. One man out of the 61 on board survived.
Sergeant (Observer) Julius Charles Holland, Service Number 745631, was 19 years old and serving with 107 Squadron, Royal Air Force when he was killed in Action on 23rd July 1940
He was the Son of Julius Alfred and Beryl Ethel Holland, of Bangor, Co. Down.
David Francis Apperson Hollywood was an Acting Sub Lieutenant with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve operating at H.M.S. Goldcrest., Dale, Wales.
He was the Son of David and Eileen Hollywood from Bangor and was known as Frank.
On 15th September 1943 Frank was flying a Sea Hurricane of 794 Squadron when the engine caught fire when he was taking off for an Exercise.
During his forced landing the aircraft overshot the runway and crashed into an adjoining field where it caught fire.
Acting Sub Lieutenant Hollywood was killed. He was 20 years old.
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Ian Milne Hossack, Service Number 33568, was serving with 144 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
He had been on an Operafion flying from Hemswell in Lincolnshire in a Raid on Wanne-Eikel Marshalling Yards in the Ruhr area.
The aircraft Ian was Flying, Handley Page Hampden P4366 was hit by Flak and crashed with the loss of all Crew.
Ian was 19 years old and the Son of James Davidson Hossack and Eileen Inez Hossack, of Otford, Kent.
Corporal Hugh Kennedy, Service Number 7902429, was 31 years old when he died on 16th December 1940.
He was serving with North Irish Horse, Royal Armoured Corps.
Hugh was the Son of John and Martha Kennedy and Husband of Margaret Kennedy, of Bangor.Aircraftman 2nd Class Arthur James King, Service Number 617525, was serving with the Royal Air Force when he died on 23rd April 1941.
Private Harold Lamb, Service Number 14770658, was serving with the General Service Corps when he died on 18th June 1944.
Pilot Officer (U/T Pilot) William Moody Macdonald, Service Number 102146, was at Number 58 Operational Training Unit based at R.A.F. Grangemouth, Scotland.
On 28th August 1941 he was in a Miles Master I aircraft practicing mock dogfights and turns when the aircraft went into a spin which could not be corrected.
It dived into the ground catching fire and killing both Pilot Officer Macdonald and his Instructor Flight Lieutenant Bogdan Grzeszczak. The aircraft they were flying is shown below. (Thanks very much to Lukas Gredys)
William was the Son of Robert and Sara MacDonald, of Bangor.
Sergeant (Air Gunner) William Matchett Mahaffy, Service Number 969454, was 34 years old and serving with 158 Squadron R.A.F. He was Tail Gunner in Wellington W5525 which was on a Mission to Essen in Germany when the aircraft was lost and he was Killed in Action.
The Son of William Irwin Mahaffy and Jeannie Mahaffy, of Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland he is now buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
I have included a photograph of this headstone.
Norman Leslie Matson, Assistant Steward on HMS CARNARVON CASTLE, an armed merchant cruiser which engaged a German commerce raider in the south Atlantic.
His award of the D.S.M. was for an action on 28/4/1942. (Thanks very much to Al Payne for this information)
Pilot Officer Thomas Andrew McCann, Service Number 116980, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, was serving with 134 Squadron when he was Killed in Action on 27th July 1942.
He had been attached to 213 Squadron who were serving in North Africa. Operating from Landing Ground 154, south-west of Alexandria the Squadron was scrambled and as they took off they were attacked by German aircraft resulting in three airmen including McCann being killed. The squadron was bounced by Me109's as they took off and three pilots were killed.
Thomas McCann was the Son of Thomas Andrew Mitchell McCann and Florence McCann, of Bangor and the Husband of Barbara McCann. He is buried in El Alamein War Cemetery.
Bombardier Thomas McCutcheon, Service Number 1467311, was serving with 5 Battery, 2 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment when he was captured and became a Prisoner of War.
He died in captivity and is buried in Berlin - I include a photograph of his Headstone.
Thomas was 28 years old and the Son of William McCutcheon and Margaret McCutcheon of Bangor.
Master William Johnston Meek was 45 years old.
At 23.45 hours on 2 October 1941 the unescorted Hatasu was a straggler from convoy ON19. The ship was hit by a torpedoe which had been fired by U-431 northeast of Cape Race. In response the Hatasu opened fire with a stern gun and forcing the U-boat to dive but broke in two and sank after being hit by a coup de grâce at 00.28 hours on 3 October. The master, 33 crew members and six gunners were lost. Seven crew members were picked up from a lifeboat after seven days and landed at Reykjavik.
William was the Son of David and Anna Stewart Meek and Husband of E. Meek, of Killinchy, Co. Down.
Sergeant (Pilot) Herbert Reginald Megarry, Service Number 745111, was killed on 18th May 1940 when he was flying Harvard I, P5842 when he recovered from a spin over the bombing range at Otmoor but hit the ground near Islip.
Herbert was 20 years old and serving with Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
He was the Son of Herbert and Sarah Megarry, of Bangor.
Flying Officer (Navigator) William Watson Miller, (Shown above along with his Mosquito) Service Number 151387, was serving with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
The Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Flying Officer Miller said "This Officer had participated in a large number of varied sorties....In August 1944, during a reconnaissance of the Gironde area his aircraft was hit by Anti-Aircraft fire. The petrol tanks were pierced and a quantity of the contents were lost. A course was set for home but the petrol became exhausted and the aircraft came down onto the sea. FO Miller, who had temporarily lost consciousness, recovered to find himself submerged in the cockpit. He released his harness and managed to climb clear. His pilot was apparently still trapped. Although F.O. Miller had both ankles fractured and was in great distress he re-entered the cockpit in a vain attempt to find his comrade. He displayed great courage, fortitude and resolution in highly trying circumstances"
William was the Son of Robert and Margaret Miller, of Bangor.
Sergeant (Navigator (Bomber))William John Morrison, Service Number 1542075.
William (Shown above) was serving with Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. On 12th April 1944 he was aboard Handley Page Halifax Mk.II BB310 of No.1674 Heavy Conversion Unit, Coastal Command, when the aircraft crashed on Great Dun Fell in the North Pennines during a cross country exercise from Longtown near Carlisle.
All nine Airmen aboard were killed. Of the Crew of nine Four were Instructors with the remaining 5 being under instruction.
They were involved in a Night Exercise and the aircraft had been in the air for eight and a half hours when it crashed.
Low cloud had obscured the Airfield at R.A.F. Longtown and having overflown the airfield the aircraft crashed into high ground killing all on board.
(Additional information from http://aircrashsites.co.uk/uw/)
Able Seaman David Orr, Service Number D/SSX 26643, was killed in Action whilst serving aboard H.M.S. Farouk.
Fusilier Edward Francis Owen, Service Number 4191721, was serving with 6th Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers.
He was 24 years old and the Son of Robert and Kate Owen.Corporal Albert Edward Reuben, Service Number 7212199, was 46 years old and serving with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps when he died on 10th June 1945.
Albert was the Husband of Sarah Francis Reuben, of Bangor.
Ordinary Seaman Lambert Charles Shepherd, Service Number P/JX 223842, was serving with the Royal Navy and 30 years old when he was killed in Action and went down with H.M.S. Hood on 24th May 1941.
He was the Son of Percy Edward and Ella Shepherd and Husband of Iris Eunice Shepherd.
Flying Officer (Navigator)Robert Henry Rutherford, Service Number 133718, was serving with Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
On 22nd July 1943 he was serving with 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit and was on board Stirling Bomber W7586-C during a training flight from Stradishall.
The aircraft crashed at 17.46 hrs when attempting to go round on another circuit of the airfield for a 3 engined approach.
Robert was aged 20 and the Son of Samuel William and Pauline Annie Rutherford of Holywood.Corporal Francis Neville Sloss, Service Number 1544915, was 19 years old and serving with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Francis was the Son of Francis Alexander and Alice Mary Frances Violet Sloss, of Bangor.
Colour Serjeant Nathaniel Robert Smith, Service Number D/24698, was 45 years old and serving with 30th (Home Defence) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles. He was 45 years old when he died on 14th June 1942.
Keith was the Son of Nathaniel and Sarah Smith and Husband of Mary Smith, of Bangor.
Pilot Officer (Navigator) John Stanley Smyth, Service Number 139301, was serving with Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. On the night of 26th July 1943 he was serving with 51 Squadron when his aircraft was shot down over Northern Holland.
Private Thomas Stewart, Service Number 34156, was serving with the Corps of Military Police.
He was 54 years old when he died on 16th December 1944 and was the Husband of Kathleen Stewart, of Bangor.Private Barry John Stubbings, Service Number 5392025, was just 16 years old and serving with Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died on 14th March 1942.
Barry was the Son of Mr. and Mrs. Allan John Stubbings, of Dartington, Devon.
Sergeant (Wireless Op./Air Gunner)Arthur Moore Templeton, Service Number 1071533, was serving with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Arthur was based at R.A.F. Croft in Yorkshire from where, on 4th February 1943, he was in Vickers Wellington III BJ668 ZL-X of 427 Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron on a bombing mission.
The aircraft he was flying in came down in Brittany where he is now buried.
Rifleman Ernest Oscar Thompson, Service Number 7020212, was 21 years old and serving with 7th Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles attached to 5th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he died on 17th November 1943.
Ernest was the Husband of Anna Thompson, of Bangor.
Sergeant (Observer) Ernest Watson, Service Number 1073521, was serving with the Royal Air force Volunteer Reserve.
On 15th September 1942 he was with 218 Squadron based at R.A.F. Downham Market from where he went on a mission to bomb Wilhelmshaven.
(The aircraft was Short Stirling N3725 HA-D which is seen in the Imperial War Museum Photograph below.)
The aircraft had lost the starboard outer engine whilst over the target and on the return flight the starboard inner engine failed with catastrophic results as this put the aircraft into a spin and subsequent crash.
Ernest was 32 years old and the Son of William and Maria Watson of Bangor.
Aircraftman 1st Class Robert Logan Wilson, Service Number 995972, was serving with Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
He was 23 years old when he died on 28th June 1942.
Robert was the Son of William Ogilvie Wilson and Mary Wilson, of Bangor.
James Skillen Died on Active Service whilst at Sea in 1941.
Unfortunately I have no other details - If you have any information regarding James Skillen then please email me.
Ward Park Air Raid Shelter, Bangor
Its sturdy construction with solid concrete roof and the fact that it has been constructed under large trees give some indication of its previous life as a Public Air Raid Shelter.
There is a shelter of similar construction which can be seen in Castle Gardens, Lisburn and that shelter is photographed in the County Antrim Part 1 section of this website.
The Notice shown below has now been attached to this Shelter.
Finds in the Crawfordsburn Road Area.
These are some interesting finds.
On the left is a .303 and two .9mm. The dates can be seen as 1936 and 1944. The 9mm in the centre has the British Army Crows Foot mark as well as a factory mark. The spoon is stamped with the Crows Foot and dated 1944. (Thanks very much to Norman and Michael)
Camp Pinetum, Clandeboye Estate, Bangor
Shown above are 2 buildings which remain at what was known by United States military personel as "Camp Pinetum" within Clandeboye Estate, Bangor.
The Camp was opened on 29th November 1943 as Depot O-621 when a number of Ordnance Maintainance Depots were established throughout Northern Ireland.
It was used initially as a Vehicle Park however on Thanksgiving Day 944th Ordnance Motor Vehicle Distribution Company, under the command of Captain Ewen J Cameron, arrived and created a vehicle storage and issue point.
There are some trees at the site showing old carvings.
One of these is shown here and is dated 1944 however unfortunately there are only initials.
Ballyholme Sea Defences
The bricks and concrete shown here were once one type of defence and are now working as another.
This pile of brickwork and concrete was once the Air raid Shelters from around Bangor and now they are used as a seawall beside the childrens playground near Ballyholme Yacht Club.
Ballyholme Air Raid Shelters
This little shelter near the Yacht Club at Ballyholme, Bangor is actually a converted Second World War Air Raid Shelter.
When constructed there was a steel reinforced concrete core which was faced with red bricks.
The roof was part of the construction with timbers being put in place before the concrete was laid meaning the rood was an integral part of the structure.
You can see this from the sides where the roof joins the walls on the inside.
The above photograph shows two more converted Air Raid Shelters centre left in the picture.
Unfortunately these buildings have since been demolished. (From Old Belfast facebook Page)
Godfrey Avenue, Ballyholme, Bangor
The first photograph shows an Air Raid Shelter in Godfrey Avenue with my photograph showing the same location as it looks now. (Thanks very much to Peter Crawford)
This photograph shows how inside such a shelter would have looked (Manchester Libraries picture)
Ards Hospital Air Raid Shelter
This building with a strengthened roof would have been used for protection during Air Raids and it is interesting to note that "The McKelvey Pavillion For Sick Children" was opened at Ards Hospital only a few weeks before the German air raid on Ards Airfield which had a number of wounded personel being brought to the hospital.
***Unfortunately I believe that this Air Raid Shelter has now been totally removed***
Leading Aircraftman Ritson Finlay Petts was serving with 100 Squadron, Royal Air Force in Singapore when he was killed in a Flying Accident involving a Vickers Vildebeest on 27th September 1939. He was 26 years old and is named on the Singapore Memorial.
Sergeant Observer Thomas James McCloud, 1066739, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who was flying with 18 Squadron when he was killed in action on 6th November 1942.
The headstone immediately catches the eye on entering the cemetery as it is not the usual Commonwealth War Graves Commission type headstone but rather a family cross which incorporates the Royal Air Force wings.
On researching 18 Squadron I believe that at the time of Sergeant McCloud's death the Squadron were flying Bristol Blenheim aircraft and were operating in both North Africa and supporting the Allies in the Italian campaign.
Sergeant Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Alexander Campbell, Service Number 974217, was 19 years old when he was killed on 18th June 1941.
He had been flying aboard Hampden 1, P4389 which had just taken off at 18.50 from R.A.F. Lindholme in Yorkshire when the aircraft stalled and crashed to the ground at Gatewood Farm just outside the Airfield perimeter with the loss of all aboard.
Sergeant Campbell is buried at Hatfield (Woodhouse) Cemetery near Doncaster.
Sergeant James Campbell, Service Number K/53057 was serving with the Canadian Army with whom he was on the General List.
He was 38 years old when he was Killed on 20th July 1944.
The Son of James and Jane Campbell he was the Husband of Alice Campbell of Hollywood, California, U.S.A. and is buried in Bretteville-Sur-Laize canadian War Cemetery south of Caen.
A.R.P. Death at Moneyreagh
Margaret Kate McGowan was 21 years old and from Kinlough in County Leitrim, Eire.
She is recorded as being in the A.R.P. and having been killed at Moneyreagh on 17th December 1942. Sadly this is all the information I currently have.
Mourne Park, Kilkeel
The picture above (From "After The Battle" Magazine) shows U.S. soldiers of 40th Field Artillery 5th Division on 13th March 1944. The buildings in this picture would have been to the right of the broad concrete path which winds from the main Kilkeel to Rostrevor Road and is the first obvious sign of this location's involvement in the Second World War. This road was actually constructed by U.S. Military personel and is shown below.
On passing through the gates into the estate there are a couple of concrete bases on the left which I believe were used as a Guard Room and Cinema for the troops based here.
They began to arrive in 1942 with the first being 2d Battalion 6th Armored Infantry and 16th Armored Engineer Battalion (Without Company D) of the 1st Armoured Division.
In October 1943 the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery 5th Infantry Division Artillery and 19th Field Artillery (5th Infantry Division) - Equipped with 105mm towed Howitzers arrived along with 46th and 50th Field Artillery Battalions of 5th Infantry Division who were also equipped with 105mm towed Howitzers and therefore with all this large equipment it becomes clear why the space at Mourne House was utilized.
I have read that some of the planning for the D-Day invasion took place at this house.
Without doubt the highlight of my visit was locating some trees where U.S. soldiers left their mark by carving some personal details. Of the graffitti which can be found the one shown above is probably the clearest. "J.C. Butler 17 April 1944 GA" showing him to be from the state of Georgia.
"Tom Maines" can clearly be seen on another tree however I am unsure of the writing below his surname.
As the years have passed and nature has done its best to recover from the lettering it is difficult to identify clearly what was written and this is particularly true of the next pictures.
Top of this tree is "Jerry Miller" however I am afraid I cannot make out the next line which may be a date ending in 44.
Then we have "Stanley" and below this I think it says "1 44" which would probably refer to January 1944 and "ILL" for the State of Illinois.
The bottom wording is very faint but appears to say " R. Haslam" and another date below this "Jan" something.
The final tree shown is where "Norman Taylor" had decided to leave his mark.
There is a "KY" visible which mat refer to Kentucky but the word above is difficult to read and appears to contain "TEARN"
At the bottom may be another date but is very difficult to read.
This is fascinating stuff and if anyone can assist in making out more detail from the pictures PLEASE contact me at the usual E-Mail address.
The previously SECRET Document above refers to the departure of U.S. Troops from Mourne Park and onward to Operation Overlord and the invasion of Normandy.
The Disc shown above was found at Mourne Park. It has been identified as a First World War U.S. Army Identity Disc which may have been carried by the Son of James A. Weir, Service Number 618484, as a Good Luck Charm when he arrived at Mourne Park with the U.S. Army during the Second World War.
(Thanks very much to Alan Pridham for the photographs)
His Royal Highness The duke of Gloucester with Lieutenant General Sir Henry R. Pownall and Major General Wilson watching guns go past from 81st Field Regiment, 53rd Division on 21st April 1941. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)
American Red Cross in Kilkeel
The American Red Cross operated throughout Northern Ireland and in Kilkeel they used the Presbyterian Church Hall.
Two American Soldiers who were based at Mourne Park, Kilkeel
Shown here are two U.S. Army Soldiers who were based at Mourne Park, Kilkeel.
Above is Corporal James M. Walton, Army Service no. 15056568, who served with Headquarters Battery, 50th Field Artillery, U.S. Army and was in Kilkeel in 1943.
Below is Sergeant George Katula who was at Mourne Park, Kilkeel in 1942. He was from Bell in Kentucky.
In both cases the Soldiers were engaged to be married to local ladies but their mothers didn't want them to go to America.
(Thanks very much to William McKnight)
Corporal Lavaughn Rice at Kilkeel
Mourne Abbey, Kilkeel
The photographs above show one of the house residents with a member of the Royal Artillery and another with one of the American Soldiers who were based there.
(Thanks very much to Rosemary Brown)
Artillery Training in the Kilkeel Area
81st Firld Regiment, Royal Artillery in Drill Order with their guns near Kilkeel with their 25pdk Mk II Guns. (Imperial War Museum photographs)