The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

County Fermanagh Part 3

Kiltierney Ammunition Dump

This Ammunition Dump / Magazine sits in a hollow at Kiltierney near Kesh. It was constructed by the United States Navy and was part of a considerable plan to provide all the necessary facilities for 4 Flying Boat Squadrons including Maintenance and of course the all important storage of ammunition.

Part of this major construction plan included the Military Hospital at Necarne Castle which is referred to in Co Fermanagh Part 1.

This is an impressive site with a number of the large Bunkers still remaining and in great condition.

When you consider the deadly U-Boat threat to shipping when crossing the Atlantic it is always surprising to find that so much material was transported from the United States.

This stamp can be found throughout the various sheets of metal in the various structures and it shows that the "Armco" Ingot Iron was manufactured by The American Rolling Mill Company in Middletown, Ohio.

On visiting sites such as this I always make an effort to try and find some evidence of the Service Personel who worked there.

On the right is some writing which can be seen in one of the Bunkers. It is difficult to read however I believe the Surname is "Walbeck"

The Building above is very similar to a Norden Bomb Site Building.

This Aerial Photograph (Bing Maps) shows the entire Kilterney Ammunition Dump site.

There were a considerable number of Bunkers throughout the site and it is pleasing that I am able to show photographs of a number of these.

The Bunkers are very similar to those a Fincairn Glen in County Londonderry which can be seen at https://www.ww2ni.com/countylondonderrypt2.htm

(My Sincere thanks to the Owner for permitting me to spend some time looking around this Site. Much Appreciated!)

V.E. Day Celebrations in Kesh

This photograph shows a V.E. Day Parade in Kesh (Thanks to Maurice Lee)

The Latimer Family at War

The oldest Jack (John Edward)-see top left of picture, was born on 31/05/1921 to John Edward Latimer and his wife Gretta (nee Betty) in Gortin, near Tempo, Co Fermanagh, the first of a family of 6. He had to finish school at 12 year old when his Father could no longer manage the family farm due to failing health, shortly after passing away. 

On becoming the required age he joined up as a member of the B Specials, his Father had been in the B Specials too .When the American Forces arrived in N.Ireland some were stationed at St Angelo Airfield & Jack enlisted as an `A`Constable so he could take part in guarding the camp. 

He later transferred to Belfast & served there until 1943 when he enlisted with the RAF, training as a WOP AG.(Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) Service No 2210401. He served in various parts of the world including Palestine, Christmas Island (he was stationed there when the first Atomic Bomb tests were carried out), Sharjah, Compton Bassett, Lyneham, Lossiemouth, he also spent a considerable time in his later service in Ballykelly after he qualified as an Air Traffic Controller. 

He was with Bomber Command from 1943 until 1947 achieving the rank of Flight Sergeant.

When he was Demobbed in 1947 he found employment as a Fixer with the Hosiery Company Taylor Woods in Enniskillen making Nylon stockings. He must have missed the RAF as he re-joined in September 1951 as an Air Signaller serving until May 1968.  It is worth mentioning that during their service with the R.A.F. both Jack and his brother Harry contributed 5/- (shillings) weekly to their mother to help support their younger siblings. During his Service Jack earned the following Medals: General Service Medal Borneo, General Service Medal Palestine, Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, Defence Medal France & Germany, 39-45 War Medal and also the Northern Ireland Campaign Service Medal. Altogether Jack Latimer gave almost 29 years of his life in the service of his Country. He never married but lived a queit retirement in a cottage near his youngest brother and family, he kept up his love of learning and also his interest in radios, he had sevceral “radio fixing projects” on the go at all times. He passed away peacefully at the age of 78 and is buried in the Family plot Colebrooke Parish Church in Co Fermanagh.

Harry, Richard Henry – top right of photograph, was born in 1928 and whilst attending Enniskillen Technical College enrolled as a member of the ATC (Air Training Corps.) On leaving the College he served his time in Wighams Grocers Store in Fivemiletown. He went on to join the RAF at a young age, serving in the latter stages of WW2. He was given no choice of which unit he wanted to join as when asked if he had family in the RAF, as soon as he said that his brother was WOP AG, he was sent straight there too, though he only met up with his brother once during his service at a camp. He achieved the rank of Sergeant before being demobbed. He had a brief career with the Ministry of Employment before emigrating to the United States of America where he eventually owned his own Butchers store, he married and raised a family, settling in California where he finished his days.

Bertie, William Herbert - Centre right of photograph, was born in 1923 and on leaving the Enniskillen Technical College he served his time with a Grocers and General Merchants Store in Fintona. He then went on to join The Home Guard for a short while until the War ended. He secured a job in a Mill in the South of England and completed a course to qualify as a Saw Doctor, when that mill closed down he travelled to New Zealand to work for the NZ Forestry Service until his retirement in the 1980s. He was a member of the Order of The Buffalos helping those in need, he also had a great love of the outdoors, camping and hunting, being awarded the Freedom of New Zealand to hunt. He reurned home to spend his last days in Fermanagh and is buried in the family plot in Colebrooke.

Mabel Elizabeth – centre right of Photograph, was born in 1930. On leaving Enniskillen Technical College she spent some time at home before going to London to staart her Nursing career, gaining her SRN (general nursing) and SCM (midwifery) qualifications. She soon followed family tradition by joining the Princess Mary RAF Nursing Service and was posted to Cyprus where she met her husband who was stationed out there with the RAF. When her term of duty was finished she settled in Chester with her husband and raised a family whilst working as Theatre Sister and finally Matron. She unfortunately developed heart problems just before retirement and passed away whilst having heart surgery.

Robert Hugh – bottom left of photograph, was born in 1932 and was the first of the family to pass the 11+ exam and receive a Grammar School Education at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen. He then took up an apprenticeship with Sainsburys in London where he qualified as a Master Butcher. He went on to join the RAF as ground crew, completing a tour of duty in Gibralter. During his time with the RAF he discovered he was a crack shot and qualified as a Marksman, competing with the RAF Team at Bisley. On leaving the RAF he set up an Estate Agents in London which he successfully ran whilst raising a family, until his retirement. He developed cancer and passed away shortly after.

The youngest brother to serve his country was George Ernest – bottom right of Photograph, born in 1934. He attended Tempo Primary School and Enniskillen Model School before finishing his education at Enniskillen Technical College. Whilst at college he joined the Sea Cadets, in the late 1940's and remembers travelling from Fermanagh to Clyde Bank in Glasgow for a camp, staying on a retired tank carrier ship, he has very clear memories of the great fun the cadets had sleeping in the hammocks.

After Technical College, he helped out on the family farm before taking up a job opportunity on a large Dairy Farm in Dorset, England, keeping to the other family tradition of a love for travelling. 

Having lost his father at a young age, his mother later remarried and moved to Newtownbutler, where shortly after, her new husband took ill and was unfit to work his farm. George was forced to come home and help his Mother look after the farm and his step-father. He and his wife worked the farm and built it up over the years whilst raising a young family. 

When The Troubles really kicked off in the early 1970s, the service bug hit and he joined the UDR to fight for Queen and Country. He signed up in 1972 thinking it would be only for a short time but he went on to serve for almost 20 years under continual threat, losing many friends and colleagues. He thankfully survived and at the young age of 85 continues to help his community through church and running a senior citizens group, also enjoying looking after his garden, his chickens and the odd pony or two.

Soldiers Training at Crossing A Lake

Not the safest looking vessel however an excellent example of ingenuity.

Taken on 19th March 1943 this photograph shows a small truck and soldiers being hauled across a lake. (Thanks to Selwyn Johnston) ***PLEASE DO NOT COPY****

In this case a Light Artillery Piece is being moved on two small boats then some soldiers make a crossing (Getty picture)

The photograph below shows some soldiers after a Swim!  (Thanks to Selwyn Johnston) ***PLEASE DO NOT COPY****

U.S. Army Air Force Bomber Crew Bail-Out over Brookeborough.

On 23rd January 1944 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 42-31507 took off from Goose Bay, Newfoundland to follow the North Atlantic Ferry Route to Nutts Corner Airfield in County Antrim.

The crew consisted of:-

Second Lieutenant Charles G. Smith Jr - Pilot and Flight Officer John M. Haning - Co-Pilot along with Second Lieutenant Ralph H. Stanley, Second Lieutenant Garven F. Williams Jr, Sergeant Kenmore E. Rowe, Sergeant Robert F. Wise, Sergeant George Aviles Jr, Sergeant Raymond Niday, Sergeant Vernon D. Gardner and Sergeant Stanley C. Burton.

Due to the ground being obscured by cloud the Pilot soon found himself flying by his instruments from shortly after take-off.

When approximately 200 miles west of Ireland the Pilot climbed to 23,000 feet in the hope of getting above the cloud however as they approached the coastline Number 1 Engine began to splutter followed by Number 4 Engine doing the same. Propellers were feathered to ensure they did not create drag and as the aircraft reached County Fermanagh the situation became even more serious as Engine Number 3 also began to splutter.

It seemed obvious that the aircraft was about to loose all power and crash so the Order was given for the crew to Bale-Out.

The duty of the Pilot was to ensure that the aircraft, with it’s secret radio Navigation System as well as the famous Norden Bomb Sight and thirteen .50 calibre Machine-guns, did not fall into the hands of the enemy. He was also aware of the danger of such a large aircraft crashing onto a populated area so 2nd Lieutenant Charles Smith set the Autopilot for a heading which would ensure it would crash into the Atlantic Ocean before he also baled-out.

All of the Crew floated to earth in the Brookeborough area as a storm raged and a strong wind blew from the Northwest.

Strange as it may seem the Bomber headed southwards over the neutral Republic of Ireland with its engines still misfiring until it came down to earth and glided to a halt in a field north of the village of Johnstown in County Kilkenny. 

Amazingly it had travelled approximately 143 miles with no-one on board and the fact that the aircraft was empty came as a considerable surprise to the Emergency Services who had raced to the scene expecting to find an injured Crew.

The Secret Equipment as well as Guns were subsequently recovered and returned to Northern Ireland.

(Thanks very much to Joe O'loughlin for his assistance with information)

Dispersed Living Quarters, Lisnarick

These photographs show a few of four concrete Nissen Hut Bases which I believe were used as Dispersed Living Quarters in the Lisnarick area. (Thanks to Al Geddis re this)

Ashbrooke

Ashbrooke is near Brookeborough and during 1942 was used as Billits by 1st Battalion, 135th Infantry of the 34th Infantry Division, U.S. Army.

On 15th December they were joined by 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry, 8th Infantry Division who stayed there until June 1944.

The nineteen photographs here are stamped on the rear "Passed for Personal Use Only. Not for Publication. Theatre Censor. ETOUSA" (European Theatre of Operations, United States Army) They are dated 26th and 27th September 1944.  ***Charlie Anderson Collection, by kind permission of his family Do Not Copy***

Time for a Break - The soldier on the left is named as "Bob Jones"

The photograph on the right has the name Kline handwritten on the back.

The final photograph above shows that County Fermanagh is known more for its rainfall rather than sunshine.

On the back of this photograph is written "The Flood Outside Our Door. August 1942"

***Charlie Anderson Collection, by kind permission of his family Do Not Copy***

Medal Presentations at Ashbrooke

There pictures show Private Julius Biel (Seated due to Injury) and Private G. Jones being awarded the Soldiers Medal by Major General William Claude McMahon at Ashbrooke on 13th May 1944.

U.S. Army Soldiers training in the Ashbrooke Area

In front of the Soldier on the left you can see some camouflage netting.

Some of the "G.I.'s speaking with Turf Cutters.

Perfecting Shooting Skills.

Weapons being cleaned on the left with a tent being prepared on the right.

Looking down into the Camp you can see that some of the Nissen Huts have been painted in a camouflage pattern.

Another group photograph of U.S. Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 135th Infantry, 34th Infantry Division at Ashbrooke.

******These photographs are from a Private Collection. Do Not Copy******

Belle Isle, Lisbellaw

In January 1944 this became home to 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion, XV Corps United States Army.

Trory Church Graveyard

On looking around the graveyard at Trory Church overlooking St Angelo Airfield I was surprised to find the grave of Major General Thomas Patrick David Scott.

Scott had been Officer Commanding 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers between 1942 and 1944 and subsequently from 1944 until 1947 he had commanded 38th Irish Brigade.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his actions during the war.


Patrick Joseph Traynor from Enniskillen.

Patrick was from Enniskillen and lived in Tempo.
He is thought to have served with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and later the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.

Patrick served in Burma and was awarded the War Medal, Defence Medal, 1939-1945 Star and Burma Star.
He continued to serve with the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders into the early 1950's.
Some great photographs of him including a group Picture of Burma's Own Army! (Thanks very much to Dave Traynor)

David Samuel George Fallis from Enniskillen.

Davey was born in 1911 and enlisted in the Royal Armoured Corps, North Irish Horse at Omagh on 1st May 1940.

Following his Basic Training he joined his Regiment in Portrush (Where he met his Wife to be) where they were involved in Coastal Defence duties using armoured cars and reconnaissance vehicles.

Having become an Infantry Tank Unit training began in July 1941 with the Valentine Tank before they moved to England and were equipped with Churchill tanks.
It was in 1941 that Davey married his Wife, Mary.

In 1943 the Regiment was part of 25 Tank Brigade and joined the First Army in Tunisia where they soon saw action culminating in being the first tanks into Tunis on 8th May 1943.

In April 1944 the Regiment joined 8th Army in Italy with their first action in support of 1 Canadian Infantry Division in a frontal attack on the Hitler Line.

North Irish Horse lost 36 Officers and Men with 36 wounded and the loss of 32 tanks.
Their action was recognised by the canadians who asked that the Regiment wear a Maple Leaf on their uniform.

Davey survived the war and passed away at the age of 92 in October 2003.
(Thanks very much to the Fallis Family for information and photograph)

Willie Fallis from County Fermanagh.

William Frederick Fallis enlisted in the Royal Air Force in August 1939 and commenced training at RAF St Athan then Blackpool and onward to 919 Squadron where he becan training as an Air Gunner and was posted to Number 2 Middle East Air Force in Egypt.
Willie served in Egypt throughout the war then, after a short spell at Blackpool he was posted to RAF Aldergrove in 1946.
(Thanks very much to the Fallis Family)