The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

County Londonderry Part 4

The River Bann Defence Line near Kilrea

I have not seen any other Pillboxed in Northern Ireland which have the same design as this one.

There are large Loopholes on either side through which a small artillery piece could be operated as well as three other loopholes.

There is a biblical verse painted above one of the loopholes saying "1st Peter 5th Chapter 8th Verse"  

 (Thanks very much to Adam Kearney for bringing this Pillbox to my attention)

Drenagh House, Limavady

Drenagh House was used as a billet by Royal Air Force Officers from the nearby Aghanloo Airfield.

Interestingly the "Troop Accommodations Northern Ireland District" has it identified as having a capacity of 242.

American Troops used the property as "Field Force Replacement Depot 7, Casual Detachment 32" and there was a headquarters Company from 118 Infantry Regiment.

Fuel Stores were retained at the site and on 5th May 1943 Wellington Bomber LB241, which was being used by 7 Operational Training Unit crashed at Drenagh

***Please go to County Londonderry Part 2 Section to see more details and headstone of Airman who was killed ***

Battle of The Atlantic Memorial, Limavady

This is the impressive Battle of The Atlantic Memorial at the Services Club in Limavady. 

Ulster Home Guard in Limavady

Shown here is 1 County Londonderry (Limavady) Ulster Home Guard marching along Main Street. They were Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel F.S.N. Macrory D.S.O.
(Thanks very much to Peter McLean for permission to share these photographs)

St Mary's Cemetery, Limavady

Sergeant Pierre Elzear Rodolphe Baillargeon was a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner of the Royal Canadian Air Force serving with 59 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

He was in Liberator GR V FL989 when it flew into High Ground at Glengad Head in Neutral Republic of Ireland while on an operation. All eight Crew were killed.

On 2nd January 1943 Sergeant Ronald Paul Wightman was flying in Wellington VIII HX439. He was at Number 7 Operational Training Unit and the aircraft was on a training flight when, during a snowstorm, the aircraft crashed at sistrakeel, two miles southwest of Ballykelly.

Flight Sergeant Robert Hugh Gillian, Royal Australian Air Force was in Avro Anson LV153 which took off from R.A.F. Wigtown in Southwest Scotland on the night of 5th/6th March 1945.

The crew were on a Night Navigation Exercise when the aircraft crashed into Legnacoppage Glen in County Tyrone with the loss of 4 of the 5 Crew Members.

Flight Sergeant John William Hughes was a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner with the Royal New Zealand Air Force and was at Number 7 Operational Training Unit, Limavady. On 13th July 1943 he was on board Wellington HF838 which crashed at Dickeys Glen, Curley Burn, Bolea.

Flight Sergeant John Joseph Walsh was flying in Wellington LB247 on 5th November 1943.

The aircraft had taken off from Limavady on a Non-Operational training flight where the Instructor demonstrated Torpedo attacks on ships in Lough Foyle.

The aircraft crashed approximately one mile east of Limavady killing Flight Sergeant Walsh whilst the 6 other Aircrew were injured but survived.

Joseph Andre Deschamps was a Royal Canadian Air Force Wireless Operator / Air Gunner serving with 86 Squadron, R.A.F. when he died on 24th October 1943

(The photographs above show the Funeral of Flight Sergeant John Joseph Walsh. They come from the Australian War Memorial and is available to EVERYONE at https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/SUK11592B/ )

In this Cemetery you will find a Briton, New Zealander, Australian and Canadian buried side by side.

Master Sergeant Forest Anthony McGlasson, United States Army

Master Sergeant Forest McGlasson was one of the thousands of U.S. Soldiers who arrived in Northern Ireland during the Second World War.

He found himself based at Ballykelly and Camp Dogleap and it was during his time in Northern Ireland he met a local Girl called Catherine McLaughlin who he married.

Having survived the Second World War he remained in the U.S. Army and served in various locations but mostly in Georgia and Texas.

Following his retirement Forest and Catherine returned to Limavady and when he died Forest received a Military Funeral with the Stars and Stripes Flag being presented to his Family.

He has been laid to rest in St Mary's Cemetery, Limavady.

(Sincere thanks to Suzanne McCann and D. Gleeson for all their help.)

Camp Dogleap, Limavady

Camp Dogleap was used by a number of Units of the United States Army during WW2.

From 18th January 1944 until 29th April  131st Army Postal Unit and from 3rd February 1944 HQ and Headquarters Detachment 16th Replacement Depot, 89th Replacement Battalion (Who were there until 19th April 1944) along with 487th Replacement Company and 488th Replacement Company.

From 22nd February 1944 it was HQ and Headquarters Detachment  39th Replacement Battalion along with 194th, 195th and 196th Replacement Companies who all left on 22nd April 1944.

The 232nd Replacement Company followed the others on 29th April 1944.

Aghanloo Airfield, Limavady - Cinema

This was the Airfield Cinema - On the left is the inside of the Cinema looking towards where the films were projected from.

The centre picture is looking up a ladder into the Projection Room and on the right is the entrance to the rear of the building and up to the Projection Room.

Aghanloo Airfield, Limavady - Decontamination Block

This Decontamination Block is in fantastic condition.

On entering the Block personnel would undress and then pass through an Air-lock into what was known as the Bleaching Room where they would be cleaned before continuing on to another room where they would receive clean clothes before leaving the Block.

The tall chimney on the building is from the Air Conditioning Plant.

The picture on the lower left shows the Reception and Undressing Area looking towards the door on the left which was the Air Lock.

On the right is the Bleaching Room with the doorway going towards where clean clothes were stored.

Aghanloo Airfield, Limavady - Dispersed Living Quarters

There are 4 buildings in this picture showing the Dispersed Living Quarters at Drumaleif Road. 

Aghanloo Airfield, Limavady - Fuel Compound

This Fuel Compound with it's Air Raid Shelter is on Drumaleif Road and is easily visible from the road.

Limavady Road, Londonderry

Due to the growth in foliage I am afraid this is not the best of comparison pictures.

The soldiers are from 9th Londonderry Heavy Anti Aircraft Battalion Royal Artillery and the picture was taken in November 1939 at Limavady Road, Londonderry.

(See http://www.derryjournal.com/news/community/nostalgia/derry-boys-remembered-1-5558389 for more details.)

The location is near the junction of Limavady Road with Rockport Park.

Prehen Wood Air Raid Shelter, Londonderry

Prehen is on Victoria Road between Londonderry and the village of New Buildings. 

The Air Raid Shelter is in Prehen Wood.

United States Army, Duke Street, Londonderry

American soldiers crossing Craigavon Bridge and entering Duke Street

American soldiers on the march in Duke Street, Londonderry. No street comparison is possible as the street has changed completely. (Picture from "After The Battle" Magazine)

Lower Fountain Hill, Londonderry

Not far from the scene shown above this was the steps at Lower Fountain Hill. They have been painted black and white to make them easily visible during blackout. 

(From the Derry of the Past Facebook page)

American Red Cross Club, Londonderry

Shown here is the American Red Cross Club which used to be in the "Northern Counties" Hotel at 20 Waterloo Place.

The three photographs above show the same corner of the American Red Cross Club.

The two old photographs of United States Marine Corps and United States Navy personnel are from http://navcommsta-londonderry.freeservers.com/website.

This photograph has been taken from the area of the Tower Museum through the Gate looking at American Soldiers marching past towards Guildhall Square.

My comparrison photograph shows the same location as it looks today.

(Londonderry Sentinal photograph)

United States Marine Corps on Parade in Waterloo Place, Londonderry

This photograph is interesting because it shows the "Emergency Water Supply E.W.S." on the right. (From ww2db.com)

United States Marine Corps marching in Waterloo Place, Londonderry during a "Wings For Victory" Parade in 1943.

My photograph shows the same location now. Much has changed however fortunately the red bricked building in the centre has remained for reference.

The final picture shows the same U.S. Marines standing at ease in the City centre. (The old photographs are from ww2db.com )

Shipquay Place, Londonderry

The first picture shows United States Naval personnel at the junction of Foyle Street and Shipquay Place.

The building they are immediately in front of has been demolished however the Bar still remains. (Old picture from Derry Journal)

U.S. Marines Standard Bearers marching in Shipquay Place and the same location today. (Original photograph from the Frederick and henry Strybing Collection vis WW2db)

American Troops marching across Guildhall Square with a British Soldier as Guide (Picture from U.S. Army in WW2 Pictorial Record)

Duke of Abercorn inspecting United States Marine Corps on the first anniversary of their arrival in Londonderry in 1943 and my comparison of the same location.

The photograph on the left dates from 1943 and shows The Lord Mayor of Londonderry, Sir Frederick Simmons, inspecting a detachment from the United States Marine Barracks in precisely the same location as the previous picture. 

Major John Bathum U.S.M.C. and Colonel Lucian W. Burnham are seen in this photograph.

(These black and white photographs are from the U.S.M.C. Frederick and Henry Strybing Collection. 

For more see www.ww2db.com and also http://www.npshistory.com/publications )


Shown below are the Royal Navy and British Army at the same location.

(Photograph from the Londonderry Sentinal)

The Queen Mother (Holding Flowers and facing Right) along with the then Princess Elizabeth who is on the left side of the small group. 

This picture was taken in July 1945 outside the Guildhall in Shipquay Place and my comparison shows the same location today.

British Army Pioneers on parade at Shipquay Place. (From Twisted Limbs and Broken Branches)

Crowds in Shipquay Street waiting for a glimpse of Royalty. July 1945 (Many thanks to Dennis Kolodziej at Derry of the Past)

U.S. Marines Band in Shipquay Place. (From Twisted Limbs and Broken Branches)

This picture shows a United States Military Police Officer with a Royal Military Policeman at The Guildhall. The comparison shows than very little has changed. 

(Picture from After The Battle Magazine) 

Lieutenant Colonel Dugan U.S.M.C. making a speech in the company of Colonel Burnham U.S.M.C. regarding War Bonds at the steps of the Guild Hall in 1943.

Field Marshall Bernard L. Montgomery in Shipquay Place

Marking the end of the Second World War (Thanks to Twisted Limbs and Broken Branches)

(Sincere thanks to Twisted Limbs and Broken Branches for the photographs shown above)

Belmont Camp, Londonderry

Officers of 6th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment at Belmont Camp, Londonderry in December 1941.

(Thanks to the Folks at the Royal Berkshire Regiment Museum for their help and assistance)

American Soldiers from 133rd Infantry Regiment 34th Infantry Division were at Belmont and at some stage U.S. Naval / Marines Personnel were there also as the Canteen Door in the building shown in colour here used to have a sign saying "C.P.O." (Chief Petty Officer).

Shown below is a Briefing taking place ( The photograph is available to EVERYONE by clicking here http://images.google.com/hosted/life/)

The photographs above show a meeting between British and American Senior Officers at Belmont Camp. 

(The photographs were taken by David E Scherman and are available to EVERYONE by clicking here http://images.google.com/hosted/life/)

U.S. soldiers at the Culmore Road entrance to what was Belmont Camp with my picture showing the same location as it looks now.

The cartoon was drawn by Captain Bruce Bairnsfather who was a cartoonist with the United States Military and had been in Londonderry. At http://www.ww2ni.com/countylondonderrypt1.htm you can see a photograph of him with one of his cartoons as well as another he had drawn in Aberfoyle House.

He drew this cartoon when in Northern Ireland and it is included here because of the similarity between the pillar in the cartoon with the pillars in the photographs above. It appeared in "Stars and Stripes"

(From Brucebairnsfather.wordpress.com)

American Soldiers at Culmore Road, Londonderry

Private Milburn Henke, United States Army in Londonderry

This famous photograph supposedly shows the first American Soldier to arrive in the United kingdom following the United States entering the Second World War.

Private First Class Milburn H Henke of Company B, 1st Battalion, 133d Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division United States Army arriving in Belfast. (I.W.M. Photo)

Private First Class Milburn H Henke was officially the first American Soldier to land in the United Kingdom when he stepped off H.M.T.S. Strathaird at Dufferin Quay in Belfast on 26th January 1942. He is shown here on Guard Duty at the Culmore Road entrance to Belmont Camp.

From Hutchinson,Minnesota Henke had enlisted before Pearl Harbor on October 10, 1941 and received the Silver Star during "Operation Torch" in North Africa for crawling forward under fire to rescue an officer who had been shot. His back was broken when a weapons carrier rolled over and he spent months in hospitals in Oran and Algiers.

Children in Bare Feet in Northern Ireland in 1941. 

Sadly only a few of the 4,058 men who landed with Henke were left in the unit in 1945; only seven men who landed in Northern Ireland remained in 1st battalion in 1945. He died in 1998. (Old photographs available to EVERYONE from http://images.google.com/hosted/life/1da9ff5c2564a02b.html )

Camp Life for American Soldiers in Londonderry

Having just arrived in Northern Ireland the photographs below show U.S. Army soldiers at their Camp in Londonderry.

These first photographs show soldiers gathering their Kit Bags from a Truck.

(The photographs shown here are from the Life Magazine Photo Archive which is available to EVERYONE)

In Discussion with British Soldiers

Whilst Officers may be concerned about logistics the Soldiers are more interested in trading items and discussing each others equipment - Especially weapons!

Muddy Conditions

(The photographs shown here are from the Life Magazine Photo Archive which is available to EVERYONE)

Much is being made of the Muddy Conditions being experienced by the U.S. Soldiers.

(The photographs shown here are from the Life Magazine Photo Archive which is available to EVERYONE)

The arrival of a Dispatch Rider

(The photographs shown here are from the Life Magazine Photo Archive which is available to EVERYONE)

The sound of the Bugle means its "Chow Time"

(The photographs shown here are from the Life Magazine Photo Archive which is available to EVERYONE)

(The two photographs above are Getty Pictures)

Soldiers receive an Inoculation.

(The photographs shown here are from the Life Magazine Photo Archive which is available to EVERYONE)

Chopping wood to try and stay warm in the Northern Ireland Winter

(The photographs shown here are from the Life Magazine Photo Archive which is available to EVERYONE)

Soldiers Accommodation - Inside a Nissen Hut.

(The photographs shown here are from the Life Magazine Photo Archive which is available to EVERYONE) 

Conditions in the Nissen Huts were far from ideal and very cold however it was necessary for the Soldiers to make life as comfortable and continue with the day to day tasks.

As can be seen here there would usually have been a gathering around the small stove which provided what heat there was for the building.

(The photographs shown here are from the Life Magazine Photo Archive which is available to EVERYONE)

Training For Gas Attack

Here Soldiers are seen being timed as to how quickly they can apply their Gas Masks. Speed is critical.

On Parade - Forming Up

(The photographs shown here are from the Life Magazine Photo Archive which is available to EVERYONE) 

In the photographs above the Soldiers are wearing Tunics while below they are dressed for wet weather.

The first two pictures show the columns of men marching away from the camera whilst the remaining pictures below show them marching towards the camera.

(The photographs shown here are from the Life Magazine Photo Archive which is available to EVERYONE)

This is an Associated Press Photograph from U.S. Army Signal Corps which was taken on 21st February 1942. (Thanks to Sheriff Johnston)

Above right and the two pictures below are Getty Images

Washing Facilities

Press Photographers watch the Soldiers and take lots of Photographs

There appears to have been no shortage of Press Photographers and Reporters following the U.S. Army and as can be seen from the photograph below they were more than happy to pose themselves!

Group Pictures

These two photographs show Officers at the top and Soldiers in the lower picture showing a variety of Uniform Types. (Life Magazine Pictures)

Visit to Local Priest, Buncrana Road, Londonderry.

These photographs show a Visit to Father McCauley at the Parochial House on Buncrana Road, Londonderry. (Life Magazine pictures)

U.S. Marines, Duncreggan Camp, Londonderry

Not the best of comparison pictures however these are the houses in the background of the first photograph.

The location is the junction of Duncreggan Road and Dunvale Park in the Pennyburn area of Londonderry.

(From World War II Database at http://ww2db.com/image.php?image_id=23973 )

The aerial photograph below shows the same location as it looked in 1948 with Duncreggan Road on the right of the photograph. The huts which were the Camp can be seen top right. (Aerial photograph from "Britain From Above)

This picture shows the Marines marching. The photograph above shows them being Inspected by the Duke of Abercorn.

(From ww2db.com)

Opening of the Allied Officers Club, Londonderry in January 1943. (From ww2db.com)

The Stewart Brothers from Beechwood Avenue, Londonderry

Shown here are details of three of the four Stewart Brothers from Beechwood Avenue, Londonderry who joined the Armed Forces to serve during the Second World War.

Sadly only two of the four returned home.

DONALD STEWART.

Donald was the eldest Brother and had joined the Royal Navy prior to the Second World War.

He has been stationed at H.M.S. Tamar in Hong Kong. (HMS Tamar was a 3,650 ton British troopship which had been launched in 1863 and arrived in Victoria City, Hong Kong on 11 April 1897.She was stationed permanently in the harbour from 1897 to 1941 when she was scuttled during the Battle of Hong Kong to avoid being used by the invading Japanese.)

Donald was serving with H.M.S. Thracian, an Admiralty S Class Destroyer, in the defence of Hong Kong.

On 16th December 1941 H.M.S. Thracian was ran aground and scuttled at Round Island, Hong Kong with Donald becoming a Prisoner of War.

He was on board the Japanese Troop Transport Ship Lisbon Maru as she sat off Shanghai with 1800 British Prisoners of War who had been captured during the fall of Hong Kong when the ship was attacked by the U.S. Navy Submarine Grouper.

The submarine fired six torpedoes at Lisbon Maru with one exploding against the stern and whilst around 700 Japanese soldiers were taken off the ship only 748 of the British survived.

Among these men was Donald Stewart who was 23 years old when he died of pneumonia and malnutrition as a Prisoner of War on 7th May 1944 and is buried in Yokohama War Cemetery, Japan.

ROBERT STEWART

Robert joined the Royal Navy in 1941 and spent some time with Commander Pumphrey's M.T.B's operating from Ramsgate.

He was involved in action against the German Fleet as it tried to pass through the Channel in February 1942 and was also part of the crew of an M.T.B. which collected Major John Frost's Airborne soldiers on their return from Bruneval with parts of the Wurzburg Radar which had been seized!

He took part in one of the first PQ Convoys in 1942 across the Arctic on a route from Iceland to Russia and was rankled by a speech by a Soviet Political Officer who reminded them that they were making no contribution to fighting "the fascists".

Robert took part in the landings at Salerno in Italy and was off Sword Beach, Normandy on D-Day.

In early 1945 he had sighted a U-Boat in the Irish Sea and recalled that during the search process his ship has re-established contact with the U-Boat after being temporarily lost. He signalled the  Group Commander with "In Contact" and then watched as the Group Commander's destroyer wheeled around and the signal came back "PISS OFF, OUT OF MY WAY". The U boat was then sunk!

During May 1945 he was a member of a Boarding Party which took several U-Boats from Scotland to Lisahally, Londonderry.  During one of these trips the German crew that were not on duty were confined to the forward torpedo room and they invited the Boarding Party to have " Cocktails" with them. They had a huge enamel bowl into which a potent mix of alcohol was poured. Tinned fruit, which the Royal Navy guys had not seen in years, floated in it and servings consisted of big enamel mugs being dipped in to be filled with the "Cocktail" and handed around to celebrate the end of the war.

It appears that this was very potent and when they docked at Lisahally the only sober men on board were the officer commanding and the U Boat captain who had remained up top and refusing to speak to anyone during the passage.

JAMES STEWART

Jimmy joined the Royal Air Force and was with 14 Initial Training Wing at Bridlington. In early 1943 he progressed through Air gunnery School at Dalcross and Operational Training Unit at Lossiemouth before Riccall and becoming operational as a Sergeant Air Gunner with 158 Squadron based at R.A.F. Lisset.

At 18.12 on 29th September 1943 Jimmy commenced only the third mission of his service in Halifax II HR715 NP-E to Bochum. He and his crew had previously been to the Dunlop Tyre Factory at Montlucon and Mannheim in Germany where they had successfully defended themselves against two attacks by Junkers JU-88 aircraft

On this occasion the route to the target took his aircraft over the heavily defended Dutch Fresian Islands where, at 21.15 the Halifax was attacked and shot down by MarineFlakAbteilung 815 which was operating at Vlieland-West with 4 x 105mm Radar Directed Guns.

All of the crew were lost :-

Pilot Sergeant William Finlay F. Maclaren

Flight Engineer Sergeant Edwin John Hall

Navigator Flight Sergeant Harry Robertson

Bomb Aimer Sergeant Philip Corbet Du-Plat-Taylor

Wireless Operator Sergeant Edward Stanley Sheppard

Gunner Sergeant Vivian Herbert Bartlett

Shown above left is Bomb Aimer Sergeant Philip Corbet Du-Plat-Taylor. The centre photograph shows  Wireless Operator Sergeant Edward Stanley Sheppard and on the right is Jimmy Stewarts Log Book which ends "Death Presumed 29.9.43"

Sergeant James Dixon Stewart is the only crew member to have a grave as his body was washed ashore on Ameland on 5th October 1943.

All of the Crew are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial except Jimmy who was laid to rest within the Commonwealth War Graves Plot in Nes General Cemetery, Ameland

(I would like to thank Jim Stewart for providing the information and photographs used in this article.)

United States Navy Hospital, Creevagh

The two photographs above show the U.S. Naval Hospital at Creevagh as it looked during it's construction and the same location on completion.


(The photographs are from the Imperial War Museum with the second being from "After The Battle" Magazine)


The site of the Hospital is on the Londonderry to Letterkenny Road and being at Londonderry was where many of those who were rescued from shipping sunk during the Battle of the Atlantic received treatment.

Below is a Plan of the Creevagh site (Thanks very much to the current residents for their considerable assistance) 

The Memorial Plaque which was unveiled by U.S. Navy Veteran Master Chief Joseph Earhart Sardo III who had served at Creevagh.

It is interesting to note that he was a relative of Amelia Earhart the famous Flyer.

Interestingly in this photograph you can see the earth covered Air raid Shelter between the two Huts and the precise location can be identified from the Plan which is owned by the Householder as shown below.

This picture shows the inside of a Hospital Ward. The photograph was taken on 29th January 1942 (Imperial War Museum Photograph which is available to EVERYONE at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205143401 )

The photograph above shows a large Air Raid Shelter which is designed for use with Stretcher Cases. - It is interesting that this is very similar to the various Bunkers at Fincairn Glen. Photograph taken on 29th January 1942. (This is an Imperial War Museum Photograph which is available to EVERYONE at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205143402 )

This is an Air Raid Shelter which has yet to be covered in Earth. One of these Shelters remains to be seen at Fincairn Glen. (This is an Imperial War Museum Photograph which is available to EVERYONE at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205143403 

This picture shows German Prisoners of War, some of whom who were held at Creevagh following the departure of the U.S. Personnel.

(Many thanks to Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches Facebook Page)

St Columb's Hospital

Around 1940 / 1941 a Hospital was constructed at St Columb's House and grounds which would be in close proximity to the Ebrington Barracks.

The Hospital was used to treat injured who arrived in Londonderry from the many Convoys which operated to and from the Port as well as Service Personnel working in the area.

Dungiven Pillbox

This impressive Pillbox can be seen at Magheramore Road, Dungiven where it has been constructed to defend Turmeel Bridge.

(Thanks very much to Alistair Harper)

Pellipar House, Dungiven

Soldiers were based at Pellipar House, Dungiven where they were involved in training. Two large walled  Ammunition Dumps remain in the woods around the house.

The Ammunition Dumps are shown here and during my visit I was very pleased to learn that Vera Lynn had once visited the soldiers and sang in what is now used as a garage. This is shown here.

Dungiven Castle

Dungiven Castle was used by the U.S. Army. 11 Infantry Regiment, Cannon Company were based there.

Moyola Park, Castledawson

The Grounds of Moyola Park Estate in Castledawson was a base for the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army in 1942.

Looking around the site you can see some evidence of the soldiers who were based there.

Here are some tree carvings with one dated 1944 and another has dates from Nov 39 and 1943.

A clearer example comes from  "Dale Sweet" from "Mapleton, Oregon" who carved his details in 1943.

Dale was in the 6th wave to hit the beach on D-Day and I am very pleased to be able to say that he survived the war.

The black and white photograph shows an American Officer examining the Sundial at Moyola.

The photograph is dated 23rd February 1944.

(Thanks very much to Greg Brown for his assistance with this)