The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

Greater Belfast Part 8

William McKeown, Royal Ulster Rifles

This is William McKeown from Rosebery Road in East Belfast. 

He joined the Royal Ulster Rifles in 1939 aged 19, Service number 7020821 before transferring to the London Irish Rifles.

He was wounded by shrapnel at Monte Cassino in January 1944 and spent rest of war as POW in Germany. 

 Strangely his service records don’t mention his wounds but on return home he spent a year in the Military Hospital in Southport recovering from his injuries and illness. He was 6 stone. He was discharged as being unfit for any future military service and lived until he was 87. (Thanks very much to Will Johnston)

John "Jackie" Harris from Belfast

Jackie was from Belfast and served with the Royal Ulster Rifles.
He is standing at the back of the group picture which was taken in Egypt.
Jackie served in North Africa and Italy which is where the third photograph is believed to have been taken.
His Medals are the 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal and the 1939-1945 War Medal.
(Thanks very much to David Harris)

Ulster Home Guard - Belfast at Barnets Park Demesne, Belfast

This selection of photographs shows an Ulster Home Guard Unit from Belfast who are involved in a Training Exercise. (IWM Pictures)

The Men are first seen being Inspected before boarding Trucks which have a Motorcycle Rider in front of the convoy.

A wheel needs to be replaced on one of the vehicles and in the picture above right a Lance Corporal receives his Work Ticket from a Sergeant (IWM Photographs)

Motor Transport Company, Ulster Home Guard Office receives a new sign for the Door 1st November 1942. (IWM Pictures)

The Men of the Ulster Home Guard. Photographed on 1st November 1942 (IWM Pictures)

4th Belfast Battalion Ulster Home Guard

Photograph below shows Soldier of Ulster Home Guard. (Photographs above from Ebay)

The Work of the Army Post Office

This selection of photographs relates to the work of the Army Post Office. Mail is seen arriving at the Army Post Office in the pictures above.

I do not have a precise location although the photographs were taken in Belfast on 8th February 1941.  (IWM Pictures)

Following its arrival the Mail is checked by the Censors

Following any censorship the Mail is bagged up and prepared for despatch. Shown on the right is one of the very popular "Mail Call" as well as others being delivered to Civilian addresses. (IWM Pictures)

Young Belfast Boy serving in Merchant Navy Murdered in North Africa

MOORE, Cabin Boy, GEORGE THOMPSON, S.S. Laurent Meeus (Belgium) Merchant Navy. 21st June 1944. Age 16, of Belfast.
Buried Dely Ibrahim War Cemetery. Plot 4 Row A Grave 12.
Page ten of the Deaths at Sea Register for July 1944 states young George T. Moore from Belfast was murdered at Algiers while serving on the Belgian tanker Laurent Meeus.
The circumstances surrounding his death are unknown.
He is one of twenty-two Merchant Seamen buried at the Dely Ibrahim War Cemetery who are recorded as non-war dead whose graves are looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission .
(Thanks very much to Billy McGee for information and pictures.)

Belfast Boys in the Merchant Navy Lost at Sea

I have been contacted by Billy McGee who is trying to trace photographs of these six young lads for a revised version of his book "They Shall Grow Not Old...."

CARSON, Deck Boy, JOHN, S.S. Victoria City (Bideford).
Merchant Navy. 2nd December 1940. Age 15.
Son of John and Josephine Carson, of Belfast.

GIBSON, Ordinary Seaman, KENNETH JOHN, M.V. Otaio (Plymouth). Merchant Navy. 28th August 1941. Age 16, of Belfast.

LOUGHRAN, Cabin Boy, JOSEPH, S.S. Kervegan (Cardiff).
Merchant Navy. 9th February 1941. Age 16.
Son of Daniel and Mary Loughran, of Belfast.

MEHARG, Mess Room Boy, LAWRENCE MCIVOR, S.S. Agnete Maersk (Belfast). Merchant Navy.
24th March 1941. Age 16. Son of Andrew and Isabella Meharg, of Belfast.

MOORE, Deck Boy, WILLIAM A., S.S. Victoria City (Bideford). Merchant Navy. 2nd December 1940. Age 16.
Son of William and Annie Moore, of Belfast.

OSBORNE, Mess Room Boy, JAMES, S.S. Kervegan (Cardiff). Merchant Navy. 9th February 1941. Age 16, of 3 Short St, Belfast.
(Thanks to Billy McGee)

Victory Visit of Their Majesties and Garden Party in Botanic Gardens, Belfast.

(Thanks very much to David Wright)