Greater Belfast Part 1
5 Bedford Street
This had been the Northern Ireland Headquarters for the A.T.S. and referred to as "Northern Ireland Reception Depot" however on the outbreak of war it was moved to Victoria Barracks.
Following the Belfast Blitz the H.Q. was again transferred and on this occasion to 3 University Terrace where it remained until June 1942 when the final move took place to the new Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn.
This photograph shows Bedford Street on 6th October 1942. The A.T.S. Headquarters was in the tall building immediately behind the approaching tram in front of which is a U.S. Military Jeep. (National Museums Northern Ireland photograph)
B.B.C. Building Ormeau Avenue
An Air Raid Shelter can be seen outside the BBC Building in Ormeau Avenue with a circular Emergency Water Supply tank on the left of the photograph.
This was taken on 2nd October 1942. (N.I. Historical Photographical Society)
This CO2 sign is for the information of Fire Fighters and can still be seen on the wall of the BBC Building in Ormeau Avenue.
Armagh House, Ormeau Avenue
This photograph of Armagh House in Ormeau Avenue, Belfast was taken on 2nd October 1942. Note that the ground floor windows have been bricked over and there appears to be an Air Raid Shelter at the corner which has white markings to assist traffic during the Blackout. (NMNI)
Linenhall Street from Ormeau Avenue
This photograph was taken on 3rd November 1942. An Air Raid Shelter can be seen in the centre of the road. (From National Museums of Northern Ireland)
Corporal Roy Bradford From Dunmurry
Corporal Roy Bradford was serving with Intelligence Corps and was from Dunmurry.
He had Honours Degrees in French and German and had worked for the BBC.
This picture shows him at the British Forces Network, Hamburg. (IWM Photo)
Pulling Flax at Ballyutoag
York Street Flax Spinning Mill
York Street Flax Spinning Mill in 1940 (Origin of photograph unknown)
Flush Road Small Arms Firing Range
This was known as Ligoniel Range and Military Personnel used a Small Arms Firing Range on Flush Road to the North of Belfast however on looking around the site I could find virtually no evidence of it ever having existed.
I have been told it was used by Territorial and Civilian Rifle Clubs from the 1860's until the early 1970's.
Ranges shown in PRONI Picture.
Aircraftman First Class John Irvine from Ligoniel
Aircraftman First Class John Irvine was from 5 Legnavea Street, Ligoniel.
He was 23 years old and serving with Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
John was due for Demobilisation when he was killed in a road accident at Versburg near Meschede, Southeast of Dortmund only a few days previous.
(Thanks very much to George Gihon for this information and photograph)
Private John Irvine killed in the sinking of the Lancastria.
John Irvine was from Ligoniel and serving with 50 Coy, A.M.P.C. He was 42 years old and the Husband of Sarah Jane Irwin. He was aboard the Lancastria.
During the Second World War the Cunard Cruise Liner Lancastria was requisitioned by the British Government and became a Troop Transport Ship.
On Monday the 17th of June, 1940 the ship was involved in Operation Ariel and attempting to evacuate British Troops and civilians from Occupied France.
At 3.48pm Lancastria was attacked by German aircraft and received three direct hits from a Junkers JU88 bomber.
The result was a disaster with the huge ship, weighing 16,243-ton and carrying around 4,000 - 6000 passengers sunking within 20 minutes.
The true number of victims will never be known with estimates of the death toll being between 3000 and 5800 however this was the worst single disaster in British maritime history.
The ship lies southwest of Saint Nazaire with Private Irvine being named on the Dunkirk Memorial. (Thanks very much to George Gihon)
Squadron Leader James Brown Warwick D.F.C. from Ligoniel
Wing Commander Guy Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1943 for successfully leading 617 Squadron on the daring raids on a series of damns in the industrial Rhur valley in Germany.
On the night of 19th September 1944 he led 227 Lancaster bombers and 10 Mosquitos on an attack of Rheydt and Muchengladbach in Germany.
On this particular raid Gibson was flying Mosquito KB267 AZ-E with Squadron Leader James Warwick being his Navigator.
There was little opposition from enemy planes to the raid however when the Mosquito in which Gibson and Warwich were flying was returning over the Netherlands it crashed with the loss of both men.
Warwich is shown above along with an old photograph of the original Headstone.
Squadron Leader Warwick had been awarded the DFC and flew 27 operations on Lancasters with 49 Squadron between June and December 1943.
He had been on Operations to locations including The Ruhr, Hamburg, Peenemunde and Berlin
The Crew are buried in the Steenbergen General Cemetery. (Thanks very much to Jonny Burton for these photographs)
Refuelling Trucks at Horseshoe Bend.
This photograph shows three Refuelling Trucks. You will note that they are American Vehicles. They were operated by Lockheed Overseas Corporation at Langford Lodge and are probably on their way to Belfast Docks to collect more Fuel before returning to Langford Lodge. (LOC Photograph)
Ballygomartin Secret Radio Station
Shown on the left is a Mast array from the "Illicit Wireless Intercept Organisation" which was constructed at Ballygomartin to intercept clandestine radio transmissions from Spies.
This Station was operational from the beginning of th Second World War until it was replaced by the larger Station at Gilnahirk.
(Thanks very much to Martin Briscoe for the photograph on the left. The screenshot on the right shows the same location as it looks today and is from Google)
Samuel Gallaher from Ballysillan.
Samuel was from the Ballysillan area of Belfast and had joined the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards in 1936 and then with the outbreak of war became part of 7th Armoured Brigade.
In the years before war he had been in Bagdad and then in 1940-41 he was in the Middle East under General Wavell and later General O'Connor serving in places including Bardia, Tobruk and Benghazi in Libya.
During 1942 Samuel was in a wide variety of places starting with Rangoon in Burma from where he fought his way through Mandalay before reaching Bombay.
Bombay was memorable for him because two Bands met the Soldiers and marched them to a Football Field where they received new Tanks!
Samuel was also in Calcutta and Ceylon.
He told his Granddaughter that he had lost a lot of friends who were killed during the war. And recalled that when going in to battle he would have a look around his friends because they may not be alive when the day was over or indeed that he would be killed however nothing would stop them.
His next actions were in Italy where he served in Naples, Rome, Pisa and Ancona.
When in Italy his Unit were in Venice and crossed the River Po in amphibious tanks before making their way north to Austria where his war finally came to an end.
(Thanks very much to Amanda Perry for information and photographs)
Lockheed Overseas Corporation Trucks at Ballysillan
The picture on the left shows a convoy of Trucks from Lockheed Overseas Corporation based at Langford Lodge which are making their way down Ballysillan Road on the way to the City Centre. The comparrison picture shows the same junction today. (From Lockheed Overseas Corporation and Google)
Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery, Ballysillan
This aerial photograph shows a Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Battery in the Ballysillan Area. (PRONI)
Jimmy Spratt from 14 North Derby Street, Belfast. Served with the Pioneer Corps.
Royal Courts of Justice
Two Memorial Stones shown here can be seen in the Grand Hall of the Royal Courts of Justice, Chichester Street in Central Belfast.
Of those named here Robert Desmond Connell was killed when a Blenheim Bomber, Serial Number 26273, crashed at Tildarg, Ballymena. He had been 25 years old, had the rank of Leading Aircraftsman and was an Observer under training.
James Craig was 46 years old and a member of 7th Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles. He had previously served during the First World War and was Mentioned in Dispatched with 2 Bars. He is buried in Belfast City Cemetery.
Melbourne Glaister Fraser held the rank of Flight Sergeant and was serving with 426 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force. He was 30 years old when he was killed and is mentioned on the Alamein Memorial.
Norman Hewitt was a 26 years old Sergeant when he was killed and is buried at Tabarka Ras Rajel Cemetery in Tunisia.
John Frederick Smellie was a Captain with the Glider Pilot Regiment and was killed in action on 23rd September 1944. He is buried in Oosterbeek Cemetery, Arnhem.- Captain Smellis is shown here.
Samuel Fleming Stewart was a member of the Royal Ulster Rifles and is reported as having "Died on Active Service" on 12th February 1943 in Belfast.
John Devenish Condy was a Lieutenant with 3 Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery. He was 39 years old when he was killed in action whilst serving with the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk.
He is buried 20 Km south of Dunkirk at Wormhoudt.
Daniel Martin Wilson was the holder of the Military Cross.
He was serving with 64 Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery and held the rank of Captain.
He was 37 years old when he was killed and is named on the Medjez-El-Bab Memorial in Tunisia.
This is a large wall mural which can be seen in Thorndyke Street off Templemore Avenue in East Belfast.The mural shows the street as it looked following the German Air Raid of the night 15 / 16th April 194 and the small notice attached gives some extra information.
You can see from the mural that 2 Air Raid Precaution Wardens were killed in the bombing along with 7 residents of the street.
My research shows that the residents lived in numbers 13 to 16 and the photograph shows the same street as it looks today.
Phares Hill Welsh, 16 years old, Killed in Thorndyke Street
Shown on the left is Phares Hill Welsh who was just 16 years old.
He was serving as an Air Raid Precautions Messenger when he was Killed in the Bombing of Thorndyke Street.
He was the Son of Phares Hill and Agnes Welsh of 28 Paxton Street.
(Thanks very much to Gareth Phares Welsh for the information and photographs)
His Father, Phares Hill Welsh MM, had served during the First World War.
He was a member of 5th Battalion (Avoniel) Ulster Volunteer Force where part of his duties was to instruct in the use of Morse Code. He enlisted in the 8th Battalion East Belfast Royal Irish Rifles before being transferred to Royal Engineers.
During his service he was awarded the Military Medal for action at Ypres. He is shown below along with Royal Engineers artwork he did after the war. He can be seen wearing his Medal Ribbons whilst working with belfast Corporation Transport.
On his return he became a tram driver and conductor with Belfast Cooperation Transport however he had to stop this job because of failing eyesight which was a direct result of the effects of having been gassed during the war. He died in Royal Victoria Hospital in 1962. (Thanks very much to Gareth Phares Welsh for the information and photographs)
Phares had two Brothers, Kenneth who is now 92 years old and Roy who is now 90.- Shown above.
Both brothers served in the B Specials and were Trolley bus drivers.
It was Roy who had identified the body of Phares which had been brought to a temporary Mortuary in Templemore Avenue Baths and is remembered as being unmarked.
As a result of the Belfast Blitz both Kenneth and Roy were evacuated to Kilkeel. (Thanks very much to Gareth Phares Welsh for the information and photographs)
St Patricks Church of Ireland, Newtownards Road Blitz Damaged Pews
The three photographs above show scorch / burning damage to Pews within St Patricks Church which was caused when the Church was bombed during the Belfast Blitz!
(Thanks very much to Davy Hay for these photographs)
This is a photo of the ARP detachment that was based in St Patrick’s church on the Newtownards Road before the Blitz destroyed large sections of the city.
Jeannie of Cuba Street was the OIC and she is seen front and centre. During the Fire Raid, the ARP post received a direct hit. Two members of the detachment were killed and Jeannie was trapped in the burning rubble until rescued by firefighters and heavy rescue personnel. No photos of Jeannie were taken after this incident. She was plagued by her injuries until she passed in September 1982, aged 82.
(Thanks to Pete Brown)
Air Raid Shelters, Lake Street Belfast
Scrap For Victory in East Belfast
This was a black and white picture which has been coloured.
It shows people involved in "Scrap For Victory" and is believed to have been taken in Dee Street, Belfast.
(Thanks very much to Gerry Gaston Proudfoot)
John Henry Lyttle, Air Raid Warden
John Henry Lyttle and his Wife at 50 Wolff Street, Belfast. John had been appointed as an Air raid Warden with this Card issued on 13th May 1941.
(Thanks very much to Robert Lyttle)
Clonaver Camp, Belfast
Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal is introduced to Officers of 7th Anti-Aircraft Group Signals Company at Clonaver Camp on 14th October 1942. (IWM Photograph)
Searchlight Regiment in 1939
Thanks very much to Charlie Ireland for the B Troop picture and Michael Thomson for the D Troop photograph.
This Battery was raised in Clonaver and embarked for France on December 21st 1939 as part of the British Expeditionary Force.
21/8th Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery (S.R.) 1940
(Thanks very much to Pauline Williams for this photograph)
J Troop, 10 Battery 4 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
3rd Searchlight Regiment, R.A. (S.R.)
HQ, 10th, 11th Btys: Belfast
9th Bty: Clonaver, Strandtown
12th Bty: Lurgan
The regiment was formed in Northern Ireland on 1 September 1939 and mobilized at Londonderry. After the outbreak of war, it moved to Portstewart to train. From there it was was called into Belfast under 3rd (Ulster) AA Brigade to operate the searchlights. It left Ulster in November 1939 and was sent to Borden, Hampshire. Itsailed from Southampton on 25 December 1939 for France as part of 2nd Anti-Aircraft Brigade. It was retitled 3rd (Ulster) Searchlight Regiment, R.A. (S.R.) on 8 May 1940. It served in France and Belgium in the May 1940 campaign under 5th Searchlight Brigade. At the start of the fighting, 9th Battery was at Lens, 10th at Carvin, 11th at Richarderie and 12th Battery was in the Dunkirk area. After the opening attack, 9th Battery moved to Arras. On 21 May the regiment had 9th-11th Batteries deployed on the canals and defences in the front line from Bergues to Gravelines. 12th Battery remained at Dunkirk. The regiment, as infantry, under ‘Usherforce’ with 6th Green Howards defended Gravelines and then withdrew to Bergues on the 24th. It arrived at the beaches of Dunkirk on 27 May. 12th Battery helped to defend Furnes. The regiment was evacuated from Dunkirk by the end of May. After returning to the United Kingdom, the regiment was deployed in Hampshire and Wiltshire in the air defence of England. It served under 64th AA Brigade in February 1941.
It was converted to 4th (Ulster) Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.A. (S.R.) on 21 January 1942 with 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th Batteries. It was soon designated as a Light AA Regiment. 11th Battery became independent on 19 June 1942. The regiment landed in Normandy under command of 101st AA Brigade in late August 1944. It then moved to Cherbourg. It left Cherbourg under the brigade and deployed at Brussels on 14 September 1944 under the brigade. On 14 April 1945 the brigade left Brussels and moved to take over the Rhine and Maas bridges. 8th Battery was detached under 74th AA Brigade of 1st Canadian Army.
(Thanks to D. Ryan on WW2 Talk Forum)
Sadie and Charlie Greer from East Belfast.
Sadie Gray from Chesham Grove in East Belfast served in the St John Ambulance throughout the war.
Her Husband Charlie was an Engineer in the production of Stirling Bombers and served in the A.R.P. in East Belfast.
Sadie is shown here in her uniform.
(Thanks very much to Carole Williams)
Flying Officer Ernest Leonard Harwood Steele from Pansy Street, Belfast
Flying Officer Ernest Leonard Harwood Steele from East Belfast.
Ernie was born on 22nd June 1918 and after attending Belfast Technical College he got an apprenticeship in the Shipyard, where he trained to be a Engineer.
Having joined the Territorial Army at the onset of war he was soon off to France and Dunkirk where on one occasion Ernie and another Soldier were left guarding a bridge and told to hold off the Germans if they came before heading for the beach.
He spent one of the nights in a graveyard and had a tin of 'bullybeef' which tasted great.
Whilst all this was happening his Wife received a telegram, saying that Ernie was missing presumed dead.
Having escaped Dunkirk in a fishing boat he arrived home in Pansy Street, Belfast a few days later and after some Leave he spoke with his Commanding Officer who was Major McAuley ( Of Anderson & McAuley's Belfast) as he wanted to transfer to the Royal Air Force to undertake pilot training.
At first Major McAuley was reluctant and offered a commission in the Army however Ernie was determined and eventually the transfer was agreed.
He learnt to fly at Standerton, outside Johannasburg in South Africa as well as Cape Town and Durban.
One particular instructor, Willie Brandt, became a great friend and on the day Ernie got his wings Willie flew hundreds of miles to see him passing out.
He subsequently spent some time in Canada, and then was in Pennsicola the day Pearl Harbor was bombed before returning to Scotland and Yorkshire from where he flew sortes in both Lancaster and Halifax bombers.
Ernie met his Wife to Be in Woolworths and they were married 11th November 1944 having their reception in the officers club in High Street Belfast and a few days honeymoon in Portstewart!! (Thanks very much to Heather Thompson for information and photographs)
Collecting Scrap Metal for the War Effort in Joseph Street, Shankill Road
North Boundary Street, Shankill Road.
I believe this is celebrations for V.E. Day however unfortunately I have no other information
Robert Watson from Medway Street went down with H.M.S. Hood.
Robert Watson, Service Number P/UD/X 1551 was serving as Able Seaman aboard H.M.S. Hood when the ship was sunk by the German Battleship Bismarck on 24th May 1941.
He was the Son of Robert and Susanah Watson from Medway Street in Belfast. Of the 1418 men aboard H.M.S. Hood only 3 survived.
(Thanks very much to Mark Watson for information and photograph)
Staff Sergeant Robert Girvin from Belfast.
Robert had been serving with the Royal Ulster Rifles before transferring to the Glider Pilot Regiment.
During Operation Market Garden he flew his Horsa Glider from R.A.F. Manston to Landing Zone Zebra between Heelsum and Wolfheze.
The glider was being towed by Flight Lieutenant Scott of 296 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
Staff Sergeant Girvin's Co-Pilot was Sergeant Basil Thomas Gault who was from Broughbridge in Yorkshire and just 19 years old.
Sergeant Gault is buried in Arnhem Oosterbeeke War Cemetery where he is recorded as having died on 20th September 1944.
Staff Sergeant Girvin was captured by the Germans and became a Prisoner Of War.
He was marched to a P.O.W. Camp in Poland however with the Russians gaining ground on the Eastern Front the P.O.W's were then marched the whole way west to Berlin where he was eventually liberated by the Russians!
Robert died at home in 1973. (Thanks very much to Bob Girvin)
"Victory in Europe Day in Medway Street
Lots of happy smiling faces in this (Belfast Telegraph) photograph of a Street Party in Medway Street, Belfast.
Note the Air Raid Shelter which had been constructed in the roadway which can be seen in the background.
This photograph shows V.E. Day (Victory in Europe Day) Celebrations in Foundry Street, Belfast.
Foundry Street does not exist now but I believe it ran in the area between Newtownards Road and Island Street. Note the Air Raid Shelters. (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)
V.E. Day Christopher Street, Lower Shankill
This photograph of the V.E. Day Party at Christopher Street, Belfast is from Jan Harvey
Glenwood Street, Shankill Road
(Belfast Telegraph picture of V.E. Day Celebrations)
Crimea Street / Shankill Road
These photographs show the junction of Crimea Street and Shankill Road. In the first you can see the Air Raid Shelter in the roadwas with the "S" Sign on the wall at the Chemists which is still there in the present day photograph. (Ulster Museum)
Battenburg Street, Belfast
The photographs above show V.E. Day Celebrations in Battenburg Street along with my comparrison photograph.
Although the houses have changed the buildings at the Shankill Road end of the street remain.
Shown below is Ogilvie Street off Cregagh Road along with my comparrison picture. (Original pictures from Belfast telegraph)
Ulstermen Killed on H.M.S. Penelope
HMS Penelope was a Light Cruiser of the Royal Navy which had been built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast.
Commissioned on 13th November 1936 the ship saw service in both the Mediterranean and Norwegian Campaigns.
As part of Force K based at Malta H.M.S. Penelope was involved in a number of actions, striking a mine and being damaged by air attacks.
When being repaired at Malta there were so many shrapnel holes the ship was given the nickname "H.M.S. Pepperpot" and when these were plugged with long pieces of wood the name changed to "H.M.S. Porcupine" as can be seen by these photographs from "The Sphere" Newspaper in Malta.
Having gone to Gibraltar more damage was caused during enemy air attacks.
In January 1943 Penelope was involved in Operation Torch being the landings in North Africa and then in July of the same year she was involved in a bombardment of Catania as part of Operation Husky and the invasion of Sicily.
The following month say Penelope being involved in the landings at Salerno and on 7th October was attacked by Stuka Dive Bombers sustaining more damage.
On 18th February 1944 she was departing Naples for Anzio area when she was torpedoed by U-410 commanded by Horst-Arno Fenski.
One torpedo struck the aft engine room and another hit in the aft boiler room.
The ship sank very quickly with the loss of 417 Crew members although fortunately 206 Seamen survived. causing her immediate sinking; 417 of the crew, including the captain, went down with the ship and 206 survived.
Among those who went down with the ship were Able Seaman Thomas Gould, P/JX283876, who was the Son of David Gould from Belgrave Street, Belfast and Stoker Second Class Joseph McAvoy D/KX564930, who was 19 years old and the Son of Edward and Martha McAvoy from Belfast.
These men are remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
Billy Johnston and his Friend Robert Watson of H.M.S. Hood
Billy Johnston is seen on the left with his mate Robert Watson on the right.
This picture was taken just before Robert Watson received his posting to the HMS Hood.
Able Seaman, P/UD/X 1551, Robert Watson was born on 22nd August 1920 to Robert and Susanah Watson, of Belfast.
Both men were 20 years old. One lived one died.
(Thanks very much to Noel Johnston for photograph and info)
Ogilvie Street, Belfast
Willowholme Crescent, Belfast
V.E. Day Celebration Then and Now Photographs.
Cregagh Ulster Home Guard
Cregagh Platoon of the Ulster Home Guard.
The Sergeant third from Right in Front Row is Alexander Hay with his Son, Jack Hay sitting at the far right of the Row.
(Thanks very much to David Hay for this family picture)
Ulster Home Guard, Belfast
Very little known about this photograph.
Ulster Home Guard Unit in Belfast (Photograph from Brian Colhoun)
This photograph shows H Company, 5th Belfast Battalion, Ulster Home Guard, Gallagher Limited.
Please click on the photograph to read the names of the men.
The building in the background looks very distinctive so can anyone identify this for me please?
This photograph shows Number 4 Platoon, "A" Company, 5th Belfast Battalion of the Ulster Home Guard.
Can you provide any information regarding these men, where the photograph was taken and any other details?
Returning Prisoners of War
Here are some newspaper clippings (Thanks to Phyllis Logan Doyle) showing Northern Ireland men who have returned home having been held as Prisoners of War.
Lieutenant F. Smith, Royal Irish Fusiliers from Manchester.
Fusilier H. Crothers, Courtrai Street, Belfast
Private P. Patton, Kitchener Street, Belfast
Fusilier G. McManus from 5 Castlehill, Gilford
Fusilier John Smyth, Wilton Street, Belfast
Fusilier J. Dotters from Linenhall Street, Armagh
Paratrooper T.D. Logan, Alliance Avenue, Belfast
Fusilier J Crothers, Courtney Street, Belfast
Although there is little there to illustrate the fact Belvoir Park was a Military Base of some considerable size.
The Admiralty took charge of Belvoir Estate at the start of the war and used it as an Armament Depot. It is amazing to think that at one time there were 131 Buildings, mostly Nissen Huts, erected around the estate.
There are a few signs of its previous usage for visitors who may notice signs of the old concrete road , including a few Passing Places, which winds its way down to the River Lagan.
On the river is a purpose built wharf where munitions were unloaded from barges. Most of these were large naval shells and torpedoes.
Both the British Army and Royal Navy used the House until it was eventually returned to the owner in 1950.
On the left is a view across the River Lagan to where the wharf and Buildings stood during WW2.
The two photographs above show the Wharf side of the River as well as one of the concrete roads which has received a covering of tarmac in recent years.
Aerial photograph showing the extensive area of Huts which were constructed at Belvoir Park. The wharf can be seen top left of the photograph. (PRONI)
Adjacent to Ormeau Park, Ormeau Embankment was used by the United States Army as a Vehicle Assembly Line between October and December 1943. (Google photograph)
On the left is a SECRET Morning Report from 552nd Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Company (Tank) giving details of their moving to Ormeau Embankment.
(From Private Collection of Tom Dole. ***DO NOT COPY***) The Overlord Movement Document above is from PRONI
College of Technology, Belfast
Timbey Park A.R.P. Warden
Certificate of Appointment for A.R.P. Warden. This item can be seen in the Northern Ireland War Memorial Building.
Clifton Street Recruiting Office
Here we see a Queue of Recruits waiting to Join at the Recruiting Office at "Hanover House", 38 - 42 Clifton Street in central Belfast.
There was no Conscription in Northern Ireland and EVERYONE who joined up was a VOLUNTEER. (Picture from Bodies in Our Backyard Book)
Inside Clifton Street Recruiting Office shown above. (Thanks to Mary McDermott)
John McNally Davidson from Belfast Killed in Action
Captain Andrew Cree Mitchell from Belfast.
Andrew Mitchell was born in Belfast in November 1922 and grew up off the Cliftonville Road in Belfast.
He won a Scholarship to attend Belfast Royal Academy and joined the Officer Training Corps at Queens University, Belfast when he was 17 years old.
At the age of 19 he joined the Indian Army via the O.T.C. at Queens University and it took 8 weeks to sail to Bombay to embark on training.
Serving with 4th Bombay Grenadiers he fought at the Battle of Kohima as well as being chosen to be in "V Force" which were Guerilla fighters working behind enemy lines.
Mitchell spent time in the hills teaching indigenous tribes how to fight against the enemy.
On 10th Spetember 1945 he went to Morib Bay in Malaya and stayed there for several months dealing with P..O.W's and distributing food and supplies to people.
For a time he was in charge of Japanese Prisoners of War at a camp following the Japanese surrender. This was a difficult role as many wanted to commit suicide or asked to be killed, or tried to escape rather than live.
Captain Mitchell suffered amoebic dysentery and Malaria during the war and was riddled with leech bites from his time in the jungle.
He was indebted to the Naga Hill people who carried wounded soldiers down the hillside to be taken to field hospitals.
The Kohima Educational Trust was set up to sponsor and educate the Naga people today.
Mitchell spoke fluent Urdu, Hindi & Gujarti and left the Indian Army in 1946.
On his return to the U.K. he went to Cirencester Agriculture College in Gloucestershire and had several jobs until he retired when he was 74 years old!
Andrew Cree Mitchell died aged 91 in February 2014.
(Thanks very much to Maura Roberts for information and photographs)
Albert Street A.R.P. and First Aid Post
Albert Street A.R.P. and First Aid Post, Belfast.
Included in this photograph is Evelyn McFarland from Wilton Street off the Shankill Road.
(Thanks very much to Julie Wigston)
Shown below is another photograph of A.R.P. Albert Street First Air Post and it is interesting to note that the sign is on top of a metal mesh stretcher.
(Thanks to Denis Rush)
Thomas Ireland from York Street, Belfast.
Driver Thomas Ireland, Service Number T/7007689, was from Stanley Lane off York Street, Belfast.
He was the Son of William and Ellen Ireland and Husband of Margaret Ireland.
Having previously served with the Royal Ulster Rifles Thomas transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps.
On 11th August 1944 he was with 282 General Transport Company and was driving an Ambulance which was hit by an Artillery Round killing him.
He was 44 years old and is buried in Bayeux War Cemetery.
(Thanks very much to Charlie Ireland for the information and photographs)
This was one of the major Military Headquarters in Belfast.
Part of the defence measures for the Barracks involved it being ringed by large Oil Drums which, when the Air Raid alarm was raised, were set on fire to create a Smoke Screen.
There was an Anti-Aircraft Battery as well as Searchlights at the Barracks which was one of the targets identified for bombing by the Germans and indeed it received a number of direct hits.
The barracks were devastated by the bombing and gutted by fires when the Fire Hydrants were found to be ineffective.
Married Quarters and the Cookhouse were destroyed and a number of A.T.S. Soldiers were killed when their Quarters was hit.
One of the Anti-Aircraft Crews was completely wiped out and there were a number of killed and injured throughout the Barracks.
Between 20th June 1942 and 8th February 1943 this was also home to 234th Military Police Company of the United States Army.
Only a couple of buildings remain from the old Barracks. The row of houses above is called Victoria Barracks and interestingly has the two stones that I have shown below. The date being 1935 would have been when they were constructed but more importantly the Letter "B" would refer to Block B which refers to the Layout of the Barracks.
You can see this row centreleft of the photograph above which shows the aftermath of the Air raid (IWM Photograph)
The photograph above shows Bomb Damage to the Row of Houses. To the left is Colonel Guiness with Major General Pakenham Walshe in the centre. I believe the Officer on the right is a Lieutenant.
Below is a another photograph of the house which sustained most damage - And is now the one with the Belfast Blitz Plaque arrached to the side! (I.W.M. Photographs)
Shown above is "The Recy" which is a surviving building from the Barracks and is now North Queen Street Community Centre for the people of the New Lodge Area. It can be seen in the centre of the photograph below (Glenravel Project) and as it loked in during a Parade by the Royal Irish Fusiliers in October 1902 (Thanks to the National Army Museum)
Victoria Barracks, Belfast in 1895. (Origin Uninown)
Victoria Barracks. This picture is believed to have been taken during the First World War.
Soldiers of the Northamptonshire Regiment Garrison Military Police. (Ebay)
The photographs above include Lance Bombardier Robert Kane RA from Belfast. (Thanks to Angela Kane)
The Cookhouse in Victoria Barracks on 16th March 1942 (Imperial War Museum Photographs)
Greasy washing-up water poured into a barrel then grease is taken from the barrel above right. (IWM Pictures)
Swill Tubs being inspected above left with cooking facilities seen above right - Royal Army Service Corps (IWM Pictures)
Bones are taken from Stock Pots and put into sacks. (IWM Pictures)
Shown here is Lieutenant Colonel Sir Brian Kimmins taking the Salute of 661 (Ulster) Field Regiment Royal Artillery at Victoria Barracks on 20th January 1957.
Damage to Victoria Barracks. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)
This final photograph of the Blitz Damage to Victoria Barracks is interesting because a Barrage Balloon can be seen in the centre top of the picture. (IWM Photos)
This selection of photographs shows the extensive damage to Victoria Barracks following the Bombing. (Imperial War Museum Pictures)
Carlisle Circus, Belfast
This photograph shows Carlisle Circus looking up Crumlin Road with Antrim Road to the right.
In the centre of the Roundabout is an Emergency Water Supply.
The photograph was taken on 23rd September 1942 by Belfast Telegraph
Army Dental Centre, Belfast
The Army Dental Centre on Antrim Road Belfast and the same location as it looks today (IWM and Google)
Paratrooper Thomas Davison Logan from Spamount Street, Belfast.
Paratrooper Thomas Davison Logan from Belfast.
Thomas grew up in Spamount Street and served with B Company, 2nd Parachute Battalion, 1st Airborne Division.
He jumped into Arnhem during Operation Market Garden on 17th September 1944 with his Commander being Lt. Col. John Frost.
Thomas was Batman to Captain Francis Hoyer Millar and after being wounded by shrapnel on the 21st September 1944 at the Arnhem Bridge he was hospitalised for a few weeks before being taken to Stalag 11B which was at Fallingbostel. He was 24 years old. From there he was sent to Oflag 79 and was liberated by the U S Ninth Army on the 12 April 1945. Shown below are Documents received by his family referring to him being Missing then a P.O.W.
Thomas passed away at age 75 years on the 21 March 1995 in Victoria, Australia.
(Thanks very much to Phyllis Logan Doyle for information and photographs)
Donegall Place, Belfast
Formation of the Royal Sussex Regiment.
Castle Place, Belfast
Shown above is Castle Place, Belfast showing the famous Bank Buildings Building which was destroyed by Fire in the 2000's This building stood immediately to the left of the one shown below. (National Museums Northern Ireland picture)
Air Raid Shelters in Royal Avenue
This photograph shows the Provincial Bank of Ireland in Royal Avenue, Central Belfast. Air Raid Shelters can be seen at the front of the building.
Grand Central Hotel, Belfast
Lieutenant General Sir Alan Cunningham, General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland speaking at the first Council Meeting of the "Salute The Soldier" Campaign. With the Right Honorable Sir James andrews in the Grand Central Hotel, Belfast on 14th February 1944. (Imperial war Museum Photographs)
This photograph shows Telephone House as it looked in 1934.
During the Belfast Blitz a bomb landed in the road here causing extensive damage and most importantly severing the telephone lines between Northern Ireland England meaning that it was not possible to summon Fighter Support to attack the Luftwaffe Bombers.
Balmoral Golf club and Kings Hall
The Kings Hall and the land around it had a varied history during the War.- An American Quartermaster Bakery Company was in the Jumping Enclosure with the Auxiliary Fire Service having an Equipment Store in the Implements shed.
The Area to the right of the third hole of Balmoral Golf Club used to be a Prisoner of War Camp.
At another part of the Golf Club, at the thirteenth Fairway there was an Air Raid Shelter as well as an Anti-Aircraft Gun Battery and it was here that one of the Gunners was killed by a misfire with one of the Artillery shells.
He was Gunner Peter Jones, Service Number 1698869, who was 26 years old when he was killed on the night of the 7th / 8th April 1941 during what was known as "The Dockside Raid"
Gunner Jones had been serving with 316 Battery, 102 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery.
He was the Son of Chris and Isa Jones, of Glasgow and Husband of Helen Jones, of Sandyford, Glasgow and was laid to rest in Sighthill Cemetery, Glasgow.
The Golf Club website records that during the War two famous individuals played the course - The World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Louis and Fighter Ace Douglas Bader. (Picture from Findagrave)
The photograph above shows the Kings Hall / Balmoral Golf Club site as it looked in the years after the war. (From Britain From Above)
These photographs show a Parade on the Grounds you can see in the picture above. (IWM)
Four of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society buildings around the kings Hall complex were used by A.R.P. to store Gas Masks.
Sections of Short Stirling Bombers were manufactured in the main (Kings) Hall whilst Army Personnel lived in and learned to drive Lorries around the grounds.
(The photograph here is from the excellent Old Belfast Facebook page.)
Members of the Ulster Home Guard at Balmoral Golf Club
The pictures above show the front and back of the photograph which is identified at D Company, Number 4 Battalion, Ulster Home Guard. The photograph was taken in October 1942 at Balmoral Golf Club (Ebay)
Crumlin Road Presbyterian Church
This stone is part of the wall of Crumlin Road Presbyterian Church and can be seen in Tennent Street.
It tells that the original church building on the site was "Destroyed by Enemy Action on 15th / 16th April 1941"
The impressive mural shown here can be seen on York Road.
On the left it shows Lieutenant Colonel Robert Blair Mayne (He is mentioned in greater detail in this website)
To the right of the Piper are a selection of Regimental Badges as worn my the Irish Regiments of the British Army.
Milltown Cemetery, Belfast - Civilian Mass Grave
The Mass Grave at Milltown is one of Two such Mass graves with the second being a short distance away in Belfast City Cemetery.
You can find this by following the One-Way Traffic System to the bottom close to the Motorway then follow the Path and it is towards the end on your left, with the row of Military Graves which are shown below, on the right.
Sadly there is no number recorded of the people who are buried here. - The picture below shows the full size of this Mass Grave.
The photograph above shows the Headstone of a Mass Grave of unidentified people who were killed during the Belfast Blitz in April 1941.
The wording on the stone says "Sacred to the Memory of Unidentified Victims of Enemy Action Belfast April 1941"
Polish War Graves in Milltown Cemetery
There are a number of Polish Service Personnel buried here.
Polish Bomber Mission.
On September 16, 1942, we got up at 7 a.m.
Breakfast at the mess was at 7:30. Briefing in Operation Room was 8 a.m. with take-off at 9:30.
Pilot - F/O S. Targowski
2nd Pilot – F/Sgt Z. Kowalewicz
Navigator – F/Lt W. Minakowski
Wireless Operator – F/Sgt Z. Piechowiak
Front Gunner – Sgt W. Mlynarski
Rear Gunner – Sgt F. Kubacik.
At the briefing at we were given the objective (routine anti-submarine patrol) and flight details.
From rough calculations, I estimated about 1220 miles to fly in about 9 hours time.
After the weather report we were reminded about activity of a German Long Range Ju88 Unit stationed on the West coast of France.
The day before its pilots shot down over Atlantic a Wellington with the Czech crew and Whitley with the British.
That was no news for us. Our planes were attacked before by those German planes, and so far always had an upper hand.
After a short discussion with the Pilot, we agreed to fly below 2000 feet, to get down to sea level in an attack.
The weather forecast promised mostly cloudy periods with low-level clouds. After I drew the course and calculated miles at the Mercator chart, the crew discussed details of our mission. Then we picked up photo camera, various radio devices, flares, messages coding device, food rations and neatly packed money. Having done this, we went to Crew Room where we put on a flying gear and took parachutes.
We were driven to our Wellington 856 coded “E” which had “Ela” painted on the front gun turret with small Polish checkers painted on both sides below cockpit.
The Ground Crew who prepared the plane for the sortie waited for us:
W. Serwinski (Flight A chief mechanic)
K. Dubiel; F. Dobczynski; F. Konkiel; M. Bober; B. Gajda; E. Gawor; F. Bartniczak.
S. Kaczmarek, The Chief reported the plane ready.
We climbed the small ladder and took up are positions. Everybody went through the final check of the post and equipment.
We synchronized the watches and were ready for take-off. Pilot gave the hand signal and the ground crew started the engines. After warming them up, we taxied down to the end of runway.
Exactly at 9:30 we start the take-off.
Despite being loaded with 6 depth charges and full of fuel, “Ela” easily climbed the air to make a regulatory circle around the airfield.
After this a definite flight begun. We flew the leg of 140 miles then we changed the course to reach the point “A” for another 150 miles. Then came another change and we flew some 300 miles to the point “X”.
During the flight pilots and gunners look out for enemy’s planes or ships, Navigator constantly verifies the position and course, while the wireless operator listens to what the radio is saying.
I also record the weather conditions, wind force and its direction. Since we are flying south the temperature steadily climbs. We see few fishing boats. Then, we hear the radio station “Voice of Spain”, and soon we see the coast.
We change the course some 5 miles from the shore and fly along it aiming for the next point “Y”. Inspired by the sunny, green shores we think about sweet oranges and Spanish women.
At 16:12, while close to position “A”, somebody reported an aircraft on starboard heading South. Moments later, three aircraft flying North on our port side were spotted.
Rear gunner reported two more following us.
The sky was cloudless and the visibility up to 30 miles.
At that time our altitude was only 1500 feet, and the pilot descended to 500.
Once we realized these planes were long range Ju88s, he jettisoned Depth Chargers and started to fly 50 feet over the waves which prevented any attack from below.
At 16:15 the first attack started when three Ju88s came one after another from 10 o’clock.
Our Pilot kept the aircraft low constantly weaving, nearly touching the sea surface with wingtips.
Every time one of the Junkers’ made a pass, our pilot steered toward the enemy making a smaller target of ourselves and giving a better shooting position for our front gunner.
He gave the first attacker two short bursts from a very close distance, and our rear gunner followed with a long one.
The second Junkers came the same way and the front gunner gave him a good blast. The German pilot immediately lost control of his aircraft and was heading for a collision. With a sharp move, our pilot avoided it. When the rear gunner was giving him his “piece of mind”, the German aircraft, with the port engine in flames and its propeller stopped, ditched.
The third attacker came like the two before him, and both our gunners had a good shot.
While front gunner graced his excellent shooting with obscenities, out rear one, absolutely non-vocal veered his turret efficiently shooting long and precise at the banking German which presented itself as an easy target.
During this attack, the Wireless Operator sent a message giving our position and the type of enemy aircraft then he left his post and went to staff the side machine guns.
After the third attack, the fuselage was filled with smoke and the pilot changed the course for home some 140 miles away.
The next two planes which flew farther away and on our right, made their attack from 1 o’clock. They had more luck with us. The first Ju88 change the initial direction of his attack by making a sharp turn.
Our pilot turned to face the attacker all the time displaying very skilful and smart flying.
In that moment a canon shell hit our wing fuel tank and several bullets drummed on the fuselage.
Our front gunner successfully fended off the first attacker, and we saw the German being hit and leaving the scene with a trail of smoke.
The rear gunner sent him a short burst too.
When the other Junkers was approaching us, second pilot went to help our gunners with the side machine gun.
But we were hit by canon shell. Immediately a lot of heavy smoke appeared but seeing no fire, I ignored it and went to check on our rear gunner.
The same time I ordered the Wireless Operator and Second Pilot to supply gunners with the spare ammo.
Then two more attacks came from 7 o’clock. Again, they came one after another, and the gunner shot at them from a very close distance.
The turrets and all the machine guns worked perfectly, and all the attackers were hit since they came up close.
The Ju88 that we saw first on our right, all the time kept about 2 miles away from the scene and did not join the fight.
It probably flew the cover for rest.
After the last attack, despite being in a good position to make another pass, the two planes flying directly behind us gave up. Seeing the upcoming stretch of clouds on the horizon, pilot put the full throttle and maximum fuel pressure. Soon enough we reached the 1500 feet base clouds and lost the contact with the enemy.
I established our position and we send a coded message that we will land at an airfield in Cornwall.
We had fuel leak in the starboard wing tank, and the engine oil line was broken.
When the oil tank was empty we decided to land at the closest airfield.
After landing at 5:50 p.m. (8 hrs and 20 min flight), we got out and checked the plane which was shot through starboard propeller; 8 hits on starboard engine; multiple canon shell and machine gun hits on the starboard wing (7” x 7” fuel tank hole), missing several square feet of wing fabric cover; over 20 bullets holes in the fuselage and 10 holes in rudder and both elevators.
None of us suffered wounds and the whole crew displayed firmness and composure during the attacks.
The next afternoon a plane from our base flew in, crewed by F/Lt Dunczewski, F/O Hirsz and Sgt Gemsa.
Our “Ela” served well in four operational sorties but had to go for repairs, never to come back to us again.
We landed at Dale at 5:20 p.m. where our CO, W/Cdr Czetowicz welcomed us back...
Our gunners were credited with one Ju88 destroyed and four damages.
Signal sent to 304 on 17th September 1942, from the A.O.C.-in-C. Coastal Command: “Please convey my congratulations to the Captain and Crew of E-304 on their engagement with six Ju. 88s on 16th September. All concerned made a fine showing against far greater numbers and scored a notable success in bringing down one, probably two, of the enemy aircraft.”
The official statement of the Air Ministry of News Service: "Wellington wins 5:1 Battle”. Attacked by five Ju 88s, while a sixth kept a lookout for R.A.F. long-range fighters, a lone Wellington of a Polish Air Force Squadron operating with Coastal Command, not only fought off the enemy aircraft but destroyed one and damaged the four others. The combat took place on Wednesday afternoon over the Bay of Biscay while the Wellington was on an anti-submarine patrol. Flying almost at sea level, the Wellington was overhauled by this five Ju88s, which came in one after the other their canons blazing. As each attack developed, The Wellington turned head on to meet the German aircraft, and after about five minutes one was seen to turn away and dived into the sea. A few minutes later another Ju broke off. When it turned for France clouds of black smoke were pouring from the starboard engine. Shortly afterwards the remaining three decide to call it a day and made for base. With them went the Junkers which had taken no part in the fight. The Wellington although short of petrol, and hit in the starboard engine, wing and airscrew, tails units and fuselage reached safely.”
Exactly one month later, on October 16, flying Wellington R1413, F/O Targowski, F/Sgt Piechowiak, Sgt Mlynarski and Sgt Kubacik were lost over the Bay of Biscay, probably shot down by German fighters of KG40.
F/Lt Minakowski returned to Poland after the war and rejoined the Polish Army. In 1951 he was accused of spying and executed in August 1952.
W/O Kowalewicz settled in UK and died in Blackpool in 2002.
(Thanks very much to Piotr Maguda for this amazing story)
The Polish Crew of 304 Squadron Wellington Mk14, HF208 are buried here and named below. They were all killed on 20th December 1943 following an Anti U-Boat Patrol over the Bay of Biscay.
It is thought that the Aircraft was caught in a Snow Storm.It crashed in flames near Mount Brandon in neutral Eire (Republic of Ireland) and all of the bodies of the Crew were returned to Northern Ireland.
ADAMOWICZ Klemens F/Sgt P-780537
CZERNIAWSKI Stanislaw Sgt P-794362
KOWALEWICZ Pawel Sgt P-703968
LUGOWSKI Kazimierz Sgt P-703438
PIETRZAK Wincenty Sgt P-782657
The final Crew Member is buried in the Jewish Cemetery at Carnmoney and is also photographed on this website.KUFLIK Pawel Naftali Hirsz Sgt P-794712 - The photographs below come from the excellent aircrewremembered.com website.
Military Graves in Milltown Cemetery
Shown above is one row of Armed Forces Graves however there are a number of other scattered throughout the Cemetery. Fifty-Two from the Second World War are recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and I am including some of these below.
Sergeant Arthur Aloyusus Macardle was a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner with the Royal Air Force.
He was the Son of Peter Joseph and Mary Ann Macardle from Belfast and the husband of Mary Freda Macardle from Streatham, London.
Fusilier John Boyle was serving with 6th Battalion Royal inniskilling Fusiliers.
He was the Son of Thomas and Margaret Ann Boyle from Belfast and the husband of Rose Boyle from Belfast.
Guardsman Owen Corrigan was serving with 1st Battalion Irish Guards. Private Patrick Duffy was serving with the Royal Army Service Corps.
Sergeant Terence McCorry was serving with 95 Squadron, Royal Air Force as an Air Gunner. He was the Son of Michael and Teresa McCorry from Belfast and the Husband of Mary McCorry.
Patrick Joseph Brennan was serving as a Fireman aboard S.S. Ranger. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Brennan from Belfast and the husband of Mary Jane Brennan from Belfast.
I believe that some of the Graves relate to the Belfast Blitz.
Shown on the left is the final resting place of William Henry McGennity who was serving as a Rifleman with The Royal Ulster Rifles and at the time of his death was home on Leave.
He died in his home at 75 Holmdene Gardens off Crumlin Road in Belfast.
You can see that the Headstone shown here includes the wording "Also his Daughter Margaret aged 3 killed with him. Lovingly remembered by his Mother and Annie."
The excellent book "The Belfast Blitz" by Brian Barton tells that his Wife Bridget and 16 Months old Son Robert died as well as Margaret.
A Family Wiped Out.
The Headstone shown above right has the names of the following Soldiers of the Pioneer Corps.
Corporal Thomas Keane, Private James Simon Moore and Private James Osben. All of these men are recorded as dying on 5th May 1941 and it is interesting to note that what was known as "The Fire Raid" on Belfast was carried out by the Luftwaffe on the night of 4th / 5th May 1941.
Rifleman Thomas John Leen was serving with the 70th Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles when he died.
Sergeant Keith Thomas Devery was from Auckland, New Zealand and was serving as a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner with the Royal New Zealand Air Force and was killed in a Flying Accident.
He was a Crew Member on Bristol Beaufort EL131 which had taken-off from Long Kesh at 1420 hours to take part in a training exercise however during this the aircraft carried out a steep turn to the left and lost height rapidly before crashing and bursting into flames approximately 1 mile north of Shields Corner, near Castledawson with no survivors.
Three other Members of the Crew are buried nearby at Belfast City Cemetery.
Private Bernard Donnelly was serving with the Pioneer Corps whilst Rifleman John Hefferlin was serving with 6th Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles.
Warrant Officer First Class James Waclaw Hoba was a Royal Canadian Air Force Pilot and died on 17th July 1943.
Flight Sergeant Richard Kevin Holmes was actually an American who was from Hollywood, California who had joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.
He had been at Number 1 Operational Training Unit and was flying Bristol Beaufort DX 134 on a Map Reading and Air Sea Rescue Training Flight when the aircraft crashed at 18.00 at Church Island bear Bellaghy in County Londonderry.
There were no survivors however the Accident Report states that “ it seems fairly apparent that the pilot was making a forced landing on open ground, but his approach took him over a church. It seems that to avoid hitting the church spire, he stalled the aircraft at approx 100 feet and crashed in a very steep angle just beyond the church building.” It also stated the “port engine was suspect. The pilot had trimmed the aircraft to fly on starboard engine. Traces of white metal were found in the oil. Engine being inspected.”
Private James Kearney was serving with the Pioneer Corps and was 47 years old when he died.
Private Bernard Moore was serving with 7th Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment when he died on 20th July 1940 - He was 18 years old.
John McCullough was serving as a Driver with the Royal Engineers. He was the son of Gerard and mary McCullough and the Husband of Brigid McCullough.
Private Robert McGivern was serving with 12th Battalion, Warwickshire Regiment. He was 42 years old and the Husband of Mary McGivern from Belfast.
Corporal John O'Brien was with the Royal Irish Fusiliers when he died on 27th May 1943.
Private Thomas Rafferty was with the Pioneer Corps when he died on 7th November 1940 - He was from Bessbrook in County Armagh and had served during the First World War!
Greaser Charles Reilly was on board S.S. Housatonic which was part of Convoy OB 287. It was a Tanker and the ship was bombed by Luftwaffe aircraft and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean with the loss of 3 Crew.
Fireman William Joseph Robb died on the S.S. Salveda on 19th December 1943. He was 59 years old.
When visiting Milltown Cemetery please remember to spend some time looking around because, as I have said previously, there are a number of WW2 related Graves throughout the Cemetery.
Memorial Day 1942 - American Soldiers in Belfast City Cemetery on Memorial Day 1942. (Ebay picture)
Campbell College British Military Hospital
The School was evacuated in 1940 to the Northern Counties Hotel in Portrush. (Whish is shown below while the photograph above dates from 1939 and shows Boys practising using Air Raid Shelters which were constructed in the grounds of the School) and the Buildings at the Belmont Campus became Number 24 (London) General Hospital. My comparrison photograph shows the same location as it now looks and in the centre of my picture can be seen where the entrances to the shelter were.
The school's Changing Rooms became Operating Theatres and X-Ray Rooms.
Baths were installed in the Classrooms and over 34000 Servicemen were treated here by October 1945.
On the night of 4th / 5th May 1941 the Hospital was bombed by the Luftwaffe causing the deaths of 19 Doctors and Patients.
The Soldier shown above had suffered a skull fracture with broken and dislocated jaw. He is being treated at 24th (London) General Hospital, Campbell College.
The photograph was taken on 16th March 1942. (Imperial War Museum Picture)
Receiving treatment for a fractured jaw 10th February 1942.
Picture above is described as "An Interesting Dental Case" (IWM Picture)
Dental Splints for a patient with a damaged jaw. Photographed on 23rd December 1942. (IWM Picture)
Patient with a Fractured Jaw above and below. (IWM Pictures)
24th (London) General Hospital at Campbell College, Belfast. Convalescents are seen above left playing Billiards whilst a Ward is seen on the right. (IWM Pictures)
An Operating Theatre and dental Surgery are seen above with Massage and Infra-Red Treatment seen below. (IWM Pictures)
Shown above is a Nissen Hut being dedicated as a Hospital Chapel on 24th January 1943. The Rev. Hamel Smith is reading prayers. The photograph was taken on 24th January 1943. (IWM Picture)
These are the concrete bases of the Nissen Huts.
In February 1946 it was returned to Civilian use as a School and in 2001 the last of the Nissen Huts, which had been erected in the Grounds as Wards, were removed.
A Belgian Soldier who died whilst being treated here is buried in Belfast City Cemetery. He was:-
Private Leon Maton, 23 years, From Brussels. He had been serving with 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, Belgian Army and died of Meningitis at Campbell College Military Hospital on 9th March 1945.
Ernest Almoyroc was a member of the French Air Force attached to the British Army in Gambia. He died at Campbell College Military Hospital on 25th September 1940 from a cut eye and Blackwater fever. He was 23 Years old.
German Prisoners of War who were treated and subsequently died at Campbell College Military Hospital include the following who were all buried at Belfast city Cemetery but later in 1962 their bodies were repatriated.
Ober/Kan Wilhelm Dalbeck, a German Soldier, was Prisoner of War A438606. He was held at the Prisoner of War Camp at Jackson Road, Palace Barracks, Holywood and died on 23rd July 1945 when he was 33 years old.
Obergefreiter Wilhelem Jungclaus was a member of the German Navy and Prisoner of War A811180, held at Elmfield Camp, Portadown. He was 42 years old when he died on 27th May 1945.
Obergefreiter August Krienbring was a Prisoner of War at Gosford Castle, County Armagh and had the Number B4246. He was 29 years old when he died on 25th May 1945.
Gefreiter Rudolph Blume had been a P.O.W. (B4534) at Gosford Castle, County Armagh and was 34 years old when he died on 25th May 1945.
Oberfeldwebel Alfred Rinn died on 5th February 1945 from Pulmonary Tuberculosis. He was from Giessen in Germany, was 44 years old and had P.O.W. Number B71040. He had been serving with Ld Schutzenzug 23/1 (x1)
S/Gefreiter Wilhelm Trone died on 7th March 1945. His Prisoner of War Number was B24399 and he was 42 years old.
Obergefreiter Herbert Lisser died on 22nd March 1945. He had served with the Luftwaffe and was 21 years old. He died of Cardiac Failure as a result of War Wounds. Prisoner of War Number A58170
Unteroffizer Gerhard Geier died on 25th March 1945, aged 27 years. He had served in the Luftwaffe and died of a fractured skull. His P.O.W. Number was B19042.
(Photographs from Imperial War Museum and Bodies in Our Backyard Book)
Some of the Second World War buildings remain to be seen. The small red bricked building shown above was an Ammunition Store whilse the buildings below were Vehicle Maintenance Sheds.
Medical Staff Killed at Campbell College Military Hospital
Lance Corporal John Thomas Harris and Private Kenneth Lawrence Shaw, Both of the Pioneer Corps.
Corporal Leon Guglielmazzi was serving with the Pioneer Corps whilst Sergeant Norman Leslie Seaward was serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps. "Treasured in Life. Lived in Death. Wife and Baby"
Major Edward V. Hemelryk was serving with the Pioneer Corps and it is interesting to note that he has won the Distinguished Service Order.
Pioneer Corps in Northern Ireland
Men of the Pioneer Corps prepare the way for Fighting Men to concentrate on taking the battle to the enemy however Pioneer Soldiers also have to be Fighting Men on occasions. These photographs were taken at a Pioneer Training Camp in Northern Ireland where the Soldiers were "Toughened Up" They were taken on 29th July 1943.
(Imperial War Museum Photographs)
Captured German Gun at Campbell College
This photograph shows the Gun at the front of the main building (From National Museums Northern Ireland)
This photograph shows a captured German First World War Cannon on display at Campbell College. Photographed in 1924 this Gun was subsequently cut up and smelted down for use during the Second World War. (Thanks very much to Nick Morton)
Eric Christopher Stanley Megaw
Eric Megaw was born on the 19th January, 1908.
Having attended Campbell College he then went to Queen's University in Belfast
Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War he was working for the Admiralty in relation to electronics at the G.E.C. Laboratories at Wembley, London and after three years he was appointed leader of a team engaged on this.
They were working on the cavity magnetron from April 1940.
The cavity magnetron was producing power of around 500W however Megaw changed the design and was able to increase the power to 100 kW by September 1940.
This was a fantastic increase which was enough to detect submarines and the first trial on board an aircraft took place in March 1941. It was a huge development in Radar.
He was made an M.B.E. in 1943.
(Photograph from G.E.C. Information from New Ulster Biography and Wikipedia)
Tyler Gatewood Kent.
Tyler Kent was born on 24th March 1911 in Newchwang, Manchuria where his Father was an American Diplomat.
Most of his schooling took place in the United States however between 1920 and 1922 he attended Campbell College.
After spells at Princeton University and George Washington University he continued his Education at The Sorbonne in Paris and the University of Madrid before following in his fathers footsteps into the U.S. State Department and was posted to work with U.S. Ambassador William C. Bullitt in Moscow.
Promotion soon followed and he became a Cipher Clerk however suspicions of his activities grew and he was transferred from Moscow to London where he took up his new post on 5th October 1939, only one month after the United Kingdom had went to war.
When in London Kent was sighted by Metropolitan Police Special Branch who had been observing a suspected German Agent. He was soon a frequent visitor to the Russian Tea Room and met Irene Danishewsky, wife of a British merchant, who was a frequent visitor of the Soviet Union. Both were subject to surveillance by M.I.5 who suspected the Danishewskys of spying for the Soviets.
Through his job as a Cipher Kent had access to messages involving Churchill and Roosevelt.
He began copying secret documents and some were to Berlin via an intermediary from the Italian Embassy.
It was afterwards found, through interception of wireless messages by M.I.8 that these had came into the possession of Vice Abmiral Canaris who was in charge of the German Military Intelligence.
On 18th May 1940, the US Ambassador was briefed regarding what was taking place and agreed to waive Diplomatic Immunity for Kent who was arrested two days later under the Official Secrets Act.
MI5 searched his address and uncovered 1,929 official documents!
After a number of interviews Kent was convicted of Offences under the Official Secrets Act and sentenced at The Old Bailey on 7th November 1940 to seven years imprisonment.
(Information from Wikipedia, Spartacus-educational.com, Campbellian Magazine. A.P. Daily Mail and Dangerousminds.net Photographs)
Donegal Park Avenue
The large house at Number 10 Donegal Park Avenue, Belfast was used by the Naval, Army, Air Force Institutes (N.A.A.F.I.) as a Hostel
(Information from the wartime Telephone Directory)
Donegal Square, Belfast
The Public Toilets at Donegal Square North being transformed into Air Raid Shelters. (From "Old Belfast Photographs")
Ulster Reform Club, Royal Avenue, Belfast
The two letters shown above relate to the necessity for "Fire Watchers" and a discussion between the Ulster Reform Club and Belfast Licensed Vinteners Association.
(From Hospitality Ulster)
Ray Robinson Beasley, U.S. Army
Ray was from Shorts Creek, Virginia and after working on his fathers farm and at a Mine he joined the U.S. Army on 27th October 1941.
Initial training saw him at Camp Wheeler in Georgia as a Private with Company B, 17th Training Battalion, 2nd Platoon.
He was with 34th Infantry Division when they left New York and crossed the Atlantic arriving in Belfast on 12th May 1942.
As a Sergeant in the Quartermaster Corps of 700th Quartermaster Depot he served as a Warehouse Foreman supervising a staff of 30 Military and Civilians.
Ray was awarded the first Soldiers Medal to a Soldier in Northern Ireland for saving a man from drowning in August 1942.
Ray saw service in England, France and Germany and was with the 106th Golden Lion Division at the Battle of the Bulge.
During his time in Northern Ireland Ray had met Sarah Teresa O'Reilly who had survived the Belfast Blitz and at the end of the war he got Permission and a Travel Pass from Germany back to Northern Ireland to marry Sarah on 4th August 1945 before he had to return to Germany the next day!
Ray finally left Le Havre on 20th September 1945 aboard USS Victory to sail to Boston.
Sarah arrived in New York aboard Saturnia which had been an Italian cruise liner converted to a Military Hospital and Transport ship on 1st June 1946.
They settled together in Virginia. (Thanks very much to Dan Beasley for Information and Pictures)
U.S. Army 3878th Quartermaster Gasoline Supply Company at Lisnabreeny
Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Battery
These photographs show a Heavy Anti Aircraft Gun Battery Sergeant showing A.T.S. Girls how the Gun and Range Finder Work.
Precise location of this site is not recorded however the huts to the left of the photograph below right may show this to be the U3 Battery at Lisnabreeny (IWM Pictures)
Unfortunately nothing remains to be seen of the HAA Battery however this is certainly not the case for 3878th Quartermaster Gasoline Supply Company of the U.S. Army as you can see from my photographs below.
During the war there was racial segregation within the U.S. Armed Forces and this Company is referred to as being "Colored"
A number if items remain at the site including some of the original wire fencing.
The most obvious is a large circular Filter Bed however the original concrete gate posts at the entrance to the Camp are still in position as are a few brick structures, some of which have barrels jammed into them.
Shown here are some of photographs I have taken which can be connected to the old photograph above.
The upper picture with the raised section of metal was between the Filter Bed and the buildings of the Camp in the foreground.
The original concrete entrance pillar shown here is the one on the left in the picture - They appear to have been painted white during the war.
The easily identifyable Filter Bed is shown below.
The two photographs above appear to have been the buildings facing the road.
The items shown above were found at this site.
Cherry Blosson brown leather boot polish and Mansion Polish along with some other items. (Thanks very much to Peter Graham)
Lisnabreeny American Military Cemetery
There are a selection of very interesting places to visit at Lisnabreeny.
I am sure many people are aware of the old United States Military Cemetery which stood at the top of Rocky Road.
All that was there was the gate into the Field with a small wall on either side and inside the field was the Memorial shown below.
Above you can see how the Lisnabreeny Cemetery used to look however things have changed considerably as shown below.
Captain Priscilla Gotto was from Belfast and was getting a lift home in a Boeing B17 bomber when the plane smashed into the Clee Hill, east of Ludlow, killing all six on board.
The aircraft had taken off from Stansted on Saturday 25th November 1944 with three passengers – Priscilla, and an American Major and Lieutenant Colonel.
It was to go to Northern Ireland via Burtonwood however the Pilot got lost in bad weather and when he descended below the clouds found himself surrounded by high ground.
When trying to climb a wing clipped the ledge of a quarry on Titterstone Clee Hill at 1,300ft, and the aircraft cartwheeled and crashed.
Precilla Gotto, who had volunteered with the Mechanised Transport Corps, is buried in Belfast City Cemetery. (Precilla Gotto is shown below along with two photographs of the Crash Scene.From Shropshire Star Newspaper)
Newspaper Articles regarding American Military Personnel Dying in Northern Ireland.
American Soldier on Sentry Duty in Belfast Shot Dead. (Thanks to will lindsay)
All of the American Personnel who lost their lives in these incidents were buried at Lisnabreeny.
The Cemetery was opened on 2nd December 1943 and during the time it was operational 148 American Servicemen were buried here.
The Cemetery was closed in November 1947 and all the bodies were exhumed in 1948 and reburied in either the large American War Cemetery in Cambridgeshire or repatriated to the United States.
Shown above is First Sergeant Frank Miner who was one of the Military Embalmers serving with United States Army Graves Registration Service and were billited at Belfast City Hospital. The men worked at Wiltons Funeral Home on Crumlin Road.
His jacket has the Quartermaster Corps Patch on one shoulder with First Army patch on the other.
The Medal Ribbons are for the Victory Medal and European Theatre Medal on which are 4 Bronze Stars referring to the Campains in The Ardennes, Central Europe, Northern France and The Rhineland.
It is worthy of note that First Sergeant Miner was serving with 3060th Quartermaster Company when he was involved in the recovery of the bodies of murdered U.S. Soldiers after the Malmedy Massacre by Joachim Peiper and his S.S. Soldiers. (The jacket can be seen in the Northern Ireland War Memorial Building, Belfast)
Shown above is the Funeral of Private Steve Fellin, 32162876 at Lisnabreeny
The photograph on the left shows a Burial ceremony at Lisnabreeny on 6th May 1944. The graves shown on the right are fronted by that of Colonel Joseph Stuart of the General Staff Corps who died on 28th February 1944.
(The picture on the left is from Fold 3 and available to everyone whilst my Thanks goes to Jill and Greg for the photograph on the right)
This is the new Memorial at Lisnabreeny which has the name and rank of every Servicemen who was laid to rest here. The 4 photographs relating to the unveiling ceremony come from SKPhotos.
It is probably most fitting to end this item with the comparrison photographs below.
The Black and White photograph was taken in the Cemetery and shows Back Row left to right Kathleen and Mary Close with Evelyn Barnes.
The Front Row is American Soldier Don Fluge, Beth Smith, Ann Close and American Soldier Melton Hale.
(For more information please visit http://www.geograph.ie/photo/3439261 which is the Jim Kane page on the Geograph website and is available to everyone.)
This is Lisnabreeny House which was used by the United States Army during the Second World War as a Headquarters Building. It is now part of a School.
( Picture above from Lord Belmont in Northern Ireland Blog)
St Annes Cathedral
St Annes Cathedral is a very impressive building which can be visited in Donegal Street in Central Belfast.
You can see from the photographs here that the entire area all around the Cathedral was devastated by the bombing however St Anne's remained untouched!
This photograph shows the same area beside St Anne's Cathedral after all of the Bomb Damage had been removed. *****PLEASE DO NOT COPY MY PHOTOGRAPHS*****
Visitors to St Anne's Cathedral will see a considerable number of Memorials and Flags from our Armed Forces and referring to the two World Wars.
Immediately above and a mosaic and flag from the Northern Ireland Branch of the Burma Star Association. *****PLEASE DO NOT COPY MY PHOTOGRAPHS*****
The Dunkirk Veterans Association and Memorial to 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery can both be seen on the walls of the Cathedral.
Below right is a Cross of Nails which were recovered from the ruins of Coventry Cathedral after it had been destroyed by the German Luftwaffe during the Blitz.
Flag of the Royal Naval Association *****PLEASE DO NOT COPY MY PHOTOGRAPHS*****
The Irish Guards Association Ulster Branch Flag and Irish Guards Memorial *****PLEASE DO NOT COPY MY PHOTOGRAPHS*****
Impressive Stained Glass window is shown above with some of the Flags from the various Services shown below.
Red Ensign for Civilian Vessels, Blue Ensign used under Admiralty Warrant, Royal Air Force, Union Flag and White Ensign
1st Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers above with The Royal Irish Fusiliers Flag shown below.
Visit St Anne's Cathedral to see lots more in a fabulous building!
The Stars and Stripes in St Anne's Cathedral
This Unites States of America Stars and Stripes Flag hangs in St Anne's Cathedral.
A 48 Star flag was presented to the Cathedral by U.S. Consul General, Eric M. Hughes between July 1963 and July 1965 to Commemorate the arrival in Belfast of the first American Troops to set foot in Europe during the Second World War.
The flag had hung in the cathedral for many years until it became too fragile for hanging and needed to be replaced in 1999.
During a Trans-Atlantic flight in recent years Cathedral Volunteer Vernon Clegg spoke with a Lady whose Husband was President of the Boston Historical Society. The flag was discussed and Nancy and Wallace St.John of Saint Stephens, Cohasset, Massachusetts donated a replacement which arrived at the Cathedral within 2 weeks!
This is the flag which now hangs in the Ambulatory of the cathedral. (Thanks very much to Vernon Clegg for the information)
*****PLEASE DO NOT COPY MY PHOTOGRAPHS*****
Spanish Civil War Memorial
This Memorial to members of the International Brigades who took part in the Spanish Civil War can be found in Writer's Square, Donegal Street, Belfast facing St Anne's Cathedral.
Womens Voluntary Service Locations around Belfast
The Womens Voluntary Service was concerned mainly with Civil Defence and the Headquarters of the various Districts of the City were as follows:-
B District - 170 Falls Road
C District - 52 Peters Hill
D District - 63 Cliftonville Road
E District - 108 Holywood Road
F District - 61 Bradbury Place
G District - 46 Lansdowne Road
The Gas Meter Manufacturers, Parkinson & Cowan became involved in the assembly of Electrical Harnesses which were for use with Emergency Lights on Lifesaving Equipment on the event of ditching.
This work was carried out in a tiny part of premises at 49 Hill Street which is shown here.
(Thanks very much to Vernon Clegg for this information)
Crumlin Road Gaol and Girdwood Barracks
At first some of the prisoners refused to avail of the Air Raid shelters, due to their republican beliefs, which were provided within the prison. As the air raids intensified Prison Officers were positioned on the roof of the building to direct fire teams to numerous incendiaries which were falling.
These two aerial photographs show the site of Girdwood Barracks which was immediately behind Crumlin Road Gaol.
In the picture below you can see the Gaol at the centre bottom with Girdwood camp with a number of huts behind. (PRONI)
The prison has been closed from the holding of prisoners since 1996 and is now a recommended tourist attraction!!
Mater Hospital, Belfast
Immediately beside the Prison is the Mater Hospital on Crumlin Road.
This photograph shows the Hospital as it looked in 1942 (Origin Unknown)
Belfast Men Fighting with American Soldiers.