The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

Greater Belfast Part 3

Battle of the Somme Memorial Garden, Shankill Road

Although a Memorial Garden to the Battle of the Somme in 1916 there is this impressive Memorial to Rifleman William John Sewell Coggle. He was the Son of Robert and Eliza Coggle from Belfast and was serving with 2nd Battalion the London Irish Rifles, Royal Ulster Rifles when he was Killed in Action in Italy. He was 18 years old and is buried in Sangro River War Cemetery on the eastern coast of Italy North of Termoli.

Belfast Royal Artillery T.A. Light Anti-Aircraft photographed in 1939. (From Keith McIlroy. Images and Memories of Old Northern Ireland Pre 2000) 

Origin of Photograph shown below is unknown.

Shown on the left is William James McEwan.

William James McEwan, Service Number 1490406, served with Royal Artillery Search Light Regiment from 1935 until 1945.
This Group Photograph above shows B Troop, 9th Battery, 3rd Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery in 1939.

William received a "Mentioned in Dispatches" at Dunkirk.
He was from Vere Street in Belfast and was demobilised in Germany.
(Thanks very much to Charlie Ireland for information and pictures)

James Matthews from Canning Street, Belfast

James Matthews was born in December 1923 and lived in Canning Street, Belfast. 

He joined the Royal Air Force and was a Navigator. 

James was captured by the Germans at Hertogenbosch which is to the west of Nijmegen, Netherlands on 19th June 1944 and was taken to Stalag Luft 7 which was a Prisoner of War Camp operated by the Luftwaffe at Bankau, Silesia, Germany. - This is now Bakow in Poland. (Thanks to  Paul Wilson)

John Wright from Shankill Road Served with B.E.F. at Dunkirk

Fusilier John Wright served in C Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers.
He was part of the British Expeditionary Force in France.
(Thanks to Leah Wright)

William Henry Smith Killed in Action Caen 1944.

William Henry Smith was from Weir Street, Shankill Road, Belfast.
He was a Private with 1st (Airborne) Battalion, The Royal Ulster Rifles and landed in Northern France with thousands of others on 6th June 1966, D-Day.
Tragically he lost his life in the quagmire of Caen 14 days later on 20th at the age of 25.
William was the Son of William Henry and Mary Smith.
He was the Husband of Mabel Beatrice Smith of Hereford.
Listed as ''remembered with honour'' at the Cambs-En-Plaine War Cemetery he had previously served in Palestine and India.
(Thanks very much to Jamie Smith)

Robert Kane - Served in Both World Wars

Robert Kane served in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers during the First World War during which he was wounded on two occasions as well as being gassed.

Robert joined the Army again for the Second World War and was a Lance Bombardier in the Royal Artillery.
Robert was based at Clonaver Camp in East Belfast as well as Alexandra Park in the north of the City.
One of his positions was on top of the grain mills at Pollock Dock.
He also served at Bristol and the Orkney Islands.
(Thanks very much to Angela Kane)

W.J. Hall from Woodvale Parade serving in the Middle East.

W.J. Hall was from Woodvale Parade in Belfast and was serving with the Army Catering Corps attached to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers shown here in Palestine during 1941.
(Thanks very much to his Daughter Sheila for the information and photographs)

V.E. Day Celebrations in Woodvale Gardens

Dancing in the street following the announcement of Victory in Europe on 8th May 1945 (Belfast Telegraph Picture)

Flight Sergeant Willis from Belfast Killed in Action.

Flight Sergeant John Lewis Francis Willis from 4 Annalee Street of the Oldpark Road in Belfast was 22 years old.
Flight Sergeant Willis, Service Number: 527205 was serving with 62 Squadron, Royal Air Force when he was killed on 9th December 1941.
He is commemorated on Column 409 of the Singapore Memorial, Singapore.
(From Belfast Telegraph thanks to Gordon Porter)

Flying Officer William Herbert Wright from Belfast.

In July 1943 he was flying a Hurricane Fighter on Operation Thesis over Crete when he was hit by German anti-aircraft fire.
Fortunately he was able to fly the aircraft back to North Africa and after a spell in hospital in Cairo was able to rejoin 134 Squadron later fighting in Burma.
(Thanks very much to Peter Wright and Images and Memories of Old Northern Ireland Pre 2000)

Robert McIlroy, 43rd Wessex Division, From Ballygomartin Road, Belfast.

Robert McIlroy, 43rd Wessex Division, From Belfast.

Robert was from Ballygomartin Road, Belfast.
In the group photograph Sergeant Robert McIlroy can be seen third from the right in the back row.

During his service Robert McIlroy provided Anti-Aircraft cover on the Narvik and Lofoten Raids in Norway.
During the Dieppe Raid his role was to attack German Guns which overlooked the beach.

Robert was seriously injured in a mortar attack and was blinded for a time by shrapnel which was lodged behind an eye.

He was with the Company who were one of the first to discover Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp and was called as a Witness at the subsequent War Trials.
Rather than being at Nuremberg these Trials, which were known officially as "Trial of Josef Kramer and 44 others" actually took place in a Gymnasium in Luneburg which lies to the Southeast of Hamburg starting on 17th September 1945.
(Thanks very much to Keith McIlroy for information and pictures)

George Grady from Keswick Street, Shankill Road.

George Grady was born on 16th April 1925 at 32 Keswick Street, Shankill Road to George and Margaret Grady.

He spent his 16th birthday helping his father, a First World War Veteran, to deal with the aftermath of the Belfast Blitz and the Easter Tuesday Raid by the Luftwaffe.

George is seen on the left above with a Royal Marine and in the group picture on the right.

George had been a Fireman however in 1943 he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and in 1944 he was serving with the 577 Squadron.

George is seen on the left of the photograph above.

During 1945 he was serving in Southeast Asia with 62 Squadron and the following year served with 31 Squadron then from 19th September with 656 Squadron.

 In January 1947 he received a Good Conduct Badge and released from the Royal Air Force on the 8th of July 1947

He then got a job as a Tenter in Ewarts Mills on the Crumlin Road and met his future wife Sally Cardwell from Silverstream Parade. They were engaged by Christmas and married on 8th March 1948 at Ballysillan Presbyterian Church.

George sadly passed away on 6th March 1976 aged just 50. (Thanks very much to Martin Greer for these excellent photographs and information)

Eric Smyth From Keswick Street, Shankill Road.

Leading Aircraftman Eric Smyth, Service Number 1148832, was serving with Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
He was born in 1924 to William John and Mary Ellen Smyth, nee Brown of 11 Keswick Street Belfast.
Eric died of malaria at Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood 11th September 1945 when he was 21 years old. He is buried in Dundonald Cemetery. 

(Thanks very much to Martin Greer)

Gunner William John Greer

Gunner William John Greer, Service Number 1469534 was serving with Regimental Headquarters, 8th Anti-Aircraft, Royal Artillery with the British Expeditionary Force.
William was Driver for a General Grey and was unable to escape from Dunkirk until 3 weeks later than Operation Dynamo and from further along the coast.

(Thanks very much to Martin Greer for photographs and information)

Rifleman Samuel Glass from Belfast Killed in Action 7th June 1944.

Rifleman Samuel Glass, Service Number 7020032, was the Son of John and Agnes Glass from Belfast and Husband of Sarah Glass, of Grimsby, Lincolnshire.

He had been a Young Soldier before joining 1st (Airborne) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles.
Samuel landed at Ranville with A Company at 2100 hours on 6th June 1944 and was killed in action the following day.
He is buried in Ranville War Cemetery. (Thanks to George Holiday Glass)

The Hill Brothers 

William John 'Billsy' Hill had served in the First World War with 15th (North Belfast Volunteers) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles and 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers.

William had two Sons, George and Billy who followed him into military service.

Fusilier George Hill Killed in Action in Sicily.

Fusilier George Hill was from the Shankill Road area of Belfast.

His Service Number was 7043525 and he was serving with 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

George was 30 years old when he was killed in action Catania Sicily on 5th August 1943.

Georges Brother, Rifleman Billy Hill, served with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles in both Normandy and Palestine.

He was wounded in an arm by shrapnel which was finally removed in the 1950's after it had worked its way down over the years to between his fingers!

Billy joined the Royal Ulster Rifles T.A Battalion after the war and was a Provost Sgt in Victoria Barracks. He is shown below. Billy died in 1989

(Thanks very much to Gareth Phares Welsh for all the information and photographs)

Belfast Blitz Memorial

This simple Memorial can be seen in Shankill Road Graveyard.

The Memorial is built on red brick of the same type which many of the houses in Belfast were constructed from and of which so many were destroyed on the "Darkest Night".

On the left you can see the Headlines of the "Belfast Telegraph" newspaper on 8th April 1941 following the Air Raid. Please look at the Street Scene in the Newspaper and my photograph shows the same scene as it looks today.

****For More "Then and Now" type photographs please click on "Belfast Blitz Then and Now" ****

Royal Ulster Constabulary Glenravel Street and other Fatalities

The following 5 Police Officers were killed when their Police Station at Glenravel Street in Central Belfast was struck and destroyed by a bomb during the Air Raid on 5th May 1941.

Constable Martin Robert Armstrong 24 years, Constable Hugh Campbell 22 years, Constable William John Lemon 19 years, Constable James McKenna 22 years, Constable Robert Reid 22 years.

Shown here is Constable Robert Reid. The photographs were taken shortly after he had Passed Out of the R.U.C. Depot on completion of Initial Training.

(Thanks to James Craig who is the Nephew of the late Robert Reid.)

The two photographs of Robert Reid above thanks to Alan Stewart.

Shown above is James McKenna. In the photograph to the right can be seen a Plaque giving the names of three Officers who were Killed but omitted from the original Memorial. (Robert Reid for Memorial photograph) (Others - Northern Ireland War Memorial Photographs)

Constable Reid was buried in Ballymena on 14th May 1941. This photograph appeared in the Ballymena Weekly the following day. 

The following police officers of the R.U.C. were killed during the German Air Raids on Belfast

16th April 1941 James Meaklim, 38 years old, was killed when a Parachute Mine exploded outside the Police Station at York Road in North Belfast when he was inside. - The station was destroyed.

5th May 1941 Detective Sergeant Robert John Wilson, 42 years old, was killed whilst off duty during an Air Raid.

(Thanks to James Craig who is the Nephew of the late Robert Reid.)

Special Constable Maurice William Howe, 9 Indiana Avenue, died on 16th April 1941 at his home.

(Thanks very much to Brian Reid for the photograph of this Memorial)

The second photograph shows a Plaque giving the names of three Officers who were Killed but omitted from the original Memorial. (Robert Reid)

Special Constable William Moulds

Brothers William, Thomas and Joseph were all born in Killeaton, Derriaghy to Robert and Mary Moulds.

There were a total of twelve children in the family of whom two died in infancy.

William was born on 1st July 1891 and according to the 1911 census he was twenty years of age and unemployed, which was probably why he emigrated to Canada and enlisted on 22nd September 1914 at Valcartier, Quebec and subsequently served in the Canadian Cycle Corp.

William is shown in the photograph below with his Brothers Thomas and Joseph.

He survived the war he returned to Ireland.

He Married Sarah Jane and with the outbreak of the Second World War he became a Special Constable and served with the Ulster Home Guard.

William had been on duty on 8th September 1941 and was walking home when he was struck by a car which was driven by Lieutenant Ernest John Bloom of the Royal Corps of Signals.

He died from his injuries.

Bloom had been driving without lights during the blackout. 

William lived at 2 Laburnum cottage, Millfort, Dunmurry and was killed in the Strathearn area of Finaghy.

Special Constable James Thompson, Ulster Special Constabulary

Special Constable James Thompson was 36 years old and lived at 158 Greenville Road, Bloomfield, Belfast.

The Son of Andrew and Elizabeth Thompson he was Husband of Margaret Thompson.

James Thompson was killed during the Belfast Blitz on 5th May 1941 at Dunraven Avenue, Belfast.

National Identity Card for Royal Ulster Constabulary Officer dated 1943

(Thanks very much to Diane Kinghan)

Belfast Harbour Property Pass

(From Ebay)

East Twin Island, Belfast Harbour

East Twin Island had been an old Fort at the entrance to Belfast Docks which was upgraded during the First World War with two 12 Pounder Quick Firer Guns along with 2 Searchlights and 2 Machine-gun Positions.

After the war in 1921, with this Battery being considered surplus to requirements it was returned to the Belfast Harbour Commissioners however with the outbreak of the Second World War it was again needed and three 3 Inch Anti-Aircraft guns were positioned between East Twin Island and the nearby Power Station. These Guns were operated by 175th and 176th Light Anti-Aircraft batteries, Royal Artillery.

The Fort shown in the Plan above was positioned at the top of East Twin Island which is shown in the Aerial photograph (Bing) Nothing now remains of the defences and the site is a busy Dry Dock. (Britain From Above and Google pictures)

Aerial photograph showing the Fort on East Twin Island.


Submarine in Belfast Docks

Queens Channel, Belfast.

A Submarine is being towed by tugs on 1st july 1938. Photograph taken by Bonar Holmes. (Thanks very much to Bonar Holmes)

Luftwaffe Reconnaissance Photographs and Target Details

It is interesting to see the Targets which had been identified my the Luftwaffe for Bombing. Harland and Wolff Shipyard, Sydenham Airfield and Shorts Aircraft Factory are all included.

High Altitude photograph of Belfast above with one of the Knullenkopfstaffel Aircraft Crews involved in photographing Belfast shown below.

They are (Left to Right) Aerial Gunner Uffz. Hoffs, Observer Oblt Maetzel, Pilot Oblt Wenzer and Radio Operator Ofw. Schmidt. 

(Photographs from Book by Harald Rabeder. Many thanks to Jim Stewart)

Shown on the left is the Aircraft Production Building as marked with a "C" on the Luftwaffe Photograph above with an old "Co 2" Marking which has been painted on the wall of this building for the attention of Fire Fighters. The Aircraft Production Building is shown as it looked on 11th June 1945 in the photograph above in which there is a continuous row of Air Raid Shelters.

(From National Museums Northern Ireland)

The upper photograph shows that the Luftwaffe have identified the Gas Works for Bombing whilst below this is a Report showing the Targetting of various locations around Belfast. (For more visit

Shown above you can see the extent of Bomb Damage after the blitz along with a number of Barrage balloons.

The photograph above shows a very busy Belfast Docks in November 1944 with below showing the Musgrave Channel with lots of shipping (I.W.M. Pictures)

Belfast Blitz Mural, St Aubyn Street, Belfast

Frank Scovell, Shipyard Worker and A.R.P. Warden

Frank worked in the Diesel Drawing Office and remembered one young man who had been on the Reina del Pacifico which was returning to Belfast from Sea Trials around the Clyde.

Suddenly there were explosions in the crank spaces of all four engines which killed twenty-eight people including the young man who was known as Fernie Glenfield.

Before the Second World War Harland & Wolff had produced Locomotives however this was changed to Tanks as war approached and in an attempt to stem the U-Boat menace Winston Churchill gave top priority to the construction of seven hundred ton Corvette.

The Shipyard produced these two at a time with one being delivered each fortnight!


As losses in the Atlantic were reduced production changed to Aircraft Carriers and Cruisers and as the possibility of Air Raids loomed larger he joined the Civil Defence, initially in the Auxiliary Fire Service before moving to the A.R.P. Wardens.


After the Dockside raid of 7th / 8th April 1941 there were numbers of burnt Pigeons lying around the shipyard which had been killed during the bombing then the Easter Tuesday Bombing took place on Frank's 21st Birthday.

He was sitting in the Regal Cinema when a Red Alert Message was flashed on the screen so he left for the A.R.P. Post.


Frank and his Colleagues were advised "You're for it tonight. There are Squadrons of them coming up the Irish Sea!"

There were parachute flares and lots of shrapnel from the Anti-Aircraft guns at Balmoral Golf Course.

A Fire Pump from the Malone Avenue Station which was connected to my A.R.P. Post was blasted with the loss of George Spence and Hugh Castles whilst three other Firemen were severely injured.

This was upsetting because Richard had been in the same class as these men at School.


Following the "All-Clear" he made his way home and shortly after his father, who was an Ambulance Driver also returned safely.


Later that day Frank went to Queens Road to assess the damage while a couple of his fellow Wardens were sent to find the Dublin Fire Brigade who were on the Lisburn Road and take them to the Belgravia Hotel for Breakfast before heading for Fire Headquarters where they were sent to tackle a fire in a large Mill.


The Father of one of the Dublin Firemen was making his was home from his wrecked workplace along Lisburn Road when he was astounded to be passed by a green Fire Engine from Dublin clanging as it passed .....with his Son on board as it headed for Chichester Street!!


The Luftwaffe returned on the night of 4th / 5th May 1941 and the Shipyard was devastated including the Diesel Drawing Office.

Vital Admiralty Specifications were in a large safe which was dragged from the wreckage and salvaged.


Frank went to Tamar Street to relieve exhausted A.R.P there when there was yet another alert however on this occasion it was believed to have been a single aircraft assessing the damage of the previous night.


Whilst cycling away the devastation was everywhere.

Men were shoring up an Air Raid Shelter which was falling into a bomb crater at Bryson Street, a truck passed with an unexploded bomb in the back then another which was carrying a stack of unvarnished coffins. Such were those days.

Civil Defence Wardens Post 402, Donovan Parade.

Shore Road Memorial

"In honour of the brave men and women who served on the Home Front 1939 - 1945. The Ulster Defence Volunteer Force, The Womens Voluntary Services, The Auxiliary Fire Service, The Air Raid Precautions Wardens." 

This memorial is dedicated to the thousands of local people who volunteered during World War 2 and can be seen on York Road.

Dunmore Park, Belfast

An A.T.S. Company Commander is seen receiving Shamrock at Dunville Park on 17th March 1942. The Shamrick is being presented by Brigadier P.H. Hansen V.C.

To the right Shamrock is offered to F.T. Gillespie, American Forces. (IWM Pictures)

Lieutenant Colonel Panter puts Shamrock in American Officers cap. The second American Officer is Major R.E. O'Connor (IWM Photos)

Brigadier Hansen V.C. Puts Shamrock in his cap. Shamrock is issued to Troops of 31st Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles at Dunmore Park, Belfast

Brigadier Hansen V.C. shakes hands with Sergeant Pauline Ann Bromwich ATS and presents her with a Certificate of Devotion to Duty during an Air Raid.

A similar Certificate is presented to Leslie C. Chute for devotion to duty during an Air Raid  (IWM Pictures)

These three photographs show Second World War Veterans of the North Irish Horse on Parade at Dunville Park in the 1980's

St Aubyn Street Belfast Blitz Murals

This is one long mural depicting the Belfast Blitz. 

This one can be seen in adjoining St Vincent Street.

Construction of Air Raid Shelter at Gallagher Limited Tobacco Factory, York Street, Belfast.

32 Carncaver Road

The Brass Plaque shown here marks the fact that James Magennis had lived at this address for a few years.

Sinclair Road

During the War the Pollock Dock was exclusively for Admiralty use and 20 extra Mooring Dolphins were installed on the Eastern side of the Herdman Channel at Sinclair Road for use by the Trawlers used for Convoy Protection.

Templemore Avenue Auxiliary Fire Service Training Exercise at Ulster Hospital

Shown above giving instructions and below is an Ambulance taking part in the Exercise. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

Casualty being Lowered From Roof of Ulster Hospital

The photographs above show an Exercise at Ulster Hospital,Templemore Avenue on 22nd July 1941. As can be seen from these photographs the hospital had received extensive damage during the Belfast Blitz and was little more than a shell. Note the signs relating to Gas casualties who woud have required specific treatment.

Shown below are Then and Now Photographs looking down Templemore Avenue (DO NOT COPY THESE PICTURES)

The photographs above show an Auxiliary Fire Service training exercise taking place in Templemore Avenue on 22nd July 1941. (DO NOT COPY THESE PICTURES)

Robert Edward John Malcolm from Belfast Serving with the Manchester Regiment

Robert Edward John Malcolm was from 394 Beersbridge Road in East Belfast.
He was serving as a Private in the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment when he was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore on 15th February 1942.
Robert was transported to work on the Burma Railway and died from cholera on 11th September 1943.
He is buried in the beautiful Kanchanaburi War Cemetery in Thailand.
(Thanks very much to Bob Malcolm)

David V. Morrow, from Strandtown, Belfast

Born in the Strandtown area of Belfast David Morrow joined the Royal Navy in 1939.

He served in the North Atlantic as well as the Mediterranean Sea and was finally demobbed in 1946 and joined the Merchant Navy.

David V morrow sadly passed away in 2011 aged 92. (Thanks very much to David Morrow)

Mountpottinger Methodist Church

The final photographs in the previous item show part of Mountpottinger Methodist Church with an Exercise by the Auxiliary Fire Service taking place outside.

This Church was very fortunate to survive the Air raids in 1941 whilst there was much death and damage in the surrounding area.

The stained glass window shown here in in memory of those who were killed as well as celebrating the survival of this building.

Children Collecting Metal in Memel Street, Belfast.

Children gathering scrap for the War Effort in 1940. Memel Street area was redeveloped as Rotterdam Court. (Belfast Telegraph picture)

Ulster Home Guard. Ormeau Bakery Unit

(Thanks very much to Mark Purdon)

Auxiliary Fire Service Display at Mays Market on 23rd July 1941.

The photographs below have been included with comparrison photographs of how the same location looks today. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

As it used to look (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)

Shown here are more photographs of the Exercise. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

Above you can see Firemen working with Water Hoses and Pumps. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

Accuracy with the use of a water Jet. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

Deployment of Foam (PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

Working with Ladders and in High Rise environment shown in photographs above and below. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

3rd April 1942. First Anniversary of the National Fire Service (National Museums Northern Ireland)

This photograph shows Firemen wearing Breathing Apparatus. (National Museums Northern Ireland photograph)

Belfast Fire Brigade (Thanks to Ed Kate)

Red Cross Nurses on Parade, Mays Market

Possibly on the same day as the photographs of A.F.S. this photograph has been taken in the same location as top left. (Ulster Museum photograph from the Book Northern Ireland in the Second World War by Brian Barton)

War Memorial at Lanyon Place Railway Station

Sirocco Engineering Works

Men performing Guard Duty at Sirocco Engineering Works on the banks of the River Lagan in Central Belfast. (Public Records Office pictures). ***DO NOT COPY***

On the left of this photograph is Bill Foster performing his Home Guard duty of the roof of Sirocco Works. (Thanks to Trevor Foster)

Pims Avenue Air Raid Precautions Exercise

Shown here are photographs of an A.R.P. Exercise which took place in Pims Avenue on 22nd July 1941. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

Shown below are two "Then and Now" comparrison photographs of the scene as it looked on 22nd July 1941 and as the same street looks today.

The Second Comparrison is shown below. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY)

Emergency Water Supply Signage.

This sign can be seen painted on the wall of a building at the junction of Montgomery Street and May Street in the City Centre. 

If you look closely at the "Post No Bills" wording you will see a large yellow coloured arrow pointing to the right and in the centre of this below "st No B" can be seen the faint "E.W.S." referring to "Emergency Water Supply"

University Road, Belfast 1943.

Note the way trees have had large white rings painted around them to assist motorists in seeing them during Blackout. Also on the opposite side of the street the metal railings have been removed for the war effort. (Origin of picture unknown)

This photograph was taken in Stranmillis Road looking towards University Road in 1943. Botanic Gardens is on the right behind the small wall. (NMNI Picture)

Queens University

On the perimeter wall around Queens University you can see where metal railings were removed as part of the metal collections which took place during the Second World War.

Queens University War Memorial

Stranmillis College Military Hospital

Stranmillis College at Stranmillis Road, Belfast became a Military Hospital during the war.

My photograph shows how little has changed from the old picture.

Her Royal Highness, The Princess royal is seen here visiting the Military Hospital at Stranmillis on 14th October 1942. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

These pictures show Mrs Gordon Johnston and her Shop on Wheels as she sells to Patients in Stranmillis Military Hospital. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

Army Dental Centre, Belfast

These photographs were taken at the Army Dental Centre in Belfast on 9th January 1942. (I.W.M. Photograph)

Duncairn Gardens Methodist Church

I went to this site with the intention of doing a pair of "Then and Now" type comparison pictures however the architecture did not seem correct and on looking at one of the window sills I found this explaination.

Musgrave Channel Pontoons

These are 3 old Pontoons which are lying in Musgrave Channel between Victoria Park and the George Best Belfast City Airport.

When Flying Boats were launched, a short distance from where the pontoons now lie, from Shorts Aircraft Factory into Musgrave Channel they would not have been fully equipped as a safety feature.

It was only when the Flying Boats were afloat that these pontoons were used to transport all the extra armament and equipment to the aircraft prior to their deployment to active service.

Airport Road / Shorts Aircraft Factory

The Sunderland Flying Boat Production Line in 1940.

The 2  small photographs above show the same location but from a different angle and at a very different age!

An ideal comparrison picture would be taken from Airport Road immediately beside the slipway as seen in the top picture however I have gone to Musgrave Channel Road on the other side of the water to get an unobstructed view of the slipway.

The small building to the right of the modern picture is the one immediately behind the Sunderland Flying Boats in the original picture.

The colour photograph shows Stirling Bombers as seen in the first photograph (From RAF in Colour)

The view on the left is looking towards the Slipway as it appears today whilst on the right is the old building and Slipway.

The Sunderland in this photograph has been moved from the large building shown above and is being taken to the slipway which is shown in my photograph immediately above.

Here are some photographs of Sunderland W6050 being launched on 10th April 1942.

This photograph was taken during August/September 1944 and shows some of the Women who worked on production of the aircraft being biven a close-up look at a Sunderland Flying Boat.
I was sent this picture by Pauline Irvine whose Granny worked making fabric parts for aircraft. (Thanks very much to Pauline Irvine)

Sunderland Flying Boats and Stirling Bombers being manufactured side by side and three Sunderlands sitting beside the slipway ready for launching. 

(Thanks very much to Peter Graham)

Flightdeck of sunderland shown above.

The Sunderland in the photograph on the left is being produced for the Royal New Zealand Air Force. (It and the photographs above come from the fantastic Belfast Forum)

This fabulous photograph shows Short Stirling Mk3 BF509 flying over the County Antrim countryside whilst above right are Stirling Bombers under construction.

(Both this and the photograph come from the excellent website

Stirling Production seen on the left with the Flight Engineers position in the Bomber shown to the right.

Short Sunderland Flying Boats being manufactured in Belfast. (Photograph on the left from "Fermanagh in the Second World War" by Joe O'Loughlin)

On the right are a number of Sunderland Flying Boats with the cranes of Harland and Wolff Shipyard in the background.

This painting is called "On board an Escort Carrier. Winter dusk in Belfast Harbour. Sunderland Flying Boats" and shows the same general scene as above. (I.W.M. picture) whilst right & below are Damage after the Air Raid on 4th / 5th May 1941.

This is the 1000th Stirling Bomber built by Short & Harland in Belfast.

(For more see Ghost photograph below by Adam Surrey)

Part of a Sunderland Flying Boat being transported through central Belfast.

(For more see

The building shown here has the "Short Brothers" sign above the main entrance and can be seen at Airport Road, Belfast.

The building is opposite Victoria Park where there had been an Anti-Aircraft Gun Battery during the War.

Shown here is the Short and Harlands Group, Ulster Home Guard. (Thanks very much to James Craig for this photograph which includes his Father who worked on both Sunderland and Stirling Aircraft.) ***FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION. PLEASE DO NOT COPY***

Shorts Aircraft Factory after having been Bombed by the Luftwaffe

This structure was constructed inside the Factory to provide "Air Raid Protection" for those who were unable to reach an Air raid Shelter.

Clearing Up after being Bombed by the Luftwaffe.

These pictures show Short Stirling Bombers on the production line - Propellers can be seen to the left of this picture.

Badly damages Stirling Bombers shown both above and below.

Men are seen saving what can be recovered and later Production continues as usual. (From the excellent Old Belfast Facebook Page)

The excellent selection of Blitz Damage photographs shown below come from Alan Warnock. Thanks very much Alan.

Stirling can be seen above with a Lysander in the wreckage below.

Ruins of Lysanders can be seen in this photograph. (Thanks very much to Beverly Twin Law for the 2 photographs below)

Blitz Damage Still Visible at Shorts!

Some damage which occrred during the Bombing of Shorts Factory in 1941 can still be seen!

These photographs show shrapnel damage to one of the Support Beams within the factory. At the time when repairs were taking place after the raids it was clearly decided that this did not require replacement meaning we have a great piece of history remaining from the Belfast Blitz!

Belfast City Airport

What is now George Best Belfast City Airport was previously Royal Air Force Station Sydenham and Royal Naval Air Yard Belfast.
Work on what was to be Belfast Harbour Airport was finished in 1938 with the official opening by Mrs Neville Chamberlain on 16th March of that year.
At the start of the Second World War the airport became R.A.F. Sydenham and was used for training purposes by both the Air Force and Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy who took control of the now Royal Naval Air Yard Belfast in 1943.

Royal Naval Air Yard Belfast (Sydenham)

The concrete structure shown here is what was known as a "Seagull Trench" and was an Airfield Defensive Structure. The design looks like a seagull in flight and is shaped like the wings of a Stuka Dive Bomber with the hardened shelter in the middle having 2 shelters.

You can see that there would have been wooden bench seeting along the two sides. A good example of this type of structure.

On 5th May 1941 the airfield was bombed and sustained 16 craters on the aerodrome surface with 3 craters on the perimeter track and 16 craters on the outer perimeter track rendering it temporarily unserviceable.

The memorial shown here was at the covered walkway between the main terminal and car park however it has now been replaced by the stone version below which can be seen when walking towards the Terminal.

The wording is as follows :- "In memory of the men of 804 and 702 Naval Air Squadrons, Based at Sydenham, Belfast between March 1941 and July 1942 which operated Fairey Fulmar and Hawker Sea Hurricane Fighter aircraft from CAM-ships (Catapult Armed Merchantmen) on convoy defence duties during the Battle of The Atlantic"

The original Memorial shown top can now be seen at Ulster Aviation Society, Long Kesh as shown below.


Here is the old Royal Naval Control Tower with an overhead view of Sydenham Airfield, Belfast as it looked on 13th November 1945. (Picture from Royal Naval Research Archive)

Here are a few better quality photographs showing the Airfield with Ammunition Jettey beside which is docked U.S.S. Bogue. 

You can see more about Ammunition Jetty at Greater Belfast Part 6 (From Britainfromabove and the Royalnavyresearcharchive )

Group photograph of Number 8 Ferry Pilots Pool who were based at Sydenham

(The newspaper article above is from PPrune. Thanks very much to Bracken Anderson for the item below)

St Brendan's Church of Ireland, Larkfield Road, Belfast

With the closure of Royal Air Force Sydenham the R.A.F. presented their flags to St Brendan's Church on 26th February 1978. (Thanks very much to Joe Turner)

Royal Air Force, Dunlambert Hotel, Belfast.

An Independent Royal Air Force Headquarters for Northern Ireland was authorised in 1940 and the Group, known as 61 Group was formed on 6th July 1940.

It had been created by raising Number 61 Group to Command Status and was later reduced to Group status administered by Coastal Command on 1st August 1945.

It took over the Dunlambert Hotel in Belfast as H.Q. R.A.F. N.I. on 6th August with the Air Officer Commanding being Air Commodore C.R. Carr D.F.C. A.F.C.

Commanding Officers were:-

1 Aug 1940                             Air Commodore C.R. Carr (Who is shown below)

12 Dec 1940                           Group CaptaiA H Wann

14 Aug 1941                           Air Vice Marshall G C Pirie

 5 Nov 1941                            Air Vice Marshall P C Maltby

21 Nov 1941                           Air Vice Marshall J B Cole-Hamilton  

15 Oct 1942                            Air Vice Marshall A T Cole RAAF

14 Mar 1943                           Air Vice Marshall D F Stevenson

7 Dec 1943                             Air Commodore W H Primrose

20 Aug 1944                           Air Commodore. A R Churchman

(Information from RAF Web. Photograph of the Dunlambert building being demolished from

(Thanks very much to  Arty BruceBruce Mac)

Officers of Royal Air Force Headquarters, Northern Ireland. (Imperial war Museum Photograph)

(Thanks very much to  Arty BruceBruce Mac)

CAM Ships (Catapult Armed Merchantmen)

The Memorial which can be seen at Belfast City Airport has a design showing an Aircraft sitting on a CAM Ship however this can be better understood by the photographs below.

This is Flight Lieutenant D.R. Turley-George with Flying Officer Fenwick in front of their Hurricane on board the S.S. Empire Tide.

Tragic Grumman Hellcat Crash at Sydenham 

This is a Grumman Hellcat which crashed near Gillespie's plant nurseries on the Holywood Road, Belfast.

It was 10th April 1945 and the aircraft had just taken off from Sydenham when it was seen to make a steep turn and dive into an open field.

A group of 5 Boys were fishing for "spricks" in a stream at a field near Sydenham Railway Station when the aircraft crashed.

Norman Russell was 12 years old and lived at 60 Brandon Parade, Belfast.

He had become separated from his friends as the aircraft hit the ground and turned over with its tail striking Norman before the aircraft burst into flames.

The pilot of the single-seat fighter, Sub-Lieutenant Edmund John Hoy, was severely injured and died an hour later in the Military Hospital at Campbell College. (More information regarding the Military Hospital can be found on this website)

Sub Lieutenant Edmund John Hoy, Service Number 67572, was 27 years old and serving with South African Naval Forces.

Edmund was the Son of Alfred E. Hoy, and of Catherina M. Hoy, of Durban, Natal, South Africa and had went to Sydenham to collect one of a number of newly arrived Hellcats.

This particular aircraft had been allocated to No 892 Squadron which was then re-forming at Eglinton Royal Naval Air Station and was being newly equipped with night fighter variants of the Hellcat.

One of the other Boys, Raymond Galloway was struck by flying wreckage and knocked into the stream.

Norman's Parents were at the Cinema when tragedy struck and they were alerted by a notice which was shown on the screen.

The body of Norman Russell was only recovered when the fire had been extinguished.

Shown here is the crashed aircraft as well as the Headstone of Sub-Lieutenant Hoy who is buried in Belfast City Cemetery.

Norman Russell was laid to rest in Dundonald Cemetery. In the same grave is Angus Norman Russell (Normans Father) who was 71 years old when he died on 11th October 1966. The grave is unmarked. There is no headstone and only a black pot as shown in my photograph. I have now added a Poppy.

(Thanks very much to Gary Campbell, Ernie Cromie, Alan Freeburn, Northern Ireland War Memorial, Belfast Telegraph, Belfast News letter)

Sydenham Train Station

Users of the Belfast to Bangor rail system will have seen this painting on a wall at Sydenham Train Station.

The painting shows the old Control Tower at Sydenham however wrongly identifies it as the "Old R.A.F. Control Tower" when it was actually a Royal Navy "Naval Type 3860/42"

H.M.S. Caroline

My photographs of H.M.S. Caroline above show the ship prior to preservation with my photographs below showing after preservation during which the ship was turned to face out into Belfast Lough

If you use any of the Tour Busses which operate within the City of Belfast I am sure the tour will include a visit to the Dry Dock where the Titanic was built.

This area has a number of items which are of interest to those of you who are Second World War history enthusiasts.
This ship had been H.M.S. Caroline until only recently when she was decommissioned. Until then Caroline had been the oldest Royal Navy ship which remained afloat. The keel was laid on 28th January 1914 and she saw active service from December 1914 including action in The Battle of Jutland.
During the Second World War she acted as a Depot Ship and administrative centre for Convoy Escorts and Armed Trawlers. 

became the headquarters for Belfast Naval Base which was home to minesweepers and trawlers, of which there were 70 by the end of 1940.

Caroline provided signal and cypher facilities to her trawlers and a school for Merchant Navy DEMS (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships) Gunners.

The base soon outgrew the ship, spreading out into buildings all over Belfast, including Belfast Castle.

Naval ratings attached to these buildings wore the name Caroline on their cap ribbons. Later in the war, the base expanded again and the minesweepers were replaced with escort groups of destroyers, corvettes and frigates. It was at this time that the current Captains Quarters at the rear of the ship was built for the Commodore responsible for Belfast Harbour.

The ship is now a Museum and well worth visiting - Here are some photographs of the caroline Experience!
(Thanks very much to Victoria Miller, Curator National Museum Royal Navy,for the photograph immediately below and the Information given above)

H.M.S. Caroline. As you can see she has been rotated 180 degrees and painted back to the original colour as part of the restoration work.

Four of the Ships Guns as seen from the bow.

The Navigating Bridge.

One of the Rooms in the Captains Cabin.

Officers Quarters.

Officers Mess

Keys to the Ammunition Magazine.

Ships Hospital.

Ships Galley.

Marines Mess.

Ordinary Ranks Washroom.


One of the Engines.

On looking around it was great to find the old signs which are shown above.

"Victualling Store" and "Tiller Flat"

Shown on the right is a British Naval Mine which can be seen beside the Ship.

This is the Admiralty Profile Plan of H.M.S. Caroline as signed in May 1913. (Admiralty photograph)

Royal Visit to H.M.S. Caroline

The King is shown inspecting the Ships Company of H.M.S. Caroline in Belfast in 1942. (I.W.M. Photograph)

Victoria Park

Soldiers being Inspected at Victoria Park (Imperial War Museum Photograph)

"The Oval" Football Ground

(Thanks very much to Tim Fergusson for the photographs of the Oval Pillbox shown above)

On the night of 3rd / 4th May 1941 the Luftwaffe attached a number of targets in the Industrial heart of Belfast. This pillbox was one of the defence positions which were manned by soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment who were based at nearby Victoria Park.

A platoon was allocated to "the Oval" and they soon saw a parachute falling with a magnetic mine. The explosion and fire that followed destroyed the main stand.
Amazingly Glentoran Football Club wanted to charge the Army £1 per week for using the pillboxes at the ground however they were given a £1 Per annum deal instead!
Exerpts from "A BOMBER’S MOON"
It was 1940, and across Europe and Africa, World War II had taken hold with vengeance. High above Belfast a solitary German reconnaissance plane was capturing the images of the subdued City below.
The mission of the crew was to plot potential targets for the Kampfgruppe 100 (the elite Luftwaffe pathfinder squadron based in Northern France) who as their name suggested lit up the chosen targets with incendiaries which were in turn bombarded by the heavy ordinance of the following squadrons of the Luftwaffe bomber command.
 The reconnaissance flight returned to Northern France having highlighted a number of potential targets in Belfast. The raids would take place in early Spring of 1941 when the weather would assist the long run in across the Channel and round the Southern tip of England before the final approach over the Irish Sea.
 The Germans established that Belfast was defended by only seven anti-aircraft batteries, which made it the most unprotected city in the United Kingdom. From their photographs, they identified suitable targets:
  • Die Werft Harland and Wolff Ltd
  • Die Tankstelle Conns Water
  • Das Flugzeugwerk Short and Harland
  • Das Kraftwerk Belfast
  • Die Grossmühle Rank & Co
  • Das Wasserwerk Belfast
  • Die Kasernenlagen Victoria Barracks
Significantly though, German intelligence made a huge mistake in identifying the location of Die Tankstelle / Tankanlage Conns Water. The Tankanlage Conns Water was a primary target on the Kamppfgruppe 100 hitlist. Tankstelle means Gas Station (oil storage facility if you like)
Despite all the reports you may have read relating to the Oval being attacked by mistake, the bombs falling short of their intended target or being jettisoned as the Germans headed for home, this photograph shows that German intelligence was wrong, instead of pinpointing the Tankstelle on the Northern side of the tracks the Kampfgruppe 100 bombed target “A” on their photographs, the “A” as can be seen sits right on the Oval and is the primary target as the photograph heading suggests.
On Sunday 4th May 1941 at 2145 hours seven Heinkel bombers from the infamous Kampfgruppe 100 squadron left Northern France and banked left across the English Channel, their final destination Belfast, they were armed not only with incendiary bombs but parachute mines and aerial photographs highlighting their intended targets.
At the controls of of the Heinkel bombers were pilots like Georg Deininger, this would be his second raid on Belfast, his squadron having already delivered death and destruction on the City during the Easter Tuesday raids. Such was the extent of the carnage on that occasion that fire engines came from as far as Dublin, Dundalk and Drogheda to help extinguish the blaze which burned in the City for several days.
Behind Deininger, another 204 Heinkel and Junkers bombers carried 95,992 of incendiaries and 237 tons of high explosive
At 0100 hours on the 5th May 1941 German pilots reported being over the target area of the Belfast Docks and that the weather was perfect. 205 German planes disgorged their cargo onto the shining slate roofs of Belfast. It was indeed a bomber’s moon.
By 0230 hours the whole of the docks area was ablaze, 25 people were to die in a shelter in Avondale Street, 35 houses were destroyed in Witham Street. Damage was widespread and devastating: Belfast Water Commissioners offices; The City Hall; Gallaghers; Bank Buildings; Ulster Arcade; Co-op; Timber Stores; Thorntons; Athletic Stores; Dunville Stores all suffered attacks. York Street Mill was hit again; the Oval was in ruins along with the shipyards and aircraft factory.
Many thanks to those at Glentoran Football Club who have helped me with this information.

The photographs above show the Blitz damage to The Oval Football Ground. (Thanks very much to Justin Childs)

Shown here is Thomas Pearson who had played as a Goalkeeper for Glentoran Football Club before joining the Irish Guards.

He is remembered with a Plaque and the documents shown here which can be seen in the foyer of the Grandstand at The Oval.  

Pearson won the Military Medal for action in Tunisia where he was later killed in action during April 1943.
"Quis Separabit"

Belfast Blitz ARP Rescue and Demolition Services.

Shown here is the Air Raid Precautions Rescue and Demolition Authority Card which was issued to Sydney Boyd from Melrose Street, Belfast.

(Thanks very much to Michael Roberts)

Connsbank Road Air Raid Shelter

A short distance from "The Oval" stood the building shown here which was at the junction of Connsbank Road and Airport Road facing the entrance to the Bombardier / Shorts Aircraft factory.

Solidly built with protected doorways and a clearly strengthened roof it has all the appearances of an air raid shelter. At each end there appears to be seating however my initial identification of it as a shelter is confused by the fact  that there are windows facing the Victoria Park side.

In a position where there was considerable damage during Luftwaffe raids this building would have seen by anyone using the Belfast Sight Seeing Busses as they visit the Harland and Wolff and Short Brothers factories.
Unfortunately when the new Foot Bridge was constructed it was decided to destroy this piece of our History. Rather than simply tidying it up and perhaps adding an informative sign to show what it had been used for yet another of our ever decreasing Air Raid Shelters was destroyed and replaced with........Nothing. Sad.


The Royal Air Force had a Unit known as 226 Maintainance Unit based at Mallusk where they were involved in the salvaging of crashed aircraft. They had a Repair And Salvage Centre at Aldergrove and the Unit was disbanded on 30th April 1946.

Belfast Telegraph Newspaper Building

A short walk along Donegal Place and Royal Avenue will bring you to the Belfast Telegraph newspaper offices and a little plaque which illustrates the spirit which was to be found in Northern Ireland during the Second World war.

It says "The scars on this stone were caused in the German Air raids of the Second World War. Despite severe damage to the building the 'Belfast Telegraph' was published without interuption.
The damage is clearly visible. (Belfast Telegraph photographs)

***Sad to report that the Sign relating to Blitz Damage was removed by someone unknown in early 2021 after the Belfast Telegraph had left the building. All that was left is shown in the picture below. Shame***

It is very pleasing to be able to post that this sign was subsequently recovered and has been returned to its rightful place.

On 15th April 1941 Auxiliary Fire Service men were called from Malone Avenue  to assist at the L.M.S. Railway Station at York Road which was severely damaged by Bombing.

As they drove past the Belfast Telegraph Offices a Bomb exploded killing two of the men - George Spence and Hugh Castles as well as severely injuring three others.

Mr James Jameson Lee and Mr Clyde Rainey continued with their Fire Fighting duties and were both Commended for Bravery.

The photograph below shows from left to right Jack Walsh, Clyde Rainey and Jimmy Lee. (Picture from PRONI)

See Greater Belfast Part 6 Section for more details.

Seaforde Street / Newtownards Road

The scene of a bomb explosion outside St Matthews Roman Catholic Church at the junction of Seaforde Street and Newtownards Road. (From Belfast Telegraph "Bombs on Belfast)

This happened during the Easter Tuesday Raid on 16th April 1941 and the records of the Belfast Civil Defence Authority show that Patrick Mulholland from 7 Seaforde Street was seriously injured and receiving treatment in the Royal Victoria Hospital. I have also learned that Patrick Duffy, 27 years old from 5 Seaforde Street was killed during this raid.

On visiting the scene and talking to local residents I was able to find damage to the small wall on which the railings are positioned which was caused as a direct result of the bomb.

Ulster Home Guard, Queens University, Belfast.

The two photographs above show the Ulster Home Guard at Queens University. (Thanks to Mark Purdon)

Queens University

When walking past the University I would ask you to look at the small wall where you can see where the metal railings which had been on top of the wall were cut off and smelted down for use in the war effort.

The pictures above show that the grass areas inside Queens were put to cultivation while the Medical School maintained a regular supply of qualified Doctors to practice locally as well as volunteering for service.

(I would like to thank Marketing & Creative Services, QUB for permission to use these pictures).

Field Marshall Montgomery is shown below meeting Lord Londonderry at the Assembly Hall, Queens University on 14th September 1945. (Belfast Telegraph Photograph)

Drum House

This is the impressive Drum House at Drumbeg which is referred to in detail by Romie Lambkin as mentioned below.

During the war it was used as a base by the Home Guard as well as 602 Motor Transport Company with a number of nissen huts in the grounds.

The front of the house shown here was used as a Parade Ground and Staff Cars would have been parked in line. To the rear of the house was a Vehicle Inspection Pit and bath houses for the troops.

The property is now "Drum House Nursery"

The photographs belos show Dispatch Riders from Number 10 M.T. Company, A.T.S. at Drum House. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

A.T.S. Billets Eglantine Avenue.

The houses at Numbers 4 and 7 Eglantine Avenue were used at Billets for A.T.S. (Auxiliary Territorial Service) women during the war.

They are mentioned in the book "My Time in the War" by Romie Lambkin who served in the A.T.S. and was based there in 1942.

These photographs refer to Headquarters 12 and 33 Provost Section, A.T.S. Belfast. (All photographs from Imperial War Museum)

On the left is Lance Corporal Crook from Biggleswade, Bedfordshire

Sub Robinson instructs in Police Duty. Sergeant Osborne from Rochdale instructs a Class in Self Defence

Lance Corporal Appleby from London is seen bandaging Lance Corporal Hanby from Leeds.

Corporal Garner of Swaffham, Norfolk is shown checking Passes at the Docks

Lieutenant Colonel Cheney inspecting A.T.S. Policewomen

This photograph shows A.T.S. Aircraft Spotters using specially designed chairs on 24th September 1941.

Wandsworth House A.R.P. First Aid Service

The building which was "Wandsworth House" during the Second World War is now Greenwood House Assessment Centre in Greenwood Avenue and unfortunately this was the best picture I could take of the building as it now stands. (Old WW2 picture from "Snapshots of Belfast")

Roy Burns, Percy Dalzell and their Churchill Tank called Bushmills!

Roy and Percy were serving with the North Irish Horse in Italy.

They were in a Churchill Tank which had a few distinctive alterations.

The original Commander of the vehicle had been killed by an air burst mortar when putting his head out to have a look around so Roy had the cupola of a Panzer Mk3 fitted for extra protection.

Another modification is that the tank is armed with two Three Inch Howitzers.

Roy is shown on the right when in Rome.

Percy exchanged the Bushmills tank for a Mk 5 Churchill called Bangor.

With the decision having been made to capture Russi, southeast of Bologna, 5 Troop set off in support of the Canadians in Le Royal 22e Regiment.

By late morning Bangor, followed by the tanks of the Troop Leader and Sergeant Freddy Verso began clearing the enemy around a road junction but was suddenly knocked out having been hit by two 88mm shells.

Only two of her crew survived.

The Troop Leaders tank was then hit wounding two of the Crew however Freddy Verso's tank helped the Canadians repel a counterattack.

On that morning the Regiment lost the last of its Personnel to be killed during the war.

Percy lost the Commander with whom he had served through the Tunisian campaign, Sergeant Roy Burns.

Roy was laid to rest beside Troopers Norman Corbin, Robert Arthur Stafford and John Wood in Forli War Cemetery.

Percy survived the war.

(Thanks very much to Charles Dalzell for this information and photographs.)

Ulster Hall

During 1939 ARP Volunteers assembled gas masks in the Ulster Hall in Bedford Street.

Carnmoney Aircraft Crash Memorial

The only member of the crew who is buried in Northern Ireland was Aircraftman 1st Class, Arthur Bond Douthwaite, Service Number 1002818.

Arthur was 22 years old and the Son of Sydney and Ruth Douthwaite. He was laid to rest in Belfast City Cemetery and his headstone is shown here.

Carnmoney Cemetery

Sergeant Pilot Thomas Lindsay Armstrong was flying Bristol Blenheim L1232.

He was at Worcester Landing Ground and attempting to land at night but the aircraft overshot hitting a tree and house.

Sergeant Armstrong was killed. He was the Son of Thomas and Agnes from Belfast.

Robert Bell was a Saloon Steward aboard H.M.S. Foylebank which was being used as an Anti-Aircraft Ship.

The ship was attacked by JU87 Aircraft when it was in Portland Harbour being dive bombed and machine gunned. Robert Bell was killed in action.

Petty Officer James Benson was serving at H.M.S. Drake when he died.

Sergeant Pilot Harold Gibson Black was serving with Number 2 Flying Instructor School when he was Killed.

Leading Telegraphist Alexander Wilson Brown P/UD/X1452 was serving aboard H.M.S. Hurlworth when the ship struck a mine in the Agean Sea. Following the explosion the ship split into two and sank with the loss of 113 men including Alex Brown.

Sergeant Air Gunner John Stanley Burnside was serving with 9 Squadron R.A.F. based at RAF Honington, Suffolk.

On the night of 7th / 8th July 1941 he was aboard Vickers Wellington 1C R1040 on a Mission to Cologne. (A similar aircraft is shown below. I.W.M. Picture)

The aircraft was shot down by Night Fighter Obit. Reinhold Knacke of 2./NJG1 and crashed with the loss of all 6 Crew near Limburg in Holland (Info from Aircrew Remembered)

Sergeant John Steen Campbell was a Royal Air Force Navigator.
Private James Carlisle was serving with Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

John Leadbetter Carson was a Pilot serving with 201 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

He was flying Sunderland I P9622, ZM-W on an Air Sea Rescue mission after another Sunderland aircraft, P9620, had ditched however weather was bad and ZM-W flew in to Dunnett Head, Caithness.

Sub-Lieutenant Pilot George Nethercott Cunningham was serving with 717 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm based at H.M.S. Merganser when he was killed in an aircraft crash.

Flight Sergeant Richard St John Trevor Crawford was a ilot with the Royal Air Force when he died on 22nd May 1945.

Rifleman James Dugan was the Son of Martha Dugan from Belfast. He was serving with 10th Battalion Cameronians, Scottish Rifles when he died.

Killed during the Belfast Blitz.
Elizabeth Anderson, 59 Years and Margaret Darragh, 62 years. Both of 26 Sylvan Street, Belfast. Both died on 22nd April 1941 in Mater Hospital.

Lance Corporal James Stafford Forsythe was serving with 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was the Son of William John and Martha Forsythe from Belfast.

Battery Quartermaster Sergeant Walter harper Gibson was serving with 175 Battery, 66 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. He was the husband of Elizabeth Gibson from Belfast.

Sergeant Air Gunner Thomas gates was serving with 158 Squadron, Royal Air Force. He was aborad Halifax Bomber JD208 which took off from Lissett at 22.47 on 25th July 1943 on a Mission to bomb Essen. On returning the aircraft stalled and went in to a spin into the ground near Driffield, Yorkshire with the loss of all on board.

On the night of 4th / 5th May 1941 Robert Alexander Kane was a member of the Merchant Navy and Second Engineer Officer on the Ship S.S. Fair Head. This was a Transport Ship which was moored in Dufferin Dock loaded with military supplies and was seriously damaged by a Parachute Mine during an Air Raid.

The ship was subsequently beached at bangor and broken up.

John Hudson was on board S.S. Turakana (Shown above) which was on a voyage from Sydney to Wellington when it was attacked by the German Raider Orion which sunk Turakana with gunfire and torpedoes. The Ships Captain and 33 men were lost. (Photograph from

John Oswald Johnston was serving with 619 Squadron, R.A.F. based at Dunholme Lodge.

On the shortest night of the year he was aboard Lancaster I LL977 PG-H on a mission to a Synthetic Oil Plant at Wesseling which is South of Cologne.

The aircraft was hit by Flak at 17,000 Feet in the Aachen area and exploded. The explosion threw the Pilot out of the aircraft and he survived to be a Prisoner of War however all others aboard were killed.

William Latimer was serving at H.M.S. Drake when he died on 12th January 1945.

Gunner Angus Lyttle was serving with the Royal Artillery when he died.

Warrant Officer William Robert Martin was serving with Number 26 Operational Training Unit when he died.

Flight Sergeant Thomas Dunwoody "Teddy" Mayne was serving with 408 Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron when he was Killed in Action. He was aboard Lancaster II DS-778 EQ-U on a mission to Kassel and is buried in Hanover.

Sergeant Pilot William Alexander Millar, 83 Squadron R.A.F. was aboard Handley Page Hampden Mk I X3132, Code OL-L on Friday 21st March 1941 when it left Scampton in Lincolnshire on a Gardening Mission in which Sea Mines were dropped.

This particular mission was to drop a large mines at the entrance to Brest Harbour and only two aircraft were to take park.

The Sergeant Pilot was Barton James Oliver with Sergeant Pilot William Alexander Millar. The Radio-Operator and Observer was Sergeant Norman Stewart Weir, aged 21, and Sergeant Duncan MacCallum was Gunner.

Tragically the aircraft was hit by lightning and came down between Rosquiel and Le Poulou at approximately 0200 killing sergeant Weir as well as Sergeant Millar however the other two Crew fortunately escaped and the mine was located approx 150 meters from the wreck site!

Robert McDonald was serving with 176 Battery, 66 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery and fellow Artilleryman Herbert Molyneaux was with 4 Anti-Aircraft Tractor Battery.

Robert Morrison was serving with 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles and John Nutt was serving on H.M.S. White Bear which is shown above (IWM Photograph)

Private James Ross was serving with the Pioneer Corps. he was the Husband of Esther Ross from Belfast.

Corporal John Calvert Kinnin was serving with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles and was the son of Isaac and Emily Kinnin from Belfast.

Riggers Mate Harry O'Leary was serving on H.M.S. Barnstone which was a Boom Defence Vessel.

Photograph of H.M.S. Barnstone below (From

John Stewart was 23 years old and serving with 48 Commando, Royal Marines.

He was Killed in Action in Southwest Holland and is buried at Bergen-Op-Zoom, Netherlands.

Nathaniel Knowles, Service Number 1543844, was serving with 483 Battery, 82nd Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery when he died on 27th October 1943

Sergeant John Alexander Malcolm was an Air gunner with the royal Air Force. He was the son of Alexander and Elenor Malcolm from Belfast.

At 14.30 hours on 30th July 1942 an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley GR VII aircraft, number Z9192 belonging to 502 Squadron Royal Air Force based at RAF St Eval crashed in a field at Merlin Farm, St Mawgan near Newquay in Southwest England. 
The aircraft was completely burnt-out and the crew of six and two RAF passengers were killed including Warrant Officer William George Mewha who was an Observer / Radar Operator.

Flight Sergeant Pilot Jack Donnelly Pringle, Number 1485878 was serving with 263 Squadron R.A.F.

He was 21 years old and the Son of Robert S and Margaret Pringle from Belfast. He died on 28th may 1944.

Susan (Susanna) Story was 59 years old and was killed in her home at 74 Whitewell Road along with her Daughter Renee (Rachel Anna) who was 34 years old.

Both were Killed during the Belfast Blitz on 5th May 1941.

Flight Lieutenant Derek Edward Reay was 22 years old and serving with 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

On 23rd November 1943 he had been aboard Lancaster 1 EM-S, N4959 which had taken off from RAF Spilsby in Lincolnshire on a mission to Berlin.

The aircraft crashed at Altharen North of Meppen -Ems. Derek Edward Reay is named on the Runnymede Memorial.

Flying Officer Geoffrey Norman Reay was 21 years old and serving with 51 Squadron, Royal Air Force. He was in Halifax Bomber LW177 on 5th November 1944 on a mission to Bochum when this was one of three bombers lost. He is buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery. 

Brothers Jim and George Shanks from Whiteabbey. Both Killed in Action.
Brothers Jim and George Shanks were the Sons of Matthew and Elizabeth Shanks, of Whiteabbey, Co. Antrim.
Jim Shanks was a Gunner aboard H.M.S. Diamond (Shown below) which, on 20th April 1941 was attacked and sunk by German aircraft near Malta.
He has no grave and is named on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
George Shanks was serving aboard S.S. Empire Masefield when, on 13th January 1942, the ship was attacked and bombed by enemy aircraft off Yorkshire.
George, like his brother, was Killed in Action however the ship stayed afloat and he was buried in Acklam Cemetery, Middlesborough.
Able Seaman Shanks was the only fatality of this action.
 (Newsteam photo)

The Simon Family at 7 Sunningdale Park, Belfast. 
Henry Simon,55 years, was at Home with his Wife, Florence, 45 years and their Son Geoffrey Ronald, 19 years when they were all Killed on the night of 15th / 16th April 1941 during the "Belfast Blitz".  Their home is shown below.

This headstone would hardly merit a second glance however look a little deeper.
Gunner John Reginald Walter Smyth was serving with 7 Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery in the Far East when he was captured by the Japanese.
Reginald Smith died as a Japanese Prisoner of War forced to work on the Thailand - Burma Railway on 15th September 1943 when he was 23 years old.
He is named on the Memorial at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Saeng Chuto Road, Kanchanaburi, Thailand NEVER FORGOTTEN.

Margaret Toogood, aged 78 years died at 78 Hogarth Street, Belfast along with Mary Elizabeth Howard aged 68 years. Killed during the Belfast blitz on 16th April 1941.

Thomas Foster Thompson was serving with the Royal Ulster Rifles attached to the Pioneer Corps and Charles Henry Turner, who had won the Military Cross, was serving with 6th Home Decence Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles when he died. He was 64 Years old!!

Carnmoney Cemetery of considerable size and it is a place which illustrates perfectly the efforts and sacrifices of both Men and Women from Northern Ireland during the Second World War whether they be serving in the Armed Forces or Killed in their homes by Luftwaffe Air Raids.

The McFall Family were killed during the Belfast Blitz on the 16th April 1941.

They were a family of FIVE - Joseph who was 43 years old and his Wife Violet who was 41 years old along with their children Sarah 23 years, Martha 19 years and Joseph who was 10 years old.

They were killed in their home at 33 Louisa Street off the Oldpark Road.

George Moore was serving with the Merchant Navy and was only 16 Years Old. He is buried in Algiers, North Africa.

Accidents continue to happen, even when the victim is fighting in a war in a far off land.

Wallace B. McCappin was a sailor aboard H.M.S. Esk which was part of the 20th Destroyer Flotilla and had sailed from Immingham on a mine laying mission.

Aerial reconnaissance had detected German ships and the Flotilla went to intercept however H.M.S. Express struck a mine and was seriously damaged. At this stage H.M.S. Esk, under the command of Lt Commander R.J.H. Couch D.S.C. R.N. went to the assistance of the Express and she also struck a mine.

Within only 15 minutes H.M.S. Esk broke in two and sank with the loss of 135 sailors including Wallace.

The wreck lies 40 nautical miles Northwest of Texel Island, Netherlands.

Sarah Eliza Byrne was killed at 31 Louisa Street, her home address, during the Blitz on 16th April 1941.

She was 56 years old and the Widow of Daniel Byrne.

The significance of the graves of Riflemen Jamieson and Calder is that they may have died together in the same action which is why they are buried side by side. 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have a total of 44 graves recorded for this cemetery however this does not include the civilian victims of the German Air Raids or the personel who are recorded on family grave stones.

Denis Henderson Rankin was flying from Lossiemouth, Scotland in Wellington HF816 when it crashed in the Cairngorms at An Lurg with the loss of all crew.

Flight Sergeant George Furney D.F.M. was in 84 Squadron R.A.F. based at Habbaniyah, Iraq and was on a reconnaissance sortie in Blenheim IV L9316 when the aircraft was shot down by a Vichy French MS. 406 with the loss of all three crew members.

Here are the Headstones of two Royal Air Force Aircraftsmen.

John Graham Logan was serving with 949 Balloon Squadron whilst Hugh Beattie was serving with 2738 Squadron, R.A.F. Regiment who were involved in operating Light Anti-Aircraft Guns in the Eastbourne Area.

Walter Stewart was Forth Engineer Officer on the ship S.S. Shelbrit 1 when it was sunk by a mine explosion.

John Andrew Martin was a 51 years old Civilian. He lived with his wife Annie at 27 Percy Street, Belfast and died in his own home when it was bombed by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) on the night of 15/16 April 1941.

Whitehouse, Our Ladies Acre Roman Catholic Cemetery

Fusilier Edward Walsh, Service Number 7045754, was serving with  Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he died on 11th February 1942.

Guardsman Gerald Murray, Service Number 2719641, was serving with 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards when he died on 17th September 1940.

V.E. Day Celebrations at Glenwood Street / Shankill Road

The area has changed considerably however this is a comparrison photograph of the same location being the junction of Glenwood Street and Shankill Road.

(Old photograph comes from

William Harbinson - The Man in the Mural below!

William John Harbinson was from Bentinck Street, Belfast.

He had joined the Royal Ulster Rifles in 1929 and served in Egypt, Palestine and Hong Kong before leaving however with Britain becoming involved in the Second World War he re-enlisted with the Regiment which was in Belfast at the time being the Royal Welch Regiment and became Private 7011184.

Billy was fighting in Crete as an acting Regimental Sergeant Major however after being wounded he was taken prisoner and found himself in seven various P.O.W. Camps around Germany including Berlin.

With his continuous refusal to cooperate with his captors and escaping from one P.O.W. Camp Prisoner 12642, as he had then became, was sent to Prisoner of War Camp Oflag IV-C near Leipzig which is better known as Colditz Castle.

He wrote numerous letters home to his beloved wife during his incarceration in German P.O.W. Camps.

 In his first letter from Colditz, Billy spoke of his first impressions of the world's most famous POW camp. "Once more my travels take me to another camp. The whys and wherefores have been concealed. This is just another stepping stone nearer my goal" he wrote.

"The most unfortunate part of my extensive travelling us that my letters take such a long time reaching me and in regards to parcels `least said soonest mended'.

"This camp is quite out of the running from any other that I - have been to. It is an old castle situated on the side of an old world country village which always appears to be asleep. At least that's the view presented to me from the window of my room. "There are quite a few well-known personalities here and no doubt you would be surprised if I disclosed their names but far the present their anonymity must remain complete.

"I still love you as much as ever my darling and am hoping to see you soon."

On 15th August 1945 his wife received a Telegram from Billy saying that he would be arriving in Larne the following Thursday morning!

Billy never really spoke of his actions other than saying about the Germans "They didn't like what I did to their railway lines."

He died a few days before what would have been his 92nd Birthday and the Royal Ulster Rifles gave him a Military funeral complete with pipes and bugles

The photograph which was taken of Billy at Colditz can be seen on the Second World War mural at Seymour Hill which is shown below.

This display relating to Billy can be seen in the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum in Belfast. (Thanks very much for Information and photographs to Stevie Kerr. Also

Seymour Hill Mural

This mural at Hornbeam Road was officially dedicated on 1st July 2009 by Colonel Robin Charley as documented in the brass plaque on the Mural.