City Cemetery, Londonderry
As you can see from the pictures above there are a considerable number of War Graces in the City Cemetery - 192 in total.
Three of the headstones from WW2 are shown above - A Woman from the Women's Royal Naval Service, A Canadian Sailor and a Dutchman.
These headstones can be seen in the Christchurch Church in the town centre of Limavady.
On visiting this churchyard I strongly suggest you walk towards the back of the modern Hall where I am sure you will be both surprised and impressed by the memorial you will find. - It is a Tail Fin from an Avro Shackleton MR Mk3 which was recovered from the former R.A.F. Ballykelly and refurbished at R.A.F. Aldergrove.
This memorial is dedicated to all those who served at R.A.F. Ballykelly, R.A.F. Eglinton, R.A.F. Limavady and R.A.F. Maydown and all associated Units throughout World War 2 and the subsequent Cold War period and commemorates those who made the supreme sacrifice.
The “Uberus” was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1939 and subsequently armed. It is recorded as having been wrecked in Lough Foyle on 11th January 1941.
Fleet Tug H.M.S. Assurance was fitted out for ocean service and was used by the Royal Navy to tow vessels which had been damaged in German Torpedo attacks. H.M.S. Assurance was wrecked on 18th October 1941 and still lies on Bluick Rock north of Greencastle, Co. Donegal.
Ballykelly Church of Ireland
These are the Second World War graves which can be found in the Church of Ireland Church in Ballykelly. All are Airmen representing the Royal Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force.
Among those buried here is Group Captain Harry King Goode (Distinguished Service Order, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Force Cross) - a very interesting character.
He was born on 22 October 1892 to Florence Annie King and was then adopted by Thomas and Margaret Goode of Ryton, Bulkin.
At the start of the First World War he joined the Royal Engineers on 8 September 1914 when he was 22 years old and became a motorcycle dispatch rider before transferring on 14 November 1917 to the Royal Flying Corps.
The Citation for the award of his Distinguished Flying Cross says "A brilliant fighting pilot who sets a fine example of courage and determination to the officers of his squadron. He has destroyed six enemy aeroplanes and two kite balloons."
In 1919 he received the Distinguished Service Order with the Citation “During the present offensive this officer has done excellent work, showing exceptional skill, gallantry’ and devotion to duty. He has destroyed five enemy kite balloons, three of which he had to continue to attack to the ground until they burst into flames. He has destroyed three enemy aircraft, which were standing on an enemy aerodrome and also attacked personnel, hangars and Mess Buildings of this aerodrome from 10 feet, causing the enemy to abandon eight machines they had on the aerodrome. This was all accomplished between 27 th. and 29 th. October. he has most successfully attacked transports and troops, and on two occasions reported two very large concentrations of enemy troops and transports. he is also officially credited with capturing fifteen enemy guns from the air. he has continually taken his patrol down to very low altitudes to bomb and machine gun enemy road movements with exceptional good results. In his last attack on enemy transport he was shot in the face while diving down to attack. he nevertheless continued his dive, taking his patrol down to 50 feet and dropping his four bombs, obtaining all direct hits, after which he continued to machine gun this transport until exhausting his ammunition. This officer has now destroyed seven enemy kite balloons and nine enemy aeroplanes and his example of bravery to others has at all times been exceptionally brilliant.”
Following the end of the First World War he remained in the Royal Air Force and after serving in the Middle East he was stationed for a time with 502 squadron based at Aldergrove before returning to RAF Hendon to command 24 squadron. He was promoted to Squadron Leader on 1 December 1935, and awarded the Air Force Cross in January 1939. From 24 squadron he took command of 60 OTU during late April 1941 as Group Captain (temp), and he decided to retire on 15 December 1941.
He joined the RAF Accident Branch and whilst visiting Northern Ireland on 21 August 1942 was killed in the crash of LV340/X a Liberator 111 from 120 squadron whilst on transit between Ballykelly and Nutts Corner in conditions of low cloud or sea mist. It hit a rock at around 1100 feet and crashed at 1150 hrs against the lower slopes of Big Trosk Mountain which is north of Waterfall Road to the Northwest of Carnlough killing all of the crew on board.
The headstone shown here is also at Ballykelly Church of Ireland and is that of Flying Officer Ian Lachlan Macfayden of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
His parents were from Scotland and he was raised in Port Arthur, Ontario in Canada.
Ian was in a crew of 5 in an Avro Anson which crashed into Mullaghclogha Mountain at Plumbridge in County Tyrone at approx 00.30 on 6th March 1945. He was 21 years old.
I have included this picture as it shows a shield shaped stone with the wording "In Loving Memory of Ian. Aunt Ann 3rd August 1945"
Spring Hill, Moneymore
This is a particularly interesting site and I am sure many of the visitors to this National Trust property are not aware of the extent of the Second World War history which lies here.
Following the beginning of the Second World War the house was used as a billet for soldiers of The Berkshire Yeomanry and 119th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery.
In 1942 the first American Army personel arrived and these were 112th Engineers with Company L 519th Quartermaster Regiment arriving on 23rd December 1943.
Tower Hill Camp, Moneymore
Continuing on from Spring Hill but with a very obvious separation we have what was known as Tower Hill Camp which is actually part of the Spring Hill Estate but at the opposite end of Beech Walk from Spring Hill House.
These were the days when racial segregation was a part of life within the United States Army and the "Colored" Battalions were not permitted to reside with the rest of the Troops.
At Spring Hill this ruling was illustrated by the construction of Tower Hill Camp which in October 1943 became home to Company D 544th Quartermaster Service Battalion (Colored) and later on 23rd December 1943 3991st Quartermaster Truck Company (Colored) who remained here until 18th May 1944.
This was when Northern Ireland suddenly emptied of all the Military Personel who had been here in their thousands but had now moved to the Southern Coastline of England in preparation for the invasion of Occupied Europe on what was known as D-Day 4th June 1944.
Back in Moneymore there soon became another use for Tower Hill Camp which was used as a Prisoner of War Camp in which German Prisoners were held and used to tidy the Estate with gardening and tree pruning!
Visitors to the site can still see what remains of Tower Hill Camp which is concealed within the trees to the right of the Tower when walking from the back of Spring Hill House.
The picture directly above shows one of the concrete floors of a nissen hut which had been constructed here and if you stand on the concrete and look towards the tower you will see that there are approximately another four or five of these bases which made up a considerable section of "Tower Hill Camp"
Culmore Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery
Situated on Coney Road between Culmore and the border with the Republic of Ireland stands this Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery. As with the Groarty Road example shown below this site includes a Radar Platform however I have not seen anything like the design of this platform anywhere else.
This picture shows the Radar Platform with 4 columns on one side as well as the platform incorporating a Pillbox type structure with one loop.
The following two pictures show a view of the top of the structure where the radar would be positioned as well as the access point to the incorporated pillbox type structure.
In the panorama type picture you are looking from the 4 Gun Pits along the access road past the Command and Control Centre towards the hardened accommodation building which, as usual, is closest to the roadway.
Then there is a view through the Command and Control Building from the Telephone Room and Office through the large Plotting Room towards the rooms on the far side.
The final picture shows a view from the roof of the Command and Control Building towards the Gun Positions.
On this site the four Gun Positions are all very overgrown however the C&C Building is in good condition and as I have already mentioned the Radar Platform appears to be unique within all of the HAA sites I have visited.
Fincarn Glen Ammunition Storage Dump
A short distance from Drumahoe and in close proximity to both the airfields at Maydown and Eglinton as well as Lisahally (Lisahawley) Port is the huge Fincarn Glen Ammunition Storage Dump.
This facility was constructed by American Military Personel with the assistance of a considerable amount of local labour and was completed by May 1942.
The American influence on this site is everywhere to be seen as illustrated here. - The metal lid photographed clearly shows that it was manufactured in Los Angeles!
The metal used in construction of the buildings says "Armco Ingot Iron Manufactured by The American Rolling Mill Co Middletown, Ohio 2oz Coating"
Here we can see one of the bunkers and it is interesting to see the various signs and markings on the front.
The square yellow marking is the old British Hazard Sign system which has since been replaced by the orange coloured signs which can now be seen on everything from a box of explosives to the lorry delivering your heating oil!
In this case the number three in a black triangle refers to "Mass Fire with Minor Fragment Hazard"
This picture shows a clearer view of one of the Hazard Signs and illustrates some of the fire fighting procedures which were in place with the hooks for Fire Buckets and the sign referring to Stirrup Pumps which are now long gone.
Some buildings have a number of signs including the "Group Explosive" which may refer to a particular type of explosive stored there. Each has a group of letters and numbers above the door and in the third picture above it appears that repairs may also have taken place from the "Serviceable" notice on a wall.
Due to the fact that this facility is heavily overgrown it is difficult to know the precise number of bunkers which exist however I believe there to be around 20.
The last picture shows another marking on the inner wall of one of these bunkers. It is difficult to read however the top line begins "Group..." and the second is "150" with something following which may end in "Lbs" however time has taken its toll.
Men of C Company, 1st Provisional Marine Battalion, United States Marine Corps, who were based nearby at Beech Hill were some of the first personel to perform guard duty at the site.
I believe this site was also a Chemical Depot known as C-910 and operated as this between 23rd November 1943 and 15th August 1944.
This amazing place is a little piece of the United States in County Londonderry.
On the left is an American Air Raid Shelter and on the right is a very similar construction in Fincairn Glen.
Warbleshinney Gibraltarian Evacuee Camp
To the south of the City of Londonderry between the villages of Drumahoe and New Buildings can be found one of the Evacuee Camps which were constructed to house people who had fled Gibraltar during the War.
Of the twelve camps to be constructed in Northern Ireland I have been able to locate remains of several in County Antrim which are photographed on this site. I am aware of two which were in County Down - (with one represented here) and I am pleased to show what remains of the Camp at Warbleshinney.
There are 5 buildings which are easily located and of searching through a small wooded area there are a few smaller structures.
The cube shaped concrete building here is a Cold Store and you can see hooks hanging from the roof from which food would be suspended.
One of the more concealed buildings has clearly been used for living quarters and a 1930's style fireplace ramains along with some bright wallpaper, blue painted walls and a yellow door!
Bombing Decoy Site Lisglass
I believe there was a Bombing Decoy Site such as the one shown below at Lisglass Southwest of New Buildings. Unfortunately I have no other details.
If you have information regarding this please email me.
Bombing Decoy Site - Corrody
Here we have an excellent example of a Bombing Decoy Site. From the pictures you can see that the mounds of earth which would have both camouflaged and protected the building have been removed however the inside is without doubt the best that i have found.
As with other examples there is one entrance and on going inside there are two rooms.
On the right is the Electricity Generator Room and in this case I was surprised to find the concrete bases for two rather than the more common one generator.
The room to the left retains its metal ladders up to the roof escape hatch as well as the small area where a fire / stove would have probably been in regular use!!
Air Crash Memorial Stone, Maghera
Cessna UC-78 Bobcat Uility Aircraft Number 42 58314 crashed at this location on 3rd September 1943.
On board were Commodore James Alexander Logan, Commander of the United States Navy in Londonderry, Captain Loren Lee Miles of the 8th United States Army Air Force and David Grimes who was Vice-President of Philco Radio Co.
All lost their lives.
The Memorial is a flat stone in a field on the left side of Tirkane Road.
On passing Slaghtneill Road continue until before the sharp right hand turn. As you approach you will see an entrance into the field on your left. Park here and walk directly ahead where you will find the Memorial.
Bellarena House at Seacoast Road between Coleraine and Limavady was used as a billet for 118 Infantry Regiment 1 Battalion, Company A of the United States Army.
151st Field Artillery Battalion, 34th Infantry Division U.S. Army were here in 1942 and Nissen Huts were constructed in the grounds of the estate.
Between February and April 1944 this was also Headquarters for the 39th Replacement Battalion, United States Army.
U.S. Army Camp - Culmore
This was a United States Army Camp on the opposite shore from Lisahally Jetty on Lough Foyle.
The distinctive water tanks remain with only a couple of buildings.
Groarty Road Londonderry H.A.A. Battery
This is an excellent example of a Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery.
The Radar Platform seen from both the side and above.
There is a Radar Platform in the adjoining field which is in super condition and on entering the field where the Battery is located you first see the hardened accommodation building which has blast walls covering both entrances.
There are a total of 4 Gun Emplacements with the Command Post facing the gun positions.
The Command Post shown as it looks towards the gun positions.
Looking along the length of the Command Post. "Rear Fire Point" inside Gun Position
Here is "Front Left" which may refer to the location of the Gun within the Battery.
Within each of the Gun Positions is a deeper chamber which may have been used to store ammunition. The picture above left shows the entrance to one of these chambers where the old camouflage paint can still be clearly seen on the wall.
The next picture is taken from the roof of the Command Post looking towards two of the gun positions.
I believe the Command Post would have incorporated a Telephone Room and Office from where access could have been gained by climbing a few steps through the doorway shown in the picture here to where the Predictor would have been located.
This was used to calculate how far in front of an aircraft it was necessary for the guns to fire so that the shells would detonate close enough to the aircraft to bring it down.
The largest room in the building was the Plotting Room where all the aircraft movements would have been plotted on a large map.