The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

County Down Part 3

Airfield Decoy Site, Kearney

I was very pleased to find this site with the help of a nearby resident who also gave me some useful information regarding this Decoy Site which was known as Q142.

The personel who worked here had rows of electric lighting laid out in the nearby fields to look like a runway and these were illuminated by a generator, the concrete base of which remains in the building shown here and for which the chimney was included in construction.

There is only one entrance into the building which can be seen in the large picture. The electric generator was in a room on the right with another room to the left to be used as quarters. With there being only one entrance there is a roof escape hatch in this room which is shown in the second picture.

Lookout Post at Ballyquinton

This is a Second World War Lookout Post which is at Ballyquinton Point.

It has an excellent view, as can be seen from my photographs, and commands the entrance to Strangford Lough as well as looking across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man.

In great condition.

Airmen Buried in Ballyhalbert

Tucked away in the quiet country graveyard of Ballyhalbert Church of Ireland, Main Road, Ballyhalbert, lie 5 Commonwealth Airmen.

From left to right they are as follows :-

Sub-Lt. John Samuel Hornby, Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve.

He was attached to 718 Fleet Air Arm Squadron and was killed in an air crash on 10th October 1945. 

Flying Supermarine Seafire NN631 he took off from R.A.F. Ballyhalbert on a Cross Country Exercise along with another Seafire however when over County Tyrone he got into difficulty.

An Eyewitness who was working in a Potato Field reported hearing two loud bangs in the air and on looking up he saw the aircraft, with smoke coming from it, spiralling downward and into the ground.

The aircraft was on fire and explosions were taking place. John Samuel Hornby was 21 years old.

The Crash Site was in the townland of Crockagarran to the Southeast of Carrickmore.

(See the three Documents shown below - Sorry for the poor quality)

Flight Sergeant Stanley Donald Wills, Number 400746, Royal Australian Air Force was only 20 years old when he was killed on 26th May 1942. He was flying a Beaufighter, X7573, on a night flying test when he lost control in cloud at 9000 feet over Ballymews and crashed into mountains. All three crew members were killed with Sergeant G.L.Edwards being buried at St Michaels in Harbledown in England and Sergeant R.W.Willis, the Observer / Radar Operator being buried nearby at St Josephs Roman Catholic church at Ballycranbeg.

Flight Sergeant John Robert Lucas of the Royal Canadian Air Force was attached to 153 Squadron, Royal Air Force when he was killed on 18th February 1942. He was 24 years old.

Sergeant Ross Wellesley Lindeman, number 403141, of the Royal Australian Air Force was 21 years old when he was killed in a flying accident on 25th January 1942 when flying a Defiant from Eglinton to Ballyhalbert. The accident occurred immediately after take-off from Eglinton when the aircraft turned steeply onto its back too low for the pilot to recover. The two Crew Members were killed with Air Gunner Sergeant R. Low being buried at Allenvale Cemetry in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Pilot Officer Frederick Hugh Anderson
of the Royal New Zealand Air Force was attached to 153 Squadron Royal Air Force when he was killed on 19th November 1941. He was 22 years old.

In the same graveyard and only a short walk away from the Airmen named above is the Headstone shown here.

At the bottom of the headstone is a reference to Lieutenant John Moir, Royal Navy who is recorded on the headstone as having Died at Sea on Active Service on 1st May 1942.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives his date of death as 30th April 1942 and shows that he was serving on H.M.S. Edinburgh.

HMS Edinburgh which was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Stuart Bonham Carter, commanding the escort of returning Convoy “QP 11” consisting of 17 ships which left Murmansk on 28 April 1942.

She was sighted by a German aircraft and on 30 April the German submarine U-456 commanded by Kapitänleutnant Max-Martin Teichert fired a torpedo into her starboard side causing Edinburgh to list however the swift action of the crew in closing watertight bulkheads prevented the ship from sinking immediately.

A second torpedo struck Edinburgh in the stern which incapacitated the ships steering and crippling her. She was taken in tow and an attempt was made to return to Murmansk accompanied by destroyers Foresight and Forester and four Mine Sweepers Gossamer, Harrier, Niger and Hussar. Along the way she was hounded constantly by German torpedo bombers.

On 2 May, as she progressed at a snail's pace under tow and her own power, she was attacked by three large German destroyers and cast off the tow causing her to sail in circles.

Although her guns were in disarray, she fired on the attacking German ships. Her second salvo straddled the German ship Hermann Schoemann, damaging her severely enough that her crew scuttled her and while Edinburgh’s escorts drove off two more German ships she was struck amidships by another torpedo so the crew abandoned ship.

About 840 men were rescued by other ships however Two officers and 56 other ranks were killed in the attacks.

Lt John Moir's body was never recovered and he is named on the Royal Naval Memorial at Plymouth.

Cloughey and the Cairngorm

On 28th January 1941 the Dutch steamer “Alhema” became stranded on the North Rock, off Cloughey while bound from Liverpool to Port Said in Egypt carrying supplies for the British Eighth Army however all the cargo was lost.

On 21st January 1942 Cloughey Lifeboat attended the Motor Coaster “Cairngorm” off Ballyquintin. The Cairngorm had fired distress flares which had been seen by H.M.S. Montbretia which was a Royal Navy corvette escorting a convoy from the Mersey northwards. – When H.M.S. Montbretia approached to investigate the flares fired by “Cairngorm” the convoy followed resulting in the corvette as well as 4 freighters from the Convoy all getting stuck on the rocks between Kearney Point and Ballyquintin Point. (I.W.M. Picture)

Ulster Home Guard at Cloughey

Cloghey District Ulster Home Guard was under the Charge of William Brownlow who chose Kirkistown Castle as a suitable location from which to observe the Irish Sea.

Oil lamps and a dartboard were installed and Night Duty was performed by three Volunteers. (Info from Parallel Lives by Davina Jones)

56 Air Sea Rescue Unit, R.A.F. Portaferry and Donaghadee

The plaques shown here sit proudly in the R.N.L.I. stations at Portaferry and Donaghadee.

They commemorates 56 Air Sea Rescue Unit of the Royal Air Force who were based at both locations for the duration of the Second World War.

There were other Air Sea Rescue Units based at Larne and on Lough Foyle.

The motto of these Units was "The Sea Shall Not Have Them"

In County Femanagh the large base at Castle Archdale was supported by a large Marine Craft Section which was equipped with Seaplane Tenders, Fire Floats, Refuellers, Bomb Scows, Servicing Tenders, Crew Tenders and General Service Pinnaces for mooring buoy maintenance etc.

More details on Castle Archdale can be found in the "County Fermanagh" Section of this website.

Another Marine Craft Section was based on Lough Neagh and details of this can be found in the "County Antrim" Section.

The property at 31 The Parade, Donaghadee was commandeered and used as Accommodation for the Air Sea Rescue Unit.

A number of other Properties in Donaghadee alco became billets including Boarding Houses in Shore Street which were used by Royal Engineers. 

The article above is from "The War Illustrated" and is dated December 1940. It provides some information regarding the R.A.F. Air Sea Rescue Boats. (The War Illustrated)

Donaghadee in the 1930's (Thanks to Alistair Johnston)

Greyabbey Shooting Range

During the war Military Personel who were based at Palace Barracks in Holywood were transported on occasions to Greyabbey where they took part in shooting drills at a range which was known as "The Long Shot"

The pictures above show what remains to be seen of the Butts at the Range which is on private property.

The Black and White photograph dates from 1929 and "The Long Shot" Range is in the bottom of the photograph running from left to right. (From Britain From Above)

Flight Lieutenant James Filson D.F.C. From Kircubbin.

James Filson shown above. His spitfire is seen on the left of the first row of aircraft on this Aircraft carrier deck as they launch for Malta.(Thanks to David Filson DO NOT COPY)

James Filson seen with other Pilots on Malta (Thanks very much to David Filson) ***DO NOT COPY***

James Filson was born on 27th June 1920 and lived in Kircubbin.

During the Second World War he served in the Royal Air Force and for a time was based at Ballyhalbert.

On one Sunday morning he performed a low level run in his Spitfire along Main Street, Kircubbin which was sufficiently low to cause his superiors some displeasure.

James served with 1435 Squadron in the defence of Malta when he was based at Luqa Airfield on the island and on one occasion he was shot down by the Royal Navy off the coast of Sicily.

Having seen action in North Africa Filson was flying air support for American Troops during the invasion of Italy when he was again shot down by "Friendly Fire" this time coming from the U.S. Army!

The London Gazette on 20th March 1945 records his being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

James Filson survived the war and died in June 1990.

His medals are shown above with the Distinguished Flying Cross on the right. Immediately above are his R.A.F. and American Wings (He learnt some flying in the United States) and letter from King George regretting that he was unable to present the Distinguished Flying Cross personally however sending his congratulations and best wishes for future happiness. 

(Thanks very much to David Filson)

Paweł Ryszard Wojciechowicz from Kircubbin.

Pawel Wojciechowicz was working near Vilnius when war began.
Having escaped to Britain he became an Air Gunner with Polish 300 Squadron Bombers based at Faldingworth, Lincolnshire.
On surviving the war Pawel settled in Kircubbin and changed his name to Paul Henderson.

Pawel, who is seen standing on the left of the photograph above, died on 23rd November 2010 and is buried in Kircubbin Cemetery. (Thanks very much to Lukasz Gredys for information and photograph and John English)

Newtownards Anti-Landing Obstacles

This is what remains of an Anti-Landing Obstruction in the Northeast corner of Strangford Lough.

It was constructed here as the sandy foreshore was considered suitable for use as a glider landing area and so such a preventative measure was required.

For those of you interested in the technical stuff there are currently 27 posts set in 2 parallel rows with a further 4 in mid-intertidal zone. 

A few hundred metres to the southwest is another series.

Killynether House, Newtownards

Killynether House was a large building with considerable grounds which was requisitioned by the British Army during the war. The building was not released by the Ministry of Defence until 31st may 1949.

This was below the Scrabo Golf Club and although the building has now been demolished the concrete bases of some of the old Nissen Huts can be seen in Killynether Car Park as shown below.

Miles Aircraft Factory, Newtownards

This is the Building which was used by the Miles Aircraft Factory.

It is immediately beside Newtownards airfield at Comber Road, Newtownards.


Comber Square

An interesting note about the involvement of Comber during the Second World War was that following the First World War the town was presented with a captured German Field Gun as a memorial to the actions of De Wind who was from the town and won the Victoria Cross during WW1. It appears that there was no room for sentiment during the Second World War as this gun was cut up and smelted down to help with the war effort!!

This picture shows the German Field Gun full size before it was dismantled. For more information visit

Below is the Tablet  from the German First World War Gun which stood in Comber Square to mark the winning of a Victoria Cross by Edmund De Wind.

Special Boat Service wreath at the War Memorial in Comber Square.

Comber Old Mill

The old mill, which is now a desirable appartment block, was used as Military Billits for both British and American personnel. One of the Units who were based here were the Staffordshire Regiment.

The black and white photograph shows the Mill as it looked in 1929. (From Britain From Above)

Comber Air Raid Shelter

Shown here is an Air Raid Shelter which stands between Castle Street and Castle Lane in Comber.

Unfortunately is shows considerable damage.

Comber Civil Defence and Home Guard

This first photograph shows members of Comber Civil Defence with the Ulster Home Guard who operated in Comber being shown below. (From Comber Historical Society)

Comber A.R.P. Warden Helmet

Theodore Lilburn was 17 years old in 1939. He worked as a Mechanic in UTA and was an A.R.P. Warden.
They met in Andrews Hall, Comber and would patrol the streets. Also they would lie in the hills and Scrabo Tower watching for bombers. (Thanks very much to Malcolm Lilburn)

Comber Cricket Club Nissen Hut

This selection of photographs show a Nissen Hut at North Down Cricket Club in Comber. One entrance has been converted to accept a Tractor moving in and out whilst the opposite side has a Door which is protected by a brick wall. (Thanks to Jimmy Russell Norman)

Anti-Aircraft Gun in Comber Area

Here is an Anti-Aircraft Gun Exercise. The Unit is 1st Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery, 3rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade. This Unit was based at Carryduff however this particular Exercise took place in the Comber Area on 29th April 1942. The gun is a mobile 3.7 Inch Anti-Aircraft Mk III L (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

My four photographs above show an Anti-Aircraft Gun the same as the WW2 Picture being displayed. (PLEASE DO NOT COPY THESE PHOTOGRAPHS)

Searchlight near Comber

Trinity Presbyterian Church, Ballygowan

Gunner Hector Black, Service Number 1472337 was 41 years old when he died on Christmas Day, 25th December 1944.

He had been serving with 447 Battery, 66 Searchlight Regiment (4th battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment) Royal Aryillery.

Hector was the Husband of Margaret Black from Dundonald.

Private Andrew Leebody, Service Number 13053218 was serving with the Pioneer Corps when he died on 4th October 1942.

He was 33 years old and the Son of Isabella Leebody and Stepson of Thomas McCrudden from Saintfield.

Jim Simpson DFM, DFC and Bar, from Ballygowan.

On joining the Royal Air Force Jim was to be a Balloon Operator before volunteering for Aircrew and became a Air Gunner.

Following Training he was sent to 78 Squadron based at R.A.F. Lynton-in-the-Ouse Northwest of the City of York and became familiar with Bolton Paul Defiant aircraft.

Having done a few operations in Whitley aircraft, including one of the 1000 Bomber Raids to Cologne, he then moved on to the Halifax before finally the Lancaster.

Whilst with 78 Squadron Jim was involved in Operations to a variety of Targets including an aircraft establishment in Turin, Italy as well as Stuttgart, Hamburg, Calais, Zeebrugen, Frankfurt and Berlin. - Shown below is one of the huge Flak Towers which defended Hamburg.

On 24th July 1943 the Flight Log reads ‘Hamburg aircraft damaged by flack, we got a few splinters and a few shell holes in us but we got back. We went back again, on 27th Hamburg was well alight, still burning and then on 29th we went back again, Hamburg was still burning.’

Having attained the rank of Flight Sergeant and already having flown around 28 operations Jim volunteered to join 35 Squadron which was the famous Pathfinders and expected to do another 30 Missions however his total was an amazing 102!

Shown below are steps down into one Hamburg Air raid Shelter and on the right another Hamburg Shelter with the eagle still plainly visible.

As a Tail Gunner Jim cut all the Perspex away from the front of his turret to ensure he had the best possible vision.

The freezing temperature was very harsh, even with the electrically heated suits however as a tail gunner "To see was to Live!"

Jim Simpson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal due to the amazing number of operations which he had taken part in.

He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar for successfully shooting down enemy aircraft. (Thanks very much to Neill Simpson)

Ulster Home Guard, Ballygowan

(Thanks to Mabel Burgess)

Dundonald Cemetery

I went to Dundonald Cemetery at Upper Newtownards Road, Dundonald to look for the grave of Fusilier Graham of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who had been killed in the German Air raid on the Airfield in Newtownards.

What I had thought would be a brief visit soon turned into a lengthy stay as I must admit I was quite shocked as to the number of headstones with direct reference to sacrifices made by the people of Northern Ireland during the Second World War.

These are just a few:-

This is the Headstone of Flying Officer John Thomas Brown who was serving with 97 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

He was the Navigator in Lancaster Bomber JB243 and was returning from Pathfinder Operations over Berlin.

Sadly his is aircraft crashed at approximately 01.20 on 17th December 1943 at Graveley Airfield with the loss of all on board.

It is interesting to note that the family had such pride in their loss that they included a little information at the bottom of the headstone saying "Killed on Pathfinder Duty. His plane crashed in fog returning from Berlin"

Sadly Accidents and Crashes took their toll with a large number of Airmen and Women losing their lives in such circumstances as was the case with Flight Sergeant Engineer James Titterington who was with 1658 Royal Air Force Conversion Unit when the Handley-Page Halifax Bomber Mk2 JB962 which he was in crashed at Sliptone Crags, Colsterdale, North Yorkshire with the loss of all on board.

Flying Officer Sydney Colbert DFC was a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

His Lancaster III Bomber JA975 took off at 16.49 on 14th January 1944 on a bombing raid to Braunschweig/Brunswick in Germany.

He was shot down by a combination of Night Fighters and Flak crashing at Bockern where burials were reported to have taken place on 17th January.

He was awarded a Posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross. Six of the crew members are now buried in the Commonwealth Cemetery at Sage near Oldenburg.

Corporal Robert Augustus Brown, Service Number 816108, was serving with 502 Squadron R.A.F. when he died on 30th July 1942.

He was 32 years old, The Son of Robert Augustus and Mary Brown and Husband of Vina Brown, of Bloomfield, Belfast.

Gunner Thomas Carrothers, Service Number 1458599, was serving with Royal Artillery attached to Headquarters 3rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade.

Thomas died on 19th June 1940.

He was the Son of Thomas E. Carrothers; and Annie Carrothers and Husband of Elizabeth Carrothers, of Belfast.

Robert Belshaw of 56 Shankill Road recorded in 7th List 18.00 hours on 19th April 1941 of those killed during the Belfast Blitz.

The headstone on the left records that Robert C Boyle, Chief Steward in the Merchant Navy was "Killed by Enemy Action 26th January 1942" while Chambers, who was an Engineer in the Merchant Navy was lost at sea in the same year.

Corporal John Clarke, Service Number D/24423, Died on 28th March 1940. He was serving with 6th (Home Defence) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles.

Aircraftwoman 1st Class Elizabeth CookeService Number 2098275, Died on 21st November 1945 when she was 28 years old.

Elizabeth had been serving with Women's Auxiliary Air Force and was the Daughter of James and Catherine Cooke, of Belfast.

Flying Officer (Pilot) James Douglas Crabbe, Service Number 119539, was 20 years old when he died on 9th November 1942.

He was the Son of John Miller Crabbe and Jean Crabbe, of Belfast and Husband of Irene Joan Crabbe.

Serjeant Thomas Glyndwr Evans, Service Number 3957965, was 27 years old and serving with  1/5th Battalion,  Welch Regiment when he died on 24th July 1941.

Thomas was the Son of David Alfred and Elizabeth Evans and Husband of Isabel Evans, of Belfast.

Private Sidney EllisService Number 6974976, was killed in Action at Arnhem on 18th September 1944 when serving with 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps.

He was 38 years old, the Son of William and Clara Ellis, of Belfast and Husband of Elizabeth Ellis, of Belfast.

Known as "Fighting Sid" he was from the Sandy Row area of Belfast and had served six years in India with the Royal Irish Fusiliers before spending over two years with the Palestine Police. His next job was as a Prison Warder in Crumlin Road Gaol before rejoining the R.I.F. at the start of the Second World War and then moving to the Royal Armoured Corps with which he stayed until 1943 when he moved to Airborne Forces and took part in the battle of Arnhem. (Picture from Findagrave)

Lester Currie had been a Pilot Officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve when he was killed on active service on 23rd July 1942. He was the pilot of Whirlwind P7035 when he was involved in a skirmish with 2 German aircraft and lost off Morlaix in Northwestern France.

Robert Farrell had also been killed on active service when he went down with H.M.S. Royal Oak in Scapa Flow after it was torpedoed by a German U-Boat. -

(On 14 October 1939 H.M.S. Royal Oak was anchored at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, when she was attacked by the German submarineU-47 and hit by 4 torpedoes. See Below for more details.

Of Royal Oak's complement of 1,234 men and boys, 833 were killed and only 26 bodies were recovered which are now buried in Lyness Military Cemetry on the Island of Hoy. 

Now lying almost upside down in 100 feet (30 m) of water with her hull 16 feet (5 m) beneath the surface, Royal Oak is a designated war grave and during an annual ceremony Royal Navy divers place a White Ensign underwater at her stern.)

(I am very pleased to be able to include these photographs of Lester Currie, who was known in the R.A.F. as "Paddy" along with newspaper cuttings and article which were passed to me by his Nephew Mike Currie.)

Shown above is a painting which was done by Alan Caldwell as a reminder of Vivian Lester Currie,  Pilot Officer, who went missing in action in Westland Whirlwind P7035 as referred to above. (Thanks very much to Mike Currie for this picture)

Acting Sub Lieutenant (E) James Cairns Ferguson was Killed when on Active Service. He was aboard the Cross-Channel packet St Briac which had been requisitioned and was serving as a Fleet Air Arm target vessel when it struck a mine and sank off Aberdeen on March 12th 1942.

James was 27 years old, the Son of Joseph and Anne Ferguson and husband of Margaret Ferguson, of Southampton.

Thirteen members of the ships crew were lost.

Rifleman Samuel Glass, Service Number 7020032, was Killed in Action on 7th June 1944 whilst serving with 1st (Airborne) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles.

He was the Son of John and Agnes Glass and Husband of Sarah Glass, of Grimsby, Lincolnshire.

Samuel is buried at Ranville War Cemetery in Normandy, France.

The headstone above is particularly sad as it records the deaths of 2 civilians "Both killed by enemy action 16th April 1941"

Charles Ferguson and Amy were recorded by the Belfast Civil Defence Authority as being from 18 Ohio Street and both bodies were retained at the Union Mortuary. - Two victims of the Belfast Blitz.

The Denby Family -William (Father), Harriett (Mother), Isa (Daughter), Dorothy (Daughter) and Dorothy Kathleen Burdett (Granddaughter).

This Family of 5 were all killed at 20 Evelyn Gardens in the Tigers Bay Area of Belfast during an Air raid.

The Rogers family, Daniel (Father), Mary (Mother) and Daniel Jnr. (Son) were killed at 1 Haton Drive , Belfast during an Air Raid.

These are only a few examples of the many headstones at this Cemetery which illustrate the commitment of the people of Northern Ireland to the Allied Cause.

Jean Harper was 16 years old when she was killed at 176 Blythe Street, Sandy Row, Belfast by German Bombs on 16th April 1941.

Aircraftman 2nd Class (Wireless Operator) William James Sydney J. HeapService Number 1123746, was 26 years old when he died on 12th March 1942.

He was the Husband of Margaret Campbell Heap, of Hendon, Middlesex.

Sergeant Robert Alexander Lockhart, Service Number R/71545, was 24 years old and serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force when he was Killed in Action on 14th September 1942.

Robert was the Son of Frederick J. and Emily Lockhart and Husband of Jean G. Lockhart.

Junior Engineer Officer William Lough was 29 years old when he was Killed on 20th September 1941.

Lough was serving aboard M.V. Cingalese Prince which was a Merchant Ship loaded with manganese ore and pig iron as well as general cargo.

The ship was on route from Bombay to Liverpool when it was torpedoed near St Paul Rocks by U-Boat U-111

The Master, 48 Crew and 8 Gunners were lost however 15 Crew and 3 Gunners were rescued after 12 Days!

William was the Son of Alexander and Elizabeth Lough.

Flying Officer (Pilot) William Ernest Norman Maxwell, Service Number 118505, Died whilst on Active Service on 23rd January 1943.

He was the Son of William Norman Maxwell and of Edith Maud Maxwell of Belfast and Husband of Vivienne Isobel Maxwell.

Gunner Guy McKnightService Number 1523252, was 29 years old when he died on 20th January 1941.

He was serving with 316 Battery, 102 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery and was the Husband of Hannah McKnight, of Belfast.

Lance Serjeant James Adair McBride,Service Number 7012157, was Killed in Action on 19th July 1944 whilst serving with 2nd Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles.

He was 30 years old and the Son of Mr. and Mrs. John McBride, of Strandtown, Belfast.

James is Buried at Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery east of Caen.

Second Engineer Officer Andrew Barclay Milligan was serving with the Merchant Navy aboard S.S. Ocean Courage which was a Steam Merchant ship sailing from Pepel via freetown, Trinidad to the U.S.A.

On 15th January 1943 the ship was attacked by U-Boat U-182 and torpedoed.

Ths ship sunk within 90 seconds with the loss of all 52 and only 6 survivors.

Andrew was 33 years old and the Son of Robert Milligan, O.B.E., and Annie Milligan.

Sergeant (Pilot) Hugh Graham MontgomeryService Number 657862, was 28 years old when he died on 13th August 1943.

He was serving with the Royal Air Force and was the Son of Hugh Campbell Montgomery and Emilie Montgomery, of Knock, Belfast.

Pilot Officer Robert Love McKinney was serving with 58 Squadron, R.A.F.

He was along with Flying Officer Lawrence Barclay Davey when they took off from Stornoway in Halifax Bomber JP336 on 23 April 1945 at 20:15. 

At midnight the crew spotted a German convoy from Norway and sustained considerable damage by flak during its first attack resulting in the Pilot attempting to reach land however this proved impossible and the Halifax crashed into the sea northeast of Gjerrild in Djursland where it floated, burning, for half an hour. 

As Flying Officer Davey was escaping the aircraft he heard Co-Pilot F/Sgt Thomas Ernest Parker Rosenthal shouting for help so crawled into the wreck and assisted Rosenthal to escape.

Wireless Operators F/O John Vilhjalmur Johnson and Sgt Gerard Anthony Guinane got free of the aircraft, inflated their dinghy and rowed around to find the other 5 crew members without success.

Pilot Officer McKinney and Sergeant Cockroft have no known graves. (Thanks to Andy McKinney for this photograph of the Brothers)

Corporal John Henry Montgomery, Service Number 631441, was 26 years old when he died on 15th November 1945.

John was serving with the Royal Air Force and was the Son of Thomas William and Sarah Jane Montgomery.

Able Seaman Charles MurphyService Number D/JX214447, was 34 years old when he died on 14th April 1945 whilst serving with the Royal Navy.

Charles was the Son of Andrew J. Murphy and Mary J. Murphy, of Belfast and Husband of Alice Murphy, of Belfast.

Sub-Lieutenant Ronald Mervyn Orr was killed on Active Service on 8th November 1944.

He was 22 years old and serving on H.M.S. Odyssey.

Ronald had been awarded the George Medal and was the Son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Orr, of Armoy, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.

He is buried in the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery

Captain Charles Frederick Buick Pyper, Service Number 151601, was Killed in Action on 23rd September 1944 when serving with the  Leicestershire Regiment.

He was 27 years old and had been Mentioned in Despatches.

Charles was the Son of the Revd. James Pyper, and of Grace Pyper, of Leicester and is buried at Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, Italy.

Sergeant (Navigator (Bomber)) Joseph Norman Polland, Service Number 1485923, was 31 years old and serving with 138 (Special Duties) Squadron when he was killed.

He was aboard Halifax BB364, NF-R, which was involved in a Container Dropping Exercise above R.A.F. Henlow.

The aircraft struck tall chimneys at Arlesey Brickworks to the southeast of the target and crashed in flames with the loss of all nine aboard.

Joseph was the Son of Samuel and Sara Polland, of Belfast.

Private Marjorie Mary Smith, Service Number W/52292, was 21 years old and serving with  Auxiliary Territorial Service when she died on 15th September 1944.

Marjorie was the Daughter of Matthew and Margaret Smith, of Belfast.

Leading Aircraftman Joseph Wardle Savage, Service Number 1109070, was 20 years old and serving with  Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve when he died on 8th April 1941.

He was the Son of John and Mary Thompson Savage, of Belfast.

Private Robert Spence, Service Number 7018821, was 44 years old when he died on 24th September 1942.

Robert was serving with Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

He was the Son of Joseph and Jane Spence, of Belfast and Husband of Hester K. Spence, of Belfast.

Sergeant (Air Gunner) John Owens Winters, Service Number 1796389, was serving with  Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve when he died on 2nd December 1943.

John was the Son of Mrs. S. Winters, of Belfast.

Pilot Officer (Observer)Robert Camac SterlingService Number 77981, was Killed in Action when serving with 149 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

On the night of 22nd / 23rd July 1940 Robert was an Observer aboard Wellington T2459 which had taken off from R.A.F. Mildenhall to attack Gotha however when on the outward journed the aircraft was attacked by German BF110 aircraft and Pilot Officer was hit and killed. He was 22 years old.

Robert was the Son of David Colston Sterling and Jean Smyth Sterling, of Belfast.

Blitzed Families- The Tate Family

Ellen Ogle Tate (Nellie) 35 years, Bessie 16 years and Evelyn 14 years. All killed at 174 Manor Street, Belfast on 16th April 1941.

The Wilson Family

William Wilson 35 years, Sarah 60 years, Alexander 68 years, Ellen 37 years and Euphemia 21 years. All killed at 55 Eastland Street, Belfast on 16th April 1941.

Leading Aircraftman David Stanley Beattie was 19 years old and serving with the Royal Air Force in the United States of America when he was Killed on 21st May 1942. 

He is remembered on this family Headstone in Dundonald Cemetery.

Private Thomas Newell was from Newtownards and serving with 1st Battalion The Worcester Regiment when he was Killed in Action at Tobruk in Libya.

He is buried in Knightsbridge Cemetery, Acroma, Libya.

Sergeant Pilot John Nicholl was 25 years old and serving with 144 Squadron based at R.A.F. Hemswell.

On the night of 11th July 1941 he was part of the crew of Handley Page Hampden I AE119 which took-off from Hemswell on a mission to Wilhelmshaven.

During the return flight the aircraft crashed into high ground after breaking cloud Northeast of Hull, Yorkshire.

Of the crew two were injured and one uninjured whilst Sergeant Nicholl died from his injuries on 13th July 1941.

(Photograph and information from

Sergeant Observer Charles A. McNabb was Killed on Active Service on 24th June 1942 and was buried in Gwelo, South Rhodesia 

Sergeant Pilot David Kimberley Lovesy was 20 years old and serving with 150 Squadron. He is names on the Malta War Memorial in Valetta which can be seen in the Foreign Fields section of this website.

Sergeant Charles Hamilton was serving with 100 Squadron, Royal Air Force when he was Killed in Action on 3rd September 1943.

Gordon Thackwray Allison was serving as First Radio Officer aboard the Cargo Ship M.V. King Lud which was sailing from New York to Bombay with a Cargo of Government stores as well as transporting military personnel. The ship was torpedoed and sunk by the Japanese submarine I-10 in the Mozambique Channel 350 miles east of Beira with the loss of all on board. (Picture from

Private Frank Jobes had been married to Annie Elizabeth Jobes of Toronto, Ontario. He was serving with 48th Highlanders of Canada and was Killed in Action on 21st December 1943 during the Battle of Ortona in Italy.

Leading Aircraftman Robert Stanley Hegan was serving with 502 Squadron Royal Air Force.

On 6th January 1943 he was at R.A.F. St Eval and in a truck along with two other Leading Aircraftmen when it was struck by Whitley VII Z9379 killing all three. (IWM)

Flight Lieutenant Bannister took off from RAF Nutts Corner at 0450 hours on an anti-submarine patrol in Liberator I AM925 X of 120 Squadron, Coastal Command.

The aircraft failed to gain height, struck a radio mast situated in a field at the end of the east west runway leaving the tail behind, the remainder of the aircraft careered across three small fields and came to rest almost opposite the airfield communal site on the Belfast road. The Liberator caught fire and exploded.
The Crew were Flying Officer B S. Bannister DFC . Captain. Who was reported as being Injured. Sergeant W J. Wilson. Second pilot. Injured.
Pilot Officer W M. Densham. Navigator. Fatally injured. P/O. - Densham died on 20 February at No.31 General Hospital, Belfast.
Flying Officer H. Wakefield DFC. Navigator Injured.
Sergeant P. Welford. Navigator Killed.
Pilot Officer P G. Fuller. Wireless Operator / Air Gunner. Killed.
Sergeant A A. Middleton. Wireless Operator / Air Gunner. Killed.
Sergeant H. Mines. Wireless Operator / Air Gunner. Injured.
Sergeant J F. Waite. Wireless Operator / Air Gunner. Injured. - Sergeant J F. Waite was awarded the George Medal for his actions in rescuing Pilot Officer Densham from the blazing aircraft.!
It appears that Flight Lieutenant Bannister succumbed to his injuries. (Information from

St Elizabeths Church, Dundonald

James Ewart Beckett, H.M.S. Avenger


James was serving as a Supply Assistant aboard H.M.S. Avenger.

The ship had been involved in Operation Torch before going to Gibraltar for some work to be carried out on her engines.

Avenger left Gibraltar on 14th November 1944 to return to Britain however she was attacked by German U-Boat U-155 at 03.20 the following morning.

Only one torpedo struck however the ship was severely damaged and sunk with the loss of 516 men including James Beckett who is remembered on this Memorial in Dundonald.

An aerial photograph of H.M.S. Avenger is shown below (Wiki)

Flight Sergeant (Pilot) George Lynas Hosford G.M.

Son of Charles Maxwell Hosford and Eleanor Whitely Hosford, of Tottenham, Middlesex.

Flight Sergeant Flight Sergeant Hosford was a Pilot with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Service No: 1283824. 
He was awarded the George Medal for his actions as described in the London Gazette 29 December 1942 and shown below:-

Sergeant Hosford was in charge of a party which laid a flare path and loaded bombs on to a squadron of aircraft when they were operating from an airfield one night in June, 1942. The bombers had taken off from a nearby landing ground and, soon afterwards, enemy aircraft commenced to drop flares and bombs in the neighbourhood. The attack continued throughout the night. At 23.00 hours our bombers commenced to arrive back, landing at the airfield, to be re-fuelled and reloaded for a second sortie. One of the aircraft, when taking off on its second operation, received a direct hit by an enemy bomb; a terrific explosion occurred and the aircraft burst into flames. Three members of the crew escaped through the pilot's escape hatch, whilst the rear gunner, who was badly injured but had managed to free himself from his turret, was assisted by Sergeant Hosford to get clear of the aircraft. The bombs on the aircraft began to explode but, despite the great danger, Sergeant Hosford returned to the blazing wreckage for the wireless operator, who was lying seriously injured close to it and dragged him to a nearby vehicle. The vehicle was badly damaged and, although Sergeant Hosford had not driven before, he succeeded in driving the vehicle away from the danger area. During the whole of this time enemy aircraft were overhead bombing and machine gunning the blazing aircraft. Afterwards to enable our bombers to land when returning from operations, Sergeant Hosford helped to relay a flare path, which he manned for the rest of the night. He displayed courage and devotion to duty of a very high standard and undoubtedly saved two lives.

Flight Sergeant Hosford G.M. was killed flying Wellington X3890 of 16 Operational Training Unit based at RAF Upper Heyford when the aircraft crashed during a training flight at Brown Clee Hill near Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

Hosford G.M. had previously flown 42 Operations with 104 Squadron before becoming a pilot instructor at 16 OTU. 

Dundonald Village Crossroads

This photograph shows a Willys Jeep, American Military Vehicle, passing through Dundonald Village in 1944. (Thanks to Ed Kate)

Holywood War Memorial

The surroundings of the War Memorial in Holywood used to look considerable different to how the same scene looks today.
Construction of the War Memorial was finished on 28th January 1922 and was formally Dedicated in 1st July 1923 being the Anniversary of the opening day of the Battle of The Somme.
With the need for metal during the Second World War the railings which surrounded the Memorial along with both  German Field Cannons were removed and smelted down to assist the War Effort. (Thanks very much to Robin Masefield)

Redburn House, Holywood.

Redburn House had once been a very grand estate owned by the Dunville Whiskey family.

During the Second World War it was acquired by the Air Ministry and used as accommodation for Womens Royal Air Force personnel.

I believe there was also a Military Hospital at this site. - The old house has now been demolished and an Old Peoples Home built on the site however, as my pictures show, the old stable block remains and is worth a look. Be advised that if you venture into the Country Park there is some very steep climbing!

R.A.F. in Holywood

The Royal Air Force had 55 Maintenance Unit Equipment Park based at what they referred to as Ballymenoch House, Holywood between October 1940 and September 1943.

The original Ballymenoch House had been destroyed by fire in 1913 and the replacement Eventide House, which is shown here, was built as a replacement in a slightly different location.

This old Building stands behind what is now known as Sir Samuel Kelly Memorial Home.

Ballymenoch Park, Holywood

Some interesting items have been found in Ballymenoch Park.

The items shown here may relate to the Military usage of Ballymenoch Park. Firstly there is a Royal Air Force Button. Then there is a complete military Belt Buckle and on the right is a whistle. Interestingly it is a British made Acme Thunderer whictle which has an American 5 Cents on each side.

(Thanks very much to Norman and Michael for these pictures and information)

R.A.F. Bomber in Holywood Town Centre

The first photograph shows a Royal Air Force Bristol Bombay Bomber.

The Pilot had made a forced landing at Clandeboye and this picture was taken on 21st March 1942 showing the aircraft, which has been partly dismantled, at the junction of Church Road and High Street as it was being taken for examination and repair.

My photograph shows the same location today. (I.W.M. Picture)

Kinnegar Base Depot, Holywood.

Kinnegar, which can be seen between the Belfast to Bangor rail line and the North Down coastline, was an Army Ordnance Depot during the war. - In 1942 it was home to a detachment of 109th Quartermaster Battalion (Service Company) as well as 314th Quartermaster Motor Transport Supply Depot of the United States Army.

There was also an Anti-Aircraft Battery on site.

In the old map above left you can see Kinnegar on the left side of the railway line with Palace Barracks, Holywood on the right.

Note that there are three Shooting Ranges marked as being at Kinnegar with all of the targets being in the area of where the Water Treatment Plant now stands.

(Thanks very much to Charles Griffiths)

The photograph above shows John (Jack) Chambers of the Ulster Home Guard.

This photograph is believed to have been taken at Kinnegar in 1943. (Many thanks to Richard Chambers for this photograph of his Dad)

Above is the photograph of Welliam Edgar Seale from his Indetification Card when he was performing Security Duties at Killegar Depot from 1961.

Previous to that he had served in the Royal Navy from 1940 until 1961.  (Thanks to Valerie McGimpsey)

Kinnegar was the base for Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineere - R.E.M.E. Top right men are shown repairing Assault Boats. J. Blair from Londonderry is seen closest to the camera with the upper man being H. Rennie from Aberdeen.

Craftsman Pennington is above left he is from Newtownstewart and to the right is Craftsman McKinstrey from Strabane. (IWM Pictures)

Craftsman Lewis of Bournemouth working on a Burrows Adding Machine above left. Above right Sergeant Hotchin is a wireless Mechanic at Kinnegar. (IWM)

Craftsman Sykes is a Wireless mechanic and on the right Driver Corporal Osborne, Lance Corporal Bolton and Craftsman Bradley work on a Truck. (IWM Pictures)

Corporal Hunt reboring a cylinder with Craftsman G. Reid from Belfast on the right getting Instruction in the Carpenters shop at Kinnegar. (IWM Pictures)

Craftsman Jones on the left is arc welding with Craftsman Shelley on the right is also welding. Both at Kinnegar. (IWM Pictures)

Staff Sergeant Boyce from Comber on the left spraying metal onto worn parts. Craftsman McGrane on the right is a Diesil Engine Expert. Photographed at Kinnegar on 4th December 1942. (IWM Photos)

Punching Sheet Metal. Craftsman Hanley and Lance Corporal Snowdon. Craftsman Hawkins is soldering Petrol Tanks. Kinnegar 4th December 1942 (IWM Pictures)

Overhauling a Diesil Engine. Craftsman Bell and Craftsman Gough are seen on the left. Craftsman Stacey and Craftsman Tosher are repairing an engine on the right. (IWM)

Craftsman Fisher with Sergeant Darragh from Belfast are shown putting an engine into a Valentine Tank on the left. Sergeant Wiltshire is examining a Vickers Machinegun. Photographs taken at Kinnegar on 4th December 1942. (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

Craftsman Shortt of Liverpool Repairing Optical Instruments on the left. To the right are Staff Sergeant Maudsley from Lancashire and Craftsman Gillard from Hull who are involved in Radio Maintenance. (IWM Pictures)

Craftsman Gilbert of Ely, Cambridge welding the spring on an Army Bedstead on 16th June 1943. (IWM Picture)

This motorcycle is a B.S.A. M20 whichstill has its R.E.M.E. Workshops, Kinnegar Brass Plate! (Thanks to  Nigel Bodimeade)

Holywood Wings For Victory Campaign

(Thanks to North Down Museum)

Found in the Seapark Area of Holywood

The Mortar Fin is marked FDLtd meaning Frys Diecasting. It was manufactured in February 1940.

The Princess pat tin is a Rouge Purse Compact made in Chicago, Illinois. Second World War vintage it is thought to have belonged to a U.S. Military Nurse who arrived with the American Forces in Northern Ireland.

The Sports Medal and Badge all relate to the Royal Artillery. (Thanks very much to Michael and Norman)

Palace Barracks, Holywood.

(From the Images of Old Northern Ireland Facebook Page)

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal Stranmillis Hospital A.T.S. Palace Barracks 7th A.A. Group Signal Company (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

Photographs taken on 14th October 1942.

Here is a photograph of Palace Barracks as seen from the southeast with some of the old barrack blocks visible near the green topped clock tower.

Palace Barracks was home to Number 2 Young Soldiers Training Centre of the General Service Corps which had its name later changed to Number 28 Training Battalion.

During the war there were 10 large Barrack Blocks in which each room held 30 men. Only a few of these blocks remain and are clearly visible from aircraft using Belfast City Airport.

There was also a Prisoner of War Camp on the opposite side of Jackson Road where the Loughview Housing Estate now stands.

In 1942 it was known by U.S. Personnel as Disciplinary Training Centre Number 1 however in 1944 it became Disciplinary Training Centre Number 5.

Other United States Army Units based there were Company A 301st Quartermaster Battalion (Sterilization) (5 Corps) as well as 209th Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) and in May to November 1942 79th Ordnance Companyy (Depot) (5 Corps)

Another view of Palace Barracks with the Clock Tower left of centre. This is taken from the front of the Barracks.

No Christmas Bird for Private Millburn from Palace Barracks (Thanks very much to Robin Abbott)

Army Dental Laboritory at Palace Barracks.

Dental Mechanics are shown in the Plaster Room and Packing Room above then the Vulcanising Room bottom left and setting up soldiers teth below right. (IWM Pictures)

Frank Abbott Stationed in Holywood

Frank Abbott from Sutton Coldfield, England enlisted on 29th July 1940 at Nuneaton. He was posted to Bedworth on 12th August 1940 serving with 59th (Warwickshire) Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery before going to Orkney on 17th December 1941.

Frank was serving with 148 Light Anti-Aircraft. They were armed with 40 mm Bofors A.A guns and he was posted to Holywood on 19th September 1942.

He was listed as being at Killough (See County Down Part 6) at the time of his promotion to Sergeant  with 10th light A.A Battery.

Frank was with 4th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery at Vreden on the Dutch German border and he ended the war as acting Regimental Sergeant Major being demobbed on 21st December 1945. 

(Thanks very much to Dave O'Brien)

Stanley Martin From Holywood

(Colourised photograph above thanks to Jeff Hobson)

Stanley is seen in the U.K. in the photograph above.

Sergeant Stanley Martin joined the Royal Corps of Signals in Holywood in 1941.
He subsequently served with Special Boat Squadron.
Along with Major Jellico and other S.B.S. men they would make covert landings on enemy occupied Greek Islands.
Then they would attack various important installations and enemy troops prior to a proposed large attack.

The lady in the background of the picture is "Babs" who was an A.T.S. Driver (Thanks very much to Robert Martin)

Stanley is shown above and below when in Egypt. With a Truck on the left and with some S.B.S. Colleagues enjoying a Beer on the right.

Stanley is on right of picture on the right.

Stanley is seen in picture on the left with his hand bandaged. (Thanks very much to Robert Martin for pictures and information)

Holywood Cemetery

Frank Mason was serving with 9th Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment when he died on 9th February 1941.

Archibald Joseph Adolphus Holt was a Private in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps when he lost his life on 5th May 1941.

William Fox was a Fusilier in the 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he died on 16th June 1941.

There are a number of headstones here which are of interest.

Serjeant Benjamin Beeby was serving with 2nd Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers. He was the Husband of Martha Beeby from Holywood.

Fusilier Frederick Bloomfield was serving with 6th Battalion, Royal inniskilling Fusiliers.

Bombardier Thomas Wesley Boyd was serving with 316 Battery, 102 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery.

He was the son of Robert and Ann Jane Boyd and the husband of Margaret Boyd. Bombardier Boyd was 48 years old when he died.

Major Walter Raleigh Draper was serving with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps when he died.

Marine Samuel Clydesdale was a DEMS Gunner aboard the Lady Glanely which was a British Cargo Motor Vessel. On the 2nd December 1940 the ship was part of a Convoy from Vancouver via Panama and Bermuda to London carrying a cargo of 2,000 tons of wheat and 6,125 tons of lumber when it was torpedoed by German U-Boat U-101.

The ship was sunk with the loss of all on board including Marine Samuel Clydesdale. (

Sergeant Alexander L. Quillan died on 4th June 1943 and Private Alfred Hayes, who was serving with 6th (Home Defence) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles lost his like on 6th February 1940.

Sergeant Pilot John Cecil Brandon Irwin was born on 13th October 1919 and was the Son of George and Lucinda Irwin from Craigavad, County Down.


He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Service Number 951459, on 1st May 1939 and was called up for Active Service on 22nd June 1940 as Aircraftman Second Class before being promoted to Leading Aircraftman and then Sergeant Pilot serving with 57 Squadron.

On 3rd July 1941 Sergeant Irwin was the Pilot of Vickers Wellington 1C R1589 which took off from R.A.F. Feltwell on a Mission to bomb the Airfield at Gilze Rijen which is between Breda and Tilburg in Holland.

It is believed that this was Sergeant Irwin's first Operation as Captain and all of the other Crew Members had only arrived at Feltwell the previous month from Number 12 Operational Training Unit.

Weather was recorded as being "Cloudy with some rain" as the aircraft joined thirteen others in departing on their mission at 23.30hrs and whilst all the others headed for Essen Sergeant Irwin set a course for Holland.

Having lost contact with R.A.F. Feltwell the aircraft crashed at 00.13 on 4th July 1941 just five miles from the airfield.

Of the crew of 6 only the Rear Gunner, Sergeant W.J. Poulton survived although seriously injured.

The Accident Report stated that the Pilot may have had Air Speed Indicator difficulties.

The Bomb Load had been:- 2 x Small Bomb Containers, 6 x 500Lbs Bombs and 1 x 250 Lbs Bomb.

Flight Lieutenant William Thomas Irwin was serving with Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

He was Pilot of Halifax II HR728 LX-D from 51 Squadron which had taken off from R.A.F. Snaith at 18.10hrs on 3rd October 1943 on a mission to Kassel in Central Germany.

The aircraft later crashed at Wietersheim to the west of Hanover with the loss of all on board.

(Thanks to Information from and Thanks to Mike Scott and Tony Osborne)

Captain John Fraser Jefferson was aboard the Steam Tanker Cadillac when she left Halifax, Nova Scotia on 13th February as partof convoy HX - 109. 

Tragically the convoy became scattered due to a strong gale and heavy snow showers on the night of 26/27 February. At 10.23 hours on 1 March Cadillac was spotted by U-Boat U-552 which began to stalk its prey.

Commander C.D. Howard-Johnston D.S.C. aboard H.M.S. Malcolm was directed to the various stragglers by a Sunderland aircraft and gathered five ships together which then continued in line abreast formation with Cadillac as the outermost ship on the port side.

At 23.56 hours on 1st March 1941 Cadillac was hit on the port side amidships and further aft by two torpedoes fired from U-552 when approximately 150 miles north-northeast of Rockall. 

The tanker immediately caught fire and a large explosion soon followed. 

The Cadillac was last seen still blazing with a list to starboard and down by the head in 60°20N/12°18W at 05.30 hours on 2 March 1941.

Captain Jefferson, 31 crew members and two gunners as well as three passengers were all lost. 

Amazingly five members of the crew survived however four of them were badly burned and were landed at Stornoway in the morning of 3 March to be taken to a hospital as quickly as possible but one of then subsequently succumbed to his wounds.

The boatswain was brought to Londonderry to make a report and was then also taken to a hospital for treatment of his burns. (Thanks to

Warrant Officer Pilot Thomas Francis Jefferson was killed in Miles Martinet I aircraft MS583 of 1617 Flight which came down in the sea off Killough, County Down following an engine failure. The aircraft was from RAF Newtonards and the crash happened at approx 10.00 hours. The pilot ,Warrant Officer Jefferson, No.1062362 was drowned and the body was subsequently recovered at approx 13.00 hours and conveyed to RAF Bishops Court, Mortuary before being removed to RAF Newtonards Mortuary. 

(Information from RAF Commands)

Private Samuel Kirkham was serving with the Durham Light Infantry when he died. 

Rifleman John McFarland was serving with 70th Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles when he died on 23rd October 1941.

Pilot Officer (Pilot) Ian Lindsay Munce was the Captain of Liberator GR.VI aircraft KG913 serving with 220 Squadron, R.A.F.
On 8th March 1945 he took off from Lagens, Azores at 0554 to take part in an air-sea rescue mission however the starboard outer propeller struck the runway during take-off. The aircraft swung violently to the right and crashed in flames before the pilot had time to regain control. 

Aboard were:- 186936 Pilot Officer and Captain, Ian Lindsay MUNCE RAFVR +

1159989 Flight Sergeant Pilot Leslie John BENCE RAFVR +
1605452 Flight Sergeant / Flight Engineer Frederick Charles Dorey EVANS RAFVR + 
J/36819 Flying Officer First Navigator Harry Demerse LARONDE RCAF +
1671632 Sergeant Second Navigator Alan Dowson DODD RAFVR +
AUS422812 Warrant Officer Wireless Operator and Air Gunner Neville Vincent RYAN RAAF + -  He had volunteered to take the place of a sick wireless-operator.
1533556 Flight Sergeant Wireless Operator and Air Gunner E E SMITH RAFVR - Seriously injured
R/223182 Flight Sergeant Wireless Operator and Air Gunner H R DOBBIE RCAF - Seriously injured
1895730 Sergeant Air Gunner Ronald George HERRING RAFVR +
3006273 Sergeant Air Gunner George Arthur REEVE RAFVR + 

All of the dead are buried in Lajes War Cemetery, Azores. (Thanks to RAF Commands)

Private Leonard Stanley Reid was serving with 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. He was the Son of Florence and from Southfields in London.

Driver Sidney John Wren was 23 years old and the Son of George and Annie Wren from Stanstead, Essex.

Groomsport House.

515 Field Survey Company, Royal Engineers were formed in Aldershot in January 1940.

On 2nd July 1940 the Unit received orders to move to Northern Ireland and were subsequently based at Sunningdale Camp in Belfast.

On 1st August 1940 they moved to Groomsport House which is shown here.

While at Groomsport the Unit carried out a range survey of nearby Orlock and between 10th and 19th of April 1942 had a survey exercise in Omagh.

August 1942 saw them busy with surveys of Coastal Defence Batteries as well as drawing Lough Erne and the Following February they surveyed for Anti-Aircraft batteries in Larne and again at Orlock before moving to Surrey in June 1943.

The 166th Signal Photo Company, United States Army

Became operational on 5th April 1943 with 21 officers and 84 men.

On 26th February 1944 they left New York aboard Susan B. Anthony and arrived in Belfast on 9th March.

Home for the next few months was in Groomsport where they were assigned to the Third Army. 

With the huge movement of Armed forces to Southern England in preparation for D-day 166th Signal Photo Company joined the exodus on May 6th unaware that within a month they would be in Normandy!

Mobile Map Making Unit - 515 Field Survey Company, Royal Engineers based at Groomsport.

These photographs were taken on 29th November 1941. (IWM Pictures)

Coating a zinc plate for map making purposes whilst second soldier is proving a plate.

Developing a plate and loading paper into a Printing machine. (IWM Pictures)

166th Signal Photographic Company at Groomsport House

It seems that when this Photographic Unit was their they took some photographs and I have attempted to take comparrisons.

Shown above is "Mail Call" at the old Groomsport House which has changed considerably since then. With the help of the lady who lives there I have been told that my picture below is the same location.

These are a couple of scenic pictures taken by the Soldiers. The Boathouse in the picture avove remains. Of the Harbour Picture below I believe one of these little cottages must now be Cockle Row.

The picture above shows a Schoolboy relaxing with some of the American Soldiers. In the photograph below the Soldiers are forming up at Groomsport House ready to leave.

(Thanks very much to Hunter Miertschin and the John Blankenhorn Collection Provided by Virginia Blankenhorn)

The Schoolboy in this photograph above is Peter Carey. He had been evacuated from Guernsey, Channel Islands along with his Mother and Brothers. 

Peter is seen speaking with an American Soldier who is Sergeant John S. Blankenhorn from Pasadena, California.

John was born on 31st August 1913 and is wearing spectacles and no helmet.

Peter Carey and John Blankenhorn became great friends and Peter travelled to California to attend the Funeral of John Blankenhorn in 1998 with John Blankenhorn's Daughter, Virginia attending the funeral of Peter Carey in London in 2018.

All of the photographs which were printed and the full resolution one here were from the John Blankenhorn Collection.

He was serving as a cameraman with 166th Signal Photographic Company, U.S. Army which was only in Groomsport from 11th March until 25th April 1944.

It is believed that the Carey Family returned to Guernsey following the liberation.

Peter had two brothers, two children and three grandsons who are all still living in the south of England.

John Blankenhorn and his Wife were in contact with Peter's mother during the war, because young Peter had brought the Yank back to the house to show him off to her! Peter was about eight years old at the time.

The friendship between the two families has lasted over seventy years, and when Virginia Blankenhorn moved here to the United Kingdom in the mid 1970's she became very close to Peter and his wife and family -- they were like a second family to her!

Sergeant John S. Blankenhorn and his Military Service.

He enlisted in 1942 and after much training in the United States his Unit sailed on the Susan B. Anthony for service in the European Theatre of Operations at the beginning of 1944 landing in Belfast on 9th March.

When writing home he was only permitted to say he was "Somewhere in Northern Ireland" and his descriptions well worth repeating -"We are somewhere in Northern Ireland housed in an enormous great cold gloomy manor house with a façade which suggests the England of Hugh Walpole or Warwick Deeping. What a line they must have had to the plumbing during a big house party!"

This was from a letter dated 9th March 1944 then two days later he wrote "We had a train ride in the course of events leading to our arrival here at Draftee Manor. The trains defy description: very tiny, they are whisked around with tremendous flourish by equally small engines with soprano whistles...."

Describing the encounter with Peter Carey on the beach:

"Our presence has attracted a considerable number of small ten-year-old boys and the other night one of them invited me to come home with him and meet his mother.

She is the wife of a British officer who is away on duty and has left his family here.

I was given a cup of tea and some adult conversation and bidden back on Saturday.

Yesterday I went and besides the tea was also treated to conversation with two other British wives and a Scots Painter and his wife. A great pleasure and an education in one.

Civilians here really have problems, particularly where clothes, food and heat are concerned – not that they are naked, starved or frozen, but a policy of 'barely enough' seems to be in effect.

Clothes are dull as dishwater and strictly utilitarian, and all four women get dreamy-eyed over the prospect of bright colors, decent stockings (even rayon is exceedingly rare) and feminine shoes.

Dowdy is how they look, and they just can't help it.

Did I tell you we are by the sea? It's a help because I can sit and look at it and forget where I am and what I am doing as a profession and just dream about [my] wife...." (letter 19 Mar 1944).

"Life is pretty much like our old post except no Sunday morning breakfasts with fresh eggs and I live in a Nissan hut (only part of the Co. lives in the Manor House). It rains nearly, or should I say every, day but its funny cause it never rains hard like buckets full; just good, constant, mildew-forming dank and everlasting dew.... I wish I were more of a sight-seer so I would explore more, but it sort of leaves me cold to go gallivanting around peering at old wonders and taking pictures of same. ...

I still see Mrs Carey, and drink her tea and eat her eggs (two so far) – I should explain here that the eggs are originally chickens and belong to Mrs Carey on account of she bought 'em. We have been invited to stay in the island of Guernsey with them after the war...." (19 Apr 1944)

(Thanks very much to Virginia Blankenhorn for the information and photographs from Sgt. John S. Blankenhorn, 166 Signal Photographic Co., U. S. Army)

Lieutenant Commander W R Patterson, OBE, DSC, RN from Bangor.

William Robert Patterson was known as Billy Patterson and was one of a number of the Patterson Family who served with the Senior Service.
C. D. (Charlie) Patterson had been in the Paymaster Corps, Kirkwall and at Scapa Flow during the First World War.
Wilfred Rupert Patterson had served in both the First and Second World Wars. He was Captain of HMS King George V during the hunt for the Bismarck.
Kathleen Westray Patterson was a WREN on the Plotting tables at the Belfast Castle during the Second World War.
Billy Patterson had his Naval Interview in 1923 and was accepted into Dartmouth College.
Between April 1927 - February 1933 he served as Cadet, Midshipman and Sub Lieutenant.
In March 1933 he was appointed Lieutenant.
During 1938 - 1939 he was Superintending the completion of HMS Jersey.
On 7th December 1939 HMS Jersey was torpedoed astern and towed to Hull for repairs.
Billy received the OBE for his actions in helping to save the ship.
Between March - December 1940 he was Superintending repairs to HMS Jersey at Hull.
On 15th May 1940 Billy married Elizabeth Jane Gordon-Jones and in March 1941 he was appointed Lieutenant Commander HMS Jersey.
April 5 1941 Additional for duty outside the Admiralty with the Director of Plans.
On 11th April 1941 he was econded to SS Parracombe for a solo run with supplies to Malta however on 2nd May 1941 SS Parracombe hits a mine in the Mediterranean Sea and sank.
There were some survivors although Billy was lost. He was 31 years old.
On the same day, HMS Jersey was fourth in line and on entering the Grand Harbour in Valetta, Malta she detonated a magnetic mine and sank quickly.
On St. Patricks Day, 17th March 1942 C D Patterson ( Charlie ) attended Buckingham Palace to receive the Distinguished Service Cross which had been awarded posthumously to Billy Patterson.
Lieutenant Commander William Robert Patterson is commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent, on Groomsport and District War Memorial and on the Vestry Door of Groomsport Parish Church of Ireland Church as well as Glencraig Parish Church of Ireland Church and in Royal Belfast Academical Institution.
(Thanks very much to Bill Allen)

Red Indians in Donaghadee!

John Brian Lennon Bobby Moore, Amelia Ogram nee Moore, Margaret Lennon, Sadie Allen and Cyril Moore with two Navaho Indians who were serving with the U.S. Army. Photograph taken at the rear of Bow Street, Donaghadee.

Portavoe House, Donaghadee.

Portavoe House was used as a base by the United States Army "Field Force Replacement Depot 8, Casual Detachment 41".

Royal Engineers in Donaghadee

(Thanks to Thomas K Neill at Donaghadee History and geneology)

Air Training Corps. Donaghadee

Old Royal Ulster Constabulary Station, Donaghadee

This is an Air Raid Shelter which was built at the rear left side (When Looking towards the building from the road) of the old Royal Ulster Constabulary Station in Donaghadee.

The other pictures show the small front wall of the Station and you can see where a metal railing has been removed during the WW2 campaign to collect metal for use in the War Effort.

Rosebank House, Donaghadee

As with most of Northern Ireland the town of Donaghadee had its part to play during the war.

As well as 57 Air Sea Rescue Unit of the Royal Air Force which was based at the Harbour there were British Army personel billeted in the old Orange Hall.

The building shown here is known as Rosebank House and was commandeered for military use.

My research shows that Rosebank was used by Detachment E, 162d Signal Photographic Company of the United States Army.

Other United States Military Units in Donaghadee were 436th Medical Collecting Company of 15 Corps as well as this being the Companies Headquarters.

Landing Craft in Donaghadee Harbour

On the left of this photograph can be seen LCA449 which was a Landing Craft Assault.

The lovement of this craft can be seen below.

5/8/42. Completed. Built by W. H. Gazes Ltd, Kingston-On-Thames.
11/8/42. LCA (Unallocated). Portsmouth Command. Northney.
1/9/42. Embarked in Daffodil for passage. Clyde Area.
6/10/42. Embarked in Royal Scotsman. Clyde Area.
29/12/42. Western Mediterranean Station.

2/2/43. Embarked in Royal Scotsman. Western Mediterranean Station.
16/3/43. Embarked in Royal Scotsman. Western Mediterranean Station.
6/4/43. LCA (Unallocated). Western Approaches Command. Royal Scotsman getting refit. Southampton.
7/9/43. Mediterranean Station.

1/2/44. 575 Assault Flotilla. Embarked in M.V. Ascania. Western and Central Mediterranean Station.
5/6/44. 575 Assault Flotilla. Embarked in M.V. Ascania. Western and Central Mediterranean.
7/8/44. 575 Assault Flotilla. Embarked in S.S. Ascania. Mediterranean Station.
25/12/44. HMS Monck. Operational Pooled Reserve. Western Approaches Command. Clyde Area.

5/3/45. 553 Assault Flotilla. HMS Brontosaurus. Western Approaches Command. Clyde Area.
4/6/45. Operational Pooled Reserve. Western Approaches Command. Glasgow.
3/9/45. Operational Pooled Reserve. Held by HMS Monck. Western Approaches Command. Clyde Area.
18/12/45. Surplus British Craft. Rosyth Command. Inveraray.

18.04.46. Sold.

The photograph was taken on 3rd June 1946 shortly after her purchase. 

(Picture from Northern Ireland Historical Photographical Society)

Gunner Harris Buried in Donaghadee

Gunner John Cecil Beresford Harris died on 9th December 1940 when he was 27 years old.

He had been serving with 71 Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery and was the Son of 

Henry Kingsford Harris, M.A., M.I.E.E., F.R.S.A. and Cecile Blanche Kingsford Harris, of Notting Hill Gate, London.

United States Navy "The Lone Sailor" Bangor

This is a miniature replica statue of the larger version which is found in the United States.

The top line says "Our Home Away From Home" and this was presented by Admiral James F. Miller of the United States Navy to Alderman Brian Wilson who was Mayor of North Down on the 50th Anniversary of D-Day in 1994.

This is now housed in an iluminated glass case at North Down Museum in Bangor

1st Armored Division, United States Army in Spa

The plaque shown here is on display in the Masonic Hall in Spa Village.

It refers to Company D, 81st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Armored Division, United States Army who were based within the Masonic Hall as well as the surrounding area prior to embarking on Campaigns in both North Africa and Italy.

The plaque was unveiled by Veteran Laurel E. Anderson who served with the Unit.

(Thanks very much to Barry Brewster for providing information and photograph.)

Shown on the right is the Distinctive Unit Insignia of 81st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Armored Division with the motto "Firm and Watchful"

Drumbeg Church.

Sergeant Frederick George Thomas McGahey was 19 years old when he died on 9th July 1941.

He had been with 53 Operational Training Unit and was flying Spitfire Mk. 1 P9383 from R.A.F. Llandow when he crashed at Colwinston, Glamorgan.

Sergeant Pilot Frederick Samuel Diplock was in Oxford R6379 on a Night Exercise at Leaconfield Airfield when the aircraft made a sharp turn and then dived approximately 200 feet into the ground.

Flying Officer Andrew Victor Sproule Wilson was with 41 Operational Training Unit on 14th February 1942 when he was flying North American Mustang AG400

Whilst heading for R.A.F. Hawarden he crashed into Flintshire's highest hill - Moel Famau.

George Balfour Sydney Jackson was an Acting / Leading Airman with the Fleet Air Arm FAA / FX80569 Daedalus and was on passage on board the Almera star Steamship when it was torpedoed and sunk by U-96 in the North Atlantic.

Fusilier Samuel Lucas was serving with 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in Action on 18th January 1944 at Monte Casino, Italy.

He was laid to rest in Minturno Cemetery, Italy.

Sergeant Pilot Walter F Rusk was in a Hart Special K4368 with Number 7 Flight Training School when the aircraft flew into the ground at Tilton on the Hill, Leicestershire.

Sergeant Pilot Maurice Patrick Rusk was flying Spitfire Mk Vb, Serial Number BL408 of 222 (Natal) Squadron, Royal Air Force when it crashed during an Air Test at R.A.F. North Weald on 27th January 1942.

George Robinson was serving with the Merchant Navy when he was Killed at Sea on 22nd January 1941.

His Son George R. was also serving with the Merchant Navy when he was Lost at Sea on 2nd December 1940.

The Headstone on  the left is that of Flying Officer Arthur Peter Buckley Holmes who was serving with 502 Squadron R.A.F. based at Aldergrove.

At 12.22 on 23rd January 1941 he was Navigator aboard Armstrong Whitworth Whitley aircraft P5041, YG-C which took off from R.A.F. Aldergrove to provide Escort for Convoy HG50. 

The Convoy had left Gibraltar and was heading for Liverpool.

After escorting the Convoy for over three house it was time to return to base however with poor weather conditions the aircraft became lost and flew into high ground near  Balmavicar which is Northwest of Beinn na Lice on the Mull of Kintyre.

The Pilot of this aircraft was Flight Lieutenant Philip Leslie Billing who was buried in St Aiden's Church of Ireland Churchyard, Glenavy and his Headstone can also be seen on this website.

Ian Fraser was a very highly regarded Surgeon who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps throughout the Second World War.

Having been appointed Lieutenant-Colonel he was in charge of the Surgical Division of the 37th General Hospital, running a 1000-bed hospital at Accra, on the Gold Coast.

Promoted to full Colonel in 1942 he was a Consulting Surgeon to the West Africa Command.

In 1943 he set up a research team to study of the effects of penicillin on trauma cases in the battlefield and travelled to the North African and later Italian theatres of war where he frequently performed operations just behind the front lines. On one occasion he did this for 48 hours without a break. 

He was involved in landings at Cape Passero and Catania in Sicily, and Reggio di Calabria and Salerno in Italy.

In January 1944, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for "gallant, fearless and devoted action" during the Sicily landings and the development of "a new technique employed for the first time in forward surgery" which had "established a new and most valuable wound treatment". 

In March 1944 he was acting Consultant Surgeon to Eastern Command in preparation for the Normandy invasion of June 1944, in which he took part, landing at Arromanches two days after D-Day, and setting up advance surgical stations of the 108th General Hospital at Bayeux. 

In October 1944 he was appointed consultant surgeon to Central Command, Agra, India, and promoted Brigadier.

The Sir Ian Fraser Theatre at the Royal Victoria Hospital was named for him in 1982. His portrait by Carol Graham is on display in the Great Hall, Queen's University, Belfast.


Edenderry House - Which is now part of Banbridge Academy was used for billets by military personel with one of the first units who arrived there being the Liverpool Scottish.

There were a number of nissen huts in the grounds until some years ago when they were removed and the land converted to playing fields.

The "Moorlands" House on Castlewellan Road was also used as a Military base and had nissen huts.

The nearby Chinauley House was, for a time, Headquarters for the Kings Own Rifles and training took place in the fields on the opposite side of the road.

Various concrete paths and basses for Huts can be seen as well as the 12 cubicle Toilet Block shown here.

A pontoon bridge was constructed to cross the river, which was also part of an Assault Course while shooting practice took place in the same area.

This selection of photographs show men of 13th Battalion, The Royal Welch Fusiliers, part of 72 Independent Infantry Brigade taking part in Battle Training at Banbridge 

(IWM Photographs)

This is what was known as "The Nut Bank" where shooting took place.

Second World War Buildings in General Area

Following the war lots of ex Military Buildings were made available, particularly to the farming Community. The red brick building above was constructed using bricks from old Military Sites.

This building is actually two Nissen Huts put together. You can still see the original cream paint on the inside.

Rifleman George William Bell from Banbridge.

George Bell was serving with 1st Airborne Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles when he was Killed in Action on 24th March 1945 during Operation Varsity.
The Rifles had been tasked to seize a bridge over the River Issel immediately East of Hammenkeln along with a Railway Station and Level Crossing.
All were achieved.
He is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery and my photograph of his headstone can be seen in the Foreign Fields Section of this website.
(Thanks very much to Anne Cairns Chambers)

General Patton in Mourne Mountains

This photograph shows General Patton speaking with soldiers of 10th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army in the Mourne Mountains on 30th March 1944.

(Pictures from Histomil website)

Two photographs Patton's rousing speeches in Northern Ireland during 1944.

(From and

British Soldiers Training in the Mourne Mountains

The Duke of Gloucester is seen above right with Brigadier Christie and Major General Wilson watching Firing Practice on 21st April 1941 (Imperial War Museum Photographs)

Aircraft Crash Sites in Mourne Mountains

Slieve Commedagh

Vickers Wellington Mk.1c X9820 from 105 (Transport) Operational Training Unit, R.A.F. can be found at Grid Reference 434 286.

Flight Sergeant J. S. Price (Royal New Zealand Air Force) was Pilot

Sergeant H. T. A. Walters Navigator

Sergeant T. Brewin Wireless Operator / Air Gunner

Having taken off from R.A.F. Bramcote, Warwickshire on 12th September 1943 the Crew were involved in a Navigation Exercise when they were flying in cloud and struck the mountain.

The Impact point can be seen by a scar on a grassy slope on the northern side of the Mourne Wall with a scattering of wreckage.

There were no survivors.

De Havilland Mosquito NS966 from 60 Operational Training Unit R.A.F. crashed on 12th / 13th January 1945 at Grid Reference 345 281.

Flight Lieutenant Robert MacKENZIE R.A.F.V.R. was Pilot
Flying Officer John Gordon FARAGHER R.A.F.V.R. was Navigator

They had taken off from R.A.F. High Ercall and were on a Training Flight at Night when they crashed into the mountain.

Some wreckage can be seen at The Castles.

Thomas’s Mountain

Vickers Wellington Mk.3 X3599 of 57 Squadron R.A.F. crashed at Grid Reference 363 293 on 16th March 1942.

The aircraft had taken off from R.A.F. Feltwell, Norfolk to travel to R.A.F. Aldergrove during a Cross Country Training flight.

Flying Officer H.E.Hunter was Pilot

Flying Officer J.W. Elliott was Observer

Sergeant W.S. Taylor Wireless Operator / Air Gunner

Assistant Section Officer W.A.A.F. Barbara Blakiston-Houston was a Passenger

Sergeant Henderson was a Passenger and the only survivor of this crash.

The aircraft flew into the ground in poor visibility and burst into flames.

Pieces of melted aluminium can be seen among gravel at the crash site.

Assistant Section Officer W.A.A.F. Barbara Blakiston-Houston is buried in the Church of Ireland Church in Seaforde.

Chimney Rock Mountain

B26 Marauder 41-18150 from United States Army Air Force Number 3 Combat Crew Replacement Centre took off from Toome Airfield on 10th April 1944.

2nd Lieutenant Howell C. Osborne Jr was Pilot

2nd Lieutenant Chester M. Turner was Co-Pilot

Staff Sergeant Roy R. Cappe Jr was Aerial Engineer

Staff Sergeant William J. Devenney was Radio Operator

Sergeant Jimmie Gyovai was Engineer / Gunner

The Crew were taking part in a Gunnery Training Mission however after having entered some cloud the aircraft crashed killing all on board.

The Crash Site is on the Southwestern side of Chimney Rock Mountain just below the summit.

Wreckage can be found at Grid Reference is 362 255.

For more information visit my Links Section

St Nicholas Church, Ardglass

One of many graveyards throughout Northern Ireland which holds the bodies of young men and women who gave their lives during the war.

There are three graves beside each other in this plot.

Flight Sergeant Pilot John Sherlock Price, Royal New Zealand Air Force. He was the Son of John Frederick Allan and Ruth Sherlock Price from Invercargill, New Zealand. Flight Sergeant Price was 30 years old when he was killed on 12th September 1943 whilst with 105 Operational Training Unit.

George William Thomas Walker, Sergeant / Air Gunner. Royal Air Force. He was the Son of Walter William and Elizabeth Walker from Weasenham, Norfolk. Sergeant Walker was killed on 20th August 1944 when the Avro Anson 1 aircraft LT658 of 12 A.G.S. in which he was flying crashed between Cloughey and Portaferry killing all 5 Crew on board. Their bodies were initially brought to R.A.F. Ballyhalbert before being transferred to R.A.F. Ballyhalbert on 21st August 1944.

Harold Victor Ames, Flight Sergeant / Wireless Operator Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He was the Son of Walter and Kate Ames and was killed on 29th December 1944 when Anson 1 aircraft LT 431 of Number 7 A.O.S. struck a tree and crashed near Crossgar whilst on a low flying exercise.

Henry Albert U'prichard from Gilford. 2 (Parachute) Commando and 11 S.A.S.

Albert was born in 1918 and was named after an Uncle who was Killed during the Battle of the Somme.

In 1938 he joined the Officer Training Corps at Queens University in Belfast however when war was declared he immediately joined the North Irish Horse and served with B Squadron where he became an Instructor in the use of the Bren Gun.

Albert is shown in his O.T.C. uniform above. The N.I.H. insignia was actually made by Albert because he had been issued with just a black boilersuit.

Albert was proud of his promotion to Corporal and would say that he was the same rank as Hitler.

Albert is seen on the left in the photograph above where Troops are being inspected by General Dill at Tatton Park 1940. They were trying new boots laced from the side to try and help impact on landing by parachute. ***PLEASE DO NOT COPY*** (Many thanks to Matt McClatchey)

He applied for service with the new Airborne Forces and in early 1940 he was interviewed in Portrush by Major Pritchard.

Following selection he was billeted at Knutsford and attended Parachute Training at Ringway Airfield during which time he parachuted at Tatton Park.

Training included six months at Fortwilliam and climbing Ben Nevis.


He was now in K Troop, Number 2 (Parachute) Commando, 11 Special Air Service.


With training being continuous one of the Parachute Jumps took place at his Uncle Amile U'pritchard's Estate at Seven Oaks in Kent.

Using the circumstances to his advantage Albert stayed for dinner and a well deserved bath however his arrival had not gone unnoticed.

It appears that the local Garrison had not been appraised of the exercise and they were on full alert racing to the scene and surrounding the house in the belief that the Germans had arrived!

Albert took part in a number of parachute jumps as part of a recruitment drive around Northern Ireland in places including Coalisland and Lisburn.

(Thanks very much to Matt McClatchey for all his help.) ********PLEASE DO NOT COPY THESE PHOTOGRAPHS********


The village of Gilford has a rich Second World War history.

Here are pictures of one of the two pillboxes which overlook the Canal and Railway bridges at Madden near Gilford. This area was part of one of the Major Defence Lines within Northern Ireland with one being on either side of the roadway covering the bridges.

The internal design of these pillboxes is identical to many others in the area.

This example is in excellent condition and retains the metal shutters which would have covered the loopholes through which light machine-guns would have been used if invasion had taken place.

The five photographs below show Belgian Soldiers at Gilford Camp. (From Martin Lehaen)

A Prisoner Of War Camp was operated at Portadown Road in Gilford and Soldiers from the Belgian 5th Infantry Brigade had their Headquarters based at Stramore House. - All of the huts which had stood in the area of Stramore House have been removed and I was very pleased to learn that the one shown above had been used by the soldiers before evolving into its present role. A second hut can be found nearby which has also found a new role and it is pleasing to see that such things remain.

Mr and Mrs Douglas lived in Portadown where Mr Douglas was the Manager of the Ulster Bank.

The Douglas Family would host parties & dinners for the Belgian Soldiers who were based at Stramore in nearby Gilford and the picture shown on the left was sent to them as an acknowledgement of their hospitality. I believe this may be Colonel Georges-Camille Louppe of 4th Brigade of Grenadiers.

Belgian Army veterans from 4th Brigade of Grenadiers under the Command of Colonel Georges-Camille Louppe returned to Northern Ireland in 1969.

The picture on the right shows Mr Louppe presenting Mr Honeyford from Banbridge Council with a glass Regimental Vase "As proof of the ties of Friendship which unite the inhabitants of Banbridge with the Members of our Brigade."

Between 1944 - 1945 there were about 4000 Belgian soldiers based in the Banbridge Area!

Group photographs taken at Keady Row, Hill Street, Gilford, with Belgian Soldiers from 4th (Steenstraete) Infantry Brigade.

Left to right i the lower photograph are Bella McConville, Bernadette Fitzpatrick, Sally McConville, Mary McManus and Collins McManus holding baby Wendy McManus.
The photograph was taken in 1945. (Thanks to Supplied by Wendy Granville née McManus and Dave Dickson.)

Also being put to good use is the rather large concrete Water Butt shown above which can be seen in a field opposite 85 Stramore Road. This was built by R.E.M.E. soldiers of the British Army to supply water to their camp.

Shown on the right is an underground Airraid Shelter which is in the grounds of Dunbarton House. Inside the shelter is rather large and I have included a picture of one of the chains which were used to hold bunk beds! There was ventilation, electricity and a wooden ceiling. Impressive stuff but there is an even bigger surprise when you consider the Squash Court which was built by Military personel which is shown below.

The house has a very interesting military history because as well as its use during the Second World War it performed the role of an Ulster Volunteer Force Military Hospital during the First World War for which the owners received a Certificate of Thanks signed by Winston Churchill!

The underground shelter was built by the men of 297 Company Royal Engineers who were also responsible for a Swimming Pool in the garden of the house which has now gone.

The Royal Engineers had been based in the grounds of Gilford Castle which is nearby.

Bannvale House which is on the Portadown Road and presently a Social Education Centre had also been a Royal Army Service Corps Camp.

As previously mentioned - Gilford has a rich military history!!

These two items - a .303 Bullet and RAF Badge were found on the site of the Elmfield Prisoner of War Camp. (Thanks very much to Ronnie Peters)