American Presence

37,000 American troops – V Corps – disembarked at Belfast and Londonderry on 26th January 1942. Corps HQ was at Brownlow House, Lurgan, with 34 Division in Tyrone and Fermanagh and 1 Armoured Division in South Down. The troops left at the end of the year to take part in the Allied landings in North Africa.

XV Corps arrived in the autumn of 1943 to prepare for the Normandy landings in May 1944. The 120,000 troops made up the 2nd, 5th and 8th Infantry Division and 82nd Airborne Division.

The airfield at Langford Lodge was the centre of the air activity, with 6,000 personnel engaged in assembly, servicing and repair work.

Contact with the local population led to many enduring friendships and some 1,800 local girls sailed to the States to marry their GIs.

Part of the orginal War Memorial Building on Waring Street was named the Hall of Friendship in honour of the close bonds formed between the US soldiers and people of Northern Ireland in World War Two.  When the War Memorial moved to the new building on Talbot Street the main exhibition area was also named the Hall of Friendship in order to continue to honour the link.

Visit the NI War Memorial to view the section of the exhibition dedicated to telling the story of the American Presence in Northern Ireland during WW2.

You can view a digital copy of the Pocket Guide to Northern Ireland booklet given to the GI’s here.

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