The War and Me – Oral History Update

The War and Me – Oral History Update

With Michael Burns taking over as our ‘The War and Me’ Oral History Project Co-ordinator in November 2019, 27 interviews have since been recorded from across Northern Ireland. These even included six wonderful interviews captured in a single day at Fortwilliam Fold in North Belfast.

Michael’s first interview was with Billy Hanvey (W&M40) who grew up at Galwally House in Belfast. He related his memories of fire watching with his father during the Belfast Blitz and how the windows reflected the fires and shook with each bomb dropped. Billy was also the youngest member of D Company, 3rd Belfast Battalion, Ulster Home Guard and recalled practice drills in the Castlereagh Hills and operating the anti-aircraft gun at Grey Point Fort during training- even though they didn’t manage to hit their target!

W&M40 Interviewee Billy Hanvey

One of the most recent interviews was with Eleanor McFadzean (W&M62) who recalled her youth in Lisburn and seeing the refugees from Belfast who had lost their homes in the Blitz queuing at the local school for support. Eleanor also told us of her father, who was in charge of evacuation of some of the 3,000 Gibraltarians who lived out the war in Counties Antrim & Londonderry. When they left after the war her father went out to Gibraltar and brought back a fruit basket with tropical delights Eleanor had only read about in Arabian Nights!

W&M62 Interviewee Eleanor McFadzean

This latest batch of interviews cover a range of topics that all emphasise the role of Northern Ireland in the Second World War whether told through the eyes of children, veterans or members of wartime services. These are just some of the stories we have had the privilege to collect and add to our accredited museum collection.

Although physical interviews have been suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our work has not stopped and we continue to transcribe and research stories. Indeed, we have recently had a number of written accounts submitted from the children of war brides in America and Canada and are utilising technology to host interviews over the internet via Skype.

If you or someone you know wants to be interviewed, they can submit a written testimony, call 07588634847 or email

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Ration Recipe – Bread Pudding

Ration Recipe – Bread Pudding

Recipes from the Second World War often demonstrate how our parents, grandparents and great grandparents had to become experts in ‘making a little go a long way!’ 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

These days we’re more and more conscious of food waste and getting the most from our weekly shop.

Why don’t you accept our wartime cookery challenge and transform some stale bread into a Bread Pudding. 🍞

Let us know how your pudding tastes by leaving a comment or using the hashtag #niwarmemorial on our social media platforms as listed below.

Facebook: @NIWarMemorialMuseum

Twitter: @NIWarMemorial


#NIWM #wartimerecipe

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Stay in touch!

The Northern Ireland War Memorial closed to the public on Monday 16th March until further notice. This decision was taken in the interest of staff, visitors and volunteers as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

We have adapted our working arrangements and all staff members have access to email and voicemail, so please stay in touch.

While our events and public programmes are postponed, we will find alternative ways to engage our audiences and provide access to our Second World War collection. We’re excited to be working on new projects which will engage all ages.

We will be adding new resources for Primary School children to our website soon so have a look at what is already available and watch this space for more!

If you have a school or group booking with us, we will be in touch in the coming weeks if we haven’t been already.

In the meantime, we will offer you an insight into our fascinating Second World War collection through regular updates on our website and social media platforms.

Check this website for regular updates and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Stay in touch!

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Covid-19 Closure

The Northern Ireland War Memorial will close to the public from Monday 16th March. This decision was taken in the interest of staff, visitors and volunteers. Our public programmes are postponed, but we will endeavour to find alternative ways to engage our audiences and provide access to our Second World War collection. If you have a booking with us we will be in touch in the coming days.

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International Women’s Day 2020

International Women’s Day 2020

For International Women’s Day 2020 we are sharing some of our Bainbridge collection.

Kathleen Bainbridge (nee Burgoyne) served as a British Red Cross nurse during the Second World War in Belfast.

From her training certificates it is clear she had already volunteered for service before the war started but as the war progressed her training continued to include aspects such as anti-gas training.

During the war she married a Lt. J. R. Bainbridge, who just so happened to be an official War Office photographer. As a result, many photographs of Kathleen exist and Northern Ireland War Memorial are very fortunate to hold a number of these.

Civil Defence nurses. The ‘FAP’ on the helmets stands for First Aid Party. Kathleen is standing second from right in the front row

It must’ve been a pretty unique and bizarre experience being photographed by her husband whilst on duty.

The pictures below are of her identification bracelet (that includes her national registration no.) along with a medal she gained for her proficiency in red cross nursing.

After the war she received a letter and certificate from the YMCA by way of appreciation for her work during ‘the arduous war years’.

#NIWM #IWD2020 #internationalwomensday

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Happy 100th Birthday Teddy!

Happy 100th Birthday Teddy!

We here at the NI War Memorial would like to wish a very Happy 100th Birthday to Edward ‘Teddy’ Dixon!

Teddy was interviewed by Dr Susan Kelly in 2017 as part of our ongoing oral history project “The War & Me”; Born in 1920 in New York (to Northern Irish parents) it wasn’t until 1925 that he and his family moved to Northern Ireland. When war broke out, Teddy was working in the Co-Op bakery and joined the ARP serving during all the blitzes on Belfast in 1941, indeed he and a colleague Eddie Fenton suffered a near-miss when checking on the Park Ranger in Ormeau Park during the Blitz when a landmine landed nearby but thankfully didn’t go off!

Teddy was newly married to Madge in 1942 when the Americans entered the war, receiving his draft card in 1944 he was afraid that he’d be drafted into the American Navy; this thought did not inspire joy as he’d never learned how to swim and so instead he volunteered for the American Army.

He regaled Susan with many stories about his time in the Army, recalling the night rabbits kept triggering mines nearby as they tried to sleep in Foxholes in France, interacting with Germans civilians as they pushed deeper into Germany as well as the sobering experience of liberating Dachau concentration camp. Although the war ended in 1945, Teddy didn’t get discharged until December 1947, and during this time he recalled spending Bastille Day 1946 dancing in the streets of Paris as well as working with the ‘Monuments Men’ to remove Göring’s art collection from a salt mine in Austria.

When he returned home he went back to the Co-op bakery and since his retirement has attended a number of reunions in the US, helped with a BBC documentary about Dachau liberation as well as attending special commemorative events across Northern Ireland.

If you want to hear more about Teddy’s story you can make an appointment to read and listen to his interview by getting in touch with the War Memorial or indeed if you or someone you know would want to be interviewed about their wartime memories then please get in touch on 07588634847 or through

We hope Teddy has a fantastic 100th Birthday surrounded by friends and loved ones! Here’s a picture of Teddy attending our US75 Reception at Belfast Harbour Office in January 2017. Teddy is pictured with Flight Lieutenant Bill Eames BEM, Belfast Lord Mayor Brian Kingston and members of the Wartime Living History Association.

You can find out more about our Oral History Project here:…/wed-love-to-hear-your-story/

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We’re Recruiting!

The Role- Learning Facilitator

The Northern Ireland War Memorial (NIWM) has an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic Learning Facilitator to join our museum team.

This permanent, part time position is suited to an individual who is seeking to advance their career in museum learning and gain hands-on experience in a thriving and supportive workplace. As part of a highly motivated team it is important that the successful applicant has a passion for museum learning and embraces working in a positive, respectful and team-focused environment.

Reporting to the Museum Manager, the primary role of the Learning Facilitator is to deliver primary school workshops in the museum, and off-site, in line with the Job Description and the current Business Plan.

This is a permanent, part time post of 20 hours a week worked over 5 days (9.30am-1.30pm). Reasonable overtime may be expected. Holidays are 25 working days per annum with 14 additional statutory days (pro-rata). All other terms and conditions are available on request.

About the Northern Ireland War Memorial

The Council of the Northern Ireland War Memorial (Incorporated) is a registered charity in Northern Ireland (NIC 103635) and registered as a company limited by guarantee (NI 002888).

Its purposes are threefold: to provide an enduring memorial to the people of Northern Ireland who lost their lives in the First and Second World War, in particular the Belfast blitz; to provide office accommodation for ex-Service organisations; to commemorate the association of the Armed Forces of the USA with Northern Ireland in the Second World War.

The NIWM operates an accredited museum which tells the story of how Northern Ireland was affected by and contributed to the Second World War. The museum has an expanding collection and offers a range of family events and workshops for schools and community groups.

The vision of the museum is to enrich people’s understanding of the contribution of the people of Northern Ireland in two world wars and the presence of US Armed Forces in Northern Ireland during the Second World War by preserving and displaying a unique collection and delivering a programme of engaging displays and enjoyable events to visitors and tourists from around the world.

As a charity the NIWM is financially independent and is not reliant on external funding.

The NIWM is an equal opportunities employer.

How to apply

Please download the Application for Employment, Learning Facilitator Job Description and employee specification, Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form and the NIWM Privacy Policy.

Please return a completed Application for Employment and Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form by 4pm on 3rd April.

If submitting by email, please send both documents in PDF format with CONFIDENTIAL APPLICATION in the subject header to

You will receive an email confirming receipt of the application.

If submitting by hard copy, please post both documents to:

The Monitoring Officer

Northern Ireland War Memorial

21 Talbot Street



If submitting by post, please allow a week for your application to be acknowledged as staff are largely working from home due to the current COVID 19 pandemic.

CV’s will not be accepted.

If you require further details about this post please call 028 9032 0392 extension 1 to leave a voicemail (staff can access voicemail from home) or email

In the current COVID 19 pandemic it is impossible to say when interviews will take place, but we will be in touch with candidates as soon as normality resumes.

We hope to have a Learning Faciliator in post by September 2020 when our busy schools programme resumes.

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We’d love to hear your story…

Our vision is to enrich people’s understanding of the contribution of the people of Northern Ireland in the Second World War. We do this by preserving and displaying a unique collection and making our museum collection the focus for learning in our workshops, events and publications.

Since 2016 the NIWM has been appealing to the public to contribute their memories of Northern Ireland during the Second World War to our oral history collection. Since launching the project, the museum has recorded over 100 stories which are now stored within the collection and made available to researchers by appointment.

In 2020 we will continue to add stories to our oral history collection with The War and Me Oral History project which is coordinated by Michael Burns. If you, a friend or family member have wartime memories, please get in touch with Michael to organise an interview. We would love to add your story to our growing collection.

To find out more about the project, call 028 9032 0392 or 07588634847 or email

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We have no Bananas!

We have no Bananas!

Today we’re very pleased to host children from Belmont Playcare Preschool who will take part in a music and storytelling workshop with Squiggles & Giggles.

They will explore the museum with Giggles the evacuee to learn about dried eggs, mock banana sandwiches, rabbit pie and digging for victory. We have no bananas!…but we do have 2 oz. of fried egg sweets for each participant!

Their visit is part of Playful Museums – NIMC Festival which highlights museums as welcoming and fun places for children under 5. Visit Northern Ireland Museums Council @ for more Playful Museum events for under 5s.

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Object of the Month – December 2019

Object of the Month – December 2019

No prizes for anyone who guessed that Object of the Month for December would have a festive theme!

Below are Christmas cards depicting Langford Lodge in Co. Antrim (NIWM:2017.2142.7 and NIWM:2017.2142.8)

Langford Lodge was the largest United States Army Air Force airfield to be developed in Northern Ireland. Uniquely, it was operated by the civilian Lockheed Overseas Corporation (LOC) on behalf of the Eighth Air Force Service Command until May 1944.

Around 4,000 American civilians were employed and lived at the base and an equal number of locals were employed as clerks, labourers and drivers etc and they commuted to the base daily. Some even came from as far away as Dungannon!

The base was linked to the main railway line at Crumlin by a purpose built railway, it had its own hospital and the Americans even produced their own newspaper called ‘The Daily Magnet’. The Christmas 1943 edition (NIWM:2017.2142.2) is pictured below and features pictures of the Christmas party thrown for local children in 1942.

All the staff at the Northern Ireland War Memorial would like to wish all our followers a very merry Christmas and we look forward to sharing what 2020 brings with you all.

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