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Overhead and Over Here

Overhead and Over Here – The story of American military aviation in Northern Ireland during the Second World War

by Ernie Cromie 

A new Northern Ireland War Memorial publication.

On Thursday 3rd December 2015, the Northern Ireland War Memorial added another publication to its series of books about aspects of Northern Ireland’s contribution to the cause of Allied victories in two World Wars.  Overhead and Over Here is a succinct account of American military aviation in Northern Ireland during the Second World War, which was extensive in its scope.  In the course of twelve chapters, author Ernie Cromie describes the activities that took place at Langford Lodge and numerous other airfields throughout the country that were used by personnel and aircraft of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Naval Air Service and Lockheed Overseas Corporation.  More particularly, these included fighter defence, the training of bomber crews, combat operations against the U-boats, delivery of new aircraft from the USA, how they were modified for service in the United Kingdom and beyond and their subsequent onward delivery from Langford Lodge.

Other aspects of the story, which actually began well before the USA officially entered the war, include the socio-economic and cultural impact of the tens of thousands of American personnel, civil as well as military, who were stationed in Northern Ireland during the period concerned.  The final chapter in the book is a poignant reminder of the human cost of war, with reference to the US Military Cemetery at Lisnabreeny, near Belfast, in which 148 servicemen were buried, around half of whom were airmen.

Overhead and Over Here is available to buy in the War Memorial gallery priced at £8.

  • Alternatively you can purchase a copy on Amazon.co.uk or by completing a postal order form (downloadable from the Publications tab on our website).
Overhead and Over Here

Overhead and Over Here

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A Wartime Christmas

Saturday 5th December 2015

10.30am – 4pm

Visit the Northern Ireland War Memorial to experience a Wartime Christmas for all the family. Try some Make Do and Mend Christmas crafts, sample our ration recipe Christmas cake (made with Dried Eggs) and listen to a nostalgic collection of well-loved Christmas songs by the famous stars of the 1940s.

Family event with craft activities suitable for all ages.

Admission Free. No booking necessary

Wartime Christmas

Wartime Christmas

Wartime Christmas details

Wartime Christmas details

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No Elephants Allowed

But please bring us your memories of the Belfast Blitz.

16–23 November 2015

Throughout 2016 the Northern Ireland War Memorial will be commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Belfast Blitz. The population of Belfast was both physically and psychologically unprepared for the ferocity of the Blitz. There were four raids on Belfast between 7th April and 5th May 1941, with lesser attacks on Londonderry, Bangor and Newtownards.

The first raid on 7/8 April 1941 by eight bombers destroyed the aircraft fuselage factory and damaged the docks. The second raid on Easter Tuesday 15/16 April 1941 by 180 bombers lasted five hours. 673 bombs and 29,000 incendiaries fell mainly on residential areas in the docklands.

The third raid on 4/5 May 1941 by 204 bombers lasted three hours. Some 237 tons of high explosive and 96,000 incendiaries fell on the city and the docks.

Belfast was not prepared for these attacks. There were insufficient anti-aircraft guns and shelters. The results were devastating. One thousand people died and half the housing stock was damaged.

Through a series of gallery events, education and outreach activities we wish to learn more about this catastrophic event, and how it affected the lives of the people of Belfast. We would like to hear your stories, or those you may have heard from your parents, grandparents or relatives. Through times of separation, hardship and loss stories are emerging that have both shocked and surprised us.

This will help the Northern Ireland War Memorial to develop a collection of memories that in turn will enable us to continue to illustrate the story that we tell here. Your story, or a story that you may have heard is very important to us, no matter how small.

To start off this project we welcome you to the gallery to come and share your stories, you might even have some photographs or some objects. We are a small museum that tells a huge story, and you could be part of this story.

No appointment is necessary and the Curator and team will be available to talk to you, but what is more important is that we want to listen to you. If you are unable to visit us we can make arrangements to visit you at a later date.

Open Monday to Friday, Open Monday to Friday.

No elephants allowed

No elephants allowed

Memories of the Belfast Blitz

Memories of the Belfast Blitz

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Act of Remembrance

The Chairman and Trustees of the Northern Ireland War Memorial have pleasure in inviting you to an Act of Remembrance, Armistice Day at the Northern Ireland War Memorial Gallery, 21 Talbot Street, Belfast on Wednesday 11 November 2015 at 10.30am. Refreshments will be provided.

RSVP: Kerry McIvor at info@niwarmemorial.org orby telephone on +44 (0) 28 9032 0392 – Option 4

Lounge suits/medals may be worn.

Act of Remembrance

Act of Remembrance

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British Royal Legion Belfast Remembrance Shop

The Royal British Legion Belfast Remembrance Shop will be open to the public from Monday 26 October to Wednesday 11 November 2015. It will be located in the main gallery of the Northern Ireland War Memorial museum at 21 Talbot Street from 10am – 4pm, Monday to Friday, for supply of wreaths and other poppy merchandise.

British Royal Legion Belfast Remembrance Shop

British Royal Legion Belfast Remembrance Shop

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Special announcement

I regret to have to inform you of the passing of Mr Bob Wright on 20th October, who served for 27 years as an attendant at the Northern Ireland War Memorial. Bob only officially retired this year on his 92nd birthday, and was in many ways the public face of the organisation, both at Waring Street and the new gallery in Talbot Street. His smart appearance and demeanour, as befitted an army veteran, not to mention his collection of stories (often colourful) impressed the gallery visitors. Thousands of schoolchildren also looked up to Bob as an embodiment of the times and subject they were studying.

It is quite literally true that there were not many men like Bob anymore, and you will agree that the thoughts of all connected to the Northern Ireland War Memorial will be with his wife and family at this sad time.

His funeral will take place at Roselawn on Saturday 24th October at 11.00am. His family has asked for no flowers but donations in lieu may be made to The Royal British Legion.

Ian Wilson, Chairman

As from Monday 26 October a book of condolence will be available in the gallery  for people to sign, this will in turn be presented to the family.

Mr Bob Wright

Mr Bob Wright

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Macmillan Coffee Morning on Friday 25 September

NIWM are hosting a Macmillan Coffee Morning in the gallery this Friday 25 September in memory of our late colleague Mr John Hughes. Come along between 10.30 am and 12.30 pm to help raise money for cancer support and to enjoy some home-made treats.
 
Please visit http://coffee.macmillan.org.uk/events/2dqoyx19/ for more information.
Macmillan Coffee Morning

Macmillan Coffee Morning

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300 visitors at European Heritage Open Days event

300 people visited the War Memorial this weekend to take part in their European Heritage Open Days event.

Visitors enjoyed learning about the wartime roles of women both on the home front and in local industries.

Below are some images captured over the weekend.

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Curator of the Northern Ireland War Memorial, Ciaran Elizabeth Doran, featured on the Kim Lenaghan show on Sunday 13 September.

Listen to the link below to hear what she had to say about women in wartime industries and how the War Memorial will contribute to this year’s European Open Heritage Days.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06b2ss0

Kim Lenaghan

Kim Lenaghan

European Heritage Open Days 2015

European Heritage Open Days 2015

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European Heritage Open Weekend September 2015

Women on the Home Front in World War Two

Hundreds of building across Northern Ireland open their doors this weekend as part of the European Heritage Open Days. Call in to learn about wartime industries in Northern Ireland and the role of women on the Home Front. Try on uniforms, listen to music and taste some wartime treats.

We have a variety of family-friendly activities including;

  • Dressing up
  • Craft activities
  • Music from the era
  • Wartime food samples
  • Pathé film footage
  • A display of unique material and photographs

Northern Ireland’s munitions factories had produced 75 million shells by 1945, while the linen and textile industries had also produced 200 million yards of cloth for the armed services.

Visit the War Memorial Museum to learn about wartime industries in Northern Ireland and the role of women on the Home Front during World War Two.

Find out more about the vital work carried out by local women who filled some of the openings left by men who had joined the military, taking their place on farms and in war production jobs.

Step into the shoes of men and women on the Home Front as you dress up in various uniforms to become a Land Girl, an Air Raid Warden, a munition factory worker, a textile worker or an off duty serviceman.

Watch Pathé film footage of women working in the countryside as Land Girls, and in munition and textile factories during a time of rationing, separation and loss.

 

 

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