US 75

This month marked the 75th anniversary of the arrival of American troops in Northern Ireland. To celebrate the anniversary and remember the importance of the event for Northern Ireland and the war effort, the museum held a private reception at Belfast Harbour Office on Thursday 26th January. The event was attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of the Borough of Belfast, Mrs Fionnuala Jay O’Boyle, Belfast’s Lord Mayor Brian Kingston, Acting U.S. Consul General Bernadette Roberts and invited guests. Music provided by Ulster Brass was woven into a programme of speakers who relayed the history of the American presence in Northern Ireland and the collection of items held by the museum that tell the story of their time here.

On Saturday the 28th the 75th anniversary was further marked with an upbeat family day at the museum which was enjoyed by 250 visitors. Live dancing was performed throughout the afternoon by the Ballroom Blitz Formation dance group, U.S. kit and collections were displayed by wartime living history experts and children were presented with their weekly ration of American candy and Coca-Cola.

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

Holocaust Memorial Day was marked this year in the museum with a display of paintings by local artist Leslie Nicholl. A small selection of these paintings were chosen from a larger collection and relate specifically to the Holocaust. They will be on display in the gallery for two weeks. The museum continues to commemorate the Holocaust this month by holding special activities for primary school children in the gallery and using tangible local links to the Holocaust by telling the story of the Millisle Farm in County Down and the Jewish refugees who stayed there

Activities at the museum to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 were featured on a news broadcast by NVTV – view the news coverage.

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January Craft Day

Craft-enthusiasts along with a youth group from the charity Brain Injury Matters, were fashioning pom-pom accessories in the museum. Wartime black-out restrictions led to the government actively encouraging the use of colourful accessories to be used on clothes to help people be seen in the dark and of course these were quite often hand crafted pieces from reused and recycled materials.

January Craft Day January Craft Day

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Launch of The Hartle Trail

On Wednesday the 25th of January The GI Trail Northern Ireland launched its second heritage trail, retracing the steps of American troops in Antrim and Londonderry. Mid and East Antrim BC hosted the launch of the latest map in the US Rangers Museum, Carrickfergus, 75 years after the first GIs arrived in Northern Ireland.

NIWM features as one of the top five locations to visit on The Hartle Trail. You can pick up your copy free from the NIWM gallery.

Launch of Hartle Trail They came from the US

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Holocaust Memorial Day

We are marking Holocaust Memorial Day with a display of Holocaust inspired paintings by local artist Leslie Nicholl. Earlier this week, Mr Nicholl spoke to NVTV in our gallery about the small exhibition of his paintings which remember the lives that were lost in the Holocaust. These emotive paintings will remain on display for the next two weeks.

Commemorations will continue in the museum throughout the day. A class of primary school children are set to take part in a special remembrance activity based on the story of the Millisle farm. In the gallery the children will learn about the importance of Holocaust Memorial Day and will have the opportunity to each plant an individual bean sprout in memory of a child who found refuge on the farm during the Second World War.

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Museum closure Thursday 26 January

The museum will be closed until 12.15 pm today as we are hosting a reception at Belfast Harbour Office to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the first U.S. troops in Europe. #US75


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75th anniversary of the arrival of US troops in Northern Ireland during the Second World War

Throughout 2017 the Northern Ireland War Memorial (NIWM) is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the arrival of US troops in Northern Ireland during the Second World War.

Historical Notes

US 75

On 26th January 1942, as part of Operation MAGNET, tenders from the convoy transports Strathaird and Chateau Thierry arrived in Pollock Dock and Dufferin Dock. American troops disembarked and were welcomed ashore to the strains of the Star Spangled Banner played by the band of the Royal Ulster Rifles.


Official greetings were made to Major General R P Hartle, acting Commander of the US Army NI Force. At Dufferin Dock Private Milburn Henke was the first to depart onto the dock, an event immortalised in the drawing by William Conor and photographed by the Belfast Telegraph. Henke became a household name and later donated items from his time here to the NIWM collection. The museum continues to be in contact with the Henke family in Minnesota.

In all, 300,000 US troops passed through Northern Ireland between 1942 and 1944 ahead of campaigns in North Africa and Europe. As a result of their presence in Northern Ireland, over 1,800 local women became GI brides.

1. Thursday 26th January 2017

When: 10.00 am – 11.00 am

Where: Belfast Harbour Office, Corporation Square, Belfast, BT1 3AL


  • A private reception for a small gathering of invited guests.
  • A programme of speakers which will reflect on the significance of the arrival of US forces in Northern Ireland in 1942.
  • Dr Susan Kelly, who has been engaged by the NIWM to record local memories of the GI’s in Ulster 1942-44, will launch her oral history project.
  • The Ulster Orchestra Brass Quintet, Ulster Brass, will entertain guests and recreate the music that played 75 years ago as the troops disembarked at Dufferin Dock.
  • Refreshments will be served.
  • The event should last approximately one hour, finishing at 11.00 am. Ulster Brass will perform on the front steps of the Harbour Office as guests depart (weather permitting).

Principle guests:

  • Belfast Lord Mayor, Brian Kingston.
  • Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast, Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle CBE
  • Acting US Consul General, Bernadette Roberts.
  • The Chairman of the Northern Ireland War Memorial, Mr Ian Wilson.
  • Trustees of the Northern Ireland War Memorial.

2. Saturday 28th January 2017 Family Event

When: 10.30 am – 4.00 pm

Where: Northern Ireland War Memorial, 21 Talbot Street, Belfast, BT1 2LD


  • American themed family day at the Museum
  • Speak to living history specialists who will be dressed in US uniforms
  • Sample American candy and Coca Cola
  • View photographs and displays relating to the American presence
  • Listen to 1940s music and try craft activities for all ages
  • Booking is not required for this event and admission is free

Where: Belfast Harbour Office.  Corporation Square, Belfast, BT1 3AL

3. U.S. 75 Oral History Project 2017

When: Ongoing throughout 2017

What:  The NIWM is expanding its oral history collection. We use extracts from our oral history collection in publications, exhibitions, radio and television programmes and for our education programme. If you or someone you know would be happy to share their story with a history researcher and have it recorded for the museum’s collection please get in touch at

Can you remember their arrival?
Did you live near a base or attend a dance at one of their clubs?
Did you know someone who became a GI bride?

4. Museum Exhibition 2017

US flag

When: Ongoing throughout 2017

What: NIWM will continue to remember the arrival of the American Troops and the lasting friendships that they made while here with temporary displays in the museum gallery.

Visitors to the museum will be able to view:

  • The GI Pocket Guide to Northern Ireland
  • American military insignia and uniform
  • Everyday kit used by the troops while stationed in NI






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Holiday Closure

The Northern Ireland War Memorial will be closed from 12.30 pm on the 23rd December 2016 to the 2nd January 2017.
We will reopen as normal on Tuesday the 3rd January 2017.
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Christmas 1941

Saturday 3rd December 2016
10.30am – 4pm

Visit the Northern Ireland War Memorial to experience a Wartime Christmas for all the family.

Christmas 1941

Christmas 1941

Learn more about Christmas in 1941 and how it was marked just months after the devastating Belfast Blitz in which over 1,000 local people lost their lives. See how local people celebrated the festive season despite rationing and shortages. Discover more about the disastrous attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and how this paved the way for US Servicemen to embark on a journey to Northern Ireland.

In all, over 300,000 US Forces passed through Northern Ireland between 1942 and 1944. Join us to remember the links of friendship between the US and Northern Ireland.

  • Try some Make Do and Mend Christmas crafts
  • Sample our ration recipe Christmas cake (made with dried eggs imported from the US)
  • Listen to a nostalgic collection of well-loved Christmas songs by the famous American stars of the 1940s.

Family event with activities suitable for all ages.
Admission Free
No booking necessary

Northern Ireland War Memorial, 21 Talbot Street, Belfast BT1 2LD.
Tel: 028 9032 0392

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Armistice Day 2016


On Friday 11 November at 11.00 NIWM will hold a short but poignant ceremony to commemorate Armistice Day, and remember the men and women killed in both the First and Second World Wars.

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day

What is Armistice Day?

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War One and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War One. This took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning; the ‘eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month’ of 1918.

Press are invited to attend this ceremony that is being held in NIWM’s gallery, 21 Talbot Street, BT1 2LD, at 10.30 am. 


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