We’re open Monday to Friday from 10am-4:30pm and EVERY Saturday from 12pm-4pm. Free admission, no booking required. Please note: The Northern Ireland War Memorial will be closed on Monday 27 May 2024 for the bank holiday. We will reopen on Tuesday 28 May 2024 at 10am.

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Armistice 2023

On Friday 10 November 2023, the Northern Ireland War Memorial held a short Act of Remembrance to mark Armistice Day.

The Act of Remembrance was attended by invited guests, trustees, council members and staff of the Northern Ireland War Memorial.

Second World War veteran Mr Henry Morrell Murphy laying a wreath on the Books of Remembrance.
Second World War veteran Mr Henry Morrell Murphy laying a wreath on the Books of Remembrance..

Pictured above is Second World War veteran Mr Henry Morrell Murphy laying a wreath on the Books of Remembrance for the fallen in the First and Second World War, following which a two-minute silence was observed.

Mr Henry Morrell Murphy celebrated his 100th birthday earlier this year. In 1942, Morrell joined the Royal Navy and left his home in Lisburn for Navy training in HMS Raleigh near Plymouth, England. On completion of his training he gained his Ordinary Seaman qualification in August 1942. Morrell then moved to HMS Pembroke in Chatham before joining Hunt-Class destroyer, HMS Haydon. While on-board, Morrell witnessed Operation Husky, the allied invasion of Sicily, the blockade of Tripoli and the landings at Salerno and Anzio.

HMS Haydon on anti-submarine exercises off Mers-El-Kebir, Algeria, 20 January 1943. Morrell served on the Hunt-Class destroyer from 1942 until 1944 [NIWM Collection].
HMS Haydon on anti-submarine exercises off Mers-El-Kebir, Algeria, 20 January 1943. Morrell served on the Hunt-Class destroyer from 1942 until 1944 [NIWM Collection].

After a short stop in Palestine, Morrell travelled to Scotland in 1944 to take part in a submarine detection course at HMS Osprey, before moving to HMS Nimrod in Campbeltown. While waiting on his next posting, Morrell found himself back in Belfast on HMS Caroline, where he met and fell in love with his wife Florence. They married on the 1 November 1944 in St Enoch’s Presbyterian Church, and shortly after, on 4 December, Morrell received an urgent call to join HMS Capel at Pollock Dock as a Submarine Detector.

As part of the first escort group, the Capel began patrolling in the English Channel on 23 December 1944. On Boxing Day, 15 miles north of Cherbourg, Morrell’s ship was hit midship by an acoustic torpedo fired by U-486. The blast threw Morrell from the port quarter deck into the water. Dazed and with his clothes shredded, Morrell along with six other survivors managed to swim to a nearby life raft and were rescued by an American motor torpedo boat that brought the survivors to Cherbourg Harbour.

There Morrell was examined in a military hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia before being discharged the following day. Morrell made his way back to Belfast, barefoot, and in the oily remains of his uniform.

While being treated at Cherbourg, a telegram dated 30 December was sent to Morrell’s family in Lisburn, reporting that Morrell was missing, presumed dead on the Capel. Morrell’s father initially kept the news to himself, hoping that it was a mistake, but with follow up letters from the Royal Navy and Buckingham Palace arriving, it appeared to confirm the tragic loss. That was until two weeks later, when Morrell turned up at his parent’s house alive, and was met with tears from his mother and father.

Morrell returned to the Navy and was discharged from service in June 1946.

Morrell and his family at the commemoration.
Morrell and his family at the commemoration.

Morrell was recently interviewed as part of the NIWM’s oral history project, The War and Me about his wartime memories. Morrell’s interview has been transcribed and added to the NIWM collection and is freely available to researchers, students and members of the public interested in hearing first-hand accounts of life in Northern Ireland during the Second World War. For more information, please visit our Oral History Collection page.

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