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Book Launch of 'The American Red Cross in Northern Ireland during the Second World War'

Derry/Londonderry Launch:

On Friday 1 December 2023, the Northern Ireland War Memorial (NIWM) launched The American Red Cross in Northern Ireland during the Second World War by Clive Moore in the Whittaker Suite of the Guildhall in Derry/Londonderry.

Pictured left to right, The High Sheriff of the City and County Borough of Londonderry, Mrs Angela Thompson MBE OStJ; US Consulate representative, Dr Paul Rolle, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Retd); Author, Clive Moore; The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Patricia Logue; NIWM Chairman, Colonel (Retd) Don Bigger and the Lord Lieutenant for the City and County Borough of Londonderry, Mr Ian Crowe MBE.
Pictured left to right, The High Sheriff of the City and County Borough of Londonderry, Mrs Angela Thompson MBE OStJ; US Consulate representative, Dr Paul Rolle, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Retd); Author, Clive Moore; The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Patricia Logue; NIWM Chairman, Colonel (Retd) Don Bigger and the Lord Lieutenant for the City and County Borough of Londonderry, Mr Ian Crowe MBE at the stairs in the Guildhall, Derry/Londonderry.

The Guildhall was a fitting location for the launch given that the first dedicated ARC service club in the UK opened in the former Northern Counties Hotel at Waterloo Place on 6 May 1942.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Patricia Logue kindly hosted the NIWM event which was attended by the Lord Lieutenant for the City and County Borough of Londonderry, Mr Ian Crowe MBE; the High Sheriff of the City and County Borough of Londonderry, Mrs Angela Thompson MBE OStJ; Deputy Lieutenant of County Londonderry, Mr Robert Moore DL; US Consulate representative, Dr Paul Roelle, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Retd); Vice President of the British Red Cross, Stella Cummings, representatives of the Tower Museum, the Royal Naval Association of Londonderry and other invited guests.

NIWM Chairman, Colonel (Retd) Don Bigger speaking at the event.
NIWM Chairman, Colonel (Retd) Don Bigger speaking at the event.

At the launch, NIWM Chairman Colonel (Retd) Don Bigger commented that this was the first time the organisation had brought a book launch to Derry/Londonderry, explaining that the NIWM is currently seeking to increase its impact across the whole of Northern Ireland through its free learning and outreach programmes. He explained that the NIWM is also seeking to reflect the whole of NI's experience of the Second World War in its museum, and encouraged those with wartime objects, photographs and stories to get in touch. He highlighted the museum's oral history collection, calling on locals to contribute their stories which are currently underrepresented. While the American presence in the city is of interest, the museum would also like to hear about the Canadian presence, the 1941 air raids on the city, and the surrender of German U-boats at Lisahally. General memories of rationing, evacuees and industry are also welcome and these stories are sought now more than ever before they pass out of living memory.

The ARC Club at Waterloo Place:

The opening of the ARC club at Waterloo Place generated considerable press interest at the time with headlines such as, 'A little bit of America' and 'Hot Dogs and Hamburgers for Troops.' One newspaper reporter was surprised to discover that shower rooms has been installed, presuming 'that the American boys will prefer showers to the use of tub baths over here.'

NIWM Trustee, Mr Richard Doherty, NIWM Chairman Colonel (Retd) Don Bigger, Author Clive Moore, US Representative Dr Paul Roelle and Lord Lieutenant for the City and County Borough of Londonderry, Mr Ian Crowe MBE pictured at Waterloo Place.
Pictured left to right, NIWM Trustee, Mr Richard Doherty; NIWM Chairman, Colonel (Retd) Don Bigger; Author Clive Moore; US Representative, Dr Paul Roelle, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Retd) and Lord Lieutenant for the City and County Borough of Londonderry, Mr Ian Crowe MBE pictured at Waterloo Place.

Belfast Launch:

On Thursday 14 September 2023, the Northern Ireland War Memorial (NIWM) hosted the book launch of The American Red Cross in Northern Ireland during the Second World War, a Northern Ireland War Memorial publication by Clive Moore.

High Sheriff, John Kyle with ARC author Mr Clive Moore, NIWM Trustee, Mrs Catherine Champion DL and Former Special Envoy to the US for NI, Mr Trevor Ringland
High Sheriff, John Kyle with ARC author Clive Moore, NIWM Trustee Catherine Champion and Former Special Envoy to the US for NI, Mr Trevor Ringland

Invited guests in attendance included the High Sheriff of Belfast, John Kyle, along with former Special Envoy to the United States for Northern Ireland, Mr Trevor Ringland, and NIWM Trustee Mrs. Catherine Champion DL.

The publication highlights how the American Red Cross deployed 'Clubmobiles' across Northern Ireland to serve donuts and coffee to US service personnel during the Second World War. In reference to this, coffee, donuts and American beer was served and enjoyed at the launch. A special screening of the American Red Cross newsreel 'Over There' - The Yanks in Ireland (1942) also took place.

Screening of 'Over There' - The Yanks in Ireland (1942)
Screening of 'Over There' - The Yanks in Ireland (1942)

The American Red Cross in Northern Ireland during the Second World War is the latest book to be published by the Northern Ireland War Memorial, joining a series of Second World War publications including Overhead and Over Here by Ernie Cromie and Pim and Churchill's Map Room by John Potter. It is a succinct account of the history of the American Red Cross in Northern Ireland, focusing mainly on the Second World War, when an estimated 300,000 US service personnel passed through Northern Ireland.

High Sheriff of Belfast, John Kyle at the ARC book launch
High Sheriff of Belfast, John Kyle at the ARC book launch
Former Special Envoy to the US for NI, Mr Trevor Ringland speaking at the launch
Former Special Envoy to the US for NI, Mr Trevor Ringland speaking at the launch
ARC author Clive Moore
ARC author Clive Moore

About the publication:

After a brief outline of the organisations origins, the introductory narrative covers relief efforts by the American Red Cross to aid shipping losses in the North Channel during the First World War. The main body of the work covers the provision of welfare services for the United States Armed Forces based in Northern Ireland between 1942 and 1945, including the establishment of the organisation's first service club in the UK in Derry/Londonderry, and describes their subsequent operations, evolution and expansion, until eventually operating at over 40 sites in Northern Ireland. The range of welfare activities provided for the United States Armed Forces by the American Red Cross is discussed, and aspects of their working relationship between them and the military is considered. Further insight into their operations comes from their interactions with the local community, local staff, notable visitors, government, and organisations such as the Women's Voluntary Service (WVS).

The source material for the narrative of the book is primary source material held in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. In addition, and to a lesser extent, further sources include The National Archives Kew; The Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB; select period publications, newspapers and a number of individuals.

The book is richly illustrated with photographs, many of which have never been seen before, unearthed by the author Clive Moore through numerous research trips to the US and expertly designed by John and Robyn McMillan.

The American Red Cross in Northern Ireland during the Second World War cover
The American Red Cross in Northern Ireland during the Second World War

The American Red Cross in Northern Ireland during the Second World War is available to purchase from the Northern Ireland War Memorial for £10. Alternatively, you can purchase it online via the museum’s Amazon account.

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