U.S. Mortar Carrier crash at Ballygraffan near Comber, Co. Down

On 17th May 1944, a United States Army mortar carrier overturned on a sharp bend in the road between Comber and Killyleagh, Co. Down with fatal consequences.

On 17th May 1944, a military vehicle overturned on the main Comber to Killyleagh Road in the townland of Ballygraffan, Co. Down. The accident caused the death of three soldiers who were passengers on the mortar carrier.

While navigating an acute bend on the road, the vehicle mounted the grass verge, running into a ditch. The driver of the vehicle and three other passengers jumped to safety before the carrier overturned and plunged 6 feet down into a field. Witnesses agree the vehicle was being driven slowly and carefully at the time.

Two American soldiers serving in 2nd Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division, United States Army, and a British Lance Corporal of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment died as a result of their injuries. All three died later the same day in a military hospital having been trapped beneath the vehicle.

On 24th May 1944, an inquest in Belfast by the City Coroner Dr. H.P. Lowe returned a verdict of accidental death.

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