On 26th January 1942, the first elements of the United States Army arrived in Northern Ireland. At Belfast Docks, a welcome party of dignitaries and military officers awaited. Among them was Mr. John Miller Andrews (Prime Minister of Northern Ireland) who issued the following statement.
In company with his Grace the Governor, the Secretary of State for Air (Sir Archibald Sinclair) and representatives of H.M. Forces, I had the privilege today of witnessing the arrival of a large contingent of American troops and of joining in the enthusiastic welcome given to them when they set foot on Ulster soil.
It was a stirring and historic occasion. Both the Government and the people of Northern Ireland share my feelings of satisfaction that officers and men of the United States Army are here to join in the struggle against those evil forces which inhuman enemies have unloosed and which must be defeated before peace can be restored, security established, and right enthroned throughout the world.
The treacherous attack upon American and British bases in the Pacific reveals Japanese aggression in all its baseness. The immediate result was to bring the full strength of the United States into the war on Britain’s side. From that moment, our two democracies were knit together in a new and powerful alliance.
After the lapse of a generation, American Forces have again crossed the Atlantic. They will share with Britain and our other gallant Allies the burden and honour of the struggle against the Axis Powers.
From this part of the British Empire, we extend to President Roosevelt and the Government and people of the United States our tribute of admiration for the determination with which they have entered the fight against the common foe. With us they realise the gravity of the menace to all that is best and noblest in our civilisation; they know that both hemispheres are threatened by a ruthless barbarism.
Enthusiastically and gladly, therefore, we welcome the American Forces now in our midst. Their presence is a reminder of the close kinship that has long existed between the United States and Ulster. It is a reaffirmation of those principles of human liberty for which the British and American peoples stand. It is also an omen of that victory, which will assuredly be the reward of our united steadfastness and sacrifice.
War will be carried into Germany.
Mary Pat Kelly is an Irish-American writer and filmmaker. In the 1990s, she researched the American Military's time in Northern Ireland for her book and accompanying documentary 'Home Away From Home: The Yanks In Ireland'.
Dr. Simon Topping is a lecturer at the University of Plymouth. He has undertaken extensive research into the social, and political impact of the time spent in Ulster by GIs for his latest book 'Northern Ireland, the United States, and the Second World War'.