5th Infantry Division

United States Army 5th Infantry Division arrived in Northern Ireland in October 1943, establishing a Headquarters and other bases throughout Co. Down.

5th Infantry Division of the United States Army was an American Infantry Division that saw action in both World Wars. Known as the Red Diamond Division or the Red Devils, they saw action in other conflicts before being disbanded in 1992.

The Red Diamond shoulder insignia signifies several things on the uniform of 5th Infantry Division. The colour red represents Commander John E. McMahon who served in The Great War. The diamond shape is for the Diamond Dyes Company, who used the slogan “it never runs”, which had a double meaning during wartime. The diamond also signifies strength both as a jewel and as a technique for support construction.

5th Infantry Division in Northern Ireland

Imperial War Museum Photo: (EA 2304) (Part of the Foreign Office Political Intelligence Department (PID) Second World War Photograph Library: Classified Print Collection). First Sergeant Christopher McGuire (centre) and other men of the US 5th Infantry Division listen to an address by Lieutenant General George S Patton while on manoeuvres in Northern Ireland on 30th March 1944.

In Spring 1940, 5th Infantry Division trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, and in Louisiana. After training, yhry departed for Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana in May 1940. That December, they took part in the Tennessee Manoeuvres while based at Fort Custer, Michigan. Other training manoeuvres followed before the Division returned to Fort Custer in October 1941. The troops were here under the command of Major General Cortlandt Parker when Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor.

The following Winter and Spring, saw the Division reach full strength and readiness for war. In April 1942, the troops departed from New York, United States of America, arriving in Iceland in May 1942. Reorganisation and redesignation as an Infantry Division followed a year later on 24th May 1943.

US Army Camp at Ballyedmund, Co. Down

Newry and Mourne Museum Photo: United States Army Nissen Huts at a training camp in the gounds of Ballyedmund Castle, Rostrevor, Co. Down. This camp housed troops of 10th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division, United States Army in 1943-1944. Copyright Newry and Mourne Museum.

Under the command of Major General Stafford LeRoy Irwin, 5th Infantry Division left Iceland in August 1943. They began training at Tidworth Barracks, Wiltshire, England upon arrival in the United Kingdom. October 1943 saw the Division depart England en masse and join thousands of other United States Army troops in Northern Ireland. The Division established a Headquarters, bases, and training camps throughout Co. Down.

5th Infantry Division in Northern Ireland

Featured image for 10th Infantry Regiment

10th Infantry Regiment

10th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division of the United States Army had bases in Co. Down including the towns of Newcastle, Rostrevor, and Kilkeel.