Wartime Co. Down

Every branch of the military saw action in Co. Down during the Second World War from US Forces and General Eisenhower in Bangor to the RAF at Ballyhalbert.

County Down

United Kingdom

County Down in the province of Ulster is one of the six counties that make up Northern Ireland. It covers an area of 2,448 square kilometres and has a population of 531,665.

It shares borders with Co. Antrim to the north and Co. Armagh to the west. On its eastern side is the Irish Sea while the south-west faces Carlingford Lough.

Eisenhower addresses the crew of USS Texas

US National Archives Photo: 80-G-352914. General Dwight D Eisenhower (US Army) addresses the crew of USS Texas (BB-35) in May 1944. Also on the platform is Rear Admiral Alan G Kirk, Commander Task Force 122.

Geography

Strangford Lough and the Ards Peninsula make up the east side of the county. The largest city is Newry while the largest town is Bangor on the north-east coastline. Both Belfast and Lisburn lie on the border between Co. Down and Co. Antrim.

The county contains Northern Ireland’s most southern point at Cranfield Point. Burr Point, also in the county, is the easternmost point of the country.

History

The county takes its name from dún, the Irish word for a fort. That fort was at the historic town of Downpatrick.

Towns and Cities

Map showing Second World War in Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

Second World War in Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

Co. Down

Ballyhalbert lies near Newtownards, Co. Down. During World War Two, it was the site of a large military airfield used by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

Map showing World War Two in Banbridge, Co. Down

World War Two in Banbridge, Co. Down

Co. Down

World War Two in Banbridge, Co. Down brought changes to the town including the arrival of a Belgian Infantry Brigade who paraded on VE Day, 8th May 1945.

Map showing Bangor, Co. Down in the Second World War

Bangor, Co. Down in the Second World War

Co. Down

Bangor is a large town in Co. Down, Northern Ireland. The seaside resort on the south side of Belfast Lough was a hive of activity in the run up to D-Day.

Map showing Belfast, Co. Down in the Second World War

Belfast, Co. Down in the Second World War

Co. Down

Much of East Belfast lies in Co. Down. This area of Northern Ireland’s capital city saw a huge influx in military presence and industry during the war.

Map showing Bryansford, Co. Down during World War Two

Bryansford, Co. Down during World War Two

Co. Down

Bryansford, Co. Down is home to Tollymore Forest Park where United States Army troops trained. Many were based in Castlewellan, Co. Down and the area.

Map showing Clough, Co. Down in the Second World War

Clough, Co. Down in the Second World War

Co. Down

Clough, Co. Down in the Second World War became one of the safe havens for evacuees from Gibraltar who adapted to the language and climate of rural Ulster.

Map showing World War Two in Crossgar, Co. Down

World War Two in Crossgar, Co. Down

Co. Down

During World War Two, Crossgar, Co. Down and other camps across Ulster became safe havens for evacuees from Gibraltar who struggled with the local climate.

Map showing World War Two in Donaghadee, Co. Down

World War Two in Donaghadee, Co. Down

Co. Down

The small town of Donaghadee, Co. Down still contains remnants of its Second World War History as well as tragic memories of the sinking of "Miss Betty".

Map showing Second World War in Downpatrick, Co. Down

Second World War in Downpatrick, Co. Down

Co. Down

The town of Downpatrick, Co. Down and surrounding area provided bases and training grounds for both British and American forces during the Second World War.

Map showing Dundonald, Co. Down in the Second World War

Dundonald, Co. Down in the Second World War

Co. Down

Dundonald is a settlement built around a historic 12th century motte and bailey castle. It lies to the east of Belfast on the Co. Down edge of the city.

Map showing World War Two in Gilford, Co. Down

World War Two in Gilford, Co. Down

Co. Down

World War Two in Gilford, Co. Down transformed the Co Down village, seeing Nissen Huts erected in the area providing bases for US Army and Belgian troops.

Map showing Second World War in Holywood, Co. Down

Second World War in Holywood, Co. Down

Co. Down

The Second World War in Holywood, Co. Down brough Axis detainees to the town as locals became used to the sight of prisoners of war at the town's camps.

Map showing World War Two in Kilkeel, Co. Down

World War Two in Kilkeel, Co. Down

Co. Down

World War Two in Kilkeel, Co. Down saw Lieutenant General Patton deliver one of his famous speeches in the area while planes flew from Greencastle Airfield.

Map showing Killyleagh, Co. Down during World War Two

Killyleagh, Co. Down during World War Two

Co. Down

During World War Two, many residents of Killyleagh, Co. Down enlisted in the armed services. The village's war memorial remembers those who never returned.

Map showing Second World War in Lisburn, Co. Down

Second World War in Lisburn, Co. Down

Co. Down

The southern edge of Lisburn falls in Co. Down. During the Second World War, this area reverberated with the hum of engines from the airfield at Long Kesh.

Map showing Magheralin, Co. Down during World War Two

Magheralin, Co. Down during World War Two

Co. Down

The village of Magheralin, Co. Down lies between Moira and Lurgan. Kircassock House on the village outskirts was a base for the United States Military.

Map showing Millisle, Co. Down during World War Two

Millisle, Co. Down during World War Two

Co. Down

Hundreds of Jewish refugees came to the small village of Millisle, Co. Down during World War Two where they escaped the horrors of the Holocaust in Europe.

Map showing Moira, Co. Down during World War Two

Moira, Co. Down during World War Two

Co. Down

During World War Two, the village of Moira, Co. Down was home to Waringfield Hospital where Allied troops based across Northern Ireland received treatment.

Map showing Second World War in Newcastle, Co. Down

Second World War in Newcastle, Co. Down

Co. Down

During the Second World War in Newcastle, Co. Down, the British, American, and Belgian military passed through the seaside town as they trained in the area.

Map showing Newry, Co. Down in the Second World War

Newry, Co. Down in the Second World War

Co. Down

Many residents of Newry, Co. Down in the Second World War volunteered for service. The town's cenotaph on Bank Parade remembers those who never returned.

Map showing World War Two in Newtownards, Co. Down

World War Two in Newtownards, Co. Down

Co. Down

World War Two in Newtownards, Co. Down saw Luftwaffe bombs fall on the town's airfield. The town was also the birthplace of a legendary founding SAS member.

Map showing Rostrevor, Co. Down during World War Two

Rostrevor, Co. Down during World War Two

Co. Down

American and Belgian troops set up bases around Rostrevor, Co. Down in World War Two and Kilbroney Forest Park saw use as a German Prisoner of War Camp.

Map showing Warrenpoint, Co. Down during World War Two

Warrenpoint, Co. Down during World War Two

Co. Down

World War Two brough tragedy to the streets of Warrenpoint, Co. Down when planes collided over the town centre during a Royal Air Force demonstration.

References

Wikipedia

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