At the outbreak of the Second World War, Edenderry House in Banbridge, Co. Down was home to Mr. Howard Ferguson J.P. He was the son of Thomas Ferguson, founder of a renowned linen firm in the area. Howard died on 26th March 1941, and it appears the house became a military base after this time.
Among the British Army soldiers known to make use of Edenderry House was the Liverpool Scottish Regiment. 1st and 2nd Battalion of the Regiment spent time in Northern Ireland as part of 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division from December 1943. During their time in Ulster, the Division helped local farmers as well as training American and Belgian troops.
Soldiers training became a regular sight around the Co. Down town. As well as Battalions of British soldiers, there were also members of the United States Army and Belgian Infantry in the area.
Edenderry House after the War
Following the Second World War, the sale of Edenderry House took place for £11,000. The education authority took ownership in 1949 and Banbridge Academy Grammar School has operated from the premises since 1950. Until recent years, some Second World War era Nissen Huts remained at the site. Their removal took place to make way for new playing fields.
In 2010, during routine work on the school premises, workers uncovered a “small mortar-type device” dating back to the 1940s. Following the find near the school dining hall, staff alerted the local Police and Army Technical Officers.
There have been mortars found here in the past and it may be the same type of device. Apparently, the Academy grounds were used previously by American soldiers around the time of the Second World War. We have only been on site since 1950 and this dates back to previous use. It did not cause major inconvenience. The main thing was that pupils and members of staff were safe and there was no threat to them.
Raymond Pollock, Principal of Banbridge Academy, 2010.