Kircassock House, Magheralin, Co. Down

Kircassock House near Magheralin, Co. Down was a large country mansion that became home to the 8th USAAF Composite Command during World War Two.

Kircassock House

Dromore Road


Co. Down

BT66 7NS

United Kingdom

Kircassock House once stood in Magheralin, Co. Down. The large country mansion housed the Headquarters of 8th United States Army Air Force Composite Command. It became AAF Station 231, codenamed 'Nyack'.

Composite Command had administrative responsibility for all USAAF activity in Northern Ireland. This included training bomber crews. Before moving to Kircassock, they had been at RAF Long Kesh from 12th September 1942. On 14th November 1942, operations moved to the Magheralin site, where they remained until 13th February 1944.

The grounds of Kircassock House held between 70-80 buildings for the USAAF. These included barrack huts, mess halls, sick quarters, offices, a fire station, and a sewerage works. The mansion house itself became the Officers’ Club.

Distinguished Flying Cross presentation at Kircassock House, Co. Armagh

NARA Photograph 342-FH-3A26275-79771AC. Brigadier General Edmund W Hill, Commanding General of US Forces in Northern Ireland, presents the Distinguished Flying Cross to Technical Sergeant Michael Kruge from Ansonia, Connecticut during a ceremony at Nyack, Kircassock House on 4th August 1943.

The club had some high profile visitors over the years. Rumours suggest that Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower stayed in Kircassock. Visitors from other walks of life included comedian Bob Hope and actors Dorothy Lamour and William Bendix. They had come to Northern Ireland to entertain the American military personnel.

Soldiers and sailors dance at Kircassock House

NARA Photograph 342-FH-3A26306-79054AC. American soldiers, sailors, and invited guests enjoy a dance during a party at 8th USAAF Station 231 at Kircassock House, Co. Armagh on 25th April 1943.

American Forces at Kircassock House

The following American forces were based in Kircassock House, Co. Down between 1943 and 1944.

Start DateEnd DateUnits
16th September 1942US Army Postal Station NY639
14th November 194213th February 19448th USAAF Composite Command Headquarters
7th December 194212th March 1944401st Provisional Station Gas Defense Detachment
7th May 194315th January 1944252nd Military Police Company (Aviation)
7th May 194315th January 19441385th Military Police Company (Aviation)
15th May 194311th February 1944401st Signal Company (Aviation)
December 1943496th Fighter Training Group
1st March 194425th May 1944US Army XV Corps Headquarters
14th March 194417th May 19442nd Platoon, 506th Quartermaster Car Company
Mailroom at Kircassock House

NARA Photograph 342-FH-3A26304A-80231AC. Staff Sergeant William Armstrong, a US Army Mail Clerk from Cumnor, Virginia, sorts mail into pouches in the Distribution Centre at US Army Post Office No. 639 at Kircassock House, Co. Armagh on 10th August 1943.

Belgian soldiers may have had a base at Kircassock after the USAAF departed for England in 1944.

While the USAAF were at Nyack, build up in preparations was slow due to the invasion of North Africa. Composite Command had little to do for many months in 1943 and dealt with minor administrative matters. They focussed on military discipline, morale, and building a good relationship with the locals.

After the war, Ormeau Bakery purchased the site, demolishing the grand house and surrounding buildings. A residential block and a large water tower are all that remains of the sprawling USAAF base. The site is now privately owned and used for farming.

The gate lodge on Dromore Road still bears graffiti of names, hometowns, and regiments of some of those who served at Kircassock over the years. Another gate lodge stands on the Lismaine Road. The road running between the two gate lodges offers access to the site.