Ward Park, Bangor, Co. Down

Ward Park is a beautiful people's park popular with locals and tourists alike. Visitors with a keen eye will notice a few reminders of wartime Bangor there.

Ward Park

Bangor

Co. Down

BT20 4AJ

United Kingdom

Ward Park in Bangor is a great place for tourists to visit and locals to relax. It's known for hosting music festivals and rock shows featuring the likes of Snow Patrol and Eminem. The parkland covers 37 acres of sports fields, playgrounds, and a wildfowl sanctuary. Visitors with a keen eye will notice a few reminders of wartime Bangor within the park boundaries.

At the residential Park Drive end, concealed by a cluster of trees stands a small red-brick building. It’s now used by a local cycling club in the Co. Down seaside town. Thick walls, sturdy construction, and solid concrete roof, though point to its former use as a public air-raid shelter.

The Ward Park Shelter

A red-brick World War Two era public air raid shelter is now in use as a storage facility for a local cycling club in Ward Park, Bangor. Photo taken in February 2014.

There are still a few of these types of shelter standing throughout Northern Ireland. An almost identical model stands in Castle Gardens in Lisburn, Co. Down.

The town of Bangor would come under attack from the Luftwaffe in April 1941 as they flew across Northern Ireland.

Bangor War Memorial

Many young men from Bangor died across Europe and North Africa between 1939 and 1945. By then, a memorial to the fallen of The Great War 1914-1918 already stood at the Hamilton Road end of Ward Park.

The Portland stone and bronze sculpture remembers 124 men from the local area who made the ultimate sacrifice. These soldiers, sailors, and airmen gave their all in the First World War. The bronze sculpture atop the monument depicts Erin holding a palm branch of victory and a lion.

The Great War, 1914-1918. To the memory of our fallen sons. Dulce et decorum est Pro Patria Mori.

Bangor War Memorial

Bangor War Memorial in Ward Park

The War Memorial in Bangor's Ward Park commemorates the fallen of The Great War 1914-1918 and the Second World War 1939-1945. Photo taken on 16th February 2014. Copyright Scott Edgar - WartimeNI.

Guns in Ward Park

Next to the war memorial, you can see an unusual site. The gun of a World War One German U-Boat is not what you would expect to see in a town park. The well-preserved artifact now belongs to the townspeople of Bangor, a gift with a story behind it.

U-Boat Gun in Ward Park

This gun was gifted to Bangor in recognition of the valour of Commander the Hon. Edward Barry Stewart Bingham of H.M.S. Nestor at the Battle of Jutland. Photo taken in February 2014.

The inscription on the gun tells more:

This gun taken from German submarine U19 was allotted to Bangor (County Down) by the Admiralty in recognition of the valorous conduct of Commander the Hon. Edward Barry Stewart Bingham of H.M.S. Nestor at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. For which he received the Victoria Cross. Died in the Service of their Country.

German WWI U-Boat Gun, Ward Park

Next time you pay a visit to Bangor, make sure to take a walk through Ward Park and look out for some of these unique historical sights.

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