Timeline of Events and Battles in the Second World War

Follow the WartimeNI WWII timeline from 1939-45. Northern Ireland played a part in key events like the Battle of the Atlantic, Battle of Britain and D-Day.

The Second World War raged across Europe, Africa, and Asia throughout the years of 1939-1945. The WartimeNI timeline lists some of the major events from the conflict and details their connections to Northern Ireland.


1940 saw the fall of France, meaning that Ulster was within reach of Luftwaffe bombers. Many personnel from Ireland and Northern Ireland saw action fighting in the rear-guard during the evacuation from Dunkirk. Later, the Battle of Britain would dominate the skies.

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The Dunkirk Evacuation

Christopher Nolan's 2017 blockbuster told the story of the Dunkirk evacuation to a whole new generation. Many of those evacuated were from Northern Ireland.

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The Battle of Britain

The Battle of Britain took place from July to October 1940. Airmen and ground crew alike who served in the campaign had connections to Northern Ireland.


April and May 1941 brough war to the skies over Belfast, Co. Antrim as the Luftwaffe attacked the city in what would become known as The Belfast Blitz.


The year 1944 was a turning point in the timeline of the Second World War. The Allied invasion of Normandy was a pivotal moment. Much of the planning and training had taken place in Northern Ireland.


As the war in Europe drew to an end, activity in Northern Ireland continued. Thousands of young Belgian men arrived in Ulster to train as the new Belgian Army.

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Belgian Army in Northern Ireland

In 1945, as the Second World War drew to an end, elements of a new Belgian Army arrived in Ulster. They reformed and retrained throughout Northern Ireland.

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Victory in Europe: VE Day in Northern Ireland



8th May 2018

At 1500hrs on 8th May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced an end to hostilities in Europe with Germany. This day would become known as VE Day.