“The Yanks are coming with a vengeance.”
The arrival of US Forces in Northern Ireland during World War Two is well recorded.
“American Army nurses also travelled over in the convoy. Many wearing slacks for comfort.”
But what happened in the area once they left for D-Day is less known. The recent sunshine has changed all that.
“Surprisingly, we ended up with prisoners of war from Germany and they were put in Nissen huts that had been vacated by the American troops and they were quite friendly and I think the most interesting thing was they weren’t aggressive and the local people treated them as ordinary people who had suffered because after all, they had also been in the war.”
These shots from above Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor hint at what lies beneath. The foundations of so-called Nissen huts.
“Kevin, not many people remember what these huts actually looked like for real but you do.”
“Well, yes I have a vague recollection of a big oval hut, the very bottom would have been concrete blocks and the tin would be at an oval angle and that would be it.”
Soon trading began between the people of Rostrevor and the soldiers. Raymond Parr remembers this wall being a sort of shop counter. The currency was tin toys.
The German prisoners of war would come down to this wall with these little items and they’d be looking for cigarettes. You could get a Weston’s tin lid with four little heads going and they did it all for two Woodbine cigarettes.”
Raymond bought this replica, a reminder of the toy he loved so much. As for the Germans, they too left their mark. Declan Harvey, BBC Newsline, Rostrevor.