American GIs in Northern Ireland

American GIs officially arrived in Northern Ireland in 1942. Private Milburn H Henke set foot on Dufferin Dock, Belfast on 26th January and the story began.

Between 1942 and the end of World War Two, around 300,000 American service personnel passed through Ulster. At its peak, US military personnel made up around 1/10th of Northern Ireland's population.

American troops were scattered across the country as they prepared to enter battle in North Africa and Normandy. While training, they opened Irish eyes to American culture. This included sports such as American Football and Baseball. By the end of the Second World War, American GIs had made a huge impression on the people of Northern Ireland. In fact, almost 2,000 women from Ulster became GI brides and left Irish shores to start a new life in the USA during peacetime.

Featured image for American Football at Ravenhill Stadium, Belfast, Co. Antrim

American Football at Ravenhill Stadium, Belfast, Co. Antrim

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7th March 2018

The first game of American Football in Europe during WW2 was played at the Ravenhill Stadium, Belfast between "Yarvard" and "Hale" on 14th November 1942.

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Baseball in Northern Ireland

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2nd March 2018

By 1942, America had joined World War Two and those men based in Northern Ireland brought some home comforts including the national past time of baseball.

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US Army segregation in Northern Ireland

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7th March 2018

During World War Two, over one million black servicemen served in segregated US Army regiments. Many of those men were briefly based in Northern Ireland.

Map showing Lisnabreeny American Cemetery, Rocky Road, Belfast, Co. Down

Lisnabreeny American Cemetery, Rocky Road, Belfast, Co. Down

Rocky Road, Belfast, Co. Down

Lisnabreeny in the Castlereagh Hills once was the site of an American Military Cemetery in Belfast. 148 servicemen were buried there between 1943 and 1948.

Map showing Eisenhower Pier, Bangor, Co. Down

Eisenhower Pier, Bangor, Co. Down

Seacliff Road, Bangor, Co. Down

General Dwight D Eisenhower visited Bangor, Co. Down on the 18th-19th May 1944 adressing troops in the lead up to D-Day. The north pier now bears his name.

Map showing City Hall, Donegall Square, Belfast, Co. Antrim

City Hall, Donegall Square, Belfast, Co. Antrim

Donegall Square, Belfast, Co. Antrim

Belfast City Hall opened in 1906 and has come through much in its history. There are several connections with World War Two, many are still standing today.

Map showing Ballyholme Bay, Bangor, Co. Down

Ballyholme Bay, Bangor, Co. Down

Seacliff Road, Bangor, Co. Down

In 1944, Ballyholme Bay in Bangor was a hive of activity. Shipyards carried out work for the Admiralty and US Navy landing ship craft beached off the shore.

Map showing Quartermaster Gasoline Supply Company HQ, Belfast

Quartermaster Gasoline Supply Company HQ, Belfast

Rocky Road, Belfast, Co. Antrim

Between 1942 and 1944, Northern Ireland hosted tens of thousands of US troops. The 3878th Quartermaster Gasoline Supply Company were based at Lisnabreeny.

Map showing Tollymore Forest Park, Bryansford, Co. Down

Tollymore Forest Park, Bryansford, Co. Down

Bryansford Road, Newcastle, Co. Down

The spectacular scenery of Tollymore Forest Park is heavily featured in Game Of Thrones and remains mostly unchanged from what greeted the US Army in 1942.

The US Army based in Northern Ireland

307th Quartermaster Sterilization Battalion in Northern Ireland

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19th November 2018

In November 1943, 307th Quartermaster Sterilization Battalion arrived in Northern Ireland finding themselves throughout the province in the run up to D-Day.

552nd Quartermaster Railhead Company in Northern Ireland

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9th November 2018

From November 1943, 552nd Quartermaster Railhead Company of the United States Army had bases in Gough Barracks, Co. Armagh and in Seskinore, Co. Tyrone.

Quartermaster Depot Q-111 in Northern Ireland

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23rd November 2017

On 23rd November 1943, a directive from the US Army established Quartermaster Depot Q-111 at Belfast, Co. Antrim with subordinate depots throughout Ulster.

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United States Army Rangers in Northern Ireland

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2nd March 2018

The old Sunnylands Camp near Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim was the setting for the activation of 1st Battalion United States Army Rangers on 19th June 1942.