From Northern Ireland to Normandy [D-Day 75]

D-Day on 6th June 1944 became famous as one of the greatest Allied victories of World War Two. Many who landed on the beaches came from Northern Ireland.

D-Day: 6th June 1944

The now famous D-Day Landings took place on Tuesday 6th June 1944 on the coast of Normandy, France. The amphibious Allied invasion took the codename Operation Neptune. This marked the first day of Operation Overlord, the Battle of Normandy.

Seaborne and airborne Allied troops took the Normandy beaches amid fierce resistance. The operation began the liberation of Europe, paving the way for Allied victory. The Royal Ulster Rifles are the only British Army regiment to have two battalions land in Normandy on D-Day. 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles landed on Sword Beach on the morning of 6th June 1944. 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles were already on the ground having landed by glider near Ranville.

Preparing for D-Day in Northern Ireland

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 Belfast Lough, Belfast, Co. Down

Belfast Lough, Belfast, Co. Down

Belfast , Co. Down

Today, the tranquil Belfast Lough is worlds away from the hive of military activity it saw coming up to D-Day and Operation Overlord during World War Two.

Visit to Normandy in 2014

We visited Normandy, France in 2014 for the 70th-anniversary commemorations of D-Day. Many veterans joined world leaders, tourists, and locals on the streets to celebrate the liberation of France.

Fighting in Normandy

Many soldiers, sailors, and airmen left the counties of Northern Ireland to take part in the D-Day landings. Some were part of Operation Neptune with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles. Others landed around Ranville with 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles as part of 6th Airborne Division. Many more served with various regiments throughout the Normandy campaign.

Robert William Beck

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7th June 2018

Robert William Beck served in 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during World War Two. He fought with 3rd Infantry Division during D-Day on 6th June 1944.

Arthur Desmond Bradley

Arthur Desmond Bradley

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17th June 2018

Rifleman Arthur Desmond Bradley served in 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during the hard-fought Normandy campaign in France. He died on 17th June 1944.

George Bradley

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9th July 2019

Rifleman George Bradley of Belfast, Co. Antrim died on 9th July 1944 while serving with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during the Battle of Normandy.

Hugh Brown

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14th June 2018

Corporal Hugh Brown served in 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during World War Two, landing on Sword Beach on D-Day, 6th June 1944 and fighting in France.

John Cassells Browne

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9th August 2018

Major John Cassells Browne died on 9th August 1944 when 'D' Company 6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry came under machine-gun attack in Normandy, France.

Stanley Burrows

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6th June 2018

Rifleman Stanley Burrows served in 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during World War Two. He saw action on D-Day and was injured in Cambes Wood, Normandy.

John James Caves

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31st March 2018

Sergeant John James Caves served in the 1st Glider Pilot Regiment during World War Two. He saw action on D-Day and was taken prisoner in Germany in 1945.

Andrew Charles

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6th June 2018

Rifleman Andrew Charles served with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during World War Two. He received the Military Medal from Field Marshal Montgomery.

Thomas Fisher Churchill

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26th June 2018

Thomas Fisher Churchill of the 9th Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) died on 26th June 1944 during the Battle of Normandy. He is buried in Bayeux.

HMS Danae and cruisers bound for Normandy

John William Coleman

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23rd November 2016

Royal Navy Petty Officer Stoker John William Coleman was born in Liverpool, Lancashire but made a home with his wife and daughter in Belfast, Co. Antrim.

Frank Conlon

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20th August 2017

Private Frank Conlon was born in Belfast and served in 1st Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment. He took part in the Battle of Normandy in the summer of 1944.

William John Cunningham

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17th June 2019

Warrant Officer Class I William John Cunningham died on 17th June 1944 while serving in Normandy with 9th Battalion The Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps.

John Gallagher

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2nd July 2017

Rifleman John Gallagher from Co. Londonderry died on 2nd July 1944 while serving in the Battle of Normandy with B Company 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles.

Samuel Glass

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7th June 2018

Rifleman Samuel Glass served in 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during World War Two. He landed in Normandy on D-Day and was shot by a sniper on 7th June.

Henry Greer

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8th June 2016

Lance Corporal Henry Greer from Cookstown, Co. Tyrone landed with 1st Royal Ulster Rifles by glider at LZ N near Ranville, Normandy on D-Day 6th June 1944.

Robert Hoey

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9th July 2019

Private Robert Hoey was the company cook with C Company, 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles when he died in a mortar attack in Normandy on 9th July 1944.

Thomas Ireland

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11th August 2017

Driver Thomas Ireland (T/7007689) served in 282 General Transport Company, Royal Army Service Corps. He died in August 1944 during the Battle of Normandy.

Richard Keegan

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5th January 2018

Richard Keegan served with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles in World War Two. Born in Lisnaskea, Fermanagh, he spent much of his adult life in Co. Armagh.

William Keenan

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5th July 2018

Lance Corporal William Keenan lived in Co. Armagh. He died on 5th July 1944 with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles in the hard-fought Battle of Normandy.

Hugh Francis Kelly

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18th June 2018

Rifleman Hugh Francis Kelly of Belfast, Co. Antrim died on 18th June 1944 while serving in the Normandy campaign with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles.

George Alexander Maginnis

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18th July 2018

Lieutenant George Alexander Maginnis served in B Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles at the time of his death in Normandy, France on 18th July 1944.

Matthew Herbison Marshall

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15th June 2018

Matthew Herbison Marshall of Ballymena, Co. Antrim died on 15th June 1944 when U-767 sank HMS Mourne in the English Channel during the Battle of Normandy.

George McAllister

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7th June 2018

Rifleman George McAllister served in 'D' Company, 2nd Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles during the war. He saw action on D-Day and was killed in Cambes Wood.

James Adair McBride

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19th June 2018

Lance Sergeant James Adair McBride from Lomond Street, Belfast, Co. Down died on 19th June 1944 during the Battle of Normandy following the D-Day landings.

William Ashwood McBurney

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9th July 2019

Rifleman William Ashwood McBurney of Banbridge, Co. Down died at Le Mesnil in Normandy on 9th July 1944 while serving in 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles.

William McConnell MBE

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6th June 2018

William McConnell, known to friends and the men of 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles as Bill, served in World War Two, enlisting at only 17 years old.

Albert McConville

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7th June 2018

Sergeant Major Albert McConville served in 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during World War Two. He was injured during the Normandy landings in June 1944.

John McCoo

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9th June 2018

Rifleman John McCoo of Gilford, Co. Down died on 13th June 1944 while serving in the Battle of Normandy with 1st (Airborne) Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles.

George Anthony McCracken

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21st June 2018

Rifleman George Anthony McCracken from East Belfast, Co. Down died on 21st June 1944 after sustaining shrapnel wounds near Bayeux, Normandy, France.

James McMurray-Taylor

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6th June 2018

Captain Reverend James McMurray-Taylor served with 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles seeing action on D-Day as a padre on the Normandy beaches.

Charles Joseph McVeigh

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12th August 2018

Sergeant Charles Joseph McVeigh of Lurgan, Co. Armagh died on 12th August 1944 during the Battle of Normandy. He landed on Sword Beach on D-Day in 1944.

Hugh Henry Millar

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7th June 2018

Corporal Hugh Henry Millar from Belfast, Co. Down died on 7th June 1944 as the Royal Ulster Rifles advanced through Normandy following the D-Day Landings.

James Moore

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6th June 2018

Lance Corporal James Moore served with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during World War Two. He fought on D-Day in Normandy and on through Europe.

Rifleman William James Moore

William James Moore

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5th June 2018

William James "Billy" Moore served with 2nd Battalion of the Royal Ulster Rifles, landing on Sword Beach on 6th June 1944 after enlisting at the age of 18.

Reginald Norman Morgan

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7th June 2017

Lieutenant Reginald Norman Morgan served with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Ulster Rifles and was last seen on 7th June 1944 during the Battle of Normandy.

William Charles Morris

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14th July 2018

Sergeant William Charles Morris died on 14th July 1944 after sustaining shrapnel wounds a few days earlier during fierce fighting in the Battle of Normandy.

James Patrick Joseph O’Hanlon

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24th July 2015

Guardsman James Patrick Joseph O'Hanlon died on 24th July 1944 while serving in the fiercely-fought Battle of Normandy with 3rd Battalion Irish Guards.

John Patterson

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9th June 2018

Rifleman John Patterson died on 9th June 1944 during fierce fighting with the Royal Ulster Rifles at Cambes-en-Plaine following the D-Day Landings in 1944.

Richard George Patton

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9th June 2016

Rifleman Richard George Patton from Co. Armagh died of wounds inflicted on 9th June 1944 during fighting outside the village of Cambes in Normandy, France.

Arthur Potts

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11th August 2016

Lisburn born Guardsman Arthur Potts served in 3rd Battalion Irish Guards. His unit was fighting in the Battle of Normandy when he died on 11th August 1944.

Gordon Reid

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7th July 2019

Private Gordon Reid of Cookstown, Co. Tyrone died on 7th July 1944. He once parachuted into France on a covert mission with Lieutenant Colonel Blair Mayne.

William John Rice

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9th June 2016

Belfast man William John Rice was 46 years old when he landed on Sword Beach on D-Day, June 1944. Three days later he died during fighting at Cambes Wood.

William John Rowe

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6th June 2019

Private William John Rowe of Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh died on D-Day, 6th June 1944 as 5/7th Battlion Gordon Highlanders landed at Juno Beach, Normandy.

Royal Ulster Rifles in Normandy

John Shanahan

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31st January 2018

John Shanahan served with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Ulster Rifles. The Cork native fought in Normandy after landing on Sword Beach on 6th June 1944.

Aaron Smyth

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3rd October 2016

Trooper Aaron Smyth served in the Reconnaissance Corps at the time of his death on 3rd October 1944. His grave is in Dundonald Cemetery, Co. Down.

Charles Stephenson

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8th June 2018

Corporal Charles Stephenson was a medic with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles. He received an injury in Troarn during the Battle of Normandy in 1944.

War Graves in Normandy

Map showing Bayeux War Cemetery, Bayeux, Normandy, France

Bayeux War Cemetery, Bayeux, Normandy, France

Boulevard Fabian Ware , Bayeux , Normandy

The Bayeux War Cemetery is the largest of its kind in France. It is located on the south-west of Bayeux, on the bypass road built by British troops in 1944.

Map showing Cambes-en-Plaine War Cemetery, Normandy, France

Cambes-en-Plaine War Cemetery, Normandy, France

19 Rue du Mesnil Ricard , Cambes-en-Plaine , Normandy

Cambes-en-Plaine War Cemetery is the final resting place of 8 men with connections to Northern Ireland who died during fighting in tNormandy after D-Day.

Map showing La Délivrande War Cemetery, Normandy, France

La Délivrande War Cemetery, Normandy, France

Douvres , Normandy

La Délivrande War Cemetery is the final resting place of 13 men with connections to Northern Ireland. They died during fighting in the Battle of Normandy.

Map showing Ranville War Cemetery, Normandy, France

Ranville War Cemetery, Normandy, France

Ranville , Normandy

Ranville War Cemetery is the final resting place of 29 men with connections to Northern Ireland. Each one died during fighting in the Battle of Normandy.