Northern Ireland’s Wartime Airfields

Northern Ireland's wartime airfields were a hive of activity during World War Two with important bases established for the USAAF and RAF's Coastal Command.

Northern Ireland's wartime airfields numbered 28 during World War Two. Authorities built many of these in rural areas bringing great changes to the rural landscapes. Both the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Force made use of these bases.

British and American troops had bases at airfields in Co. Antrim, Co. Down, Co. Fermanagh, Co. Londonderry, and Co. Tyrone.

Co. Antrim Airfields

Map showing Langford Lodge, Crumlin, Co. Antrim

Langford Lodge, Crumlin, Co. Antrim

97 Largy Road , Crumlin , Co. Antrim

Langford Lodge lies near Crumlin, Co. Antrim. It is a former World War Two Royal Air Force station on the east shore of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.

Map showing RAF Aldergrove, Crumlin, Co. Antrim

RAF Aldergrove, Crumlin, Co. Antrim

Airport Road , Belfast , Co. Antrim

RAF Aldergrove is now an RAF Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station next to Belfast International Airport. It was RAF Aldergrove between 1918 and 2009.

Map showing Long Kesh Airfield, Lisburn, Co. Down

Long Kesh Airfield, Lisburn, Co. Down

Maze , Lisburn , Co. Down

Long Kesh is best known in Northern Ireland as the site of HMP Maze but during World War Two it was a Royal Air Force airfield and hosted the USAAF in 1942.

Map showing Sydenham Airfield, Belfast, Co. Down

Sydenham Airfield, Belfast, Co. Down

Airport Road , Belfast , Co. Down

Now George Best City Airport in Belfast but from 1939 to 1941, the dockside airfield site was RAF Sydenham and was home to Bomber Command 88 Squadron.

Co. Down Airfields

Map showing Ballyhalbert Airfield, Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

Ballyhalbert Airfield, Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

1-5 Woodlark Link , Ballyhalbert , Co. Down

Ballyhalbert airfield operated as RAF Ballyhalbert, RNAS Ballyhalbert, and HMS Corncrake throughout World War Two between 1941 and its closure in mid-1946.

Map showing Greencastle Airfield, Kilkeel, Co. Down

Greencastle Airfield, Kilkeel, Co. Down

Greencastle Pier Road , Kilkeel , Co. Down

Greencastle Airfield opened for use by the Royal Air Force in 1942 but soon passed to the United States Army Air Force as a Combat Crew Replacement Centre.

Co. Londonderry Airfields

Map showing RNAS Eglinton, Derry, Co. Londonderry

RNAS Eglinton, Derry, Co. Londonderry

Airport Road , Derry , Co. Londonderry

RNAS Eglinton operated from 1943 after transfer to the Royal Navy from the Royal Air Force who established RAF Eglinton at the now City of Derry Airport.

Map showing Toome Airfield, Toomebridge, Co. Antrim

Toome Airfield, Toomebridge, Co. Antrim

Creagh Road , Toomebridge , Co. Antrim

Toome Airfield stands on the Creagh Road outside Toomebridge, Co. Antrim. It was one of several World War Two airfields on the shores of Lough Neagh.

Co. Tyrone Airfields

Map showing Cluntoe Airfield, Ardboe, Co. Tyrone

Cluntoe Airfield, Ardboe, Co. Tyrone

Kilmascally Road , Ardboe , Co. Tyrone

Cluntoe Airfield in rural Ardboe, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland saw use by both the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Force during World War Two.

Aviation Accidents around Northern Ireland

Between 1939 and 1945 many Allied planes came down in and around Northern Ireland. Many were the result of training accidents but others occurred on active service.

Featured image for Armstrong Whitworth Whitley P5041 crash on Mull of Kintyre, Scotland

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley P5041 crash on Mull of Kintyre, Scotland

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23rd January 2016

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley P5041 took off from RAF Aldergrove, Co. Antrim on 23rd January 1941. It crashed in poor weather killing all five of the aircrew.

Featured image for Avro Anson N5372 crash in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim

Avro Anson N5372 crash in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim

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18th October 2016

On 18th October 1943, Avro Anson N5372 crashed near Ballycastle, killing 3, after many factors contributed to it striking high ground at Knocklayd Mountain.

Featured image for B17 41-24451 crash on Slieveanorra, Co. Antrim

B17 41-24451 crash on Slieveanorra, Co. Antrim

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7th March 2018

On 2nd October 1942, American Flying Fortress B17 41-24451 took off from Gander, Newfoundland. The rookie crew would crash on Slieveanorra, Co. Antrim.

Consolidated Catalina JX242 crash at Lough an Laban, Co. Fermanagh

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20th November 2018

On 20th November 1944, RAF 202 Squadron's Consolidated Catalina JX242 came down on a rugged Co. Fermanagh hilltop on its return to RAF Castle Archdale.

Featured image for Focke-Wulf Condor crash in Belfast Lough, Co. Down

Focke-Wulf Condor crash in Belfast Lough, Co. Down

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7th March 2018

In July 1940 a Focke-Wulf Condor laid mines in Belfast Lough sinking of the SS Troutpool. A week later, the Luftwaffe returned with disastrous consequences.

Featured image for Liberator AL577 crash at Jenkinstown, Co. Louth

Liberator AL577 crash at Jenkinstown, Co. Louth

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16th March 2018

On 16th March 1942, an American Liberator AL577 came down in bad weather near Jenkinstown in the Dundalk vicinity of Louth. 19 young airmen were on board.

Featured image for Corsair JT357 crash at RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

Corsair JT357 crash at RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

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8th September 2017

On 8th September 1945, the pilot of Chance-Vought F4U Corsair JT357 crash landed and burned out 5 miles south-by-southwest of RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down.

Featured image for De Havilland Mosquito NS557 crash at Langford Lodge, Co. Antrim

De Havilland Mosquito NS557 crash at Langford Lodge, Co. Antrim

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6th August 2018

On 6th August 1944, United States Army Air Force 2nd Lieutenant James E Matuska crash landed De Havilland Mosquito NS557 at RAF Langford Lodge, Co. Antrim.

Featured image for Fairey Swordfish LS182 crash at Enagh, Co. Londonderry

Fairey Swordfish LS182 crash at Enagh, Co. Londonderry

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28th June 2019

Fairey Swordfish LS182 piloted by the commanding officer of Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm 836 Squadron crashed after hitting power cables on 28th June 1944.

Grumman Wildcat JV413 crash in Lough Foyle, Co. Londonderry

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19th November 2018

On 19th November 1943, Grumman Wildcat JV413 came down in the shallow water of Lough Foyle killing young New Zealander pilot Sub-Lieutenant John Hugh Nurse.

Lockheed Hudson T9326 crash at RAF Aldergrove, Co. Antrim

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30th September 2016

The American-built Lockheed Hudson T9326 experienced technical problems, losing power and coming down soon after take off from RAF Aldergrove, Co. Antrim.

Featured image for Hudson T9328 crash at Cargan, Co. Antrim

Hudson T9328 crash at Cargan, Co. Antrim

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16th October 2017

Slieveanee Mountain rises above the townland of Cargan in Co. Antrim. On 16th October 1940, it was the scene of the fatal crash of Lockheed Hudson T9328.

Featured image for Short Sunderland NJ175 crash at Cashelard, Co. Donegal

Short Sunderland NJ175 crash at Cashelard, Co. Donegal

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12th August 2016

Short Sunderland NJ175 was one of many flying boats operating from Castle Archdale, Co. Fermanagh in the hands of the Royal Canadian Air Force 422 Squadron.

Featured image for Short Sunderland W6028 crash near Trory, Co. Fermanagh

Short Sunderland W6028 crash near Trory, Co. Fermanagh

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9th March 2018

Short Sunderland W6028 took off from RAF St. Angelo, Co. Fermanagh on 20th February 1944 in a training exercise with a Beaufighter from RAF 235 Squadron.

Featured image for Spitfire BL922 crash at RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

Spitfire BL922 crash at RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

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9th September 2017

On 5th October 1943, Spitfire BL922 came down about a mile away from RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down. The Polish pilot had crash landed less than a month before.

Featured image for Spitfire EP280 crash at RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

Spitfire EP280 crash at RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

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5th September 2018

On 5th September 1943, the airfield at RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down was the site of the crash of Spitfire EP280. The Polish pilot escaped alive but injured.

Featured image for Spitfire R6992 crash in Figullar, Co. Monaghan

Spitfire R6992 crash in Figullar, Co. Monaghan

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20th September 2017

In May 2017, archaeologists from Belfast were part of a team to unearth Spitfire R6992 in Monaghan. Piloted by Gordon Hayter Proctor, it crashed in 1942.

Featured image for Spitfire W3937 crash at RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

Spitfire W3937 crash at RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

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9th September 2017

On 9th September 1943, RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down was the site of the crash of Spitfire W3937. The same Polish pilot would crash again under a month later.

Featured image for Stinson Reliant FK914 crash on Sawel Mountain, Co. Londonderry

Stinson Reliant FK914 crash on Sawel Mountain, Co. Londonderry

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5th January 2016

On 5th January 1944, Stinson Reliant FK914 took off from RNAS Eglinton in Co. Londonderry before coming down on the north-eastern slope of Sawel Mountain.

Featured image for Vickers Wellington HF208 crash on Mount Brandon, Co. Kerry

Vickers Wellington HF208 crash on Mount Brandon, Co. Kerry

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20th December 2017

Vickers Wellington HF208 crashed on the slopes of Mount Brandon, Arraglen, Co. Kerry. All six Polish airmen on board were killed and are buried in Belfast.

Vickers Wellington JA308 crash in Stranocum, Co. Antrim

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20th November 2018

On 20th November 1944, Vickers Wellington JA308 crash landed near Stranocum Hall, Co. Antrim. Fortunately all five men on board survived the accident.

Featured image for Westland Lysander P1731 crash at RAF Sydenham, Co. Down

Westland Lysander P1731 crash at RAF Sydenham, Co. Down

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30th April 2016

Polish Airman Sergeant Edward Lewandowski piloted Westland Lysander P1731 on 30th April 1942. The plane came down after take-off from RAF Sydenham, Belfast.