One of the aims of the GI Trail is to promote and bring together all existing groups, organisations and individuals who are already working extremely hard to highlight the history of the Americans in Northern Ireland during the Second World War. Without the help of associates listed below, the GI Trail would not be in existance. Please have a look at the websites listed to find out more about the many people we work with to keep the memory of the Second World War in Northern Ireland alive.
Ulster Aviation Society
The Ulster Aviation Society is based at the former RAF Long Kesh airfield. They are an active group of aviation enthusiasts covering many aspects of aviation activities and they have a vast collection of aircraft and aviation related artefacts.
War Years Remembered
The mission of War Years Remembered is to bring history alive for all generations, giving both young and old a greater understanding of life during all the conflicts both on the battle field and on the home front. War Years Remembered has a huge collection of unique, one of a kind vechicles in their collection including a 1944 Morris Gun Tractor which is thought to be only one of six left in the world – it went into action on 8 June 1944, landing on Sword Beach!
Wartime Living History Association
The Wartime Living History Association exists to remind, portray and represent the forces Allied/Axis and Domestic which played a role in the Second World War. Through representation the group strives to inform, educate and assist the members of the public with their understanding of the Second World War and what was involved by all participants. The group is based in Northern Ireland but has members from both the UK mainland and the Irish Republic. The WLHA is a cross community organisation and welcomes all who want to help them with their cause.
Ulster Military Vehicle Club
The Ulster Military Vehicle Club exists to promote the restoration, preservation and display of ex-military vehicles. Through their own events and participation in those organised by others (such as the GI Jive Festival in Kilkeel) they allow the public to get a close up look at historic vehicles that otherwise would have been only pictures in books or props in films. Further, the club provides a forum for owners and enthusiasts to meet and exchange information, get their vehicles out of the garage and indulge in a little social shennanigan.
G.I. N.I. Flickr Collection
This amazing collection of wartime images was researched and compiled by Clive Moore. The collection was created to raise awareness of the activities of US Forces in Northern Ireland during the Second World War.
The Second World War in Northern Ireland
This website complied by Andy Glenfield has amazing information on the Second World War in Northern Ireland and all the sites and locations relating to this time. This website gives you detailed info on what there is left to see at sites related to all – US, British, Polish, Canadian etc. Everyone left their mark and this website references all these sites.
Brownlow House, Lurgan
The exhibition here commemorates the American Armed Forces who were stationed in Northern Ireland during the Second World War. A website for this exhibition is under construction.
Grey Point Fort
This site is run by an amazing group of volunteers with extensive knowledge on the use of the gun emplacements and other local history during The First and Second World Wars. They have also set up a great museum of military memorabilla. Visit the Discover Northern Ireland website for opening hours
Living Vintage Company
Showing off their unique display of vintage fashion from the past, this group travel the province with their beautiful collection, modelling the clothes at charity fashion shows and events.
The Nautilus Centre, Kilkeel
This centre based at Kilkeel Harbour is home to the Visitor Information Centre and houses the Mourne Maritime Centre and the Tracing Your Mourne Roots exhibition, displaying information on the GIs in the Mourne area during the Second World War. It also houses the Mourne Seafood Cookery School.
Olden Days and Olden Ways
This organisation is run by Mourne man Joe Boden. Joe has a vast collection of unique items from the past few decades including war memoribilla, farming tools of days gone by and olden clothes. Joe travels around with his mobile exhibition visiting schools, local groups and events raising money for charity.
Newry and Mourne Museum
Established in 1986, Newry and Mourne Museum aims to provide a dynamic and inclusive recreational and educational resource reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the local area.
The museum’s diverse collections currently include material relating to prehistory; Newry’s Cistercian foundations; Ulster’s Gaelic Order and its relationship with the English Crown; the building of a merchant town and the first summit level canal in the British Isles; the working life and folk traditions of rural and mountain areas; fishing, trade and migration by sea; renowned local personalities and businesses; folklore, storytelling and music; and modern experiences of a Border area. All these aspects of local heritage are explored at through a varied programme of exhibitions, educational events and activities.
Northern Ireland War Memorial, Belfast
This museum based in Talbot Street Belfast is a wonderful place to explore the history of Northern Ireland during the First and Second World Wars. The objectives of the Northern Ireland War Memorial (NIWM) are:
- to act as a memorial to those who sacrificed their lives in the First and Second World Wars
- to remember those who died in the Blitz on Belfast in 1941
- act as a testimony to the friendship established with the US Forces who trained here from 1942 to 1944
- accommodate offices for ex-Service charities.
Somme Heritage Centre
The Somme Museum was built on the site where the soldiers of the 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division were trained after the outbreak of war within the grounds of the Clandeboye Estate. Organised tours are available and can be booked in advance by contacting the Museum. Each tour lasts approximately one hour and the last tour takes place at 3.00pm each day.
US Rangers Centre, Carrickfergus
Located less than a mile from the Town Centre, off the Larne Road, the Andrew Jackson Cottage is a traditional thatched Ulster-Scots farmhouse built in 1750s. In the grounds of the cottage is the US Rangers Centre, a museum dedicated to the men of the first battalions of the elite American Army Unit the US Rangers that was first ‘activated’ in Carrickfergus in 1942. The display includes documents, uniforms and photographs and other material detailing this famous combat unit.
Lisnabreeny Military Cemetery
Lisnabreeny American Military Cemetery was once a temporary burial ground for US servicemen who died in Northern Ireland between 1943 and 1948.
148 servicemen, including eight whose identities remain unknown, were buried here. The dead included members of the US Army and Navy, but most were members of the Air Forces. They had died from natural causes, in road traffic accidents or during training, and about 40 men died in air accidents.
The cemetery closed in 1948, and the remains of those who were not repatriated to the US at their families’ requests now lie in Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, England.
Active Learning Company
Providing schools with themed educational events that focus on the school curriculum. Unique, interactive, hands-on learning opportunities.
Ernie Cromie is a member of the Ulster Aviation Society and a published author. Ernie served as chairman of the Ulster Aviation Society for 30 years until 2012 when he relinquished all executive responsibilty to devote more time to researching and promoting the history of aviation in Northern Ireland, with particular reference to the United States Army Air Forces and Naval Air Service present here during the Second World War.
To find out where to buy Ernie’s book Overhead and Over Here – The Story of American Military Aviation in Northern Ireland during the Second World War follow this link… NIWM – Overhead and Over Here by Ernie Cromie. Alternatively you can buy it from Waterstones. Click here to visit Waterstones website.
Mike is a member of the Wartime Living History Association and an active enthuasist along the North Coast, working with many community groups and schools in County Antrim, setting up exhbitions and window displays to promote the GIs. Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org
Robin, author of Twixt Bay and Burn – A History of Helen’s Bay and Crawfordsburn is an accomplished author and Bangor local with great knowledge of the GIs in the North Down area.
Ian is a former head of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and has great knowledge of the GI sites in Northern Ireland. He is now Managing Partner of TTC International in the UK.
John is the author of Passing Through – The 82 Airborne Division in Ireland 1943-44, a book focusing on the GIs in Northern Ireland during the Second World War. You can buy Passing Through on amazon.co.uk