Kircassock House was situated near Magheralin and became home to the Headquarters of the Eighth Air Force. This large country mansion was requisitioned for the purpose of accommodating US personnel.
The HQ of the 8th Air Force Composite Command was initially situated at Long Kesh airfield temporarily from mid-September until mid-November 1942. The 8th AFCC was the organisation which had overall administrative responsibility for USAAF activities in Northern Ireland, especially the bomber crew training programme. In mid-November, 8th AFCC took up residence in Kircassock House and remained there until February 1944 when it was transferred to England.
In preparation for the American stay at Kircassock around 80 buildings including barrack huts, mess halls, sick quarters, admin offices, a fire station and sewage disposal works were constructed as part of the HQ. The grand Kircassock House became the Officers’ Club.
According to Ernie Cromie in his book Overhead and Over Here, the command personnel arrived keen to get to work but the decision to invade North-West Africa serioulsy slowed the build-up of the 8th Air Force in the UK. As a result of this hold up, it left them with little to do for months. Their days consisted of dealing with common administrative matters in relation to the Army Air Force stations such as military discipline, morale, general housekeeping and relations with the local civilian population.
Kircassock is now privately owned however there there is no barrier to enter the site. The house itself was demolished many years ago so unfortunately there is not much left to see. There is however a small residential building which adjoined it, still standing. Kircassock House and its surroundings was a beautiful location and still is.