While researching the content of the Tour, I came across a very interesting piece in the autobiography of one of the original United States Army Rangers. Although I have been unable to verify its accuracy, I have no reason to disbelieve it.
With that caveat, it seems that King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (before she became the Queen Mother) visited the Sunnylands Army Camp in Carrickfergus on the morning of the 26th June 1942. There they met some of those men who made up the 1st Battalion U.S. Rangers.
The autobiography mentions how impressed the American soldiers were with the Royal couple – more down to earth than they had anticipated. The Queen, in particular, charmed the Rangers with her knowledgeable comments about their rifles and other military equipment.
The Royals had spent a few days in Northern Ireland specifically visiting American military sites, with this visit to Carrickfergus coming on their last day here. Although many photographs we’re taken throughout their tour, I have been unable to trace any from their short stopover in Carrickfergus. This may be due to the very high level of secrecy surrounding the new elite fighting force that had been created in Sunnylands Camp just a week earlier.
Follow in the footsteps of Royalty, as my Tour includes a visit to where Sunnylands Camp was situated and I tell the story of the activation and onward journey of the only American military unit created away from U.S. soil.
Scheduled Tours are advertised on the Eventbrite website.
Tours on other days or times can be arranged on request.
The image used was created and released by the Imperial War Museum. CAPTION: “HM King George VI and Queen Elizabeth leaving HMS BICESTER at the end of their visit to the naval base at Larne, Northern Ireland, 26 June 1942.”