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The Yanks Are Coming!

During 2022, I plan to share a few posts on my Facebook Page about what was happening in Northern Ireland 80 years ago, specifically in relation to the arrival of the US military.

#OTD1942

By way of background:

Plans had been developed as early as April 1941 for the United States of America to send troops to the UK, should the USA enter the Second World War.

In June of that year, 350 civilian workers from G.A. Fuller-Merritt Chapman Corporation (an American firm) arrived in Northern Ireland to begin building naval bases at Londonderry (Base No.1) for the refueling and repair of destroyers and submarines, and Lough Erne for PBY Catalina flying boats.

in July, members of the Special Observer Group made a first visit to Northern Ireland, looking at existing infrastructure and making recommendations about potential sites for US military sites. The Group submitted its first report in September, recommending that a depot be established at Langford Lodge to carry out maintenance repairs for American aircraft.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, and the subsequent declaration of war on the USA by Germany a few days later, brought America into the war.

On 17 Dec, Major General James E. Chaney submitted a report on his review of the situation following American entry into the war, and specifically referenced a plan to send 33,421 American troops to Northern Ireland.

This cohort of troops will be designated by the codename MAGNET Force.

The friendly “invasion” of Northern Ireland is imminent!

Follow the Tour’s Facebook Page for regular updates on the 80th anniversary of key events.

Image: Washington County Free Library Photo WCRH018. Part of the General Russell P Hartle Collection. American troops from 34th Infantry Division en route to Northern Ireland on board the British troop ship HMTS Strathaid. Photo taken in February 1942. Copyright United States Signal Corps.

Latest News

Winter Update

Tours

With the winter months now on the horizon, it’s impractical to offer Guided Walking Tours more than a day or two in advance, as many of my artifacts are too fragile to be exposed to poor weather conditions. That said, if you would like me to organise a Tour, and spot a decent short-term weather forecast, please get in touch and I’ll see what I can do.

Presentations

I can come to a venue of your choosing to deliver a Presentation, including a small exhibition. Although my area of expertise is how the town of Carrickfergus was impacted by the Second World War, my Presentation provides a good introduction to those interested in examining their own wartime heritage: family, community, and/or locality.

The Second World War affected everyone and everywhere, but many of the local stories from this period need to be brought back to the fore. I can share my own journey of discovery, and help you prepare for doing the same.

If you are interested in a Presentation, please contact me to begin making arrangements. Presentations can be tailored to suit your requirements.

Latest News, Tour content update, Tour Dates Update

We are back!

A relaxation of the COVID restrictions means I can re-start Walking Tours around Carrickfergus from 24 May 2021. Finally, the Teddy Bear (yet to be named) can come out of his suitcase!

Join me on a walk around my hometown to uncover the story of Carrickfergus as it was during the Second World War. We’ll visit some of the locations that were important during this period to understand what it was like to live through this most momentous period of the 20th Century.

All Tours include extensive contemporary photographs and artifacts, as well as a few specially commissioned reproductions. Through these, you will experience how the people, buildings, and infrastructure of Carrickfergus responded to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Tour Options

The Tour has a few Route permutations, from 1.2 to 2.5 miles.

The Public Tour is the shorter version, taking about 90 minutes to complete. Public Tours are advertised through Eventbrite.

Private Tours are available on request: please get in touch with your requirements and I’ll do my best to organise a Tour for you. Private Tours can be tailored to meet your specific requirements and interests. The Route and content can be adapted, and visits to additional locations included (subject to their opening hours).

Prices

Adults (aged 16 and over): £8

Juniors (Under 16): £5

Any Questions?

Ultimately, I want you to have a great experience on my Tour. Feel free to contact me to find out more, talk through what you would like included on your Tour and even make suggestions. Private Tours can be as bespoke as you want.

If you have any queries about the Tour, please do get in touch.

Phone/Text: 07916 780474

Email: leadthewaytourcarrickfergus@gmail.com

Latest News

Lead the Way Tour receives grant of £3,000 from the Heritage Recovery Fund to help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic

Lead The Way Tour has been awarded £3,000 to help recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Lottery Heritage Fund announced grants to help 50 organisations and 41 individuals adapt, recover and re-open following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Heritage Recovery Fund is being distributed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Department for Communities. The fund is part of the £29million Executive allocation to support the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors in Northern Ireland.

Grants from the Heritage Recovery Fund were awarded to a wide range of organisations and individuals in the heritage sector, from historic sites, attractions and landscapes, to tour guides and specialist heritage conservators. The grant will enable Lead The Way Tour to invest in developing the experience and cover lost income as a result of not being able to conduct guided walking tours in 2020.

Lead The Way Tour owner, Adrian Hack, said “I’m really grateful to the Department for Communities and The National Lottery Heritage Fund for providing this funding. Thanks to this grant, I can continue to develop the tour content, acquire more exhibits to share with tour guests, convert the tour content into a presentation which can be delivered in schools, community groups and other settings, examine opportunities to offer virtual tours online, and ensure my guided walking tours are safe and ready for guests when tours can re-start again.”

Adrian added, “My tour concentrates on the transformation Carrickfergus went through during the Second World War: it’s factories were converted to make goods needed for the war effort; civic buildings re-purposed to help civilians protect themselves from potential attack; army camps built on surrounding land for British, American and Belgian troops; and the civilian population endured rationing, air raid precautions and the blackout.

“It is ironic that in the year we commemorated the 75th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War, the globe was once again engulfed in a worldwide event. The COVID-19 Pandemic greatly restricted my tours during 2020, but with the assistance of this grant I am much more positive about 2021.”