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.
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.