Included within my research shall be the Second World
war airfields known as RAF Ballyhalbert and RAF Kirkistown.
In order to understand the history of Ballyhalbert,
I am learning about the history, archaeology and stratigraphy
of the Ards Peninsula and County Down, as it is all
related in one way or another.
I am also looking into the Brick and Tile Works at Glastry,
just outside Ballyhalbert.
Ballyhalbert Historical Society
Clair Smith - June '08
I was just wondering- does anyone know anything about American prescence in Ballyhalbert, Co. Down during WW2?
I go to the school there, Glastry College, and, this is going to sound crazy, but I had heard that the school/ site of the school is haunted by the ghost of an American GI.
Apparently, he has been seen by our caretaker and I was wondering if anyone could send me a link to some information about American prescence there in WW2?
I was hoping to try and spot the ghost some time...
Philip Boyd - Oct '06
Hi interesting article, and re the last section
about James Filson - my father and mother were the teachers
in Victoria Priamry school Ballyhalbert in the 1960's
(both my mother and I are in one of the pictures in
the photograhic exhibition in Frank Caughey's) and lived
at Sandylands Cottage at the harbour, rented from Bobby
Colwell. We moved to Belfast in 1969, and later in life
I was friendly with James Filson's two sons, both motorcyclists
like myself, before finding out purely by accident who
they were! As to why he would have been in the newspapers?
He was big in band music, running the local silver band
for many years. Regarding why James Filson was stationed
in Ballyhalbert - it wasn't a punishment that sent him
there, it was a punishment that KEPT him there! Contrary
to the published accounts of the "Battle of Ballyhalbert"
JAMES was flying the first Spitfire that crashed at
ballyhalbert that day!
David Gabbie - April '06
A website for Ballyhalbert has been online
for almost 2 years now:
Ballyhalbert Historical Society - msnusers.com/ballyhalbert
An exhibition is currently on display at the Post
Office in Ballyhalbert. This will remain until around
the end of May 2006 as the Post office will move into
the new Centra Store and the Ballyhalbert Stores building
will be demolished.
Naomi Berry - April '06
I am an archaeology student at Queen's and
I'm currently writing my dissertation. Much of this
has involved studying the airfields on the Ards Peninsula.
Much of my raw data has come from R.A.F. aerial photographs
dated to 1952-3. They cover the whole of Northern Ireland,
60,000 aerial photos in all, but if the location is
found on the sortie plot before hand the job is much
easier. These have rarely been used so are still in
good condition. They are located in the Public Records
Office of Northern Ireland. I'm looking for photos of
the airfield if anyone can help?
Hugh Graham - April '06
hello my name is hugh graham i was reared in tullycavey
from the age of 14 after my mother married jim cavan
from the old blacksmiths house behind tullycavey school
refresh my memory when i left carrowdore school i worked
for a short time for jack mccracken ashvale farm ballydoonan
and i well remember every saturday morning taking corn
to be crushed and im pretty sure it was bodens?
i wont take to much time at the moment but after i came
out of the army and waitint to join the R.U.C.alfie
turkington and i cleared ballyhalbert air field which
he bought and turned it into a holiday park
Paul Armstrong - March '06
Does anybody know which US/USAF units were
stationed in Kirkistown in 1943-1944? My reason for
asking is my grandmother lived on a farm just outside
Portavogie and became pregnant to an American Serviceman
who was stationed there. My mother was born in June
1944 and as a result the family moved to Belfast shortly
afterwards. My grandmother never spoke about this affair
and we haven't been able to clear up this family mystery.
I believe however that my mother has a photograph of
this American Serviceman and I would like to try to
find out his name and who he was. Any help on this matter
would be gratefully appreciated.
Roderick Gray - Feb '06
Brian Bertram Horace Best was a pilot officer
with 153 who was stationed at Ballyhalbert on 24th October
1941. He was killed (I do not know how) on 13th Novemebr
1941. He is buried in a cemetary in Lythams St Annes.
He does not appear in the Commonwealth war Graves website.
His name is on the memorial at Lingfield in Surrey.
Was he shot down and washed up/rescued in the Irish
Sea. Still investigating and have written to Hendon
Royal Airforce Museum.
Victoria in Oregon, USA - Jan '06
My mum was stationed at Ballyhalbert during WWII. She
was in the first group of women who were sent there.
She said it was the best two years of her life. She
also said that it seemed to be a place where they sent
airmen to "recover," either from psychological
distress or other problems. She is in the process of
writing down her memories of her experiences there,
which we will send to the Ballyhalbert website. She
would very much like to know about her friends who were
also stationed there with her, but the chances of them
still being with us are slim. It would be nice to have
more information out there about Ballyhalbert during
the war years as there isn't much available. I will
look forward to David's work on this :-).
John Barnden - Oct 05
I have recently started researching my late father's
time with the Royal Engineers (1940/46). Up until D
Day he was with 802 Kent Road Construction Company (RE)
including a stay of duty in Ballyhalbert. From other
documents I'm sure 802 were engaged in developing RAF
Ballyhalbert, they arrived 11/10/40 leaving for Scotland
21/01/42. One of the frustrating aspects of my search
is that I can not locate Ballyhalbert on any map. It
would therefore be very much appreciated if you could
help in the matter. I shall follow your site with interest
as I intend to visit Ballyhalbert at some time in the
future, my mother and father did many times after the
war. My fathers name was Bert (Bubbles) Barnden.
John Sheehan, Bradford - October '05
Dear Tony (Osborne, see below)
I am in the process of building a model of a Spitfire
flown by a Polish pilot of 315 Sqn. by the name of F/O
Boleslaw Sawiak. He was involved in the shooting down
of a Ju.88. on 23rd. August 1942. He was injured in
the combat and made a forced landing in the Republic,
the Ju.88 also crashed in the Republic and the crew
where interned. Sawaiak was less fortunate, his Spitfire
hit a wall in the landing and he later died in hospital
in Dublin from the injuries sustained in combat and
the crash. I was interested in the photo CD, would you
know if there are any photos of Sawiak's aircraft I
think the letters were, BL-K and the airframe number
was BL959. Where did you get the disk from.
Helen Surgeoner - July '05
On the Tullykevin Road, Greyabbey end there is a brass
plate on a field post about a pilot that crashed and
died there during the war. Sorry can't give you the
exact details as I don't live near there anymore but
had noticed it when out walking on the Tullykevin Road.
Also when visiting some people who use to live around
that area the gentleman told us that a Lancaster landed
in a field behind the Dunover Road North School in Ballywalter
during the second world war.
Tony Osborne - April '05
I have recieved a CD of photo of 315 Polish Sqns, Squadron
Day, at Ballyhalbert on 14th August 1942 from a contact
in Poland. These include photos of the Polish CinC presenting
medals and of a mass held in one of the hangars. Some
of the pics will be on show from 4/5/05 to 21/5/05 in
Newtownards town hall and I will be speaking to the
Chronicle about them. Three of this Sqns pilots are
buried at Ballycranbeg.
Clive Moore - April '05
David J Smiths book: Action stations, No.7, Military
airfields of Scotland,the North East and Northern Ireland,
is so far the only published book containing information
on Ballyhalbert and the other airfields on the Ards
peninsula. Its a useful starting point for anyone interested
in any of Northern Irelands airfields and their roles
Paul Daniel - April '04
Please could you send me any links to information about
Ballyhalbert. My wife Jill is originally from Ballyhalbert
and we are regular visitors to see her mother and father
Jack and Doreen Hughes. We plan to move back to the
area soon ourselves and I am very interested in the
John Kelly& Karen kelly nee Filson - March 05
My father- in-law was a member of the R.A.F. Who was posted as a Spitfire pilot
to Ballyhalbert in the second world war. He was posted there as a punishment
for something or other, from somewhere in England. But the outcome of the
story was he lived in Ballyeastborough which was only a few miles from Ballyhalbert.
His name was James Filson D.Fc. There was an article in the Newtownards Chronicle
some years ago about him. I have the article in the house some where. My wife
could tell you more but she never uses the P.C. I'am sure you will have already
heard something about him? My wife and I still live between Ballywlater and
Greyabbey in a townland known localy as Tullycavey or Tullykevin as it says
on the sign post.
I myself am from Greyabbey and my wife was from Newtownards, but her mother
was from Tullycavey and her name before she was married was Mary Bowden. I
hope this may interest someone