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16 October 2014
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GI's in Omagh

The first American soldiers to land in N. I. set sail from Nova Scotia on 10th January 1942.

Contribution by Andrew Sides.

Fecarry Range

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Chris Gregson - July 2006
My Dad grew up in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland in the 1940's. I took him back to Bangor for his 70th birthday in 1998, the first time he had visited since 1946. He has sadly died since. In our visit, he told me of American GI's being stationed at Bangor and camping in Bangor Abbey, prior to the Normandy landings. In fact, I remember from our visit that there is a plaque commemorating this at the seafront. Dad spoke very fondly of the GI's who were apparently welcomed and embraced by the local community. I am now writing a book which in part relates to this era and would really like to learn of the experience of the american GI's in Bangor, but I can find nothing on the internet. Dad told me that the GI's arrived unnanounced and camped in the grounds of Bangor Abbey, a sight that he could view from his bedroom window. He was befriended by some of them, and felt sadness all of his life at the fate that befell many of them in the d-day landings. Any informatrion that anyone could provide of GI's stationed in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, around that time would be very gratefully received.

Lisa Govan - April '05
Alex Watson asked in October 2004 regarding this article what happened to Seskinore and the McClintock family. I am related to a McClintock family, but as far as i'm aware not this one. However whilst doing my research I found this website which may be of interest - which includes pictures and further information.

John McLean - February'05
Am trying to trace a Karl Holinger who was stationed in Omagh in 1942. He was a family friend but we lost contact. Does anyone know how to trace his unit?

Andrew Ker - December '04
I have been looking into some details of the 125th Field Artillery who were stationed in Newtownstewart from May to December 1942. They did not go to Normandy for D-Day but went to Africa a year and a half before then and then fought their way as part of the American 5th Army through Sicilly and into Italy.

Stan Preston, Canada - November '04
Very interesting article since I grew up in Omagh during the years in question. I wasn't old enough to understand everything that was going on then but I can relate to the names and places mentioned in your article.

Alex Watson - October 2004
Does anybody know what happened to Seskinore House and the Mcclintock family who lived there. Are there any photographs of the house and family?

Kevin Taylor - August 2004
My Late father Fusilier John Taylor, Royal Enniskillen Fusiliers, served with the American GI's during the war before serving in Palestine and Malta. I remember him telling a story about an american GI Wallie Beach going to collect sugar from the station. He cut a hole in one of the bags and they threw it off the jeep. He then announced this over the P.A. system off the jeep and my father and him had a great laugh as the woman fought for it.
I also remember my grandmother Elizabeth Lindsay's story about the mystery disappearance of four cakes off bread which had been left on the windowsill to cool. The army were on manoeuvres and were using our former home Lisbuoy Road, Beragh, as a cook house. One young solder had found the wrapped bread sitting on the windowsill to cool and ask if he could buy them as they were for breakfast the next day. My grandmother said no. Imagine her surprise when the army had gone away to find all four loaves gone, But the £5 let in their place no doubt softened the blow . It is also interesting to relate that a number of the GI's were based in the then Colonel Hurstons home, Beltrim castle, in the small village off Gortin a few miles from Omagh. The Late colonel Hurston formed his own cavalry regiment called the Beltrim Dismounted Cavalry. The Blakeston Hurston family still live in the Castle and perhaps that is worth a story. I was told all these facts by a Gortin historian, the late Thomas Mc Keowan and shown some of the uniform buttons. Sadly since Mr Mc Keowans death these valuable artifacts were taken to South Africa by his brother I hope that you find this interesting .

Andrew McIvor - August 2004
I recall the day the American soldiers arrived at Beragh station. US Vehicles conveyed these men to Seskinore where the were stationed. Soon hugh quantities of supplies arrived in wagons at the railway station and these were collected daily by the GI's and taken back to their base. Some of these young men made friends with the villagers and one lady, Mrs. Rosanne Lyttle, who has sadly long since passed away, cared for these young men with the affection of any mother. She invited them into her home where she and her husband shared whatever food there was available at the time with the boys. I think that after all these years such an act of kindness should be mentioned.

Davy Fitzsimons - 22 April '04
I have a group of photographs of the 8th inf div taken in Aughantiane near Fivemiletown, and also some of them at the back of the Red Cross Centre in Omagh. If anyone would like to see them they can contact me. Yours.

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