Conference will explore the fascinating history of the GIs in NI

An historic picture of US Rangers in training during WWII in Carrickfergus.
Image: M&EA Council.
An historic picture of US Rangers in training during WWII in Carrickfergus. Image: M&EA Council.

A conference will be hosted by The US Rangers Museum, Carrickfergus, and Northern Ireland War Memorial, from September 29 – October 1 focusing on the US Military Presence in Northern Ireland during the Second World War.

Featuring renowned and influential speakers from across the United Kingdom and the United States, the three day event will seek to explore the history of the GIs’ time in the province.

This will include their preparation for deployment for the Allied counter-attacks in Europe and North Africa, as well as an investigation of aspects of the US presence that have been underrepresented in Northern Irish history.

Day one of the conference at the NI War Memorial on Belfast’s Talbot Street will open at 10.30am with registration and get underway at 11.10 when Ian Montgomery will speak on researching the US military presence in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

Other speakers will include Dr Orla Fitzpatrick, National Museum of Ireland; Dr Susan Kelly, US75 oral history project; Alan Freeburn, NIWM, on US servicemen and violent crime in wartime Ulster; Simon Topping, University of Plymouth, on African American GIs in Northern Ireland during the Second World War; and Dr Leanne McCormick, Ulster University, who will speak on Interaction between US troops and Northern Irish women during World War Two.

Saturday, September 30, will see delegates head to the US Rangers Museum, 2 Boneybefore, Carrickfergus, where they will start at 9.30am on a walking tour of Historic Carrickfergus followed by lunch and a welcome address by Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid.

Highlights of the programme will be a presentation featuring clips from Mary Pat Kelly’s award-winning documentary film, Home Away From Home: The Yanks In Ireland with Walter Cronkite; and, talks by Major Larry Moore on The Ranger Legacy and Brotherhood​, Ranger historian Mir Bahmanyar who will speak on US Ranger Operational Adjustments from Raiding to Spearheading Invasions, and, Ian Henderson on ‘Time Spent in Northern Ireland by US Troops – time well spent?’. Delegates will be bused to Carrickfergus Town Hall for an evening reception with buffet dinner, drinks and entertainment.

On the final day, October 1, delegates will have the chance to embark on a guided bus tour visiting sites associated with the US presence in Northern Ireland. To find out more about the forthcoming conference programme, which may be subject to change, telephone 02893358241 or email carrickfergusmuseums@midandeastantrim.gov.uk