Refurbishment project to commence at local WW2 museum

US Rangers in training during WWII in Carrickfergus.

US Rangers in training during WWII in Carrickfergus.

Carrickfergus’ long-standing link to the US military is to get a major boost thanks to the commencement of a project to modernise and improve the United States Rangers Museum at Boneybefore, near Eden.

The unique facility first opened in 1994, following a 50th anniversary event when visiting US Rangers veterans generously gave their photographs and memorabilia to create a permanent exhibition.

It is adjacent to the President Andrew Jackson Cottage and is dedicated to the men who joined the first battalions of the elite American Army unit, formed at Sunnylands Camp in nearby Carrickfergus in June 1942.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Cllr Audrey Wales MBE said: “When complete, the facility will boast a new, visually striking set of displays that will include previously unseen artefacts, photographs and extensive film footage.

“The updated museum will offer a high quality visitor experience which aims to be a fitting tribute to the men who volunteered their services to the elite fighting force the US Rangers.”

The US Rangers – which is part of the US Special Forces today – was set up as a ‘Commando style’ unit drawn solely from volunteers and was nicknamed ‘Darby’s Rangers’ after their dynamic leader Lieutenant Colonel William Darby.

Like the British Commandos on which the unit was based, they trained in extreme conditions and went on to fight in some of the deadliest battles in Europe and became one of World War Two’s most courageous and decorated units. It remains the only US military unit ever founded on foreign soil.

The museum will close on Wednesday, March 1 and reopen for a public launch event on Saturday, June 17. The Andrew Jackson Cottage will remain open throughout the work. For further details, contact Carrickfergus Museum on 028 93358241 or email carrickfergusmuseums@midandeastantrim.gov.uk