Commemorative stones laid in Maghaberry to honour veterans

At Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council's Commemorative Stone-Unveiling at Maghaberry, home to an airfield used by the RAF during World War II. Wreaths were laid in honour of servicemen and women from both World Wars including American Air Force Personnel.  Pictured are: Alderman James Tinsley; Mr Bill Eames, Veteran from World War II; Mayor, Councillor Thomas Beckett; Chief Executive Dr Theresa Donaldson and Mr Peter McKittrick who represented the American Consulate in Belfast.
At Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council's Commemorative Stone-Unveiling at Maghaberry, home to an airfield used by the RAF during World War II. Wreaths were laid in honour of servicemen and women from both World Wars including American Air Force Personnel. Pictured are: Alderman James Tinsley; Mr Bill Eames, Veteran from World War II; Mayor, Councillor Thomas Beckett; Chief Executive Dr Theresa Donaldson and Mr Peter McKittrick who represented the American Consulate in Belfast.

A service was held at Maghaberry Village Green last week to honour World War One, World War Two and American Air Force personnel.

Mr Bill Eames, a World War II Veteran, was welcomed as a special guest as the Mayor Councillor Thomas Beckett and Alderman James Tinsley, Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Corporate Services Committee led the service.

The American Consulate in Belfast was represented by Mr Peter McKittrick.

Councillor Beckett said: “This was a significant and moving occasion.

“I was very pleased to see so many people in attendance as the commemorative stones were unveiled.

“Alderman James Tinsley spearheaded this work and I would like to thank him for ensuring that those persons who contributed so much for liberty and freedom will be forever remembered.

“It is fitting too that the area permanently reflects the history associated with the area. The Commemorative Stones are in place as a result of the council and community working together and I would like to thank everyone who contributed and in particular the artist, Mr Ross Wilson, for his specialist work.”

Alderman James Tinsley said: “I would like to thank everyone who attended the ceremony and this particularly includes those who remember what it was like in and around the Maghaberry area during World War II.

“Those who were in attendance will have their own recollections and memories perhaps from stories passed down through the generations. “Maghaberry played a very strategic role in the two World Wars with its busiest period being World War II when American fighter planes and Flying Fortress Bombers took support to the British and European troops as they fought side by side against Germany.

“The dedication of the commemorative stones will also serve as a reminder for our younger generations of the sacrifice and loss that was so keenly felt, by so many, as a result of the World Wars.

“Local families in the Maghaberry area and including former serving personnel joined with the council as it unveiled commemorative stones in honour of those who fought in and died in the two World Wars.

“The Maghaberry Prison site was home to an airfield used by the Royal Air Force during World War II where heavy RAF bomber planes were built. The arrival of 200 US Army Air Force personnel came in 1943 and the Airfield was the transit base for planes from America to refuel before flying on to Europe. US Air Force mechanics also serviced aircraft at Maghaberry.”